Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has today published a report into the performance of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service. HMICFRS took on responsibility for inspecting fire and rescue services in 2017 and has now inspected every fire and rescue service in England.
- HMICFRS found that Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service:
- is ‘good’ at effectively keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks;
- is ‘good’ at how efficiently it manages its resources; and
- ‘requires improvement’ at looking after its people.
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has been judged as ‘good’ in relation to how effective it is about keeping people safe and also judged as ‘good’ in relation to how efficient the Service is. It was rated as ‘requires improvement’ for how well it looks after its people. In total, the Inspectorate looked at 11 key areas and CFRS has been graded as good in eight of those areas and requiring improvement in three. This is a really positive outcome and testament to the great work CFRS staff deliver every day of the year to keep communities safe.
The inspection team commended the Service on how productive the prevention and protection teams are. The Service carried out 10,070 safe and well visits which is almost twice as many visits per 1,000 population compared to the English average rate, and over four times the number of fire protection audits per 100 known properties in the year to 31 March 2018. They also recognised where the Service has made good collaborative arrangements with other emergency services, which benefit partners and the public.
HM Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services Phil Gormley said: “I am pleased with most aspects of the performance of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service in keeping people safe and secure. However, it needs to improve how it looks after its people to give a consistently good service.
“Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is good at providing an effective service, in particular in relation to its prevention, protection and response functions. It has allocated response resources following a thorough assessment of risk of the local environment.
“The service has a strong track record of achieving savings. We found it to be good at making the best use of resources, and at making its services sustainable now and in the future.
“Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service requires improvement to the way it looks after its people. Some staff are not aware of the service’s values and feel the service’s senior management could do more to adequately respond to their concerns. More could also be done to manage staff performance. However, it is good at training its staff and providing them with the right skills.
“I am encouraged by the positive aspects identified in the report and look forward to seeing what improvements are made when we next inspect.”
Commenting on the report, Chief Fire Officer, Steve Healey said: “Protecting the public and preventing fires and other emergencies is at the heart of everything we do and I’m enormously proud of the service we provide 365 days of the year, and I’m delighted that HMICFRS have positively recognised the fantastic work our staff do to keep our communities safe.
“We are pleased that the Inspectorate has identified lots of good practice in our approach to preventing fires and other emergencies, and also how well we carry out our fire protection responsibilities in commercial buildings. When our communities need us, the Inspectorate recognised how good our operational response is and how well trained our firefighters are.
“As a Service we have embraced the inspection process and were keen to make a start on the early feedback received from the inspectors when they visited us in June this year, and we will continue to work hard to address some of the identified areas for improvement in relation to how we look after people.
“We are absolutely committed to a culture which displays our values and behaviours and where all of our people are able to work in an empowered, collaborative and innovative way to make a positive difference to our communities. As such we take on board the comments from the inspectors about how we need to make changes to embedding our values and culture within the Service.”
Councillor Janet Willis, Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue added: “It’s reassuring to note that following the inspection, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is one of the better performing services nationally. To receive this feedback at a time when we’re working with reduced budgets across all public service is an immense achievement which really is testament to the hard work and dedication of our committed workforce.
“This has been such a hugely helpful exercise for the Service and we will take on board all the feedback provided and use it to continue to make our Fire and Rescue Service the very best it can be.”