Agenda and draft minutes

Fire & Rescue Service Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 7th July, 2022 2.15 pm

Venue: County Hall, Chichester, PO19 1RQ

Contact: Rob Castle on 033 022 22546  Email:  rob.castle@westsussex.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

The Committee is asked to elect a Chairman for 2022-23 from the committee members listed below. 

 

Cllr Bence, Cllr Boram, Cllr Chowdhury, Cllr Evans, Cllr Milne, Cllr Patel and Cllr Pendleton.

 

If the election is contested, a secret ballot will be held in accordance with Standing Order 2.17.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.1        Cllr Boram was proposed as Chairman by Cllr Pendleton and seconded by Cllr Bence. There were no other nominations.

 

1.2        Resolved – that Cllr Boram is elected Chairman of the Committee for the year.

2.

Election of Vice Chairman

The Committee is asked to elect a Vice Chairman for 2022-23 from the committee members listed below. 

 

Cllr Bence, Cllr Boram, Cllr Chowdhury, Cllr Evans, Cllr Milne, Cllr Patel and Cllr Pendleton.

 

If the election is contested, a secret ballot will be held in accordance with Standing Order 2.17.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

2.1        Cllr Pendleton was proposed as Vice-Chairman by Cllr Boram and seconded by Cllr Bence. There were no other nominations.

 

2.2        Resolved – that Cllr Pendleton is elected as Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the year.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Committee members and officers must declare any pecuniary or personalinterest in any business on the agenda. They should also make declarations at any stage such an interest becomes apparent during the meeting. Consideration should be given to leaving the meeting if the nature of the interest warrants it.  If in doubt please contact Democratic Services before the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

3.1       No declarations were made.

4.

Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 92 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 4 March 2022 (cream paper).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.1       Resolved – that the Committee agrees the minutes of the meeting held on 4 March 2022.

5.

Responses to recommendations

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1        Resolved – that the Committee notes the responses to the recommendations.

6.

Fire and Rescue Service Strategic Performance Report Quarter 4 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Report by the Chief Fire Officer.

 

The report provides a context to the Performance and Assurance Framework for the purpose of future scrutiny of the Executive’s approach to performance.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.1        The Committee scrutinised a report by the Chief Fire Officer (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

6.2        Summary of responses to committee members’ comments and questions: 

 

·           At the end of Quarter 4 2021-22, 19 of the 30 measures had a GREEN status, 5 were AMBER and 6 were RED. The Committee welcomed areas of significant improvement and success. Quarter 4 saw an overall improvement in performance, with the following emergency response measures showing particular success:

 

Ø  Critical Fires -1st Appliance Attendance

Ø  Critical Fires -2nd Appliance Attendance

Ø  Critical Special Services -1st Appliance Attendance

 

·           Annual figures for all instances of fires and fire casualties remained low. Accidental Dwelling Fires formed a key focus of the Service’s prevention activity and the continued low numbers reflected the sustained work of teams to ensure that the most vulnerable people are kept safe from fire. 

·           Sustained improvement and investment in technology had assisted the Service to achieve success in appliance attendance at critical fires.

·           Prevention work was noted as central to the Service’s performance with the overall incidence of fires being reduced over the year.

·           The Chief Fire Officer confirmed that the service worked closely with Adult Services as well as in collaboration with partners to identify vulnerable people (including those with dementia) and ensure fire prevention work is targeted.

·           It was asked if targets should be revised upwards to strengthen the Service position. It was noted there would be a review of standards at the appropriate time with consideration given to the balance between available resources and performance aims.

·           It was noted that the Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP) which identifies and assesses all foreseeable fire and rescue related risks that could affect the community also looks at the resources in place and the activity needed to be undertaken to meet these risks and develop plans to improve safety. The CRMP addressed unwanted Fire Alarm Calls with the aim of reducing wasted fire service activity.

·           Committee members were reassured that every incident that the Service attends is subject to an operational review to determine whether a fire could have been prevented. Fires that cause injury are investigated by the Borough Commander and fatalities are reviewed forensically by the Chief Fire Officer/Deputy Fire Officer. The service analyses data/trends and uses this information in fire prevention work.

·           Safe and Well visits were discussed as areas for improvement as the target had not been achieved. The Service was determined that improvements would be made by exploring different ways of working, e.g. training fire fighters to spot potential fire risks in commercial property and offering support to district and borough councils to screen for potential fire safety risks. It was noted that the Grenfell Fire incident had produced learning and these safety messages would be promoted to Members.

·           Retained Fire Fighter availability was discussed as an area requiring improvement. It was noted that this was a national issue.  The Chairman pointed out that a successful Task and Finish Group had been held, focusing on this issue  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

End of March (Quarter 4) Quarterly Performance and Resources Report pdf icon PDF 69 KB

A report by the Chief Executive and Director of Finance and Support Services setting out the corporate performance, finance, workforce, risk and capital programme positions as at the end of March 2022.

 

The Committee is asked to examine the data and supporting commentary for the Performance and Resources report and make any recommendations for action to the relevant Cabinet Member or Scrutiny Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

7.1      The Committee scrutinised this Quarterly Performance and Resources Report for Quarter 4 2021/22 (copy appended to the signed minutes) which is designed to provide assurance concerning the delivery of the statutory functions of the Fire Authority.

 

7.2      Summary of responses to committee members’ comments and questions:

 

·         The financial overspend had been largely covered by staffing vacancies in the Communities Directorate.

·         Progress was noted as good on the Horsham Fire Training Centre and Fire Station.

·         Delays on the purchase of Fleet/Fire Equipment due to internal resourcing issues was noted. Funding had been reprofiled into the 2022/23 financial year.

·         Corporate Risk 60, failing to deliver on the, ‘Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS)’ improvement plan, was referenced by the Chairman. The Chief Fire Officer responded that an update would be given to the committee upon publication of the inspectorate’s report.

 

7.3      Resolved – that the Committee notes the report.

8.

Priority Programme Update pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Report by the Chief Fire Officer.

 

The report provides an overview of the priority programmes of work during Quarter 4 of 2021/2022 including progress against the People Action Plan, the Improvement Plan and the Integrated Risk Management Plan Action Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

8.1        The Committee scrutinised the Priority Programme update (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

8.2        Summary of responses to committee members’ comments and questions: 

 

·         The IRMP (Integrated Risk Management Plan) had transitioned to the CRMP (Community Risk Management Plan);

·         Challenges around the people plan and cultural change would take time as would challenges around working directives given the complex nature of the Service’s shift systems - new computer software would help achieve compliance.

 

8.3        Resolved - that the Committee notes the progress reported in relation to the priority programmes.

9.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Annual Statement of Assurance pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Report by the Chief Fire Officer.

 

The report outlines the way in which West Sussex County Council and its fire and rescue service delivered the requirements contained in the National Fire and Rescue Framework and the authority’s Integrated Risk Management Plan during 2021/2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

9.1      The Committee scrutinised the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Annual Statement of Assurance 2021/22 (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

9.2      Summary of responses to committee members’ comments and questions: 

 

·         The Chief Fire Officer offered to include data on wholetime fire fighters being relied upon for retained support under a dual contract system in future Statements of Assurance in order to show trends

·         The Dynamic Cover Tool (DCT) maps areas of fire risk based on demographics, such as age and areas of deprivation

·       The service focusses on the availability of retained fire fighters, considering this in conjunction with the good performance that had been achieved on arriving quickly at incidents.

·         The Committee congratulated the Service on its achievements on developing the Horsham Training Centre and Fire Station, development of the CRMP and managing the HMICFRS inspectorate visit in November, during a difficult operational period and busy year.

 

9.3      Resolved – that: -

 

                i.       Trend analysis be included in the next Statement of Assurance report on the level of whole time firefighters who are taking on a dual contract as retained firefighters; and

 

               ii.       Any future visit to the Joint Fire Control Centre to cover risk mapping.

10.

Retained Duty System Task and Finish Group Report pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Report by the Chairman of the Retained Duty System Task and Finish Group.

 

The report summarises the discussion that took place at both Task & Finish Group meetings and summarises the recommendations of the Task & Finish Group.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

10.1     The Committee considered the Retained Duty System Task and Finish Group Report (copy appended to the signed minutes).

 

10.2     Resolved - that the Committee supports the Task and Finish Group’s observations and recommendations. 

11.

Work Programme Planning and Possible Items for Future Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 41 KB

The Committee is asked to review its current draft work programme taking into account the Forward Plan of Key Decisions and any suggestions from its members for possible items for future scrutiny.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

11.1      The Committee considered its work programme and the Forward Plan of Key Decisions.

 

11.2      It was noted that the West Sussex Statement of Assurance 2021/22, as listed in the Forward Plan and as discussed at this meeting, would be considered at the Cabinet meeting on 20July 2022.

 

11.3      Resolved that: –

 

                   i.       The item on Covid-19 be removed; and

 

                  ii.       The Inspection Report be added to the Work Programme (timing to be confirmed).

12.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 30 September 2022 at 10.30 am at County Hall, Chichester.  Probable agenda items include:

 

·         Fire and Rescue Service Strategic Performance Report Quarter 1 2022/23

·         End of September 2022 (Quarter 1) Quarterly Performance and Resources Report

·         Priority Programme Update

 

Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 15 September 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

12.1     The next meeting of the Committee will take place on 30 September 2022.

 

The meeting ended at 4.29pm.