Report by the Chief Fire Officer
It is proposed to consider the item in two parts
A) Readiness for HMICFRS revisit
B) Progress in implementing the Improvement Plan
To include discussion on the Final Report of the Task and Finish Group – Report attached. In respect of this part of the discussion the Committee is asked to be guided by the focus for scrutiny, as set out in section 4 of the report.
141.1The Committee considered a report by the Chief Fire Officer (copy appended to the signed minutes which detailed the progress made.
141.2The Chairman stated that this item would now be discussed in one part rather than split as previously agreed. The presentation would be completed and then the union representatives would have the opportunity to speak.
141.3The Committee made a number of comments including those that follow. It:
· Welcomed the acknowledgement from the staff representative bodies that they valued continuing input as there is still a lot of work to do.
· Agreed that it is important not to expect too much quickly as it is important to that staff are given sufficient time to ensure that the necessary changes are embedded.
· Welcomed the reassurance from the Cabinet Member that the service is highly valued and most certainly not seen as a burden on resources.
· Raised concerns regarding the new Control Centre but were reassured that the service to West Sussex had not been affected.
Resolved – That the Committee
1. Noted the good progress ahead of the HMICFRS visit but recognised that progress needed to become embedded and sustained.
2. Noted the governance structure around the Improvement Plan and IRMP, and suggested the updated Plans (included timelines) be scrutinised by Fire and Rescue Service Scrutiny Committee (FRSSC).
3. Would like the HMICFRS report to be made available to the new Committee members, and via a hyperlink to all other members.
4. Did not identify issues picked up by the HMICFRS, and noted that the key performance indicators (KPIs) for protection and prevention were activity-based, and requested that all KPIs presented to Members be outcome-based. A Task and Finish Group could act as a critical friend to this work.
5. Noted that the Control Centre had been implemented, but that there had been some teething issues. It was recommended that a more detailed report be considered at the first meeting of FRSSC, which should include some consideration of the staffing levels and the robustness of the IT systems.
6. Noted that the FRS investigated the safety critical notice on the Contact Centre and that there had been no impact on the service delivered to residents, and welcomed that this would be kept under review and that a detailed report will be considered at the first meeting of FRSSC.
7. With regards to the “People Project” recognised that this is the start of a long journey and that it will take time to impact, but was pleased to hear the positive feedback from the union representatives on the work undertaken so far. Noted the concerns around the lack of trust that came through the listening groups and requested that regular reports are sent to FRSSC.
8. Considered that the involvement of the staff representative bodies is a good model for the County Council and requested that the Cabinet Member passes this back to his cabinet colleagues.
9. Noted that FRS is not going to pursue crewing with 3 firefighters at this time.
10.Welcomed the appointment of the additional Retained Liaison Officers and their role in taking forward the issues of retention and recruitment of on-call firefighters. Also asked that they encourage recruitment from within WSCC and other employers.
11.Fully supported the new Scrutiny Committee and the training that will be available to those scrutiny committee members.
12.Noted the FBU request that a union representative (non-voting) be included on the FRSSC, but suggested that the new Committee instead continues with the established practice of allowing union representatives to speak at formal meetings, and contribute to responses to members’ questions.