Agenda and draft minutes

Nottinghamshire & City of Nottingham Fire & Rescue Authority
Friday, 22nd July, 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Joint Fire / Police HQ, Sherwood Lodge, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 8PP - Joint Fire / Police HQ, Sherwood Lodge, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 8PP. View directions

Contact: Cath Ziane-Pryor  Governance Officer

Items
No. Item

11.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Councillor John Clark - other County Council business

Councillor Tom Hollis

Councillor Jason Zadrozny – leave

Commissioner Caroline Henry

 

12.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

13.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 341 KB

Of the Annual General Meeting held on 27 May 2022 (for confirmation)

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 27 May 2022 were confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.

14.

Chair's Announcements

Minutes:

a)  Former Councillor and Fire and Rescue Authority member Vaughan Hopewell.

It was with sadness that the Chair informed the meeting that former Councillor and Fire and Rescue Authority member Vaughan Hopewell, had passed away on 18 June 2022. Vaughan was a popular Councillor and well-respected by all political groups, particularly for his dedication to communities and good sense of humour. The sympathies of the Chair and members of the Authority are extended to his family, friends and colleagues.

 

Those in attendance respected a minute’s silence in memory of Vaughan Hopewell.

 

b)  Heat Wave and High Service Demand.

The extreme heat of the past few days and heightened emergency response demands on the Service has emphasised the valuable service provided. Some fires are suspected to have been deliberately set and there have even been incidents of firefighters being attacked whilst attending, which is absolutely outrageous. Fire and Rescue Service employees undertake heroic work, particularly on the front line with the requirement to wear protective kit and equipment during a 40°C heat wave whilst fighting fires. Control Room staff were also extremely busy and worked exceedingly hard.

 

Action: The Chair expressed thanks and gratitude on behalf of the whole Authority and requested that the Chief Fire Officer ensure that staff receive a formal acknowledgement appreciating the outstanding and valuable work they undertake, particularly in such challenging circumstances.

 

c)  New Joint Service Headquarters Official Opening.

The official opening of the new Joint Service Headquarters is scheduled for Thursday 28 July 2022, the details of which have been circulated to members.

 

d)  New Incident Command Training Suite.

A new Incident Command Training Suite has been established at Mansfield Fire Station as just one element of Service improvement. An opening date is yet to be confirmed.

 

e)  Reform White Paper Consultation.

Members of the Authority are reminded that the Reform White Paper Consultation closes on 26 July 2022, so there is still time if members wish to respond as individuals.

 

f)  HMICFRS Inspection report.

Following Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspection at the end of 2021, the formal report will be issued on 27th of July 2022 and will be circulated to members.

 

g)  The National Joint Council Pay Award.

The National Joint Council has proposed a pay award of 2%, on which Trade’s Unions have consulted members, and unsurprisingly it has been rejected. It is too early to gauge the impact on the Service, but resilience planning is in process.

 

Members of the Authority commented;

 

h)  the national pay offer is out of the control of the Authority, but it would not be unreasonable to place on record that members feel that the offer of 2% in current circumstances of significant rises of inflation and the cost of living is unacceptable. Industrial action is not wanted, so this situation needs to be resolved;

 

The Chair responded that whilst in London he had been making the exact same point to the interim Secretary of State who had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Committee Membership

It is recommended that the Authority approve the following changes to membership of Authority Committees:

 

i.  Councillor Eddie Cubley replaces Councillor Jonathan Wheeler on the Human Resources Committee;

 

ii.  Councillor Jonathan Wheeler replaces Councillor Eddie Cubley on the Personnel Committee.

Minutes:

Resolved to approve the following changes to membership of Authority Committees:

 

i.  Councillor Eddie Cubley replaces Councillor Jonathan Wheeler on the Human Resources Committee;

 

ii.   Councillor Jonathan Wheeler replaces Councillor Eddie Cubley on the Personnel Committee.

 

16.

Annual Governance Statement 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 447 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer

Minutes:

Becky Smeathers, Head of Finance and Treasurer to the Authority, presented the report.

 

The following points were highlighted:

 

a)  this report is usually submitted alongside the Statement of Accounts, but given the delay in submitting the Audit, and with it being a statutory requirement to report how the Service has complied to its Code of Governance, it is being presented now;

 

b)  the Statement is attached to the report and includes an analysis of the effectiveness of the Governance Arrangements;

 

c)  the Service continues to develop following Covid and will continue to develop further following the recent extreme heat which has led to some areas of business continuity being reviewed;

 

d)  assessments of budget monitoring and efficiency processes are set out, along with the significant future issues identified which may impact on the Service;

 

e)  the External Audit opinion was received by the Finance and Resources Committee at its meeting in June, for which the external auditors’ opinion concluded substantial assurance with regard to the Governance arrangements which are considered well developed, evolving and fit for purpose, including standards, policies, strategies, planned and reviewed budget.

 

Members of the Authority commented that with so much changing so rapidly, even since the beginning of the year, it is important to closely monitor and respond where necessary where there may be impacts on the Service.

 

Resolved to approve the Annual Governance Statement 2021/22.

 

17.

Annual Statement of Assurance 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Candida Brudenell, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, presented the Annual Statement of Assurance 2021/22, seeking approval from the Authority to publish the statement which sets out how the Service has performed against the year three strategic actions of the Integrated Risk Management Plan (strategic plan), including specific information relating to the past year.

 

The following points were highlighted:

 

a)  the Service has launched a new public website which is even easier to use and more accessible;

 

b)  the key achievements of the past year are listed as either holding steady or improving and productivity has returned to pre-Covid levels;

 

c)  recognition of the Service included:

 

i.  National Fire Chiefs Council acknowledging the work of the Service during Covid to support communities and the East Midlands Ambulance Service;

 

ii.  OFSTED stating that the Service had made significant progress in meeting the requirements to provide the accessible firefighter partnership programme;

 

iii.  the Service has been awarded a gold standard and placed amongst the top 100 employers list within the UK with regard to inclusion in the workplace LGBT+;

 

d)  a summary of the range of key achievements against the Strategic Plan 2019 to 2022 are listed in the report and presented as an easy access infographic within the Statement document;

 

e)  citizens should feel assured that the Service is performing well and operating with transparency and accountability.

 

Members’ questions were responded to as follows:

 

g)  the height of the pandemic did impact on Service activity as the Service responded to additional social priorities whilst the demand for normal response reduced, but the Community Safety Committee will consider the comparative information with previous year’s activity;

 

h)  itis an ongoing challenge to make citizens understand that the Service is no longer just a fire brigade but undertakes much broader roles, including prevention work and its cost effectiveness, which is evidenced by the work of the National Fire Chiefs Council and Nottingham Trent University with regard to the value for money of preventative investment;

 

i)  with regard to collaboration, to improve community outcomes the Service has been working with Nottingham Trent University on several strands of work including the  examination of how effectively the Service is targeting and conducting safe and well visits. The results were reported to Community Safety Committee and stated that the Service is correctly targeting the CHARLIE profile of vulnerable citizens. This approach and nationally valuable work was noted by HMICFRS;

 

j)  with regard to the Cadet Scheme, discussions around finance are ongoing. An update will be available at the September member’s seminar.

 

Members’ comments included:

 

k)  the style of the easy-to-read and understandable document is welcomed as being accessible to more citizens, regardless of the language they speak;

 

l)  there’s a lot for the Service to feel proud about and this needs to be more readily shared with our communities;

 

m)  there needs to be consistency of reporting figures in each format presentation, even if the complete information is included elsewhere in the document;

 

n)  we need to promote the broad  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

Closure of the 'Areas for Improvement' from the 2019 HMICFRS Inspection pdf icon PDF 296 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer

Minutes:

Candida Brudenell, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, presented the report which updates Authority members on the progress to address all Areas For Improvement (AFI) identified by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate Of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspection in 2019.

 

All 24 AFI have now been addressed and formal closure is now requested.

 

The Chair, Councillor Michael Payne, and Councillor Jonathan Wheeler, the Lead Spokesperson for the Opposition, welcomed the closure and congratulated everyone for their work in achieving completion of all AFI, including members who had participated in scrutiny at a level which needs to be maintained.

 

Resolved to approve the closure of the Areas for Improvement from the 2019 HMICFRS inspection.

 

19.

Statement of Pay Policy pdf icon PDF 351 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer

Minutes:

Craig Parkin, Chief Fire Officer, presented the report which is required to be published each financial year.

 

The following points were highlighted and questions from members responded to:

 

a)  the main changes since the last Statement of Pay Policy are identified in the report and summarised as follows:

 

i.  a gender pay difference in median pay of 8.2%;

ii.  mean average pay is £35,199 per annum;

iii.  confirmation of the national pay awards;

iv.  a national increase in Chief Officer Pay;

v.  the cost of the corporate health care scheme membership;

vi.  no compulsory redundancy compensation payments made in 2021/22;

vii.  two settlement payments made in 2021/22;

viii.  no early pension payments were made as a result of compulsory redundancy;

 

b)  the Service is committed to paying the living wage, and has been since 2016;

 

c)  with regard to gender and pay, most of the Service’s appliances are on-call and not whole-time, this does tend to influence the range of applicants so the Service is aware that further positive work is required to broaden appeal;

 

d)  it is appreciated that gender pay figures are impacted by the lack of female middle managers at the level of Station to  Area Manager, but an initiative led by the National Fire Chiefs Council of Direct Entry is being trialled. This Service isn’t currently taking part but will consider doing so in the future;

 

e)  race representation is considered with regard to pay and the Ethnic Minority Alliance and BAME Advisory Group can provide guidance on engaging with and responding to BAME communities;

 

f)  information which does not compromise the confidentiality of settlement payments is reported in the budget and can be shared with members;

 

Members’ comments included:

 

g)  the detail of this report is welcomed;

 

h)  it needs to be emphasised that active firefighter roles attract a higher level of pay than the stated median pay level;

 

i)  the gender pay gap for the average and mean pay are respectively 8.2% and 15% which remains too high; 

 

j)  the gender pay gap is big but members need more information on the gender representation for the lower wage bracket roles to gain a better understanding;

 

Resolved to approve the Statement of Pay Policy at Appendix A to the report.

 

20.

Constitutional Update pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Report of the Clerk and Monitoring Officer to the Authority

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Malcolm Townroe, Clerk and Monitoring Officer to the Authority presented the report which provides an update on:

 

i.  the ongoing work of the Independent Remuneration Panel, with further information to be submitted to the September 2022 meeting of the Authority;

 

ii.  proposed amendments to the overarching governance arrangements to ensure the constitution remains relevant and up to date. The approved document will be published on the Service’s website.

 

a)  Accompanying the covering report are two versions of the scheme of delegation, one of which includes the proposed amendments to update the scheme of delegation track changed.

 

b)  The amendments proposed are:

 

i.  Scheme of Delegation 1(d) The Chief Fire Officer shall be empowered, in consultation with the Chair of the Authority, to appoint, establish and disestablishand manage allstaff positionswithin agreed budgetsEstablishing Scheme approved by the Fire & Rescue Authority and in accordance with Personnel regulations, but shall not appoint staff at the level of Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, or to act in the statutory roles of Treasurer or Monitoring Officer without the approval of the Fire & Rescue Authority;

 

ii.  Scheme of Delegation Section 2(i) (Inclusion of powers relating to the newly revised Building Safety Act 2022).

 

iii.  Scheme of Delegation Section 2(iv) Ex-Gratia Payments. The Chief Fire Officer may determine claims for ex-gratia payments, etc up to £1000 (previously £250) in respect of incidents affecting both employees and volunteers whilst they are carrying out duties at the request of the Fire & Rescue Authority and where damage is caused to their personal belongings;

 

iv.  Scheme of Delegation Section 2(vii) Conversion of Posts. The Chief Fire Officer has delegated authority in consultation with the Chair of the Authority to approve the conversion of uniformedposts to non-uniformed posts;

 

v.  Scheme of Delegation Section 2(viii) Claims against the Authority. The Chief Fire Officer has delegated authority to settle:

Any claim against the Authority up to a maximum level of £25,000 (previously £15,000);

Any claim against the Authority in excess of £25,000 (previously £15,000); following consultation with the Chair, Vice Chair and Opposition Spokesperson(s).

 

c)  Craig Parkin, Chief Fire Officer, explained that this is part of the process to enable more operational flexibility whilst maintaining accountability and preventing delays. Fire Authority members will maintain scrutiny and delegations will be reported to the relevant committee. Within the pay budget the revised delegation will support the CFO in responding flexibly to the needs of the Service in a timely manner, whilst maintaining member involvement;

 

d)  Becky Smeathers, Head of Finance and Treasurer to the Authority, assured members that with regard to Pensions, where powers are not set by the Firefighter’s Pension Scheme, there are some local powers of delegation which have been approved by the Authority. However, where previously some blanket delegations were in place, the LGA has now advised that issues should be dealt with on an individual basis. Revision to the delegations will better enable this so it is intended to submit a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Committee Outcomes pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer

Minutes:

The report provides the minutes of the following meetings:

 

Community Safety Committee 01 April 2022; 17 June 2022

Finance and Resources Committee 22 April 2022; 24 June 2022

Human Resources Committee 29 April 2022; 01 July 2022

Policy and Strategy Committee 13 May 2022; 24 June 2022

 

Resolved to note the report.