Agenda and minutes

Nottinghamshire & City of Nottingham Fire & Rescue Authority
Friday, 14th July, 2023 10.30 am

Venue: Dunkirk and Beeston Suites - Highfields Fire Station. View directions

Contact: Cath Ziane-Pryor  Governance Officer

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Police and crime Commissioner Caroline Henry

Jason Zadrozny (personal)



Declarations of Interest




Minutes pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Of the meeting held on 27 May 2023, for confirmation.


The minutes of the meeting held on 26 May 2023 were confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.



Chair's Announcements


With regard to the horrific incidents which took place on 13 July 2023 in the City, where 3 people were tragically killed, the thoughts of the Service and Authority go out to the families and friends of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley Kumar and Ian Coates.

Members are immensely proud and grateful of how the Service, along with the other emergency responders and the City Council, mobilised in circumstances of uncertain risk.


In addition, our thoughts also go out to the family and friends of Kyle Knowles who was stabbed and killed 26 June 2023 near Highbury Vale tram stop.


Thankfully these incidents are rare but if any Service staff feel the need for support as a result, they are urged to please access the wellbeing support available.


Councillor Nick Raine, on behalf of the City Council, echoed the thanks of the Authority to the Emergency Service responders. The subsequent coming together of the community at the ‘Nottingham Together’ vigil and hearing victim’s families speak with such dignity was extremely moving and powerful.


On 21 June 2023, Iain Hughes, a colleague serving with the West Midlands Fire Service, went missing whilst swimming the English Channel in aid of the Firefighter’s Charity, British Heart foundation and Midlands Air Ambulance. Despite the best efforts of Search and Rescue, he is yet to be found. Iain had aimed to raise £21,000 for the charities, the total at this time is in the region of £55,000 and donations can still be made via Iain Hughes’ Just Giving page. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues.


A minute’s silence was observed by all those present in honour of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley Kumar, Ian Coates, Kyle Knowles and Iain Hughes.


The Service is extremely proud to again be leading the Nottingham Pride parade with a fire engine. Colleagues will be present promoting fire safety and Service recruitment. This is a huge event for the LBGT+ community and everyone is encouraged to attend.


A Strategic Inclusion Board meeting will be held today at the rising of the Authority, and is open to all members to attend.



Revised Procurement Thresholds pdf icon PDF 298 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Becky Smeathers, Head of Finance and Treasurer to the Authority, presented the report which, as part of the revision of the Fire Authority’s Financial Regulations, seeks approval for revision of the Procurement Thresholds, to ensure they are appropriate and relevant. The thresholds were last reviewed in 2012.


The report sets out the proposed revised thresholds against the previously approved thresholds.


Members were assured that although individually set, the proposed thresholds were broadly in line with those of other Fire and Rescue Authorities, and compliant with general standard practice.


Resolved that the updated procurement thresholds are approved and are to be incorporated into the financial procedures of the financial regulations.



Treasury Management Annual Report 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 290 KB

Report of the Treasurer


Becky Smeathers, Head of Finance and Treasurer to the Authority, presented the report which provides an update on treasury management activity during the 2022/23 financial year. 


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


a)  The report outlines the definition of Treasury management, the requirements of the Authority with regard to financial regulations, and provides an update of activity against the agreed Treasury Management Strategy;


b)  Borrowing has been driven by the capital programme, of which, £2.2 million has been spent, mainly from a capital receipt;


c)  £6 million was borrowed at the end of 2122, prior to interest rate rises. There has been no need to increase borrowing during 2022/23, which was resulted in increased interest income;


d)  Paragraph 2.30 of the report includes a table of the approved indicators compared to those achieved, of which none were breached and all limits were adhered to;


e)  With regard to the phrasing in paragraph 2.3 intimating that increased inflation is contributed to by pay inflation, some members challenged that this is an incorrect political point. The economic review is provided by the external accountants, but the point is noted.


Resolved to note the update on treasury management activity during the 2022/23 financial year as required under the Local Government Act 2003.



Annual Governance Statement 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 627 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Becky Smeathers, Head of Finance and Treasurer to the Authority, presented the report which seeks the approval of the Annual Governance Statement covering the financial year, up to 31st of March 2023, as set out in the report.


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


a)  The Annual Governance Statement is usually presented alongside the statement of accounts, but due to the ongoing National delays in external audit, this has not been possible and so is presented in advance, with the unaudited accounts available to view on the Service’s Website, having been reviewed by the Finance and Resources Committee;


b)  The Authority is required by statute to approve an annual governance statement which sets out processes and procedures, which enable the Service to function efficiently;


c)  The three main areas of the statement focus on;


i.  Governance Framework;

ii.  Effectiveness Review;

iii.  Conclusion;


d)  Significant assurance has been provided by an Internal Audit review and the report ‘acknowledged that effective controls were in place regarding self-assessment, leadership, accountability, long term sustainability and value for money’.


Members welcomed the report and statement which confirms that the Authority is still in a good position when compared to some other Fire and Rescue Service Authorities, adding that members need to ensure that this does not change.


Resolved toapprove the Annual Statement of Assurance 2022-23 for publication.



Annual Statement of Assurance 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Leila Henry, Risk, Resilience and Assurance Manager, presented the Annual Statement of Assurance for 2022/23, which sets out how the Service had performed against the six strategic goals of the Community Risk Management Plan, while also providing assurance on financial, governance and operational management.


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


a)  The statement in its entirety is attached to the report and designed to provide citizens with assurance that the Service is functioning as proposed;


b)  Key highlights from the past 12 months are outlined in report and include:


i.  Positive external assurance reports, from both OFSTED for the fire fighter apprenticeship, and His Majesty’s Inspectorate for Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), both rating the Service as ‘good’;


ii.  The ongoing inclusion journey, supporting Pride and ensuring the deaf community has access to 999 calling;


iii.  Ongoing support and investment in staff and the Service, with the new Incident Command Training Facility, and the new fire station at Worksop;


c)  The report includes information which members may find useful in passing to citizens in the constituencies regarding the activities and achievements of the Fire Service, particularly during a challenging period;


d)  OFSTED inspected the Service for the first time following its registration as an employer provider. External scrutiny took place, the same as any other training provider. It is anticipated that the next Ofsted inspection will be more than two year’s away;


e)  Additional functions system have been provided to the community to improve access, all of which have been tested to ensure they are embedded and ready for use;


f)  Under representation is an continuing focus to be addressed by the Service with ongoing recruitment action, specifically targeting underrepresented groups;


g)  Smoke hoods, although not new, when not generally in use until following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, have been used to support the evacuation of multiple persons. Initially additional funding was made available by Central Government to assist with this purchase;


h)  With regard to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), the Service does have an integrated action plan which is currently under review. It’s acknowledged that the culture of the Service as a whole does have a long way to go with regard to representation, attitude and behaviour. The complete buy-in to the equalities agenda needs to be adopted by everyone, including elected members and all staff, including the challenging of inappropriate behaviour. There are mechanisms in place, including the Strategic Inclusion Board which members are welcome to attend and have the opportunity to directly engage with the EDI networks. There is also an inclusion Performance Group within the organisation. Any information can be shared with members on request.

Members of the Authority congratulated the Service for:

i.  the Worksop Fire Station which has excellent facilities;

ii.  the Service’s attendance over a long period at the Ranskill incident, for which a great deal of respect was expressed from the local community;

iii.  on achieving a good rating from the Ofsted inspection of the firefighter  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


Resourcing to Risk pdf icon PDF 230 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Craig Parkin, Chief Fire Officer, introduced the report which had been requested by members to support the Efficiencies Strategy (Futures25) and the resulting associated risks to the community from the £3.3 million deficit in funding at that time.


The deficit has since been massively reduced but there is still a focus on resourcing to risk for the current £1.2 funding deficit. There are very few feasible options to address the risk within the available budget, but these must be carefully considered.


Damien West, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, presented the report, which seeks to discharge the task allocated by members to address the resourcing to risk concerns, most significantly highlighted at the Ashfield Fire Station.


The following points were highlighted:


a)  the tree main elements considered are

i.  Resourcing to Risk;

ii.  CRMP commitments;

iii.  the available budget;


b)  the report is based on the risk evidence provided from the Independent Fire Cover Review and the current resourcing model, with the re-instating of 24 hour crewing;


c)  To achieve the 24 hour crewing model, an additional 12 additional posts will be required at a cost of £600,000 per year, which, with the budget deficit, is not viable, and so amendments must be made within the current establishment of 356 without impacting on the level of fire cover across the City and County;


d)  it is proposed that crewing models be amended to a ridership of 24 personnel for a single pump station, and 44 personnel at a double pump station, with a minimum crew of 4;


e)  65% of responses were crewed by 4 firefighters overall which rose to 85% at the height of the summer response demand;


f)  This will result in an increased crewing risk with the occurrence of sickness or other abstractions from ridership, but the Service does have mechanisms in place to support this, which would be more likely to impact on multiple appliance responses;


g)  Productive hours will be increased and the average attendance time for second appliances is likely to remain under 6 minutes;


h)  Current operational procedures will also be reviewed to ensure the safety of firefighters and our communities;


i)  4 operational posts will be released to other areas within the Service;


j)  Changes will take a project based approach led by ACFO West, with implementation by the end of November 2023, with regular monitoring and updates;


k)  Ongoing monitoring, including Quality Impact Assessments will be undertaken regarding attendance, training and resources, with monitoring of any impact on communities and the workforce;


l)  The additional cost of reinstating 24 hour cover at Ashfield is £36,310 per year, the responsibility for which has been delegated to the Chief Fire Officer, and can be managed from current crewing levels;


m)  The Authority does have a statutory duty to provide a balanced budget;


n)  Section 8 to the report sets out identified risks associate to the recommendation.


The Chair invited the formally submitted questions from representatives from the Fire Brigades Union:


FBU question: Resourcing to Risk  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Futures25 - Phase 2 update pdf icon PDF 273 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Leila Henry, Head of Risk Assurance and Operational Training, presented the report which provides an update on the progression to phase 2 of the Service’s efficiency and improvement programme, Futures25.


The following points were highlighted:


a)  Phase 1 focused on efficiency, but due to changes in budget deficit, thankfully not all proposals were required to be implemented;


b)  The programme is also a vehicle for delivering service improvement and redesign,  for which there is a specific budget allocation;


c)  The operating context of the Fire Service nationally is changing very quickly, so this needs to be taken into consideration, including the necessity to quickly and dynamically respond to new and emerging risks. In addition there is an increasing expectation for the sector to improve EDI values, culture and leadership within the Service, and so these National priorities need to be included within the program to ensure appropriate resourcing and speedy responses;


d)  National expectations from the Inspectorate and Home Office have included the requirement to provide efficiency and productivity plans, which include detailed financial and quality information on progress. The LGA have proposed that 2% of non-pay efficiencies, and 3% of productivity increases can be achieved within the futures 25 proposed implementation schedule into 2024/25;


e)  The report sets out the strategic aims and objectives for phase 2 of Futures 25, including four key work streams;


i.  Governance Review;

ii.  Revenue Budget Management;

iii.  Service Redesign;

iv.  Culture, EDI and Leadership.


f)  The governance review will consider the governance and meeting structures of the Service to ensure there is an appropriate amount of control and risk mitigation around decisions ensuring that risks are assured at the highest level and the responsibilities dissolved to the most appropriate level in the organisation. This will enable a rapid and dynamic response to national demands and ensure that community outcomes are as good as they can be;


g)  Revenue budget management includes the requirement to achieve 2% non-pay efficiencies, but to date, the Service has already identified £1.1 million worth of savings, which is in excess of the 2% required efficiency, although some savings can only be considered temporary to vacancies. Non-cashable savings will be monitored closely. Assurance is provided that to address the predicted budget deficit of the next financial year, every effort will be made to achieve non-pay efficiencies prior to consideration of any pay budget alterations;


h)  Service redesign is the most significant area of improvement work. It will identify where there are interfaces which can be streamlined to improve efficiency, including potential investment in IT systems;


i)  The workforce has been consulted throughout and it’s reassuring that areas identified for improvement by the workforce have also been identified through the program team. Several areas of improvement will start this year as part of the Annual Delivery Plan, potentially with Futures 25 enabling additional funding to be accessed to implement the changes;


j)  Any redesign activities taking place will be done in conjunction with the workforce to generate a ground-up approach  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services pdf icon PDF 253 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Damien West, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, presented the report which provides an overview of national reports issued by his Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), and provides an update on inspection preparation activities by this Service.


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


a)  Report covers two key areas, the first report of the new Chief Inspector Fire rescue and secondly the commencement of the third round of in sections by the inspector and the plans preparing for the inspection later this year;


b)  Stay to the fire report was published in January and reviews, inspections of the previous year;


c)  Three inspection areas covered are efficiency, people and effectiveness;


d)  Overall, the had been a decrease in efficiency with regard to:

i.  resource management and affordability across the sector,

ii.  with the range of issues including inadequate preplanning the collaborative arrangements;

iii.  lack of fully developed saving plans; 

iv.  staff shortages,

v.  issues with resource management;

vi.  challenges associated with funding and governance arrangements;


e)  It was stated that most Services could improve their productivity through using more effective performance management, such as utilising whole time firefighters more prevention activity, and the more efficient use of technology;


f)  National productivity targets have been developed to support the use of whole time firefighter capacity in prevention and protection tasks which linked to the local community risk management plan (CRMP);


g)  Effectiveness was examined within five the key areas, with most services lacking a link between the CRMP and daily operations, whilst responding well to incidents, but with capacity to improve some response standards;


h)  Fire fatalities have increased nationally, reflecting the need to raise fire prevention to a higher priority within prevention strategies. Fire protection improvements across the sector following the Grenfell Tower incident were acknowledged;


i)  The common challenges of recruiting staff, particularly to specialist roles, and diversifying work forces through recruitment and positive action was recognised;


j)  Some services were recognised for the risk critical training, and efforts to develop training in other skills, including leadership, management, equality, diversity and inclusion;


k)  Following the spotlight report on values and culture, an immediate sector wide response is swiftly required. This service submitted a report to its human resources committee, outlining the responsive approach;


l)  report sets out this Service’s inspection preparation program for the third round of inspections which are due to begin in January 2023;


m)  variations on previous inspection approaches are outlined in the report, along with how the Service is planning to respond;


n)  The inspectorate will undertake a full review with advance notice provided and a dedicated contact in HMICFR with a good 2-way relationship with allot of scrutiny with an open approach;


o)  Performance management should be considered in the broader sense of business management and not just the management of poor individual performance.


Members commented:


p)  Welcomes the preparedness of the Service for the inspection and the additional of an extra grade;


q)  There is concern  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Mobilisation System Update pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Mick Sharman, Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Strategic Collaboration for Nottinghamshire

and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Services, presented the report which provides an update on the progress to replace the current tri-service call handling and mobilisation system.


The following points were highlighted and responses provided to member’s questions;


a)  All Fire Services have a statutory duty to ensure they are operating an appropriate 999 call handing and response system;


b)  The current system requires replacement and is only being maintained by Systell, the provider, until October 2024, by which time a replacement system must be procured and implemented;


c)  Within the last few months, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue has given notice that it is withdrawing from the current tri-service arrangement when the contract concludes and will be working independently of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Services to procure its own new mobilising system;


d)  With just 2 partners taking part on the procurement, the risks are greater to each party, and so too the cost is predicted to be higher, particularly as existing suppliers are currently quoting prices which are significantly higher than the allocated budget. This is a serious concern;


e)  A dedicated working group is desegregating the current tri-service agreement, amending business continuity management arrangements, call fail-over processes and call management practices in busy periods, such as spate, and working to protect the interests of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire’s Services;


f)  With 2 rather than 3 partners, the required system is less complicated, particularly as operation will be from only one control room;


g)  Procurement of a new system with additional features including mobile data terminals, which are crucial for communication and mapping safety, and improved security connectivity is being undertaken in lots;


h)  Tenders were published in May 2023 and it is anticipated that the successful suppliers being announced in September/October 2023, but with high demand and few capable suppliers, alongside the withdrawal of Leicestershire, the end costs are uncertain, although £2 million has been budgeted as an earmarked reserve by Nottinghamshire, it is now anticipated that the final cost will be far in excess of this estimated figure;


i)  There is potential to enter into new partnership agreements with other Fire and Rescue Services, but none have been identified as of yet;


j)  The Joint control Centre receives 47,000 calls per year and supports incidents, not just in dispatching assistance, but is a vital resource for the Service to respond effectively;


k)  The level of funding required will depend on the type of system. Some systems will be self-hosted and so require capital outlay, whilst some of the Cloud-based systems will be revenue costs based;


l)  Legal advice is ongoing regarding the procurement, liabilities and contingency planning if it is not be possible to secure a new system prior to the 2024 contract end with Systelle, including the potential to further extend the existing provision temporarily;


m)  Under current tri-service arrangements, cross-county boarder communications and response are seamless. Following the contract end in October 2024, Fire and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


Committee Outcomes

Report of the Chief Fire Officer

Additional documents:


Resolved to note the minutes of the following meetings, provided for information:


Community Safety Committee 24 March 2023; 09 June 2023

Human Resources Committee 31 March 2023; 16 June 2023

Finance and Resources Committee 21 April 2023; 23 June 2023

Policy and Strategy Committee 28 April 2023