Agenda and minutes

Nottinghamshire & City of Nottingham Fire & Rescue Authority
Friday, 23rd September, 2022 12.00 pm

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

Contact: Cath Ziane-Pryor  Governance Officer

No. Item


The passing of Queen Elizabeth II and Councillor Eddie Cubley


On behalf of the Fire Authority and Fire Service, the Chair extended condolences to King Charles III on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, who had a very close relationship with the armed and emergency services. Her Majesty carried out her constitutional duties with continuity until the end, even though she was unwell. She will be greatly missed, particularly for her considered compassion. God save the King. The Chair and Chief Fire Officer have both written to the King with and condolences and respect to the wider royal family.


The Chair also extended condolences to the Conservative group with regard to the untimely passing of Councillor Eddie Cubley, who was an outstanding elected member and first class and valued member of the Authority. Although quiet, was self-assured, diligent and gentle, his questions were searching and poignant. He will be missed. On behalf of the Authority and Service, our heartfelt sympathy is extended to Eddie’s family, friends and colleagues.


Members of the opposition parties echoed the Chair’s sentiment and also expressed their condolences on the passing of the Queen and fellow Fire Authority member Councillor Eddie Cubley.


All in attendance observed one minutes standing silence.



Changes to Membership


It is noted that the following changes to appointments to the Fire Authority have been made by Nottingham City Council:


o  Councillor David Trimble is replaced by Councillor Toby Neal

o  Councillor Gul Khan is replaced by Councillor Jay Hayes

o  Councillor Nicola Heaton is replaced by Councillor Angela Kandola



Apologies for Absence




Declarations of Interest




Minutes pdf icon PDF 338 KB

Of the meeting held on 22 July 2022 (for confirmation)


The minutes of the meeting held on 22 July 2022 were confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.



Chair's Announcements


a)  With regard to the hot weather and resulting additional demands and pressures on the Service, on behalf of the Fire Authority, the Chair thanked firefighters and all those who support them for their huge efforts. Community feedback regarding the major incident at Ranskill, which required resources for over 35 days, has been very positive;


b)  The CFO and Chair have been meeting with local Members of Parliament and Chief Executives of local councils and providing an opportunity to discuss the great work of the Service, but more importantly the growing financial pressures and highlighted budget deficits in coming years, some of which are reflected later in the agenda. Conversations have been about the policies and politics around the growing pressures on the Service, particularly budgetary deficits in coming years. All have understood the position of the Service and the need for them to collectively make representations to Central Government about the investment required to continue delivering a first-class emergency service, which saves lives;


c)  On 7th October a seminar is planned with Members and MPs, so members are requested to take the time to attend and engage. Police and Crime Commissioner Henry will be attending if able, and joint letters are being drafted to the Home Office and Fire Minster outlining the financial challenges for the Authority. The Chair expressed gratitude for the cross-party support which greatly strengthens the case being put forward.


d)  This year’s Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday 24 November 2022, at the Albert Hall, Nottingham, with arrival from 18:00 for a 19:00 start. All members of the Authority are welcome to attend the event and be part of the celebrations, further details of which will be circulated shortly;


e)  The Emergency Services Carol Service will take place at Southwell Minster on the evening of Tuesday 13 December 2022. Fire Authority members are welcome to attend and should contact the Executive Assistant to the Chief Fire Officer to book attendance.


Members of the Authority supported the Chair’s expression of appreciation for the exemplary work of firefighters during the exceptionally hot and dry summer and the excellent and valuable standard of communication on incidents with local elected members.



Futures 2025: Efficiency Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 342 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Prior to consideration of the item, Stephen Tucker, representing the Fire Brigades Union, posed the following question with regard to paragraph 1.5 of the report:


a)  The Service is currently proposing to remove 1 appliance from London Road, 1 appliance from Stockhill and to the night-time cover from West Bridgford, all to meet budgetary requirements. The posts that this Service wish to remove are already vacant due to a lack of recruitment by management, because of this, there are minimal financial savings to be made by removing these posts before the end of the financial year.


b)  Given that we have already faced a 10% reduction in posts which is well above the 1.6% average and that we have one of the lowest financial costs per head across the country, we have already felt the devastating effects of the cuts that have already been imposed on this service, which is why the FBU applaud and support the proposal to revert Ashfield Fire Station to wholetime with adequate fire cover.


c)  However, we do not, cannot, and will not accept that the same flawed and failed model should be implemented at another station, one which does not even have the resilience of an on-call appliance to even attempt to maintain a level of fire cover between 19:00-08:00.


d)  Will the Authority agree to postpone all recommendations currently proposed until after the financial budgets have been officially announced by the government?


The Chair responded:


e)  The difficult choices that the Authority is considering from this report and the backdrop of many years of resource reductions is unwelcomed by all those involved. The proposals recommended are for implementation from April 2023 onwards and have been preceded by in year temporary savings in 2022/23 including the management of staff numbers.


f)  The move of resources to Ashfield takes a Service wide view of risk and a least worst option approach, meaning these resources are required to be taken from other, existing locations and still balance the budget.


g)  Government grant only equates to approx. £7.5million and to delay decisions will build up a larger financial issue to address within a shorter time period. It should be reiterated that this decision seeks to go out to public consultation, pending any financial settlements being announced.


h)  To delay would mean the consultation work would not be completed prior to the requirement to put forward a balanced budget proposal at the February 2023 Fire Authority meeting.


Mark Stilwell, representing the Fire Brigades Union, posed the following question with regard to paragraph 2.28 and table 1 of the report:


i)  The FBU believe that this report is incomplete, misleading and does not show the full impact on the proposed cuts.


j)  In recent times this service has faced spate conditions, it has relied on our members being recalled to duty, sacrificing their rest days to crew appliances and keep fire cover a safe level. How is it that this Authority can agree to further endanger the lives  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.


Annual Report of Information Governance 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Michael Sharman, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, presented the report which informs the Authority of the Information Governance activity during the year 2021/22.


It was noted that:


a)  104 Freedom of Information (FoI) requests had been received in the period, compared to 108 in the previous year, and that 85% were dealt with within the required 20 working days. This is below the 90% target but was considered acceptable in the circumstances of pandemic, so improvement is expected for future years;


b)  no Environmental Information Requests were received;


c)  no data protection incidents were reported whereby there was a breach of security;


d)  no Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 were required to be used during this period.


Resolved to note the report.




Environment and Sustainability Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Michael Sharman, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, introduced the report which presents the recently reviewed Environmental and Sustainability Policy Statement.


Resolved to endorse the Policy Statement to reaffirm the Authority’s commitment to matters relating to environment and sustainability.



Health and Safety Policy Statement of Intent pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Michael Sharman, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, introduced the report which presents the recently reviewed Health and Safety Policy Statement of Intent.


Resolved to endorse the Health and Safety Policy Statement of Intent and reaffirm the Authority’s commitment to effective Health and Safety risk management for employees and others who are affected by the Service’s activities.


Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services Inspection Report pdf icon PDF 323 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Craig Parkin, Chief Fire Officer, and Mick Sharman, Assistant Chief Fire Officer presented the report which formally informs the Authority of the results of the 2021 Inspection by her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services and highlighted the following points:


a)  As a result of the 2018 inspection the Service was rated as ‘requiring improvement’ and 24 areas for improvement were identified. Since then, the service has worked hard to address the areas for concern and for the latest inspection has achieved a ‘good’ rating;



b)  From the latest inspection only 4 areas for improvement, which is the lowest received by any Service, and have been identified as:


o  The Service should assure itself that its risk-based inspection programme prioritises the highest risks and includes proportionate activity to reduce risk


o  The Service should ensure that, when responding to a 999 call, mobile data terminals are reliable to allow staff to access risk information


o  The Service should make sure it effectively monitors, reviews and evaluates the benefits and outcomes of any collaboration activity


o  The Service should assure itself that staff understand how to get wellbeing support.


Work is already underway to address these points.


The Chair and members of the Authority welcomed the improved grading and thanked everyone involved in working to address the areas for improvement, particularly under the current pressures and requested that staff be formally thanked and the rating widely promoted.


Resolved to


1)  note the outcome of the HMICFRS inspection and the progress made by the Service;


2)  acknowledge the four areas for improvement highlighted by HMICFRS and approve governance and scrutiny through the Fire Authority Committee structures.




Treasury Management Annual Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 292 KB

Report of the Treasurer


Becky Smeathers, Treasurer and Head of Finance, presented the report which provides details of the treasury management activity during 2022/22 as is required by the Local Government Act 2003, and highlighted the following points:



a)  page 42 of the report includes a table which shows that financial activity has been within the Prudential Indicators previously set by the Authority;


b)  estimated total Capital Expenditure to be incurred in 2021/22 was approved as £5.8m but slightly more was spent due to slippage from the previous year;


c)  investment yield benchmark was slightly below the 3 month LIBID rate but this is due to the Service’s cash deposits being placed with smaller but secure institutions.


Responses to Authority members’ questions included:


d)  with regard to reserves:


i.  the Service holds approximately £10m reserves which equates to 20% of the gross annual Budget;


ii.  CIPFA don’t recommend a % and it is a decision for the Authority to gauge and balance risk. This is assessed in the reserve strategy within the Treasury Management Strategy and reserves are set as £4.5m, plus earmarked reserves, some of which relate to grants received and on-going project work which runs across the year end, such as the Emergency Services Network, the mobilising system and equipment. There is a table of earmarked reserves in the Futures 2025 report;


iii.  £936k of reserves has been set aside for budget support in future years (but will be needed and used in the next financial year) with further needed in future years;


iv.  £900k has been allocated to implement ‘Futures 2025’ including consultation, investigating further options and any necessary redundancy payments;


v.  £900k surplus is in the General Fund Reserve, which is currently being protected to provide limited protection beyond future years beyond the next the stability but this will be reviewed when the Authority considers the strategy and reserves in February. To reallocate any earmarked reserves would impact on the ability to deliver  the mobilising systems;


vi.  it is noted that whilst there is £5.4m in general reserves, the Authority stance currently is committed to maintain just over £4.5m and the Authority is having to allocate nearly £1m to support Futures 2025.


Resolved to note the update on treasury management activity during the 2021/22 financial year as required under the Local Government Act 2003.



Principal Officer Establishment pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Craig Parkin, Chief Fire Officer, presented the report which seeks approval to amend the Principal Officer establishment and convene the Appointments Committee to recruit and appoint an Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.


a)  a temporary structure was implemented at the time of the CFO appointment, in that the Chief’s previous role of Deputy Chief Fire Officer was not filled but that an additional Assistant Chief Fire officer was temporarily appointed;


b)  having thoroughly assessed the current situation, at the moment the Chief considered it appropriate for the Chief Officer Team to continue to consist of 3 officers at the current levels, and delete the Deputy post;


c)  clarity will be sought for the process putting one of the Assistant Officers in charge if the Chief were unavailable for any reason. This will be considered by the Clerk and Monitoring Officer and proposals to amend the constitution if agreed by the Authority.


d)  if agreed today, it is anticipated that the appointment of Assistant Chief Fire Officer will be reported to the February Fire Authority meeting.


Resolved to:


1)  agree to the deletion of the Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) post and creation of a substantive ACFO post;


2)  task the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) with supporting the Authority in the recruitment of an Assistant Chief Fire Officer.