Agenda and draft minutes

Nottinghamshire & City of Nottingham Fire & Rescue Authority - Policy & Strategy
Friday, 12th July, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Fire and Rescue Services HQ, Bestwood Lodge, Arnold Nottingham NG5 8PD

Contact: Cath Ziane-Pryor  Email: catherine.pryor@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

None.

2.

Declarations of Interests

Minutes:

None.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 190 KB

Of the meeting held on 1 February 2019 (for confirmation).

Minutes:

The Committee confirmed the minutes of the meeting held on 1 February 2019 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair.

4.

Shaping Our Future 'Organisational Health' Update 2019 pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer

Minutes:

John Buckley, Chief Fire Officer, introduced Matt Sismey, Organisational Development and Inclusion Manager, who presented the report which provides details on a range of workforce areas including:

 

·  Leadership and Development, including the popular aspiring managers programme, 360º feedback, and mentoring;

 

·  Diversity in the workforce, noting that of the 37 new apprentice firefighters, 13 are female and 8 are Black /Asian/ Minority Ethnic (BAME);

 

·  LGBT Equality and Stonewall;

 

·  British Sign Language Charter;

 

·  Employee engagement, including a staff survey, spring conferences, internal communication and collaboration.

 

Members’ questions were responded to as follows:

 

(a)  with regard to Stonewall, the work of NFRS is recognised as very progressive and positive but the size of the Service and the numbers of openly LBGT employees, does not feasibly justify providing all the facilities, such as an LBGT network, on which Stonewall grade organisations for listing within the top 100 best supporting organisations. However, LBGT network support is available through the Trade Unions, which overall historically appears to be the preferred option for the majority of openly LBGT employees. It is agreed that the broader Stonewall issues of proactive reform need to be addressed in preference to chasing recognition with facilities, which will not be utilised. NFRS has not withdrawn from Stonewall but ranks at 99/100;

 

(b)  in response to members’ concerns that it may appear that the Service is dis-engaging with Stonewall, it is suggested that the Strategic Inclusion Board is tasked with considering the broader implications and reviewing the current provision to propose recommendations as to how the Service could best proceed.

 

Members made the following comments:

 

(c)  Councillor Andrew Brown informed the Committee that he had attended one of the Spring Employee Conferences, found it very interesting and valuable and suggested that all members of the Authority are encouraged to attend at least one conference. Employees had welcomed and were appreciative of his attendance and involvement;

 

(d)  the City Council purposely opted out of Stonewall for a year to ensure that all identified issues could be suitably addressed, and then re-entered. The whole point of providing appropriate support does not and should not focus in on achieving a ranking. Where capacity may be lacking within NFRS, the City Council, or another local authority, may be able to offer support.

 

RESOLVED to:

 

(1)  note the progress made in the organisational development and inclusion agenda;

 

(2)  task the Strategic Inclusion Board with considering the broader LBGT reform implications and reviewing the current provision to propose recommendations as to how the Service could best proceed;

 

(3)  continue to receive the ‘organisational health’ overview annually.

5.

Local Firefighter Pension Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 672 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer

Minutes:

Becky Smeathers, Head of Finance, presented the report that updates the Committee on the activities of the Local Firefighter Pension Board and Scheme Manager up to 31 March 2019.

 

The following points were highlighted and responses provided to members questions:

 

(a)  an application had been made to the Secretary of State to establish an East Midlands Joint Pension Board consisting of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire Services. Although delayed, this will now progress in line with the drive for efficiency and collaboration;

 

(b)  in March 2019, revised employer superannuation rates were announced, which are significantly higher than previously, and will place an increased financial burden on the authority, in the region of £2.5 million, but it is anticipated that some of this cost will be offset by a one-off grant from central government;

 

(c)  as pensions is a highly complex topic, Board Member training sessions take place after every meeting, with a focus on at least one of the seven main pension areas. Externally provided training on pensions is also available;

 

(d)  members of the pension scheme are kept informed of activity and any issues identified;

 

(e)  internal audits of pension scheme governance and the pension scheme itself were undertaken in 2017 and both provided substantial assurance that correct procedures are in place.

6.

Collaboration Update pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Report of the Chief Fire Officer

Minutes:

John Buckley, Chief Fire Officer, presented the report that provides an overview of collaboration activity.

 

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

 

(a)  the Collaboration Delivery Board, consisting of officers, and Strategic Collaboration Board, consisting of councillors, both report to the Full Fire Authority;

 

(b)  planning permission has been submitted for the Joint Police and Fire Service Headquarters at Sherwood Lodge, with a decision expected during the autumn or 2019;

 

(c)  the LLP agreement is ongoing, as is the work on the tender document, but if approved, development could start next year with an anticipated 18 month build period, meaning that the service could move to Sherwood Lodge as early as 2021;

 

(d)  consideration of the potential of the current NFRS headquarters site is ongoing;

 

(e)  there are still sensitivities for some staff, but joint Fire and Police Workshops have been held and are proving successful in broadening understanding of each other and building relationships;

 

(f)  it is apparent that there are common themes within each service regarding managerial and leadership roles. Each service has the opportunity to learn from the other, both on current practices (the Police are particularly good at handling data), and also further developing processes and approaches, particularly in regard to improving performance for future HMICFRS inspections;

 

(g)  a Joint Police and Fire Service Cadets Program has been established with an eight week course taking place within the city, which is proposed to be rolled out to other areas;

 

(h)  the jointly branded Police and Fire Welfare unit is working well for major incidents covered by each or both services and has been particularly welcomed by Police colleagues;

 

(i)  a mutually beneficial collaboration agreement enabling the Police to access bunkered fuel from some NFRS premises is working well and is likely to reduce the cost of fuel for each service. Another potential collaboration may include Police access to jet washing facilities at fire stations;

 

(j)  the Fire Service now has access to deploy jointly commissioned drones (with professional Police controllers), which would otherwise require capital investment of between £40-50,000 plus ongoing maintenance and training costs;

 

(k)  the Joint Control Centre based in Derbyshire is working well and it is anticipated to arrange a visit for Fire Authority members following the Full Fire Authority meeting in September;

 

(l)  although having a small operational border, discussions are ongoing with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service with regard to a mutual collaborative approach to fire protection and fire investigation learning and support, including potential prosecution;

 

(m)Police colleagues are considering the feasibility of reconfiguring the West Bridgford Fire Station site to meet their requirements, and it is anticipated that the joint site will open in the autumn of 2019. A specific briefing by the Assistant Chief Fire Officer can be arranged for local members;

 

(n)  the additional opportunity suggested by members, of the Police and Fire Services jointly engaging with schools to improve road safety, is welcomed and will be further investigated.

 

With regard to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Exclusion of the Public

To consider excluding the public from the meeting during consideration of the remaining items in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the basis that, having regard to all the circumstances, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Minutes:

RESOLVED to exclude the public from the meeting during consideration of the remaining items in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the basis that, having regard to all the circumstances, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

8.

Exempt Minutes

Of the meeting held on 1 February 2019 (for confirmation).

Minutes:

The Committee confirmed the exempt minutes of the meeting held on 1 February 2019 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair.