Agenda item

His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services - Areas For Improvement Closure Report

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Leila Berry, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, presented the report updating Members on the progress of the four areas for improvement identified in His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services’ (HMICFRS) 2021/22 report for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, and highlighted the following points:


(a)  HMICFRS is the inspectorate body for fire service inspections in England. Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) was inspected during September 2021. On 27 July 2022, HMICFRS published its findings from the NFRS inspection. NFRS’s inspection report identified four ‘areas for improvement’ (AFI) for the Service. The AFI relating to understanding of well-being provision by staff was closed by the Policy and Strategy Committee at its meeting on 2 February 2024, and the purpose of today’s meeting is to close the remaining three open AFIs.


(b)  The three AFIs are as follows:

(i)  The Service should assure itself that its risk-based inspection programme (RBIP) prioritises the highest risks and included proportionate activity to reduce risk.

(ii)  The Service should ensure that when responding to a 999 call, mobile data terminals (MDT) are reliable to allow staff to access risk information.

(iii)  The Service should make sure it effectively monitors, reviews, and evaluates the benefits and outcomes of any collaboration activity.


(c)  The RBIP is used by the Service’s Fire Protection Department to ensure that fire safety inspections undertaken as part of the Service’s statutory duties under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order are targeted at the highest risk non-residential buildings.


(d)  Work has been ongoing throughout 2023 to rectify issues with technology and data systems which support the generation of the RBIP. This work has now been successfully completed and the improved RBIP has been in use by the Protection Team throughout Quarter 4 of 2023/24.


(e)  The Service is assured that the RBIP technology is now supporting the allocation of inspection resources to those premises of higher risk, and that internal monitoring and assurance processes are embedded into business as usual to monitor this going forward.


(f)  MDT are the technological solution which enables operational crews to access a variety of risk information during operational incidents. A primary MDT is available on all fire appliances, hosting risk information including mapping, operational guidance documents, premise information and plans and hydrant location data.


(g)  For additional resilience, the Service has implemented a ‘back-up’ secondary MDT for the Officer-in-Charge (OiC), or other crew members to access, as required. This takes the form of a handheld tablet which has the benefit of being demountable from the cab and can be carried on the incident ground.


(h)  Since the time of the previous inspection, both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Services have upgraded the primary MDTs in appliances as part of hardware and software upgrades from the mobilising system provider Systel.


(i)  The Service has been working closely with Systel to ensure that software issues associated with the original rollout of the MDT operating system have been resolved. The MDTs are now operating on Version 15 of the software and have seen significantly improved performance and stability as a result. Due to the safety critical role MDTs play for operational response colleagues, close monitoring of system stability and fault reporting remains in place to ensure any issues are identified and addressed as a priority.


(j)  In relation to the Services’ monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating of the benefits and outcomes of any collaboration activity being seen to be limited in scope and not used to learn or change decisions, the Service has resourced a Corporate Programme Office which has reviewed the Service’s evaluation framework and developed a two-fold evaluation strategy for future projects. This will ensure that formal evaluation and benefit realisation are included within the initial scope for all projects and programmes governed through the Programme Office with reporting through established internal governance structures.


(k)  In addition, the Service is continuing to work with Nottingham Trent University to review a range of projects and workstreams as part of an ongoing PhD student placement. This work will continue into 2024/25.


During the discussion that followed the following comments were made:


(l)  As the contract for the MDTs comes to an end, the risks will increase, so work needs to be done to ensure that the risks are mitigated.


(m)  The AFIs relate to statutory duties, so it is important to ensure that they are closed before entering into the next inspection.


Resolved to


(1)  Note the progress made by the Service in the areas for improvement identified by HMICFRS from the previous inspection.


(2)  Authorise the closure of the three outstanding areas for improvement


Supporting documents: