Agenda item

Futures 25 Update

Report of the Chief Fire Officer


Leila Berry, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, presented the report providing an update to Members on the Futures 25 efficiency and improvement programme including planned activity for the financial year 2024/25, and highlighted the following points:


(a)  Futures 25 is the Service’s efficiency and improvement programme, and also aims to deliver service improvement workstreams including those relating to culture and equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) associated with the updated People Strategy.


(b)  Phase 1 of the Futures 25 programme commenced in May 2022 and

  encompassed activities designed to present a range of options for

  consideration by the Strategic Leadership Team and the Authority to   set a balanced budget for the financial year 2023/24.


(c)  The broad aims of Phase 2 of the Futures 25 programme are to deliver service improvement in the context of a challenging financial operating environment. The programme continues to identify opportunities for both pay and non-pay efficiencies, as well as supporting increased productivity through investment in systems and process improvements. The workstreams which form part of Phase 2 have been grouped under four key areas:

·  Governance Review

·  Revenue Budget Management

·  Service Redesign

·  Culture, EDI and Leadership.


(d)  Governance workstreams are designed to support the efficiency and effectiveness of meeting structures and decision making within the Service. Efficiencies achieved through a reduction in the number of strategic leadership posts means that money can be reinvested into functional delivery roles elsewhere in the organisation, enhancing skills and delivery capacity where it is most needed.


(e)  The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Local Government Association (LGA) have proposed that across fire and rescue services in England, the sector create 2% of non-pay efficiencies and to increase productivity by 3% in the spending review period 2021/22 – 2024/25.


(f)  Non-cashable savings continue to be identified. Investment in system and process improvement as part of Service redesign workstreams aims to continue to support benefits realisation in these areas.


(g)  The Service redesign workstreams form the most significant portion of the improvement programme. The overarching aim is to ensure that the Service has appropriate resources deployed in the correct place to support its ambition to be an outstanding fire and rescue service.


(h)  Work is continuing to improve the Community Fire Risk Management Information System database, which supports prevention and protection activities. Improvements, including the introduction of the NFCC Online Home Fire Safety Check Tool (Safelincs), supports members of the public to reduce risks in their home, and at the same time improves the efficiency of referrals for those at higher risk of fire to receive specialist safe and well services.


(i)  Work scheduled for the financial year 2024/25 includes a review of the business processes and mobile devices used by crews to complete safe and well checks with improvements aimed at enhancing the efficiency and quality of this high-volume process.


(j)  A review of the prevention function is underway, with an updated structure due to be implemented in the financial year 2024/25. The structure has been co-designed with the workforce to support ambitions to deliver an enhanced community engagement and specific youth engagement offer as well as responding to predicted increases in the numbers of vulnerable people at high and very high risk of fire in their homes through the identification of additional dedicated resources.


(k)  Key areas of focus for workforce redesign for the financial year 2024/25 are People and ICT functions as the Service responds to risks in these areas and continues to drive service improvements.


(l)  People are key to the successful delivery of outstanding service to communities. National reports, including the HMICFRS spotlight report on values and culture in fire and rescue services, and the London Fire Brigade independent culture review, have rightly focussed public attention and expectation on improving the culture, behaviour and leadership within fire and rescue services. Priority must be given to ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and that fire and rescue services are inclusive, both for employees and those the Service works with and delivers services to.


(m)  The Service has committed additional resources to this area, including specialist organisational development and leadership posts. In addition, firefighters are supporting positive action, workforce diversification and community engagement activities. These specialist posts will support the Service’s ambitions around cultural improvement through enhanced workforce engagement, team coaching and broadening leadership competencies at all levels. The posts will also provide additional capacity to support the ongoing embedding of the National Core Code of Ethics and service values across the workforce.


(n)  In December 2023, the Strategic Inclusion Board supported the concept of longer-term planning for workforce diversification, and a paper on the 10-year workforce diversity plan is due to be presented to Policy and Strategy Committee in May 2024. This aims to improve and co-ordinate positive action activities over the longer term with the aim of improving the pace of change of workforce diversity.


(o)  Strategic collaboration is one of the identified priorities of the Futures 25 programme. Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is a valued collaboration partner with several high profile collaborations already in place, most notably the Joint Fire Control and joint procurement of the new mobilising system.


During the discussion that followed the following comments were made:


(p)  The Futures 25 programme is aligned to the CRMP planning cycle, but it is recognised that it needs to be embedded as a business as usual activity going forward.


(q)  The timescales for the workstreams are contained within the detailed plans and can be circulated if required.


(r)  The Strategic Inclusion Board is currently looking at the workforce diversification plans and its report will be available ahead of the Policy and Strategy meeting in May. Once the plan is agreed there will be regular reports to the HR Committee.


(s)  The budget for the financial year 2024/25 forecasts a deficit of circa £255K with £200K of efficiency savings being built into the base budget. The forecasted deficit for the financial year 2025/26 increases to circa £1.9 million, which is a major concern, and a report needs to be provided on how it will be managed.


Resolved to


(1)  Note the current and future activities planned as part of the Futures 25 programme.


(2)  Endorse that work should commence to align CRMP and Fire Cover Review planning cycles of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire with the aim of fully aligning planning cycles and community risk analysis methodologies by 2028 to enhance shared understanding of risk for both Services and support the future identification of potential further opportunities for joint working.


(3)  Receive further updates on the Futures 25 programme.


Supporting documents: