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BFRS HMICFRS 2023 report is now available.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has today (19 October 2023) published their report from their inspection, which took place during Spring 2023.

Blue crown logo with initials HMICFRS underneath.

Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s 2023 HMICFRS report  has now been published. In May and June this year (2023), His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) carried out their inspection of our Service.

HMICFRS use inspection findings, analysis, and their professional judgement to assess how effective and efficient FRSs are at fire safety, firefighting, and responding to road traffic collisions and other emergencies. They also assess how well the Service looks after its people.

HMICFRS have changed the grading structure for the latest round of inspections. The three categories of Effectiveness, Efficiency and People remain but are no longer individually graded. However, the 11 sub sections remain the same and are graded individually.

In the 11 areas under review, we have been graded Adequate in one area, Requires Improvement in 9 areas and Inadequate in the one remaining area.

Chairman, Cllr Simon Rouse has shared his thoughts on the report.

“This report is difficult but important reading for all of us who value the vital role that our Fire and Rescue Service plays in keeping communities safe across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. Despite many positives, the Service has not made enough progress since the last HMICFRS report. The Authority will be seeking clear plans and focused action to which we can hold the Service to account in urgently addressing the areas highlighted.

Over the last year the Authority supported leaders to strengthen the financial position of the Service and increase operational headcount, which is now at its highest level since 2013. With finances now strengthened and operational resources increased, a sound platform to now accelerate transformation of the Service is there to deliver the improvements needed.

The HMICFRS report specifically highlights that staff within Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service want things to change too. That is an important message we have heard as a Fire Authority. We know that the will and determination to learn from this report is shared across the Fire Authority and colleagues in the Service. The Service has our full support to do what is needed to deliver the change and improvements our communities in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes deserve.”

HM Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services Roy Wilsher said:

“The service has made some improvements since our 2021 inspection, but we were disappointed to see that it hasn’t made enough progress in more areas.”…….“We recognise that it has faced challenges over recent years, including the capacity to change, although there is a clear commitment from staff in the service to improve. “

The report also mentions how the Service:

  • Does attend incidents within reasonable time frame.
  • Works well with others to prevent fires and other incidents.
  • Is prepared to respond to major and multi-agency incidents.
  • Is able to adapt to new legislation.
  • Is good at responding to safeguarding concerns.
  • Has a positive health and safety culture.
  • Carries out robust background check on its current and future staff.
  • Staff are confident in tackling bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

On initial response to the report the Interim Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Mick Osborne has said,

“We accept the feedback provided by this HMICFRS inspection report and acknowledge the areas of concern highlighted. I assure you we are already actively taking measures to address the areas where the Service needs to urgently improve, particularly in Fire Protection.

The inspection report recognises how the Service has significantly improved its financial stability and taken steps to improve its prevention delivery. We take pride in our response times to emergencies, along with being well prepared to respond to major incidents. It is important to us that we provide excellent support and wellbeing provisions to our people and that we are effective at safeguarding vulnerable people in the community,

However, we do not underestimate the challenges we face and are working closely with the Fire Authority and HMICFRS to make the changes and improvements required. We remain committed to continual and sustained improvement and will invest and focus in the areas that enhance the service we provide to the public in the long term.”

The full report will be presented to the Fire Authority next week, with a supporting action plan to follow.

The Senior Management Team and the Authority would like to thank everyone who took part in the latest inspection, and to everyone at BFRS who has worked so hard to continue to keep our communities safe at home, at work and on the road.

For Reference:

This latest inspection represents the third round of service inspections undertaken by HMICFRS since it assumed responsibility for inspecting fire and rescue services in 2017.  Prior to this, the last visit to the Service was in 2021.

HMICFRS has moved from a four-point grading scale (Outstanding; Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate) to a new five-point grading scale with the introduction of ‘Adequate’ between Good and Requires Improvement. However, these changes mean it isn’t possible to make direct comparisons between grades awarded in this round of fire and rescue service inspections with those from previous years.

A reduction in grade, particularly from good to adequate, doesn’t necessarily mean there has been a reduction in performance, unless it is stated in the report.

Source: https://hmicfrs.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/


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