Follow-up inspection of GFRS recognises improvement
A letter detailing the outcome of a reinspection of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) by government inspectors has been published today (19 March).
Inspectors from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) made their second revisit between 22 and 26 February 2021, following a previous visit in November 2019.
The letter highlights that positive progress and improvements have been made by the service as a result of new policies and action plans to address areas of concern.
Their first inspection in the week of 3 June 2019 identified improvements needed in the areas of ‘fire protection’ and ‘values’.
The letter published today said that progress had continued with protection and that a new protection policy had been put in place in May 2020.
It said that the number of protection staff had increased from three to 11 since its last revisit and the service had set a target of inspecting 852 high-risk buildings per year.
“While more work is needed to bring the service’s protection work up to standard, there has been encouraging progress since our last revisit in 2019,” the letter said.
The letter said there had been some achievements in addressing the service’s culture and values, such as creating a workforce planning board and including a BAME representative from Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and a female member of staff on recent promotion panels.
It added that the service had adopted GCC’s values and had relaunched its equality, diversity and inclusion staff group. The letter acknowledged that progress had been made but that more work was needed.
Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer, said: “I’m pleased this report recognises the progress the service has made while we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are establishing solid foundations and have just presented our draft three-year improvement strategy and plan to the corporate leadership team.
“We look forward to sharing this with staff to make clear our work programme and commitment to maintaining this positive direction of travel. We welcome and thank HMICFRS for their objective view and look forward to strengthening our improvement journey even more with their feedback.”
Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service has made significant steps forward since the first inspection in June 2019 so I’m pleased this report has highlighted the progress that has been made. We understand that more work is needed and I have every confidence that continued improvements will be made.”
The letter from HMICFRS can be viewed in full on their website here.