Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has released its inspection report for the Isles of Scilly Fire & Rescue Service. The report recognises Scilly’s service as being good at preventing and responding to fires and emergencies.
The inspection, which took place in July, assessed the service against 3 broad areas of competence:
- How effective they are in keeping people safe from fire and other risks;
- How efficient they are in keeping safe from fire and other risks; and
- How well they look after their people.
The service was then judged against each of these areas using the following gradings:
- Outstanding – exceeding expected standard
- Good – expected standard
- Requires improvement – shortcomings that must be improved
- Inadequate – serious critical failings
The inspection judged the Isles of Scilly Fire & Rescue Service as ‘Good’ for Effectiveness, ‘Good’ for Efficiency and ‘Requires Improvement’ for People.
None of the 14 fire services inspected so far were judged as Outstanding in any category with 10 services rated Good for Effectiveness (with 4 Requiring Improvement), 8 services rated Good for Efficiency (with 5 Requiring Improvement and 1 Inadequate) and 3 rated Good for People (with 10 Requiring Improvement and 1 rated Inadequate). Only 2 services had a rating of good for all 3 categories.
Specific to the Isles of Scilly, the findings have concluded that the fire and rescue service is effective at keeping people safe from fire and emergencies and understands the risks our community faces. It has also found that the service has a good understanding of the risks on the islands and is good at preventing and responding to fires and emergencies. The report recognises that we provide an efficient service by making good use of resources but concludes it should make its services more affordable - which is extremely challenging given our tiny population base spread across 5 separate islands.
The report acknowledges that we are continuing to improve the service, including the way we protect the public through fire regulation by delegating this function to Cornwall fire & Rescue Service who have the expertise and resources to undertake this specialist work.
A key area for improvement is how the authority looks after its firefighters, a shortcoming common to most of the fire services inspected so far. We’re working hard to ensure that the service makes substantial improvements in this area, including promoting a positive culture, skills, diversity and performance management. There is recognition from the HMICFRS that we are already improving in this area through a training programme targeted to the needs of Isles of Scilly firefighters and the risks they face.
Cllr Steve Sims, the Council’s Lead Member for Place, said: “I am delighted at the findings of the inspection that has found our fire service to be both effective and efficient and recognises the commitment, dedication and skills of our community focused firefighters of which we should all be very proud. We will continue to make improvements even in these financially challenging times and recognise that the cost of providing such good services is more expensive than anywhere else in the country and not necessarily reflected within the current financial settlement. The cost of firefighters on the mainland varies between £16 and £32 per head of population – our service costs around £200 per head of population reflecting our geographically isolated and tiny population spread across 5 islands that all need to be protected and kept safe.”
You can read the full HMICFRS report at: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/publications/frs-assessm...