HMICFRS revisit Letter of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue should be viewed with caution

26 April 2023

On 19 April 2023, the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner’s Office released a press release, quoting a letter from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, the press release was titled “Commissioner Zoë responds to positive revisit from His Majesty’s Inspector regarding North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service”

The letter followed a HMICFRS (His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) revisit to North Yorkshire and Rescue between 30 January 2023 and 1 February 2023.

  • In January, HMICFRS issued a report titled “State of Fire and Rescue: The Annual Assessment of Fire and Rescue Services in England 2022”. That report assessed North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue as effectiveness requires improvement, efficiency inadequate and people management as inadequate (report below) – that assessment has not changed, and has 6 recommendations for North Yorkshire.
  • In April 2023 a further HMICFRS report found bullying, harassment and discrimination in all fire services, including North Yorkshire. That report had 35 recommendations for North Yorkshire.

While the HMICFRS letter is positive, it is also cautious and realistic. It talks about welcoming plans being put in place, rather than a resolution of problems.

HMICFRS, in their letter said:

The action plan is comprehensive and the service has made good progress against it. However, at the time of our revisit it was too soon to see how effective the action plan will be in fully addressing the causes of concern and if the improvements are sustainable.

Additionally, it isn’t yet known if there will be any resistance to the Risk and Resource Model and how this might affect implementation of the plan and related efficiencies.

With HMICFRS reports in relation to the Police and Fire in North Yorkshire, the typical response that we are seeing is:

  • The HMICFRS is an old report, and actions have already been made, so there is nothing to see
  • Lack of engagement from North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue in wanting to engage at a meaningful level
  • A strategy from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners to act as a public relations function for the emergency services to dumb down the contents of the reports, but that can demonstrate a lack of either understanding of the reports or a lack of providing any meaningful accountability function from the commissioner.

It is questionable if the subject of the HMICFRS reports are being taken seriously, or if the problem to the PFCC, NYFRS and NYP is mainly they have had a critical report, meaning that there is more concern with a public face, rather than meaningful change.

For completeness, these are the current comments from the PFCC and Chief Fire Officer. While the quotes are strictly true, they don’t talk about the full picture, and due to that, could easily mislead the public.

Commenting on the positive update from His Majesty’s Inspector, Commissioner Zoë said:

I am very pleased that His Majesty’s Inspector has recognised the dedicated work that North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has undertaken, at pace, to make improvements in relation to the causes of concern.

I am committed and remain confident that our Fire and Rescue Service will become exemplary as it continues its journey to transform and modernise, with a robust action plan and commitment from the Chief Fire Officer.

To demonstrate how I will monitor further improvements, today I have published an assurance framework on my website which details the ways in which I hold the Chief Fire Officer to account for the delivery of fire and rescue services and progress made against the Inspectorate’s report.”


Chief Fire Officer Jonathan Dyson said:

In January I told the Service and the public; since being appointed as Chief Fire Officer I was, and remain, committed to delivering improvements. I’ve dedicated time, people and resources to do so, and it’s great that the commitment to drive forward change and improve our Service for our staff and communities has been recognised by HMICFRS.

We are striving to become an efficient and effective Service, including through our collaboration with enable.

We’ve made progress and will continue to do so. I appreciate the enormous effort from individual and teams supporting our Service improvement and thank them all for their continued support and commitment.





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