His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has now removed the cause for concern notice against North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (NYFRS).
The inspectorate visited the fire service in May 2022, and in December of that year issued two causes of concern.
The two Causes of Concern were:
- The service doesn’t have in place robust processes to ensure transformation activities provide efficiency and effectiveness.
- The service doesn’t have in place adequate workforce planning processes. This means that areas such as safety-critical training, succession planning, absence and work-time management don’t support its current and future integrated risk management plan.
In April 2023 the HMICFRS wrote to NYFRS and acknowledged that there was work in place. Following a revisit in September 2023, the inspector has now released their findings and said “We recognise the considerable work carried out to support these improvements. As a
result, we now consider both causes of concern to be resolved.”
Jonathan Dyson was appointed Chief Fire Officer in July 2022.
The Chief Fire Officer and his new leadership team have made significant progress to ensure that appropriate governance arrangements are in place around enabling services, alongside improving data to support improvements in workforce planning processes. The risk and resource model is being delivered, creating efficiencies to benefit the Service and public.
Jonathan Dyson said:
The transformation mentioned by the HMICFRS in the cause of concern refers to the entire business plan for the Service, including fire standards, and all the internal improvements that we are making, including risk and resource management.
Under the Fire and Rescue National Framework for England fire services are required to produce an Integrated Risk Management Plan (now known as a Community Risk Management Plan), looking at the risks within their area. Fire services are risk-based and need to provide resources (across response, prevention and protection) to manage that risk. That risk information allows us to understand how many fire stations and firefighters we need, what training they need, and the equipment that they need.
Under the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner governance model, there is an additional plan that the Commissioner must produce called the Fire and Rescue Plan. The IRMP sets out how we’ll deliver our services to mitigate the risk within our area, and the Fire and Rescue Plan from the Commissioner provides the Service with the public’s priorities. Both of these plans are consulted on with the public.
When the inspectorate carried out their inspection in 2022, work was underway to produce our next IRMP but as this wasn’t yet in place the inspectorate couldn’t consider it, and instead had to look at our 2016 plan. Since then our new IRMP – which we have called our Risk and Resource model- has been published, following consultation, and will run until 2025.
The removal of the two causes of concerns demonstrates the hard work and dedication that many people within the organisation have given to make improvements. I love that you can walk through the organisation, and people are talking about it in a positive way because the people that had rightly held us to account, have recognised the work we have done. That means that staff can see, as a result of their hard work, what is changing for the public and that is what matters.
North Yorkshire Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe said:
As Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, effective oversight of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service represents a key part of my role in serving the public. Since the causes of concern were issued, I have sought regular assurance from the Chief Fire Officer that necessary improvements were being made to address them.
I am delighted that the Inspectorate has formally recognised the clear progress the Service has made to address both causes of concern. This process clearly demonstrates the value of independent oversight of critical public services, and I would like to commend the Chief Fire Officer and all those in the Service who have worked so hard at pace, to provide an improved service to our communities.