Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service judged to be 'good' at keeping people safe from fires and other emergencies
But the service was also rated as 'requires improvement' in some areas
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is making "really good progress", with its latest inspection showed improvements have been made since its previous report in 2018.
The Service was rated as "good" in 8 of the 11 inspection areas by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), doubling the figure of 4 at that standard last time it came under scrutiny.
The report sets out how, following their inspection earlier this year, HMICFRS judged Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) to be "good" at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks and ‘Good’ at looking after its people.
Although HMICFRS specifically noted how the BFRS has improved efficiency since the last inspection in 2018, this area was judged as "requires improvement".
HMICFRS inspections of fire and rescue services assesses performance across the three pillars of Effectiveness, Efficiency and People.
Specifically, HMICFRS judged BFRS to be "good" at:
> Understanding fires and other risks;
> Responding to fires and other emergencies;
> Responding to major and multi-agency incidents;
> Future affordability;
> Promoting the right values and culture;
> Getting the right people with the right skills;
> Ensuring fairness and promoting diversity; and,
> Managing performance and developing leaders.
It also positively identified that the BFRS:
> works well with others to reduce the number of fires and other risks;
> has improved safeguarding training;
> works closely with other agencies to regulate fire safety;
> responds well to building consultations;
> has taken steps to improve the availability and productivity of on-call staff; and,
> clearly links its operational activity to risk.
BFRS was judged as "requires improvement" in the following specific areas:
> preventing fires and other risks
> protecting the public through fire regulation; and
> making best use of resources.
BFRS says areas of improvement identified are already being addressed by the service as it continues to work towards its mission to provide outstanding fire and rescue services that help make Bedfordshire safer.
Chief Fire Officer Andrew Hopkinson said: “I am delighted HMICFRS continues to recognise Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to be good at effectively delivering services to local communities.
"I am also pleased the Service is now rated ‘Good’ at ‘looking after our people’ which is a reflection of the positive progress made since our last inspection in 2018 through initiatives such as the implementation of our new service values, how we approach recruitment and selection and how we develop, engage and support our people throughout their career with us.
"Our staff are, by far, our biggest asset and remain highly valued by me, the Fire Authority, our partners and the communities we serve.
"I also welcome the invaluable feedback and advice from HMICFRS on the areas for improvement identified within their report.
"These are already being acted upon as part of our process of continuous improvement across the organisation.
"This report demonstrates many areas of strengths and achievement that our staff should be enormously proud of but there is still work for us to do.
"I would like to thank all staff and partners who participated in the inspection process for their support and hard work, now and going forward, as we strive to keep our communities in Bedfordshire safe.”
Chair of the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor John Chatterley said: “This latest report clearly demonstrates BFRS continues to deliver improvements in the services it provides to the communities of Bedfordshire and how it looks after its people.
"Being judged to be ‘Good’ in 8 of the 11 inspection areas represents really good progress since the 2018 inspection when only 4 of 11 areas were assessed to be ‘Good’.
"I am also pleased with the range of good practice identified in the report including two areas considered to be innovative practice nationally.
"I look forward to working with the Chief Fire Officer and his new senior team in continuing to provide the high levels of service the public expect from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service."