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Has anyone had sight of the white paper that has been circulating on the reforms to the UK Fire and Rescue which is going to land very soon. 

Trouble is brewing between the HMICFRS and the FBU so I suspect it will not be long. From what I have heard it will be the biggest reform the services have ever seen? Modernisation was bad enough, here comes the next one by the looks of it. 

I have no idea on the content, just aware it exists and is due, probably when there is a gap in the news?

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We have a teams brief/meeting with our CFO on a monthly basis, and he described it as “significant”. Yep there’s more change coming in my view !

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If you look up the HMICFRS report on Inspections which was published around Jan 2020 you will get a good idea at what they are looking at. Will watches remain, maybe new shift patterns to get away from "resting" night shifts, defiantly after the Grey Book.  Lots more on top of that.

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8 hours ago, Yoffey said:

If you look up the HMICFRS report on Inspections which was published around Jan 2020 you will get a good idea at what they are looking at. Will watches remain, maybe new shift patterns to get away from "resting" night shifts, defiantly after the Grey Book.  Lots more on top of that.

The HMICFRS Report is summarised on their website. I have highlighted his main areas of concern that may give an indication of what is planned.


In his first annual assessment of fire and rescue services in England, Her Majesty’s Chief inspector of Fire and Rescue Services Sir Thomas Winsor acknowledges the strong commitment from firefighters to protect the communities they serve. The sector’s greatest strength is in how it responds to emergencies, with demonstration of a number of life-saving initiatives and a strong health and safety culture. However, the fire and rescue sector needs significant reform in several areas.

State of Fire and Rescue: The Annual Assessment of Fire and Rescue Services in England 2019

  • In his report published today, Sir Thomas states that the sector needs to improve how it complies with building fire safety regulations.
  • He also stated that, despite some examples of outstanding culture in some services, other services needed to do more to address ‘toxic’ environments for staff and improve the diversity of the workforce.
  • Sir Thomas acknowledges the importance of strong trade union representation. However, he has expressed concern that union influence sometimes prevents necessary reform in some areas.
  • He also highlighted there being ‘unjustifiable variation’ in the level of service the public receives, across the country.
  • The main duties of modern fire and rescue services are prevention, protection and response, focused on those at highest risk from fire. In some cases, services undertake non-statutory activity, while having too few resources to fulfil their core remit

Sir Thomas said:

“This is our first time inspecting fire and rescue services in England. We have seen much of which services can and should be proud. We have seen their commitment to their profession and their communities, impressive lifesaving prevention initiatives and their highly skilled emergency response. But we have also seen some worrying themes. In particular, some services are not doing enough to make sure buildings are safe for the public. We have also identified barriers the sector faces to becoming more effective and efficient. I am particularly concerned by a notable lack of diversity in the workforce, and, in some services, a toxic, bullying culture.”

Service not doing enough on fire safety regulations.

Sir Thomas reports:

“Fire and rescue services provide education and support to businesses and, if necessary, use enforcement powers to make premises compliant with fire safety legislation. However, how services discharge this duty has commonly fallen below the standard we had expected.”

In his report, Sir Thomas cites the reasons for this. Primarily, while levels of operational staff have largely been maintained, there has been a drop in protection staff. There is also considerable variation across the sector as to what constitutes high-risk premises, and how often they should be inspected. 

On the role of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in reform, Sir Thomas states:

“I of course recognise the importance of strong trade union representation. The role of unions is to protect and improve members’ rights. In the fire sector, the unions have a proud history of doing so. However, the influence of the FBU is considerable in some services. I believe it goes too far and is sometimes contrary to the public interest. This is not acceptable: the FBU should not unduly dictate how fire services are provided.”

On the working culture in Fire and Rescue Services, Sir Thomas said:

“We have come across some outstanding examples of culture in some services. The best cultures are inclusive and diverse, with committed staff working to common goals. But the culture in some services is toxic. We have come across cases of active bullying and harassment. Disturbingly, some people we spoke to seemed to find the poor treatment of staff by other colleagues amusing.”

Sir Thomas states that the sector would benefit from a code of ethics. This will reinforce to everyone how they should be treated and how they should treat others, and staff at all levels will be empowered to challenge any behaviour contrary to the code.

He concluded:

“Without reform, the sector will continue to be beset by barriers that prevent progress, perpetuating outdated ways of working and ineffective and inefficient practices. Ultimately, it is the service to the public that suffers. 

“But there are opportunities to be seized. English fire and rescue services are seen around the world as being some of the best. If the reforms I have suggested in my assessment are carried out fully, they will secure major improvements for the sector and cement it as world-leading in the years to come.”

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Thanks for that Messy

I find the comments on the FBU quite disturbing. They've supported our activities throughout the pandemic and backed the pensions battle. This comes across like a government slant against the Union

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I know we don't really do 'politics' on this site, so I will remind you of a historic fact. 

If any union messes with the Tory Govt, there will be retribution - ask the Miners!

I fear the FBU may be next. How about no strike legislation or a requirement for a threshold representing a high percentage on a ballot (90%?) before a strike is called?  

With Boris and Patel at the helm, it is all entirely possible 

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1 hour ago, Messyshaw said:

I know we don't really do 'politics' on this site

Thankfully I think we are in a better place now @Messyshaw with a forum membership, that can discuss them much more constructivley than perhaps in previous times. 😉

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Keep hearing about shift changes. Apart from Brigades not liking us resting during a night shift is their any other realistic reasons to change, particularly in the Mets.

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I can see another stab at co-responding in London given the positive feedback on our firefighters helping crew ambulances. The issue is our firefighters were supplementing alongside a paramedic whereas I can see appliances being asked to go to heart attacks, strokes etc.

Other than that I think a large reduction in appliances where they can, especially as (touch wood) we haven't had any huge fires or concurrent 10 and 15pf. These can really stretch us, while not as much as other fire services, but during the pandemic we have had less. A politician will see this as "you had xx appliances off the run and nothing bad happened" - when the reality was a large reduction in calls and jobs

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There has been large fires In London lately, the Canary Wharf one springs to mind and also fires out east. In the last couple weeks I saw one day we had 3 or 4 4/6pf on the go so concurrent jobs do happen. When the flooding were happening at one point we had over 70 appliances dealing with incidents. 

I think anything anyone hears before it is released is just fire brigade rumours.

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Oh I know that.  What I mean is typically in summer you can get days where you may have a few tens and above or an ongoing grass fire out east that really saps resources. I believe we have been very lucky during "pingdemic" that we didn't have any massive jobs (flooding excluded)

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