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HMICFRS - Visits

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Many services, well all will at some stage have a visit from the newly formed HMICFRS. However, how many FRS's are preparing for this and if so what is it you are doing.

As far as I can see from the framework, is that the 3 areas to be addressed are already embedded, its just a case of seeing how well they are performing. 

Im guessing there is lots to discuss in relation to the HMICFRS, so thought I would start the topic off.

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We've had a team on it for a couple of months gathering all the necessary info and evidence, we are one of the1st tranche due in July I believe.

My team are providing evidence of NOG compliance etc (action plans/gap analysis etc)

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Im trying to get my head around it all and have read every document. It will be interesting to see what this thread can produce as FRS's go through it. I think GMFRS are due in the Autumn / Winter tranche ;)

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We have been pre-warned our station will be reviewed. We have had an overdue tidy up but expect more drills etc when it gets closer.

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Won't it be the same as the old HMI visits, carefully controlled visits to well prepared stations, then off for full hospitality on the firm's credit card?

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We’re in the November cohort too. I’ve been involved only slightly and it’s been based around proving that our prevention work is truly effective. Can we evidence it? 


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We are due to be inspected next month.....I will keep you informed of the process.

Up until now they (HMICFRS) are requesting a lot of data and a few introductory talks have been held with crews, stations, departments. It all appears very formal far far different from the old HMI visits

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  • 1 year later...

See the latest tranche of reports have been published! Some don't make pretty reading, and reoccurring themes, It's a pity that an executive summary that links the austerity (cuts) hasn't been more forcefully emphasised as a major influence to some of the areas. (Not alI  I may add )

At least the LGA have commented


Edited by Carl
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Interesting reading and I believe London are next - so that will be fun! I bet the media will be all over the LFB's report trying to link any failures with Grenfell

I was really interested in the observations made in relation to the different standards, language, systems and management approaches used across the UK. For example, the IRMP system is a mess. All F&RS have to publish them but with no guidance and no national template each F&RS are publishing different information. Even worse, when collected, local risk information isn't being used effectively (or at all in some cases) when allocating resources locally.

The same applies in setting attendance times with a random DIY approach being applied and neighbouring F&RS's having massively different targets. There is a recommendation that  national standards, definitions and guidance should be given - but I doubt the good old  A risk 5,5 & 8 will be back

The availability of retained crews is a mess and dangerous with Kent managing less than 50% coverage where as Northumberland managing 96/8%. Its mentions Norfolks mobile phone App where (if I have understood it) the location of retained staff is live monitored so the control room can instantly decide if there are sufficient crew to mobilise the pump. I have had experience of how difficult it is accessing this info: I was required to research 3 counties recently in relation to their retained cover when drawing up a business case to support the investment of a significant sprinkler system at a rural site. One has excellent data online, but the PDF spreadsheet was so small it was impossible to read. The other two I had to use a contact I had to find out the information on a sort of mates basis. Its as if these F&RS were trying to cover up their inadequacies 

There's also a recognition that F&RS have removed resources from fire safety depts to prop up operational cover. As a result, some are failing to meet targets. Again, its down to the individual F&RS to define 'high risk' and set a risk based audit programme. That's a recipe for disaster as some buildings are high risk in one F&RS and attract regular audits, where half a mile over the border the same building will attract less monitoring as its not assessed as high risk

Overall the summary is a good read. Some do better than others with cash strapped Merseyside repeatedly doing well which is a surprise. But there are lots of lessons to be learned for central Govt too as well as individual authorities. The funding crisis isn't ignored and lets hope the Govt listen (fat chance)

Lastly there is mention here to the capability of F&RS to send specialist crews to terrorist incidents with one F&RS being highlighted as inadequate. I really do not believe that information should be made public. Ok transparency & openness is all well and good, but some operational weaknesses should be redacted in order to keep the public safe, which after all is what the fire service and its inspectors aim to do

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  • 5 months later...

Wow, London has taken a bit of a pasting in the Tranche 3 visits. Significant number of areas that require improvement and some inadequate areas. 

I am sure there will be fallout from this and challenges to the validity and authenticity of the HMIC FRS audits. It will be  interesting to see how Andy Roe turns this around within 12 months 🙄.

As I work in IC training, I think I might offer myself up before the usual culprits jump in and start making a monopoly on this. I think it demonstrates the importance yet lack of investment into our own staff in these safety critical roles. Lack of/ reduction in  funding has resulted in funds being removed/redirected from training and keeping the emergency cover ( rightly So) but now we are beginning to see the skills gaps and the risks that will befall our operational staff. 

I was having this conversation earlier today with a retired GM and I value his opinion immensely, we both agreed that the focus for the last 15/20 years has become more of  a community support role than one of maintaining operational effectiveness, we have IC's who unfortunately are not going to have the operational experience card in their toolbox and the gaps in knowledge have become significant. I hope the HMIC FRS audits have the effect of highlighting this and getting the funding allocated to the areas of service that present the greatest risk to life. Lets get back to basics and have knowledgeable, professional firefighters who understand and have  situational awareness demonstrating sufficient knowledge to deal with the ever increasing number of risks we face both known and those unforeseen. 

Only my opinion of course and working in training I cant emphasise enough the growing importance of testing our IC's and putting them under pressure, we need to test their resolve an develop them not as done previously linger upon the failings but support and develop them to be the next generation of leaders. A lot on bias in my argument but having been Ops for 20 years and now IC training, Give me training all day long so I can help develop other IC's ,  we all learn from each other and if we can break down the boundaries between FRS 's that have been a barrier to sharing best practice we will reap the rewards of having IC's who are better trained that fills the unfortunate gap of lack of operational experience. 

Turning into a rant so I will leave it here.

Wishing you all a very merry and safe Christmas and all the best for the new decade :) Joys of working in Training I will now enjoy my 2 1/2 weeks off 😁



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That's not a pasting Rob...look at ours (Surrey) or even worse West Sussex. Lol

Hopefully the state of fire report that will bring together all the reports as an overview will highlight the steady decline in funding , which undoubtedly leads to many of these areas regardless of service.

NFCC have commented to thus effect.

Q/ Will anyone listen.....

Tumble weed 

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My post in June was spot on. Not necessarily in relation to the inspectors report, but in how the media reported it.

This is a routine Inspectors audit that all F&RS have to endure, but none will suffer the scrutiny of the National.Media like this

Its unacceptable that 3 yearly driver refreshers are the standard but some LFB drivers have gone 20 years without one, but the LFBs attendance times have been described as 'excellent' which the media seem to have ignored

The truth is the LFB have taken their eye off preparedness in favour of CFS and the inspectors are right to make that comment. But it was a huge pressure on management to meet difficult targets - set by central Govt , so there should be some shared responsibility here.

In the LFB we all grumble about when things go wrong or when stupid policies are introduced . But on social media , theres so much criticism of this report, which is pretty fair in my opinion 

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Messy I live between those 3 stations and stokenchurch never even seems to have an appliance in it! Either they're busier than soho or they are maybe moving the appliance about due to lack of firefighters? I'm always seeing recruitment adverts for retained in bucks so I can imagine they're stretched 

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@TrainHardFightEasy. I am sure they have been out at least one since then. But I believe the station is effectively closed now.

Marlow seems a bigger issue in that although they do crew from time to time, to rely on wycombe and maidenhead is worrying

I wonder what F&RS has the most difficulty in attracting on call staff?

I have a friend who is fit as a butchers dog despite being 63 and retired. He popped in to his local east Anglia retained station as they had a coffee morning thing going on

He only went for a nose at their kit but was pounced upon as he dipped his ginger nuts into his coffee (!)

F&R staff  seriously tried to recruit him - even tho he is 64 in March and lives outside their agreed catchment zone. Worse than that, he considered it. But he didnt want the 67hour (I think) minimum commitment to stay locally available 

At only 48% availability, sure this fire service employer need to be more flexible ?

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Messy I would suggest that the house prices have an impact. Buckinghamshire is one of the most expensive places in the country to live & therefore many of its residents are doing a commute into the City to earn the pennies. They won’t want to be on call all night as a result explaining why just 13% of the RDS appliances are on the run. The North of the UK definitely has more of a community feel about it & generally sees RDS availability a lot higher than the counties surrounding London. 

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The issue about house prices is definitely a big one. I looked into retained when we moved to high Wycombe... But when I consider I commute 8 hours total per tour on top of on shift time. Plus any OT shouts or hanging on. The very few hours free time left I would not want to be available as a retained firefighter. Obviously it's different if you're not WT for your main job, but most of the people on our building commute into London by train or car 5 days a week, so no incentive to be retained.

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  • 8 months later...

I thought I would raise this thread again as I am sure at some stage in the coming months, there will be some revisits by HMIFRS.

I'm guessing there will be some delays due to Covid?

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  • 2 weeks later...

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