Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service welcomes recent inspection report

Following an inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in summer 2022, Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service has today welcomed their final report.

HMICFRS is an independent body that represents the public interest, they assess and report on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Police Forces and Fire and Rescue Services in England and Wales.

In assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of each Fire and Rescue Service (FRS), HMICFRS looked at three key areas:

  • How effective is the FRSs at preventing, protecting against, and responding to fires and other emergencies
  • How efficient are they
  • How well they look after the people who work for them.

In total, the Inspectorate looked at 11 key areas within the Service and provided their feedback and any recommendations on their findings. Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service has welcomed the inspection process as it is constantly striving to make the Service the very best it can be for the people who work within the organisation and also the communities it serves.

Whilst the Service recognises there are areas they can improve on, there are many positive comments within the report, which is testament to the great work that staff deliver every day of the year to keep Cumbrian communities safe.

The inspection team commended the Service on how productive the prevention and protection teams are. The Service carried out over 11,000 safe and well engagements which is significantly higher than the English average rate, in the year to 31 March 2021. They also recognised where the Service has responded positively and proactively to learning from the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. They had assessed the risk of every high-rise building in its area and carried out a fire safety audit and collected relevant risk information about buildings identified as high risk.

Commenting on the report, Chief Fire Officer, John Beard said:

“We are pleased the Inspectors recognised the ‘near-unprecedented uncertainty about our future governance and the impact that this had on the efficiency of the Service’. This is something entirely out of our control and it is unfortunate that the inspectors were not able to reflect on the Service’s performance over time rather than at a moment in time. However, now that there is a clear future direction for the Service, we are better able to focus on providing the best service we can to the people of Cumbria and responding directly to the areas of concern raised by the Inspectors.

“Protecting the public and preventing fires and other emergencies is at the heart of everything we do and I’m enormously proud of the service we provide 365 days of the year, and I’m pleased that HMICFRS have positively recognised the good work our staff do to keep our communities safe.

“The Inspectorate has identified lots of good practice in our approach to preventing fires and other emergencies. When our communities need us, the Inspectorate recognised how good our operational response is and the availability of our firefighters.

“Since the time of the inspection we have already made good progress with the recommendations and will continue to work hard to ensure we improve.”

Councillor Janet Willis, Cabinet Member for Customers, Transformation and Fire and Rescue added:

“Any inspection like this is a hugely helpful exercise for the Service and we will take on board all the feedback provided and use it to continue to make the Fire and Rescue Service the very best it can be.

“Whilst the HMICFRS have highlighted important elements of the Service that we are committed to improving, we would like to assure residents this is not about their safety – our fire crews continue to respond to the highest standard when called out in an emergency.”

The full report will be available on our website under the HMICFRS section on Friday 20 January using the following link:

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