Shropshire fire service rated 'good' in latest inspection

Shropshire's fire service has received 'good' ratings across the board after its latest inspection.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has been rated good in its latest inspection
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has been rated good in its latest inspection

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), praised the efforts of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) – and its progress since its previous inspection in 2018/19.

The latest inspection concluded the service was 'good' in all three categories of effectiveness, efficiency and people.

The findings match the previous ratings given to the service at its last inspection.

Mrs Williams said: "I am pleased with the performance of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service in keeping people safe and secure from fires and other risks.

"For example, the service is effective in preventing fires and is well prepared to respond to major and multi-agency incidents."

She added: "It is pleasing to see that the service has made progress since our 2018 inspection. The service has further improved the good levels of performance found last time. It has enhanced its arrangements for protecting the public through fire safety regulation. It has also improved how well it develops leaders and capability within the service."

The report praises the service's efforts to identify risk through its community risk management plan, as well as its strategies to direct prevention, protection and response activities to the identified risks.

The service was said to have "a clear set of values and a positive culture throughout the organisation," with inspection teams finding that "staff enjoyed working for the service and that workplaces were positive, supportive environments".

The service was also judged to be "good at managing its finances and collaborating with other organisations to give the public an efficient and effective service".

The findings did list areas for improvement, stating: "It needs to have robust measures in place to communicate effectively lessons learned from operational incidents. Its fire safety inspection programme needs to target risk more effectively. And the service should use the full range of its fire safety enforcement powers."

The report concluded: "Overall, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service provides a good service to the public and is financially sustainable. It continues to respond well to the pandemic and supports other organisations in local testing and vaccination.

"The service has identified future challenges, such as sustaining its high levels of fire engine availability by using on-call staff. It has embarked on a project to address these challenges."

Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton welcomed the findings, saying: "I am extremely pleased with the results of the inspection and am proud of the service and the staff who make it what it is. This puts us in a handful of the very best performing fire services in the country.

“We’ve worked tirelessly to improve and have put particular effort into maintaining the best level of service we could in the wake of the pandemic.

“We received a good rating at our previous inspection in 2018 and it is satisfying to see we are still operating at a high standard as well as addressing the areas for improvement in the last inspection.

“The report recognised the large strides the service has made in areas like prevention that have been a key focus for us with the ever present aim of making Shropshire safer. I am also pleased to see results highlight that SFRS is prepared to attend incidents of a large scale and can effectively work with our partners.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of our fire family who always strive to make SFRS better and have dedicated themselves to serving the community, whether they are whole-time firefighters, on-call firefighters or support staff. Together we have created and maintained a service to be proud and this is reflected in the HMICFRS Inspection Report.”

Councillor Eric Carter, chairman of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority said: “I could not be more thrilled to see the results of the HMICFRS Inspection, although I was always confident that the service would receive such a positive rating. SFRS has faced some big challenges in the last few years like many of us have, including the Covid-19 pandemic, flooding and the large scale incident at Greenways. Its fantastic for the hard work of our staff to be recognised in this way.”

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