A Report by
HM Fire Service Inspectorate for Scotland
St Andrew's House
ISBN 0 7559 4594 8
This document is also available in pdf format (174k)
Section 1 The Strategic Management of the Service
Section 2 Integrated Risk Management Planning
Section 3 Integrated Personal Development System
Section 4 Community Fire Safety and Local Government (Scotland) 2003
Section 5 Fire Safety Issues
Section 6 Heads of Agreement
Section 7 Diversity and Equality Issues
Section 8 Health and Safety
Section 9 Information/Communications
Section 10 Personnel Attendance Levels
Section 11 Freedom of Information Act
Section 12 IT and Data/Information Capture
Section 13 Duties Under the Civil Contingencies Bill
Section 14 Funding
CENTRAL SCOTLAND FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE
PERFORMANCE INSPECTION - 29, 30 NOVEMBER, 1 DECEMBER 2004
Jeff Ord Chief Inspector
Andy Harrison Assistant Inspector
Angela Webb Assistant Inspector
Andy Wilson Assistant Inspector
Alan Sheach Assistant Inspector
Brendan McCaffrey (Observer)
As Fire and Rescue Services across Scotland move towards implementation of The Modernising Agenda, the Inspectorate will inspect the Services between October 2004 and March 2005. The findings of the inspection will be reported to Ministers, the relevant Fire Authority, the Firemaster, and will be available to the public.
Aims and Objectives of the Inspection
The aim of the inspection is to support, assist and, where appropriate or necessary, challenge the Fire Authority and the Service's progress towards modernisation in accordance with National Guidance and within Best Value.
The objectives of the inspection are -
- The overall strategic management of the Service;
- Progress on the Fire Authority's Integrated Risk Management Plan ( IRMP), including compliance with National Guidelines and timetables;
- Progress on the introduction of Integrated Personnel Development System ( IPDS), including Rank to Role and the opportunities this presents particularly for retained/part time and support staff;
- The Fire Authority's preparedness for the new Statutory Duty (Fire Service Bill) of Community Fire Safety and the duties contained within The Local Government (Scotland) Act 2003;
- The Fire Authority's plans to become the enforcing authority for all fire safety issues (Fire Service Bill);
- The degree to which the Fire Authority is utilising the service delivery flexibilities arising from The Heads of Agreement signed between The Employers and the Fire Brigades' Union in 2004;
- The Fire Authority's and the Service's progress on Diversity, Equality of Opportunity and Cultural Change and compliance with all relevant legislation;
- The Fire Authority's performance on Health and Safety at Work in accordance with relevant legislation and guidance;
- The Fire Authority and the Service's information flow, staff communications and general consultation arrangements across all groups of staff;
- The Fire Authority's performance in terms of staff attendance levels;
- The Fire Authority's performance and compliance with The Freedom of Information Act and general handling of complaints, etc;
- The Service's ability to maximise Information Technology ( IT) and central data capture;
- The Fire Authority's progress on identifying realistic efficiencies to enable the transitional funding for whole-time operational staff (provided by the Scottish Executive) to be absorbed over the Spending Review 2004 period; and
- The opportunities taken by the Service and/or the Fire Authority to review the uniformed Service establishment (Section 19 of The Fire Services Act 1947).
Evidence gathered during the inspection confirmed that for many years now the Fire Authority and the Firemaster have provided an effective service within a prudent resource regime and whilst this is to be commended the point has now been reached whereby a modest investment into the infrastructure of the Service is necessary.
Overall, the Service and the Fire Authority are in the "improving" category and indeed in some areas particularly flexible crewing arrangements are in the "achieving" category. The Fire Authority should make every effort to support the Firemaster's two-phase plan for improvements in both service infrastructure and operational resources. Whilst the plans are modest they will most certainly allow the Fire Authority to achieve not only its current statutory duties but also the host of new legislation that is upon them and overall will improve public and staff safety.
I am pleased to report that the Service and the Fire Authority are discharging their duties within the Fire Services Act 1947 and are invited to adopt the enclosed recommendations which should be utilised within the modernising agenda and their associated plans.
HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services
Note: For further information relating to Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service visit their website: www.centralscotlandfire.gov.uk
Section 1 - The Strategic Management of the Service
1. The Firemaster and HMCIFS will continue discussions on potential "Invest to Save" initiatives which, if achieved, will require early consideration by the Fire Authority. ( Para 1.4)
2. In order to further broaden the expertise of the Service, consideration should be given to complementing the uniformed officers with high calibre non-uniformed managers who bring with them not only sustained experience but also an even greater level of diversity. This in turn will allow uniformed managers to further concentrate on service delivery. ( Para 1.4)
Section 2 - Integrated Risk Management Planning ( IRMP)
3. There is a need for an appropriate level of strategic leadership (project leader) within the IRMP team. A strategic level secondment to this project should be considered by the Management Team. ( Para 2.2)
4. Full advantage of the flexibilities afforded by IRMP should be taken. This data will provide an evidence-based platform for the Firemaster to utilise these early results in regard to resource deployment, prioritised areas for fire safety campaigns etc. ( Para 2.5)
Section 3 - Integrated Personal Development System ( IPDS)
5. It is recommended that the Service examines its priorities to ensure that all Retained staff receive realistic fire training at the earliest opportunity. ( Para 3.10)
6. Whilst evidence of multi pump exercises was provided the use of guidelines within these exercises was not apparent. It is recommended that the Service carries out these risk critical exercises as soon as possible and incorporates them into its multi pump training programme. ( Para 3.10)
Section 4 - Community Fire Safety and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 2003
7. The existing balance between the increasing workload in the area of Community Safety and the finite resources currently available to support this important and developing role needs to realistically match expectations. To enable the Service to support this expanding area of work, the previously identified staffing issues now need to be resolved. As part of this review the more effective use of operational staff needs to be re-emphasised to maximise the resources available to deliver Community Safety. ( Para 4.2)
8. The Service has wholly embraced its role in community safety and works closely with all of its partners. However at operational level, much of this work is still managed by the CFS department staff. To encourage greater ownership and to reduce the dependency on the finite resources of the CFS department, operational staff should be more directly involved in the development and management of CFS for their local area. ( Para 4.6)
9. The availability of validated data on operational activity and risk through the FSEC toolkit should, where possible, be used to enhance and inform better targeting of resources against initiatives in the development of Community Fire Safety campaigns. ( Para 4.5)
10. The Service may wish to further consider how best to utilise all staffing options in the delivery of community fire safety work. ( Para 4.6)
Section 5 - Fire Safety Issues
11. The Service should monitor the legislative workload to ensure that it does not exceed staff capacity, particularly whilst the review process is being undertaken. ( Para 5.5)
Section 7 - Diversity and Equality Issues
12. The Service must look at the ownership of the duties of the RRA. It should then be audited and reported on and Equality Impact Assessments ( EIAs) undertaken for all new and existing relevant policies and procedures. These EIAs must also be published where any adverse results emerge. There must also be evidence that consultation has taken place with the black and minority ethnic ( BME) communities on the action plans associated with the RES and the results of such consultation should be published. These requirements should be part of the duties of each Head of Department, or delegated appropriately. They should not be the responsibility of the Human Resource or Equalities staff. The Senior Management Team must take corporate responsibility for the duties under the Act and the reporting and publication of progress, reporting on the progress of the RES should be a standing agenda item in Management Team meetings. ( Para 7.4)
13. The Equal Opportunities Policy should be reviewed and an individual copy given to all current and future staff. ( Para 7.1)
14. The Service should take all necessary steps to ensure that the role currently being undertaken by the police secondee continues for at least the next two years in order to complete the current proposed training and ensure embedding of the duties of the RR(A)A 2000. ( Para 7.3)
15. More work should be done to build links with the Gay and Lesbian communities in Central Scotland. This could be done through links with local Community Safety Partnerships. ( Para 7.5)
16. Information on the changes that have arisen due to the removal of the exemption under the Disability Discrimination Act should be communicated to all staff. ( Para 7.7)
Section 8 - Health and Safety
17. It is recommended that the Service prioritise the required review of its health and safety policy to satisfy the recommendations outstanding from recent Quality Safety Audits. ( Para 8.1)
Section 9 - Information/Communications
18. The Fire Authority and the Management Team should take every opportunity to ensure that relationships across the Service do not worsen. Initiatives to improve communications and remove barriers should be undertaken and supported as soon as possible. ( Para 9.4)
Section 10 - Personnel Attendance Levels
19. The Service may wish to consider requiring the secondary employer to endorse the application so that they (The secondary employer) also fully understand and accept the primary employment conditions set out in the contract by the Fire Authority to prevent a conflict of employment interests. ( Para 10.7)
Section 11 - Freedom of Information Act
20. The Service has made good use of finite resources by utilising on a temporary basis a uniformed member of staff currently on alternative duties to develop and implement this important area of work. In light of the ongoing workload associated with FOI, the service will need to consider how best to support this work in the long term. ( Para 11.4)
Section 12 - Information Technology and Data/Information Capture
21. Central Scotland Fire & Rescue Service have an excellent IT team in place and should be commended for their progress, taking into account their limited resources. However, it is recommended that clear terms of reference for the team are formulated. In addition, it may be beneficial to contract a consultant to assist strategic management in coordinating future software packages within the Service. ( Para 12.1)
Section 13 - Duties under the Civil Contingencies Bill
22. The Service needs to ensure that its business continuity plans fully consider the wider implications of a national emergency direction being made which could adversely impact on existing planning arrangements and operational service delivery. ( Para 13.10)
23. To test the wider deployment of mass decontamination and inter Brigade mutual aid arrangements the service should maximise opportunities emanating from the current G8 planning to validate existing procedures. ( Para 13.6)
24. In light of the type of planning scenarios being developed in the context of new dimensions, the Service will need to ensure that the development of the local risk register considers planning for the type and scale of events that would previously have been unimaginable. ( Para 13.10)
Section 14 - Funding
25. The Fire Authority should plan for the Absorption of the recently provided Transitional Funding ( Para 14.1)
1. The Strategic Management of the Service
1.1 This has been a challenging report to submit as it strives to strike a balance between acknowledging the achievements of the Firemaster, his staff and the Fire Authority to date, but also in identifying the critical point the Service has now reached. A number of dynamics have challenged the Service recently, not least, the long-running national dispute, retirements from the Service and the Modernising Agenda. In order to sustain a well-respected and well-delivered local Fire and Rescue Service there are now major issues of infrastructure requirements which need to be addressed.
1.2 Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service has developed a well earned reputation for being a small, yet effective, organisation which operates in a prudent manner, particularly during the period in which Firemaster John Early has commanded the Service. He has provided a stable environment despite severe financial and resource restraints. This challenging environment has also caused the Firemaster to implement some innovative systems of service delivery and service support, areas for which recognition has not always been forthcoming. Indeed, in the area of methods of crewing appliances, the Firemaster has broken new ground. This area of "Dual crewing" of appliances will be referred to later in this report.
1.3 However, despite the commitment by everyone, and the support of the Fire Authority the Service is now experiencing difficulty in capacity terms due to the extent and complexity of the challenges it now faces. Many of these challenges are statutory duties of the Fire Authority. Despite prioritisation of work across the support infrastructure, it is very clear that in vital areas the Service will soon be unable to cope. Already absence levels amongst management positions are increasing and several key players are showing signs of reaching the point whereby their work effort is at a continuously high level but output and achievement has plateaued, and may in fact deteriorate (performance fatigue).
1.4 During the inspection the Firemaster held discussions with Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Fire Services ( HMCIFS
) with a view to submitting a two-fold strategy for improvement to the Fire Authority for their approval and support. The first part of this strategy involves a proposal to better distribute operational resources across the area to improve service delivery. Whilst this proposal is only at the strategic planning level at present, it nevertheless has the HMCIFS
's support in principle, as it broadly reflects Best Value. The second, and most immediate, part of the strategy is a proposal for a small increase in the staffing levels within the infrastructure of the Service. Once again, this has the support of HMCIFS
, especially as it involves introducing specialist non-uniformed posts into the Service which will provide sustained experience and diversity and release uniformed members to concentrate further on service delivery.
These plans are by no means profligate and, if supported and implemented, will allow the Fire Authority to meet its statutory duties and achieve necessary milestones and deadlines. It is difficult to predict what will occur should these proposals not be approved. However, what is predictable is that the Fire Authority and the Service in general, at best, will continue in an environment where performance has plateaued. At worst, Service delivery could become affected.
1.5 These plans are complemented by the Grant Aided Expenditure provision from the Scottish Executive and the recently provided transitional funding to part fund the Modernising Agenda. In addition to this, and whilst subject to ministerial approval, there may also be further "Invest to Save" opportunities for the Service which the Firemaster and HMCIFS have discussed. These will support the Firemaster's plan to better distribute operational resources. The Fire Authority, for their part, must urgently consider the Firemaster's plan for improvement and, wherever possible, provide resources for implementation.
1.6 It is worth repeating that the Firemaster and the Fire Authority are to be commended for delivering the level of service evident to date in a very challenging environment. However, the organisation has reached a critical point which now requires urgent action to allow the infrastructure of the Service to support the statutory duties of the Fire Authority. The need to address resources has been the subject of previous Inspectorate reports and, most recently, was commented on in the Pay Verification exercise undertaken by Audit Scotland. However, little progress has been made due to other competing demands.
1.7 The remainder of this section concentrates on areas that will assist the Firemaster's plans. A review of all aspects of work should be undertaken with a view to aborting areas of work which do not directly improve service delivery, or which do not fall within the Service's statutory duties. Whilst such a review has occurred in the past, it is now necessary to revisit this exercise. The review requires to be undertaken in a robust manner.
In order to concentrate all strategic ability and energy into sustaining the local Service and its statutory duties, the management team, senior managers and the Fire Authority need to be inwardly focussed. They should prioritise workloads in a manner that will allow, as far as possible, progressive improvement to be realised.
When the Firemaster presents his plans for immediate improvement to the Fire Authority, they should be considered against a backdrop of what the outcome will be if support for the plan is not forthcoming. The plans should also be considered in relation to the recently announced GAE figures for the Service and the transitional funding to part fund the modernising agenda.
1. The Firemaster and HMCIFS will continue discussions on potential invest to save initiatives which, if achieved, will require early consideration by the Fire Authority.
2. In order to further broaden the expertise of the Service, consideration should be given to complementing the uniformed officers with high calibre non-uniformed managers who bring with them not only sustained experience but also an even greater level of diversity. This in turn will allow uniformed managers to further concentrate on service delivery.
2. Integrated Risk Management Planning ( IRMP)
2.1 In April 2005 the Scottish Executive will remove the recommended standards of fire cover which are predominantly property risk-based and allow Fire Authorities to introduce IRMP. This will allow Fire and Rescue Services to reduce wasteful calls upon resources, e.g. when responding to hoax calls or automatic fire alarms etc. and to maximise staff time for Community Fire Safety, training, etc. The overall aim is to reduce fire fatalities, serious injuries and damage to property.
2.2 The Fire Authority has experienced difficulties in resourcing the necessary levels of staff and strategic leadership for the extensive programme of IRMP
. The small team who undertake this area of work are to be congratulated on their efforts to date. However, their progress has been affected by long-term sickness of a key member and the need for an appropriate level of strategic leadership (project leader). When comparing strategic level secondment to this project with other Fire Authorities, it is evident that a considerable difference exists which should be addressed.
2.3 The Service is utilising the Fire Service Emergency Cover ( FSEC) computer software provided by the Scottish Executive. This will enable them to collect extensive data and help support the Firemaster in exercising professional judgement when prioritising resources. The initial issue of this software was affected by minor problems and uncertainty surrounding its long-term future as the maintenance of the software is dependent upon the ongoing resource commitment of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This uncertainty has now been removed and it is clear that FSEC will continue to be a major tool in the progress and reviews of IRMPs. It is vital that full resourcing and commitment to the data team and FSEC are achieved in order for the Fire Authority to take advantage of the flexibility afforded by IRMPs and reduce wastage of resources which can be better focussed upon community fire safety delivery.
2.4 The Fire Authority has published its Draft IRMP 2005/06 for extensive consultation. Contained within this document are statements relating to the current prescriptive recommended standards of fire cover being maintained until such times as "A comprehensive assessment of risk in all areas of the Fire and Rescue Service has been completed". This strategy will, however, restrict the opportunity for the Firemaster to take full early advantage of the flexibilities afforded by IRMP, utilising the current incident data available augmented by general data sets (census, etc.). These data will provide an evidence-based platform for the Firemaster to utilise professional judgement, thus ensuring early results in regard to resource deployment, prioritised areas for fire safety campaigns, etc.
During the inspection HMCI
discussed this issue with the Firemaster who gave assurances that the move from recommended standards of fire cover to a risk assessed approach would roll out incrementally across the Service area as and when sufficient evidence was available. As stated above this will allow for greater resource direction and usage.
3. There is a need for an appropriate level of strategic leadership (project leader) within the IRMP team. A strategic level secondment to this project should be considered by the Management Team.
4. Full advantage of the flexibilities afforded by IRMP should be taken. These data will provide an evidence-based platform for the Firemaster to utilise these early results in regard to resource deployment, prioritised areas for fire safety campaigns, etc.
3. Integrated Personal Development System ( IPDS)
3.1 The Service is, perhaps, one of the most advanced in this area. It is clearly progressing within the guidance documents available. It has been proactive in the introduction of workplace assessments at both wholetime and part time stations. The workforce appears to be well informed of the impact of IPDS.
3.2 The Service introduced a Pilot scheme for wholetime recruits in 2000. All wholetime stations began workplace assessments in January 2004 and retained stations have recently commenced on the same process.
3.3 There is some early evidence that IPDS, or the processes associated with IPDS, is beginning to lay the foundations for improving service delivery. Station level management is becoming responsible for training management, which is improving the efficiency of the training department overall. This is supported by a browser based recording system which has modernised and improved the efficiency of the data collection system.
3.4 The Service is well advanced in the provision of mentors, assessors and training for development review, and is an approved centre for awarding SVQ assessor qualifications.
3.5 All headquarters staff are now completing personal development records.
3.6 The Service and the Fire Authority are to be complimented for the support given to its key managers to develop and implement this policy. The current Head of Training is clearly fully committed to this matter and his personal contribution to the development of the system within Scotland and the Service is praiseworthy.
3.7 It is evident that the Authority is fully engaged at policy, resources and review level. A robust performance management system is in place for IPDS.
3.8 The Service has been very active in its efforts to ensure its staff are kept fully appraised of the issues relating to IPDS. It has now developed a Service IPDS Intranet site, there is an overarching communications strategy and an IPDS newsletter.
3.9 The Service is currently training its line managers in the process of training development reviews.
3.10 All wholetime and retained staff have received the technical training element of realistic fire behaviour and ventilation. Whilst all wholetime staff have had the practical training, only fifty percent of the retained staff have completed this. Reasons for this were cited as resource and financially based. As an interim measure technical refresher training of those stations that have yet to have the practical training has been commenced.
3.11 The Service is aware of the high importance of this issue. It was suggested to them by the Inspectorate that they explore the potential for assistance to be provided by Strathclyde Mobile Hot Fire Training Unit as those stations yet to be covered mostly border the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service area.
3.12 There was no evidence offered of any multi-pump exercises having taken place within the Service for BA search and guideline training. The importance of these exercises was discussed and events will be programmed into the training diary as soon as possible.
3.13 The incident Command system is fully functioning within the Service.
3.14 The training reference within the Service is staffed by experienced and committed personnel who are working very hard to deliver a training function, fully integrated IPDS and Risk Management.
5. It is recommended that the Service examines its priorities to ensure that all retained staff receive realistic Fire Training at the earliest opportunity.
6. Whilst evidence of multi-pump exercises was provided the use of guidelines within these exercises was not apparent. It is recommended that the Service carries out these risk critical exercises as soon as possible and incorporates them into its multi-pump training programme.
4. Community Fire Safety and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 2003
4.1 The Service has in place a large number of community partnerships arrangements across the three local authority areas and is involved in various external partnerships. The bulk of this work is presently directed through the Service's Community Fire Safety staff which currently comprises of two uniformed personnel, supported by station improvement teams ( SIT) located in each of the four wholetime stations.
4.2 The Service conducted an initial review of its Community Fire Safety resources in 2002. This review identified the need for further resources to support the Service's role. However, due to other competing pressures, the additional resources identified to support this important area of work have not yet been progressed. A further review is presently being undertaken for the Service's Management team. This review will encompass both current and future work commitments in regard to Community Planning and Community Fire Safety. Subject to Management Team approval it will be presented to the Fire Authority to seek support for the provision of additional staffing.
4.3 The Service is an established partner within each of the three council area community planning forums and they continue to developed innovative partnership arrangements to drive down incidents and enhance community safety. Where possible, good use has been made of partnership funding award schemes to support these initiatives. Current activities include Hot Strike campaigns, Fire Cadet Schemes, Crucial Crew and Young Fire Setters programmes. The Service continues to develop and work with new partners, such as Community Wardens in Falkirk and the Scottish Prison Service.
4.4 The Service's priorities for prevention form part of the Fire Authority's published Community Fire Safety Strategy and are an integral part of the Service's IRMP.
4.5 The existing databases utilised by the Service are primarily an information gathering system. These are used to maintain records of activities. They are not an interactive measurement tool capable of validating the results of the initiatives and general CFS
actions undertaken by the Service. The Service has recently purchased new software (Imass Hestia) to enhance this area. However, on the evidence presented, it does not provide the capability of the FSEC
software provided to support the Service's IRMP
process. The full use of the work emanating from the FSEC
toolkit is at an early stage and still to be fully utilised to enhance, inform and more accurately measure results which will further assist in the targeting of resources.
4.6 Every wholetime station in the Service has an SIT
team to develop and implement the Community Fire Safety Strategy. On the evidence provided and staff sampling during the inspection, this process does not appear to be functioning in all areas, and may be over reliant on the dedicated CFS
staff identifying and directing local initiatives, rather than placing ownership with the local station personnel. However, examples of good practice were also identified which confirmed that operational personnel were prepared not only to take ownership of initiatives but to use local knowledge to identify and prioritise targets within their own station area, such as hot strike campaigns where operational activity has highlighted specific risks to the community.
4.7 A pilot programme for carrying out Home Risk Assessments will be rolled out in spring 2005 to support proactive prevention measures for those at risk in the community.
4.8 The Service works closely with various council departments, police, community wardens and other partners in delivering many elements of its Community and Fire Safety initiatives. It does not, at present, utilise non-uniformed staff to support the delivery of community fire safety work.
4.9 Stations have been provided with the Community Fire Safety toolkit and it is utilised where appropriate. The Service's hot strike plan was developed from this guidance. It has also been used locally by some stations to develop CFS press releases and other media initiatives.
4.10 In general, wholetime personnel have embraced Community Fire Safety and a number of examples were provided where station personnel had initiated CFS work in the local community.
4.11 The Service has introduced more flexible employment arrangements for wider use of retained staff. However, in light of the change in emphasis from intervention to prevention, the Service will need to consider how to maximise retained personnel in delivering community safety initiatives.
7. The existing balance between the increasing workload in the area of Community Safety and the finite resources currently available to support this important and developing role needs to realistically match expectations. To enable the Service to support this expanding area of work, the previously identified staffing issues now need to be resolved. As part of this review the more effective use of operational staff needs to be re-emphasised to maximise the resources available to deliver Community Safety.
8. The Service has wholly embraced its role in community safety and works closely with all of its partners. However at operational level, much of this work is still managed by the CFS department staff. To encourage greater ownership and to reduce the dependency on the finite resources of the CFS department, operational staff should be more directly involved in the development and management of CFS for their local area.
9. The availability of validated data on operational activity and risk through the FSEC toolkit should, where possible, be used to enhance and inform better targeting of resources against initiatives in the development of Community Fire Safety campaigns.
10. The Service may wish to further consider how best to utilise all staffing options in the delivery of community fire safety work.
5. Fire Safety Issues
5.1 The Service is well placed to accommodate the forthcoming statutory duty of becoming the enforcing authority for fire safety. The sustained capacity and competency of staff in this specialist area is commendable.
5.2 The Service has in place a robust risk-based approach to all of its legislative enforcement work. This work is graded and whilst priority is given to those premises assessed as high risk, the Services policy remains flexible to change, subject to new work or reassessment of existing priorities. The Service has, in regard to licensing of houses in multiple occupancy, a beneficial working arrangement to better manage this expanding area of work.
5.3 Currently the profile of staff within the legislative section is balanced between very experienced and long established department station officers, supported by Sub Officers. This provides a cadre of trained staff available to support the Service's longer-term staffing arrangements and for temporary shortages, etc.
5.4 The Service utilises wholetime operational crews to undertake any routine inspection or legislative work.
5.5 In light of the forthcoming additional responsibilities under the Fire (Scotland) Bill, the department has recently undertaken a paper review of its inspection programme and reclassified them in order of risk. The outcomes of the reclassification process are now being validated as part of an ongoing physical inspection process to better identify workload in accordance with risk.
11. The Service should monitor the legislative workload to ensure that it does not exceed staff capacity, particularly whilst the review process is being undertaken.
6. Heads of Agreement
6.1 The recent long-running dispute in the Service was ended with the joint signing of a document entitled "Heads of Agreement". This agreement allows for much greater flexibility in working practices than the Service has hitherto enjoyed. One of these flexibilities is the use of pre-planned overtime which the Authority now has a policy for, and is able to implement at this time.
6.2 The policy for pre-planned overtime is now available for Fire Authority approval, although at this stage there is no provision in the budget. In time, the Authority will have to consider specific provision for this area which may be found from efficiencies elsewhere in the Service, even though scope for further efficiencies at this time is somewhat limited.
6.3 Policies for mixed crewing and part-time duties for whole time staff wishing to volunteer are now in place and, given the track record of the Service in introducing innovative crewing systems in the past, there is reason to be confident that full advantage will be taken of this flexibility.
6.4 The Service is currently reviewing the wider utilisation of retained staff to provide more flexible crewing alternatives such as already exist at Larbert and Bo'ness fire stations where retained personnel provide the crews for the specialist support and command units.
6.5 The Service has particular areas where staffing shortages impact on service delivery. However, the Service currently utilises a combination of both local and centrally managed initiatives in an attempt to redress this problem.
6.6 Overall, good progress is being made in relation to the Heads of Agreement.
7. Diversity and Equality Issues
7.1 The Service has gone some way in taking forward issues of fairness and diversity in the workplace. There are a number of good policies and procedures which deal with the issues. However, the policy does not appear to be readily available and is not offered as a single issue to all staff, albeit that there have been recent difficulties with staffing of the Equal Opportunities Unit. It should also be mentioned that the secondment of a Police Officer from Central Scotland Police has been invaluable to the Service at this time.
7.2 There was evidence that the Service has taken some steps to take advantage of the removal of the Appointments and Promotions Regulations and are currently considering the issue during their restructure. In particular, the appointment of Community Safety advisors on support staff grades is currently being considered.
7.3 The Service has undertaken some equality and diversity training with the assistance of the Police secondee. The content of the course is comprehensive and has been delivered to all managers above ADO
level and some station officers. There are plans for delivery throughout the Service during 2005/06.
7.4 Despite having a good Race Equality Scheme, there is little evidence that a corporate mainstreaming view has been taken with regard to the responsibilities of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. The responsibility for the associated duties does not appear to lie with either Departmental Managers or the Corporate Management Team. This is not in the spirit of the legislation and will not achieve the required results. Further work must be done on the management and ownership of these duties.
7.5 The Service has a policy of equal subsistence for all grades of staff. This is a model of good practice in breaking down unreasonable barriers between staff grades and is to be commended. However, there was evidence offered that the Service still has some remnants of a two tier culture but it is working towards addressing this.
7.6 The Service has been faced with very difficult formal complaints relating to equality/dignity in the workplace and has dealt with these in the best way possible, considering the complex nature of the case.
7.7 The work that has been undertaken in regard to disability is satisfactory, with a good briefing paper having been submitted to Management Team. The Service has achieved the Disability "Double Tick" symbol for good practice in disability employment. However, this appears to have been omitted from the Service's letterheads. Information on the new requirements on disability has not been adequately promulgated throughout the Service. It is imperative that all staff are made aware of these recent changes.
12. The Service must look at the ownership of the duties of the RRA. It should then be audited and reported on and Equality Impact Assessments ( EIAs) undertaken for all new and existing relevant policies and procedures. These EIAs must also be published where any adverse results emerge. There must also be evidence that consultation has taken place with the black and minority ethnic ( BME) communities on the action plans associated with the RES and the results of such consultation should be published. These requirements should be part of the duties of each Head of Department, or delegated appropriately. They should not be the responsibility of the Human Resource or Equalities staff. The Senior Management Team must take corporate responsibility for the duties under the Act and the reporting and publication of progress, reporting on the progress of the RES should be a standing agenda item in Management Team meetings.
13. The Equal Opportunities Policy should be reviewed and an individual copy given to all current and future staff.
14. The Service should take all necessary steps to ensure that the role currently being undertaken by the police secondee continues for at least the next two years in order to complete the current proposed training and ensure embedding of the duties of the RR(A)A 2000.
15. More work should be done to build links with the Gay and Lesbian communities in Central Scotland. This could be done through links with local Community Safety Partnerships.
16. Information on the changes that have arisen due to the removal of the exemption under the Disability Discrimination Act should be communicated to all staff.
8. Health and Safety
8.1 Although the Service has not had a formal inspection by the HSE
, it has carried out several internal Quality Safety Audits. A large number of policy recommendations have been raised by these Audits. Over 50 per cent of these are dependent on a review of Health and Safety Policy being carried out. Whilst this review was described during the inspection as "being developed" it has not yet reached the draft stage. Given the number of outstanding recommendations from the last and previous QSA
s, the Service should seek to prioritise this review.
8.2 The Service is moving in a positive direction with accidents decreasing and near miss reporting increasing generally, although fluctuating. There was clear evidence that the current Service "Competent Person" functions at the appropriate level.
8.3 Whilst the risk management unit is working in a professional and commendable manner it was evident that proactive safety management was not at the level the Service would wish to achieve. Improved IT support would greatly assist in this area. The current staffing level, whilst adequate, does depend on one temporary post which the Service may wish to consider consolidating. This would also assist in succession management for the department.
8.4 The qualifications and age profiles of the staff within the unit suggest that succession management for these highly-skilled posts may require to be examined.
17. It is recommended that the Service prioritise the required review of its health and safety policy to satisfy the recommendations outstanding from recent Quality Safety Audits.
9.1 All senior staff had a clear grasp, and were fully committed to, the modernisation agenda. Contact with operational staff was initiated with both wholetime and retained personnel. They had good knowledge of the modernisation agenda and had considered some of the impact on themselves and the Service in general.
9.2 Personnel were enthusiastic and willing to take on new areas of responsibility particularly in respect of Urban Search & Rescue. Alloa fire station has been developed to provide the Service's special rescue capability and this was well supported by staff.
9.3 Staff had a good awareness of the role of the New Dimensions arrangements and understood the principle that enhancing every day capability was an integral part of this strategy.
9.4 Following the recent industrial action there remains an issue of trust between some personnel and the Fire Authority. This attitude was voiced on a number of occasions during visits by the inspection team to stations. Senior management are aware of this situation and are currently attempting to address the situation.
18. The Fire Authority and the Management Team should take every opportunity to ensure that relationships across the Service do not worsen. Initiatives to improve communications and remove barriers should be undertaken and supported as soon as possible.
10. Personnel Attendance Levels
10.1 The Service employs a non-uniformed Human Resource adviser who is currently reviewing the Service's policy with regards to attendance levels. This is currently at draft stage, together with a modified duties policy.
10.2 The Service is currently in the process of reviewing the format of its personnel attendance policy. This was previously issued in booklet format. It is now thought that this format has proven not to be the most appropriate as it has resulted in a lack of focus by personnel on the policy.
10.3 In preparing for the review, the Service has embarked on several benchmarking exercises with similar and dissimilar organisations and is to be commended on this strategy. Its new policy is now at the draft stage.
10.4 The Inspectorate offered some evidence of best practice in other Service's that the Service may wish to examine.
10.5 The HR advisor is currently researching the use of the "Bradford Factor"; a method arising from one of the benchmarking exercises.
10.6 The department are currently looking at several valuable initiatives which have not yet been formally presented to principal management. These aspects of attendance management should be considered for inclusion in any future policy.
10.7 The Service has produced a draft secondary employment procedure for all staff which sets out the requirements for gaining approval to undertake any form of secondary employment which will be incorporated into Service Orders. These procedures are comprehensive and provide sensible guidance to staff on the rules applicable when considering making such a request. However, the present procedures do not require any formal endorsement from the secondary employer that they accept the primary employer's contract conditions.
19. The Service may wish to consider requiring the secondary employer to endorse the application so that they (the secondary employer) also fully understands and accept the primary employment conditions set out in the contract by the Fire Authority to prevent a conflict of employment interests.
11. Freedom of Information Act
11.1 The Service has made good progress in developing the necessary procedures and guidance to comply with this legislation, including performance and management arrangements. The Service's staff on this project have played a major part in the development and collaboration work undertaken as part of the Scottish CFOA forum, which developed the model Publication Scheme. This has been adopted and approved by the Scottish Information Commissioner and forms the basis of the Central Scotland Fire Board Scheme.
11.2 Relevant documentation, setting out the procedures and arrangements for the Service on the discharge of functions and responsibilities, was provided as evidence and the member of staff primarily tasked with this project demonstrated an excellent knowledge of this subject matter.
11.3 The Service has carried out information audits and prepared a draft record management strategy, which has now been approved by the Strategic Management Group.
11.4 A staff training programme has commenced, initially targeting managers and key administration staff. A draft guidance policy has been developed to support staff dealing with enquiries and it is intended to have this in place during January 2005. Senior staff have also attended specific training days held recently at Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters.
11.5 The Service has made good use of resources and utilised, on a temporary basis, a uniformed member of staff with the necessary expertise to manage the implementation of these arrangements and to support the necessary staff training and awareness programme.
20. The Service has made good use of finite resources by utilising on a temporary basis a uniformed member of staff currently on alternative duties to develop and implement this important area of work. In light of the ongoing workload associated with FOI, the Service will need to consider how best to support this work in the long term.
12. Information Technology and Data/Information Capture
12.1 Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service have an informed and dedicated IT
team who clearly know what they want to achieve and are making good progress. However, there are not, at present, clear terms of reference available to this team to direct their progress in a sustained and strategic manner.
12.2 All wholetime Stations have access to e-mail and all personnel will have their own
e-mail addresses, which will be available on request. All retained stations will also have e-mail available on a timescale in line with the links to the Scottish Fire Service Training College.
12.3 The Intranet is available at all wholetime and retained stations and once all personnel have their own e-mail addresses they will be able to access the Internet.
12.4 The IT team intend using wireless technology to link the wholetime stations, and Broadband technology for the retained stations. In addition, they are using links via Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Stirlingshire Councils, which means there are no costs attached
to the setting up of the e-mail addresses. All support and workshop staff have their own
12.5 In relation to a central data capture unit, the Service clearly has difficulties in this area. The IT team are using a number of different systems:
- HESTIA ( FS)- Central Management System
12.6 There is, as yet, no policy on linking into any Council IT systems, although the Service does receive good support from Councils. In addition, the Service Finance, HR and Workshop Systems do not link into any other system.
21. Central Scotland Fire & Rescue Service have an excellent IT team in place and should be commended for their progress, taking into account their limited resources. However, it is recommended that clear terms of reference for the team are formulated. In addition, it may be beneficial to contract a consultant to assist strategic management in coordinating future software packages within the Service.
13. Duties Under the Civil Contingencies Bill
13.1 The Service area contains, amongst its risks, one of the largest petrochemical plants in the country and the local multi agency emergency co-ordinating group, in which the Service is a lead member, have well established and practised contingency arrangements in place. These provide the platform in developing planning for the additional duties imposed under the Civil Contingencies Bill.
13.2 In light of the number of major sites within the area, funding has been provided from the Scottish Executive to support a specific post to undertake the co-ordination and development of an appropriate Risk Register for the joint Central Scotland Fire and Police area.
13.3 Work is also being undertaken to develop sustainable business continuity plans to support the additional responsibilities emanating from the Bill and this is also reflected in the Service's integrated risk management planning process.
13.4 The Service is fully involved with all relevant category 1 and 2 responders and supporting agencies in developing the necessary arrangements imposed by the new legislation.
13.5 The Service has established a flexible deployment arrangement for the mass decontamination unit based at Falkirk and have in place the necessary systems, procedures and training to support Mass Decontamination both locally and as part of the wider Scottish New Dimension resilience capability arrangements.
13.6 The Service participates in exercises within the local emergency co-ordinating group and works with the local ambulance service to enhance and support the necessary joint service operations required at these types of event.
13.7 The Service has concentrated its specialist Urban Search & Rescue capability at Alloa fire station, where a dedicated training facility has been developed to support continuation training of staff for this important area of work. This is fully supported by a comprehensive training and development strategy.
13.8 The Service has in place an appropriate deployment strategy, which fully embraces the enhanced capability provided by these new resources for dealing with the more frequently occurring incidents whilst also providing the capacity to support a national catastrophic event.
13.9 The Service is currently reviewing its existing special rescue appliance. It continues to work with the Scottish Fire Service Inspectorate to enhance the existing deployment arrangements to both support normal operational response for the Central Scotland Fire Service area, as well as national resilience capability.
13.10 A key component of resilience planning is the need to review both existing and potential risks in the Fire Authority area against a range of accidental and or deliberate CBRN
scenarios. Guidance was issued to the Fire Service by the Inspectorate in November 2001 and CFOA
, provided a planning tool and guidance for this purpose to all Fire and Rescue services in June 2002. An extensive review of risks within the Central Fire and Police area is being undertaken and funding provided for additional staff support within the local emergency co-ordinating group to develop a local risk register in line with the requirements of the Civil Contingency Bill.
22. The Service needs to ensure that its business continuity plans fully consider the wider implications of a national emergency direction being made which could adversely impact on existing planning arrangements and operational service delivery.
23. To test the wider deployment of mass decontamination and inter Brigade mutual aid arrangements the service should maximise opportunities emanating from the current G8 planning to validate existing procedures.
24. In light of the type of planning scenarios being developed in the context of new dimensions, the Service will need to ensure that the development of the local risk register considers planning for the type and scale of events that would previously have been unimaginable.
14.1 Notwithstanding the need for a modest increase in resources as referred to earlier in this report, the Fire Authority will need to identify within their future plans how to absorb transitional funding, recently provided by the Scottish Executive to fund the pay agreement element of the modernising agenda. This task may be complemented by the Firemaster's two-phase plan and the possibility of "Invest to save" funds from the Scottish Executive.
25. The Fire Authority should plan for the Absorption of the recently provided Transitional Funding.