Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has been rated “Good” for its effectiveness and how well it manages staff by inspectors from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
An independent inspection undertaken last spring saw inspectors conduct a comprehensive review of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, from how it responds to emergencies to its equality, diversity, and inclusion policies.
Colleagues from across Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were involved throughout the inspection process to give an accurate representation of the service.
In a report published today (Friday 20 January), HMICFRS praised many aspects of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, with inspectors highlighting that “the service is good at identifying risk in the communities it serves” and “works well with others to reduce the number of fires.”
The report adds that “Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is good for how it promotes the right values and culture. There is a positive working culture throughout the service.” Inspectors also commented that “a culture of continuous improvements is promoted throughout the service and staff are encouraged to learn and develop.”
I am delighted with the outcome of our latest inspection, which reflects our staff's loyalty, commitment, and tireless work to protect Suffolk’s communities, as well as the incredible achievements made by all teams since our previous full inspection in 2019.
Jon Lacey added:
“There have been many improvements in this time, especially in our protection work with businesses and landlords which has seen us recruit additional staff and target the areas of highest risk, enabling Suffolk to remain a safe and healthy place to live.
“Progress has also been made behind the scenes to ensure that we have the right people in the right jobs. We want Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service to continue to be a diverse employer of choice, where staff can receive support with their health and wellbeing and have the career development opportunities they deserve.”
Whilst the inspection was mostly positive, it also identified areas where Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service can improve, specifically in terms of its efficiency and how it can make the best use of staff across its prevention, protection, and response activity.
The service was commended for “increasing staff numbers in important areas of work to improve performance”, but inspectors felt that improvements needed to be made in productivity and ways of working, including making better use of flexible contracts for firefighters.
Our inspection report includes much to be proud of, and I am pleased that Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service received commendation on its effectiveness and how well it manages staff.
Councillor Reid added:
“However, we do acknowledge that we could be more efficient at keeping people safe and secure, with work already undertaken to address this, including further investment in our Prevention team, which has resulted in a 60% increase in our home safety visits compared to 2020/21.
“We remain committed to making continuous improvements not just in our efficiency but in all areas of our work to enable us to maintain the highest standards of excellence and provide the best possible service to our county, regardless of whichever challenge may arise.”
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service was last inspected in August 2020 on its response to Covid, during which inspectors commented that they “were impressed with how the service adapted and responded to the pandemic effectively” adding that “the efficient use of staff was notable."