Fire Accountability Board Minutes 9 March 2021




PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)

Nicci Marzec (NM)

Paul Fell (PF)

Louise Sheridan (LS)

Stuart McCartney (SMc)

Helen King (HK)

CFO Darren Dovey (DD)

ACFO Shaun Hallam (SH)

ACFO Rob Porter (RP)

Assistant Chief Officer Paul Bullen (PB)


Minutes and Actions from previous meeting


SM welcomed everyone to the meeting

  • The minutes from the previous meeting were approved.
  • Relevant updates on any outstanding actions were provided and the Action Log updated



Performance update


  • The Commissioner requires a report of the performance against the measures and metrics contained within the IRMP
  • ACFO Rob Porter provided an overview on the detailed report submitted with the advance papers.
  • NFRS utilise the balanced scorecard to review organisational performance as part of the performance framework. This is reviewed within the Fire Executive Group (FEG) and at the tactical leadership team (TLT) meeting on a monthly basis.
  • The Balance Scorecard was last presented to the Accountability Board on the 8th December 2020, with more detailed performance information regarding response times, availability and analysis around Road Traffic Collision presented to the Board in April and August 2020.
  • Throughout the Covid period the Service has had to respond to the lockdown by delivering its services differently due to the live risk of Covid-19 transmission through face to face activity.
  • ‘very high risk’ inspections have continued throughout the lockdown period but there had been an impact on the overall metrics for home fire safety checks (Prevention) and the risk-based inspection programme (Protection).
  • A revised risk-based inspection programme has been delivered during COVID-19 focusing on those greatest affected by COVID and supporting desktop reviews were appropriate. An alternative dashboard was included within the report to highlight this work.
  • A revised Home Fire Safety Visit risk matrix has been developed by Prevention, that aligns resources to the greatest risk and enables remote triage of HFSV’s by crews.
  • Key metrics from all Community Based Outcomes measures in the report were reviewed
  • As we move out of lockdown the Service is ready to scale back up with prevention work and has already started to do more in this area for example supporting the Safer Streets work which has already identified some new cases.
  • Deliberate Primary Fires, Deliberate Secondary Fires and Primary Fires continue to reduce over the period.
  • There has been a fall in short term sickness (in part helped by fire staff working from home although there has been a slight rise in overall long-term sickness.
  • This is due to the impact of face to face treatment (physio) and hospital treatment being unavailable. Should start to see more of these services return as we move through the roadmap out of lockdown.
  • There was a discussion about performance against family groups. Progress against family comparisons is good since 2019.
  • The Chief Fire Officer explained that all brigades report slightly differently to other groups. This is an issue nationally which means comparator data is interesting but not reliable.
  • Work however is being done in conjunction with the Fire Chiefs Council to review and define better reporting measures going forward
  • The service is looking at bringing arson data together with the Police through the joint arson reduction strategy. This will be important as deliberate Arson is usually a sign of other things going on in a neighbourhood. When you map this against Police data for ASB, criminal damage and fly tipping etc there is an opportunity to work together
  • Average response times remain good with the Service consistently maintaining the standard to attend all incidents within an average of 10 minutes.
  • A slight increase in response times to Road Traffic Collisions (RTC) was noted.
  • There was a discussion about First and Second response times,
  • First response is life-saving; the nearest fire appliance is deployed.
  • Second response will rely on additional whole-time station or on-call availability. This will always be around 13/14 minutes as the second pump is typically travelling further.
  • Appliance availability remains positive (minimum of 14 fire appliances achieved on 100% of occasions).
  • Robust management procedures give the Chief Fire Officer confidence that the improvements to response times and pump availability, will be maintained once lockdown measures ease and on-call firefighters return to their places of work.
  • There was a discussion about the variation on the month-on-month Incident data particularly for RTCs.
  • It was agreed that a more detailed breakdown of the numbers would be provided in the next report to make it easier to spot any trends or seasonal factors.

Action – Incident Data which provides a breakdown of the number incidents in the current year and over the previous three years should be much more detailed and informative to make it easier to spot any trends or seasonal factors. ROB PORTER

  • There was a discussion about Heat maps and temporal maps for RTC and Dwelling Fires. (Appendix 5 of the report).
  • Whilst RTC response times remain an outlier, the Chief Fire Officer explained that it is the more remote ones that statistically impact on average response times overall.
  • Fires typically occur within 10-minute isochrones[1] whereas a bigger proportion of RTC’s occur outside of these.

Action – It was agreed isochrones would be added to the heat map at the next update.

  • There was a discussion about the impact Covid has had on the three-year Risk Based Inspection Programme which should have commenced in April 2020.
  • Protection have already completed a desk top review of high risk premises scheduled for inspection. A 9-month delay to starting the inspection programme will not necessarily mean a 9 month extension to its completion. A revised risk based inspection programme has been delivered through the past year.
  • There was a discussion about how performance data is reported and a desire for a clearer quarterly data rather than cumulative/rolling data.
  • Paul Fell has discussed with Area Manager Barry Mullan and identified a need for some analytical resource to support.

Action – PF will pick up with ACFO Rob Porter and Barry Mullan offering support from Tom Smith from the OPFCC Rob and Barry. Tom could support.

[1] An isochrone (iso = equal, chrone = time) is defined as “a line drawn on a map connecting points at which something occurs or arrives at the same time”. Isochrones are used to show how far an appliance will travel within 10minutes, to show incidents that occur within the Standard of Operational Response Times based on duty systems.

Assurance Statement:

The Commissioner was assured that good progress continued to be made by NFRS in achieving the metrics relating to delivery of the IRMP and Fire and Rescue Plan.

He stated that for future reports he was looking to move to presentation of the performance data and metrics on a rolling three-year trend as opposed to a quarter by quarter comparison.

 He raised with the Chief Fire Officer the sustainability of the improvements in appliance response times, now that some of the increased availability of RDS seen in the earlier days of the Covid pandemic were returning to normality.

 The Chief Fire Officer provided reassurance that he was confident that he and his team had in place plans to continue maintaining the positive results and trajectory seen in this regard over the past 18 months.



Covid 19 Response


  • During 2020 HMICFRS undertook an inspection in 44 Fire and Rescue Services across England and Wales. This inspection was to assess their response to the Covid 19 pandemic. These reports were published on 22nd January 2021.
  • The Commissioner request a formal presentation of the finding of the report relating to NFRS, with if required, plans to respond to any recommendations and to highlight positive practice.
  • The sector wide inspections were carried out between September and December 2020 and were largely positive.
  • Generally, the Fire and Rescue Service Sector performed well. (National response with local variation)
  • However, there have been some issues relating to the tri-partite agreement
  • The national position of the FBU has seen them effectively withdrawing support from doing additional COVID activity i.e. Ambulance driving, Mortuary support and supporting vaccination centres, meaning that this has been done largely by either retained or non-operational staff. Despite this additional challenge, NFRS has managed to continue to deliver services and support partner agencies throughout the pandemic.
  • The inspection report for NFRS was overwhelmingly positive. The Service had worked pro-actively and had maintained statutory functions including protection.
  • Processes already in place, maintained appliance availability and the Service prioritised the wellbeing of its staff.
  • There was also good collaborative working with Police (JOT)
  • Three areas of focus were identified for the whole Sector post Inspection.
  1. It should determine how it will adopt for the longer-term, the new and innovative ways of working.
  2. It should consider whether shared plans, owned by the Local Resilience Forum are comprehensive enough
  3. It should determine how it can improve its IT and Systems so that staff can work remotely effectively.
  • The Chief Fire Officer confirmed all sectors have been tasked with the same improvements. For NFRS, 1 and 2 are much easier; have already implemented and would continue with agile working for Fire Staff.
  • Command and Assessment centre in Daventry. Set up to run assessments from home. As a result, all required assessment are up-to-date and will now be easier to maintain using cameras as a virtual platform in stations to bring larger groups together rather than have to abstract them from the duty system.
  • HK confirmed she would be pleased to see any funding proposals which utilise VR technology in station to aid training. Invest to save principle.
  • ICT weakness and ageing systems remain an issue for NFRS however on a positive note, a new Digital Strategy Board chaired by Clare Chambers is in place to oversee.
  • Fusion of enabling services is coming at exactly the right time.
  • In summary whilst there is more work to do on number 3, the Service is moving forward, and HK is comfortable from an investment perspective.

Assurance statement:

The Commissioner thanked all staff in NFRS that had contributed to the positive response to the pandemic.

 He welcomed the positive HMICFRS inspection report on the local response by the service and was assured by the positivity of the report.

 There were three areas for consideration from the inspection report. These were subject to discussion and the Commissioner was provided with assurances from the Chief Fire Officer that effective processes were in place to continue to progress against these observations





  • No further business was raised.