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Press Release - Service welcomes inspection report
Posted on 16/12/2019

Independent Government inspectors are reporting on all 45 fire and rescue services in England and Wales. Devon and Somerset is among 15 services to have inspection reports published today (Tuesday 17 December).

HMICFRS found that Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service:

• is ‘good’ at effectively keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks;
• 'requires improvement’ at how efficiently it manages its resources; and
• 'requires improvement’ at looking after its people.

The inspectors also recognise that “the Service has recently launched its Safer Together programme to better match resources to risk.”

Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said: “I am pleased that inspectors identified that the Service is ‘good’ at keeping people safe and secure from fires and other risks.”

He continued: “I very much welcome the inspection report which confirms that we are good at understanding the risk of fires and other emergencies, good at preventing fires, good at protecting the public through the regulation for fire safety and good at responding to national risks.

“We are also classed as good in securing an affordable way of managing the risks of fires and other emergencies now and in the future and are good at the way in which we train our staff.

“We accept that we ‘require improvement’ in the way we respond to fires and other emergencies, need to do more to use our resources to manage risk, need to further promote our values and culture, further improve fairness and diversity and develop leadership and capability.”

Lee added: “The inspectors recognised that our operational response is quicker than other predominantly rural services. We think that being able to provide a fire engine to three out of four incidents within 10 minutes can be seen to be something of an achievement given our large geographical area. However, we can do more to improve our availability of our ‘on call’ fire stations and hope to finalise improved arrangements with trade unions shortly which will further improve our response times.”

Lee concluded: “We accept the report in full and have already addressed many of the areas identified for improvement since the inspection in June.”

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Authority is responsible for the governance arrangements for the Service.

Cllr Sara Randall Johnson, Chair of the Fire Authority, said: “The Authority welcomes the introduction of service inspections by HMICFRS. It is a shame the time between inspection and publication has been so long. The Service has changed during this period and will continue to improve its performance. The recommendations provide a focus for both members and the Service to consider, as we strengthen public safety. Prevention and protection activities lay at the heart of all we do.”

Note to editors

The full report is available on the Criminal Justice Inspectorate website.

DSFRS has addressed many issues since the HMICFRS inspection took place in June 2019 and improvement work is ongoing. Further details are on the action plan below.

Associated Documents

Action plan
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