Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Kelly Kellaway, Democratic Services Manager  Email: democraticservices@merseyfire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

8.

CHAIR'S ANNOUNCEMENT

Minutes:

At the start of the meeting, the Chair of the Authority thanked everyone for attending and welcomed any members of the press or public who were observing the proceedings.

 

The Chair then introduced the meeting and provided all present with an overview of how this remote meeting would work and some housekeeping.

 

The Chair confirmed that all Members in attendance could hear and be heard; and could see and be seen.

 

The Chair confirmed that all Members had received the papers, along with the proposed Labour Group Budget Resolution, in relation to Agenda item 6, which had been circulated to all Members in line with the requirements contained within the Authority’s Constitution.

 

1.

Preliminary Matters

Members are requested to consider the identification of:

 

a)    Declarations of interest by individual Members in relation to any item of business on the Agenda

 

b)    Any additional items of business which the Chair has determined should be considered as matters of urgency; and

 

c)    Items of business which may require the exclusion of the press and public during consideration thereof because of the possibility of the disclosure of exempt information.

 

Minutes:

Members considered the identification of declarations of interest, any urgent additional items, and any business that may require the exclusion of the press and public.

 

Resolved that:

 

a)  no declarations of interest were made by individual Members in relation to any item of business on the Agenda

 

b)  no additional items of business to be considered as matters of urgency were determined by the Chair; and

 

c) no items of business required the exclusion of the press and public, due to the possible disclosure of exempt information.

 

 

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 82 KB

The Minutes of the Previous Meeting of the Authority, held on 15th October 2020, are submitted for approval as a correct record and signature by the Chair of the Authority.

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting of the Authority, held on 15th October 2020, were approved as a correct record and for signature by the Chair.

3.

HMICFRS COVID-19 Inspection Outcomes pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To consider Report CFO/007/21 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning the outcomes of the COVID-19 inspection carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) attached as Appendix A and B to this report. Please note, the reports are no longer under embargo.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered Report CFO/007/21 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning the outcomes of the COVID-19 inspection carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) attached as Appendix A and B to this report.

 

Members were informed that Appendix A, was the HMICFRS Inspection report for MFRS, whilst Appendix B, was the national report for all FRS’s.

 

Members attention was drawn to page 17, which highlights the positive outcomes of the report for MFRS. It was highlighted that the work undertaken by MFRS, has been broad and vast in supporting our communities.

Members were advised that this work commenced in March 2020, with the repatriation of UK citizens from Wuhan, back to Arrowe Park Hospital. They were informed that this was the first time that a FRS got involved in the pandemic; and this is where the initial learning for MFRS occurred. They were advised that this commenced the journey in assisting other partners around health, but also acting under the Civil Contingencies Act.

 

With regards to the headlines of the report, Members were informed that MFRS were praised around the breadth of work undertaken alongside our agility to maintain our statutory functions throughout. It was noted that some of MFRS key contributions have been outside of our statutory functions, with over 300 staff across the whole organisation, stepping up and volunteering. Members were advised that this volunteering included the delivery of prescriptions to individuals who were shielding, and the delivery of food parcels to the most vulnerable, extending to health and the delivery of face fit testing for partners, enabling them to continue to do their jobs safely and effectively.

 

Members were informed of the support provided by MFRS around the national roll out of mass testing, particularly in the Liverpool area.

They were informed of the logistical support provided, within the whole command structure, the Local Resilience Forum structure, and a Strategic Coordinating Group, which has been assisted and supported by MFRS, particularly the DCFO.

 

Members were advised that 10 of our firefighters have been trained by NWAS to drive ambulances. They were informed that this may be to support future demand management planning, however given the pressures on NWAS during the period, it was thought prudent to ensure that we have staff available and trained to step up if required. It was highlighted to Members that this is part of a North West response; and that there are 42 firefighters trained to drive ambulances across the North West, if they are needed.

 

Members were then informed of the support provided by MFRS staff to vaccination centres, in particular, to the mass vaccination centre established in St. Helens. They were advised that there are over 200 MFRS staff facilitating, with around 140 of those being in the role of vaccinator, and others assisting with administrative roles associated with the mass roll out of vaccinations.

Members were informed that as it stands, over the past 7-day period, 70 MFRS staff have been deployed to the mass  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Draft IRMP 2021-24 pdf icon PDF 541 KB

To consider Report CFO/009/21 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning the release of the draft Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) 2021-24 for a period of 12 weeks’ consultation prior to adoption and implementation, whilst noting that the proposals outlined within the IRMP may change to reflect the views expressed during the consultation process.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered Report CFO/009/21 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning the release of the draft Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) 2021-24 for a period of 12 weeks’ consultation prior to adoption and implementation, whilst noting that the proposals outlined within the IRMP may change to reflect the views expressed during the consultation process.

 

Members were provided with a detailed presentation, highlighting the key areas contained within the Draft IRMP.

 

Members were advised that the Draft IRMP seeks to ensure the disposition of MFRA resources, based on risk, demand and vulnerability. In terms of key headlines, they were advised that it aims to increase the number of fire appliances available, maintain the number of firefighters and slightly improve Protection based on current funding levels. Members were advised however, that the funding for Protection, has been in year funding received, which the Authority are trying to extend via lobbying,

 

Members were informed that the plans aim to increase resilience on the basis of more appliances and more retained provision, which will also improve performance. They also propose enhancing specialist capabilities, through the creation of specialist teams; and enhancing firefighter safety, on the basis of a new training facility, which will enable our staff to train effectively against all foreseeable risk.

 

It was highlighted to Members that as part of the interim IRMP in 2019, the Authority sought to re-invest in the frontline; and since then, MFRA has seen a significant improvement in its ability to respond to incidents. They were advised this this proposed IRMP, seeks to build upon that.

 

Members were assured that despite a challenging financial position, the proposals are based on sound budget planning and arrangements.

 

Members were advised that the Interim IRMP 2019/21 changed the 2017-20 IRMP quite significantly, with the aim of improving the operational response capability, based on foreseeability of risk. It was confirmed that the draft IRMP 2021-24, will enhance that further. Ultimately, this means that over the course of the 2014 – 2024 IRMP period, appliance availability will have increased from 26, to 30 (29+1), to 32 (31+1).

 

It was highlighted to Members that the proposals are based on risk, taking into consideration national security risks, as well as community risks and how we manage them locally. Members were informed that this identified a number of high impact areas, such as our ability to respond to terrorist incidents, wildfires, marine incidents, flooding, large fires akin to Grenfell; and fires in waste disposal sites. They were informed that such risks have been built into the plan, given the impact that they have on our resources, but also the impact that they have on our communities.

It was also advised that these risks have been built into the 30 fire appliance model, which will enable MFRA to respond to any large, protracted incidents, whilst also being able to continue to respond to life risk across the whole of Merseyside.

 

Members were informed that other consideration when forming the IRMP, are around demand and vulnerability, which links  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Asset Management Plans 2021/2026 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To consider Report CFO/001/21 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning how the Authority plans to align its physical asset base with its corporate goals and objectives over the next 5 years (2021/22 – 2025/6).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered Report CFO/001/21 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning how the Authority, plans to align its physical asset base with its corporate goals and objectives over the next 5 years (2021/22 – 2025/6).

 

Members were informed that the Asset Management Plans take account of the financial and environmental challenge faced by the Authority. Along with the changes that are likely to be required in order to continue to meet requirements and expectations of both internal and external service users.

 

Members were provided with an overview of the report, and it was highlighted that the Asset Management Plans are directly aligned with the IRMP 2021-24, to ensure that the Authority has Estate, ICT and Transport Plans in place, to meet and underpin the IRMP proposals.

 

The Chair of the Authority commented that a specific challenge for the Authority moving forward, will be around the use of electric vehicles. It was commented that the technology is not quite there at present, but we need to remain alive to the issue.

 

It was suggested that the Authority may wish to scrutinise its agenda around the green economy and carbon reduction, via its scrutiny functions. It was commented that there are lots of issues to consider, not only around the provision of electric vehicles, but also around infrastructure. As such, it was noted that the new TDA will be built around the provision of electric vehicles.

 

A further question was raised by Members around a review of the stations at Heswall and Bromborough, as the plans reference the potential to combine the 2 existing sites, at a site “to be determined”. Members asked whether this was proposing to build one station to replace the existing 2; and if so, what the potential timescale would be.

 

Members were advised that there is no timescale for this at present. It was confirmed that with Authority approval, a refurbishment of Heswall Fire Station has commenced, with Bromborough also due to be refurbished in the near future. Members were advised that some decisions will be financially driven, and as such, the IRMP 2021-24, does not include provision for a new station merger of Bromborough and Heswall. It was noted that whilst Heswall is quite a nice station, in the heart of the community, Bromborough isn’t, even with investment. Therefore, consideration will be given in the future as to how the Authority can move away from the current location, whilst still maintaining performance, the number of appliances and the number of firefighters. Members were informed that what will drive any change, is trying to create a location that is fit for our staff, which will meet all of our equality objectives; and which allows staff to train against foreseeable risk.

It was confirmed to Members therefore, that although it may be an aspiration at present, rather than reality, the aspiration is to look at a merger option in the future, that enables us to maintain performance and response standards, whilst improving facilities for our staff.

 

 

Members Resolved that:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

MERSEYSIDE FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY BUDGET AND FINANCIAL PLAN 2021/2022 – 2025/2026

To consider Report CFO/010/21 of the Director of Finance, concerning the setting of a medium term capital and revenue financial plan that allocates resources in line with the Authority’s strategic aims and ensures that the Authority delivers an efficient and effective, value for money service aligned to its budget principles. This will enable the Authority to determine a budget for 2021/2022 whilst setting a precept level which is in line with statutory requirements.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered Report CFO/010/21 of the Director of Finance, concerning the presentation of information in order to allow Members to set a medium term capital and revenue financial plan that allocates resources in line with the Authority’s strategic aims and ensures that the Authority delivers an efficient and effective, value for money service aligned to its budget principles. This will enable the Authority to determine a budget for 2021/2022 whilst setting a precept level which is in line with statutory requirements.

 

At the start of this item, the Chair of the Authority confirmed that during the consideration of this item, he would formally move the Labour Group Budget Resolution, which has been circulated to all Members, in line with the requirements within the Authority’s Constitution.

 

Members were informed that the budget and financial plan report provides all of the necessary financial information for Members to approve a financial strategy that sets a balanced 2021/22 revenue budget based on a 1.99% precept increase.

 

Members attention was drawn to Section C on pages 254 to 259 of the report, which considers the proposed 5-year capital programme and associated prudential borrowing requirement.

Members were advised that as per the table on the top of page 256, the total capital programme provides for investment of £51.8m of which £27.9m is being funded by prudential borrowing.

 

They were informed that this includes the current planned spend in the existing 5-year capital programme, plus new schemes totalling £26.2m of which £20.8m relates to the net increase to cover the spend on a new TDA, above that assumed for a refurbishment scheme, and £4.3m of the increase relates to the addition of the new 5th year -  2025/26.

 

Members were advised that Paragraph 62 on pages 256 to 258 provides a summary of the areas of planned capital spend. 

 

They were informed that Section D, pages 260 to 262, considers how the Minimum Revenue Provision,which is the sum that will be set aside each year to repay debt associated with capital expenditure funded through borrowing, will be calculated. They were advised that the recommendation is to adopt a similar strategy to the current MRP determination and use the asset life method for all unsupported borrowing. 

 

It was highlighted that the Authority is required to consider the impact of the proposed capital investment over a number of prudential indicators, and that Section E, pages 263 to 265, provides that information. In addition, Members were informed that a key indicator is that debt is only incurred to meet capital expenditure and therefore net borrowing does not, except in the short term, exceed the total Capital Financing Requirement. It was confirmed to Members that he current and planned borrowing meets this this requirement.

 

Members were advised that the Authority is required to prepare a Treasury Management Strategy, and section F, pages 267 to 276set out the proposed strategy.

They were informed that the proposed investment strategy is consistent with the current strategy and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Summary of the 2020 Staff Engagement Survey Results pdf icon PDF 813 KB

To consider Report CFO/004/21 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning the results of the MFRA staff engagement survey 2020.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 Members considered Report CFO/004/21 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning the results of the MFRA staff engagement survey 2020.

 

Members were informed that the outcomes of the staff survey were presented back to the whole organisation, with People insight presenting to over 100 individuals, including some Members of the Authority.

 

Members were informed that the full set of reports can be accessed via the link contained within the covering report.

 

Members attention was drawn to page 325, which captures the whole journey that MFRA has been on since its first Staff Engagement Survey in 2014, which has seen it move to significant advantage. They were advised that this highlights how staff are now highly engaged in what the Authority is seeking to do, its purpose, its mission; and what it is seeking to deliver for its communities.

 

Members were advised that officers are thrilled by the progress that has been made. They were informed that the progress is down to a number of factors, including improved engagement and communication; and the role of the Authority in extending its engagement with staff, which staff have embraced.

 

Members were informed that from an organisational perspective, there has been a shift away from a “burning platform”, to a “burning ambition”, with our “burning ambition” being to be the best FRS in the UK, if not beyond. As such, Members were informed that we have started to look up and aspire to deliver that for our communities.

 

Members were also informed that the skill is to not only communicate effectively, but most importantly, to listen. They were informed that the key is to listen to staff and genuinely hear what their views are and how they express them; and then to act upon what we hear.

 

It was confirmed to Members that the Authority have made huge gains around levels of staff engagement across MFRA, which Members will have seen for themselves first-hand, in their conversations with staff at various engagement sessions.

 

Members were advised that the outcomes within the report, are down to the hard work and tenacity of lots of people across the whole organisation, at every level; and that we are now reaping the benefit of that work.

 

It was highlighted to Members that a move from significant disadvantage, to significant advantage, is incredibly beneficial to our communities, as it means our operational staff, prevention teams, protection staff; and staff across all other areas, are going above and beyond, which has been crystallised more latterly in how we have responded during the pandemic.

 

The Chair of the Authority expressed his thanks to everyone; and commented that the Authority are getting a good picture of the views and morale within the service, through their continued virtual engagement sessions.

 

Members Resolved that:

 

The content of the report, be noted.