Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Chair's Announcement


Prior to the start of the meeting, information regarding general housekeeping was provided by the Chair to all in attendance.


The Chair confirmed to all present that the proceedings of the meeting would not be filmed.


The meeting was declared open.



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)    No items of business requires the exclusion of the press and public during consideration thereof because of the possibility of the disclosure of exempt information.



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 during consideration, due to the possible disclosure of exempt information. 



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 79 KB

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 16th January 2020, are submitted as a correct record and for signature by the Chair. 



The Minutes of the previous meeting of the Scrutiny Committee held on 16th January 2020, were approved as a correct record and signed accordingly by the Chair. 



Joint Competent Authority (JCA) With Liverpool City Council (Seconded Protection Officer) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

To consider report CFO/011/20 of the Assistant Chief Fire Officer concerning  the Joint Competent Authority (JCA) arrangements, with Liverpool City Council.


Presentation to follow report. 




Members considered report number CFO/011/20 of the Assistant Chief Fire Officer, concerning the establishment of the Building Safety Group (BSG) with Liverpool City Council and key stakeholders/partners, previously referred to as the Joint Competent Authority (JCA). The creation of the BSG and the secondment of a Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (MFRA) Officer responds to the recommendations as contained within the Dame Judith Hackitt Review in relation to the Grenfell Tower fire.


Members were given a brief introduction of this report, highlighting the BSG’s purpose to arrange joint inspections with key stakeholders.  They were told that they can receive further information regarding future meetings of BSG if they wish. 


Station Manager Dave Watson then presented to Members about the joint work that MFRA are doing with Liverpool City Council (LCC) in response to the Grenfell Towers incident which happened in 2017. 


High Rise Reassurance Campaigns have took place throughout Merseyside, which included work ensuring General Fire Precautions and Home Fire Safety Checks for communities.  All the information gained from this work is stored on a database, which is due to be fully completed by next summer. 


Members were advised that a large exercise took place recently at Irlam House, a high rise building located in Bootle, and the training was very successful. 


MFRA have had an Officer seconded into this joint working role with the Local Authority since October 2018 and it is a key working strategy. 


Group Manager Chris Head then advised Members that the plan to second an officer in this way is very well thought out and that other services have followed this practice.  He added that sharing information is very important and that this ensures MFRA have direct access to all the data stored with the Local Authority on this practice.  The data we have about cladding on buildings is a big part of keeping firefighters safe.  After 2 years around 200 properties have been looked at with regards to Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) and its removal.  There are 5 High Rise buildings left on Merseyside that have cladding and it is ongoing to get this removed. 


It was explained to Members that due to the different types of legislation for different properties (ie: Housing Act and Fire Safety Order) that these powers require revising to assist Fire Services in their duties.  MFRA will continue to work closely with the Local Authorities to ensure properties and the public remain as safe as possible. 


Members asked if the Local Authorities are enforcing the assistance with MFRA with regards to the removal of cladding and where advised that they are.  It was added that MFRA can serve Prohibition Notices and this means people are required to leave properties immediately – about 20 of these are served a year and there have been no appeals on Merseyside in relation to this. 


Members then raised a question of whose responsibility it is to re-home any tenants that were forced out of their properties and it was confirmed that this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Verbal Update - CfPS Local Government Scrutiny Conference

To consider a verbal update from the Lead Scrutiny Members – Cllr Jan Grace and Cllr Paul Tweed, following their attendance at the recent Centre for Public Scrutiny – Local Government Scrutiny Conference.


Members considered a verbal update from the Lead Scrutiny Members – Cllr Jan Grace and Cllr Paul Tweed, following their attendance at the recent Centre for Public Scrutiny – Local Government Scrutiny Conference.


The importance of courses and attending them was relayed to the Members and they were told that the Fire Authority is happy for training to be completed if required for Fire Authority commitments. 


Members were advised that Scrutiny is a vital role and for it to be effective it requires vision and the ability to articulate.  It is necessary to access and challenge information. 


Demand and cost pressures were then presented to Members highlighting financial sustainability of Local Authorities 2018, consisting of: spending powers being reduced by 26.3% from 2010-11 to 2018-19; the number of children looked after in care has increased by 15% from 2010-11 to 2017-18; and the population of people aged over 65 years who need care increasing by 14% from 2010-11 to 2016-17.  It was added that the pressure of financial issues will continue and that substantial savings have had to be made, which has meant difficult decisions over spending reductions and the prioritisation of different service areas.   


Members were advised that forward planning is a good way in which we can prepare for any future challenges such as climate change, budgets, the possibility of a recession and the exit from the European Union. 


Transparency for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (MFRA) is paramount and good governance and scrutiny should be upheld. 


Members were reminded that for scrutiny to be effective the committee should constructively challenge, amplify the voices and concerns of the public and drive improvement in public services. 


Members resolved that: 


the verbal update regarding the Local Government Scrutiny Conference, be noted.




Standing Item: Review of Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Plan pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To review the current Forward Work Plan for the Scrutiny Committee; and to consider the inclusion of any additional items for scrutiny, and the priority of any additional items.



Members considered and reviewed the current Forward Work Plan for the Scrutiny Committee; and considered the inclusion of any additional items for scrutiny.


Members were advised that the items on the current Forward Work Plan are highlighted as follows:

·         actions in Green are completed items,

·         actions in white are outstanding items; and

·         actions in yellow are new items added since the last Scrutiny Committee. 


In relation to the action regarding ‘Family Friendly Policies and Staff Retention’, a question was raised asking what we have in place for families and if adoption was covered.  Members were informed that we have an adoption policy and also policies for both maternity and paternity. 


It was re-iterated to Members that if they required any further information on topics, they were more than welcome to send any questions to Democratic Services for this to be added to the Forward Work Plan. 


Members resolved that:


The current Forward Work Plan, be noted.