Agenda item


To consider Report CFO/061/20 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning performance against the objectives and the performance targets/outcomes as set out in the Service Delivery Plan 2019/20 for the period April to September 2020, the Integrated Risk Management Plan actions and the HMICFRS action plan.



Members considered Report CFO/061/20 of the Chief Fire Officer, concerning performance against the objectives and the performance targets/outcomes as set out in the Service Delivery Plan 2019/20 for the period April to September 2020, the Integrated Risk Management Plan actions and the HMICFRS action plan.


Members were advised that the Service Delivery Plan forms the basis of the Authority’s plan of accountability, moving forward; and includes actions contained within the functions of the Authority, as detailed within the report.

They were advised that the Service Delivery Plan also includes the key and benchmark performance indicators and targets, approved previously by Members, with this report highlighting performance against those targets for the period April to September 2020.


Members attention was drawn to the Service Delivery Plan, attached as Appendix A to the report, which references the details of the functional planning objectives and how they are progressing. Members were advised that overall, good progress is being made, however there have been some implications in some areas around the Covid-19 pandemic. It was confirmed to Members that despite this, the Authority are still on track for completion of the objectives by the end of the year.


Performance against the benchmark performance indicators, was then highlighted to Members. They were advised that broadly, the Authority is in a good place in terms of performance, with most indicators being green.

Members were informed that of particular note, is the number of fires attended by MFRA, which is down significantly on the previous period, as is the number of primary fires.


Members were informed that unfortunately, the number of deliberate fires in occupied dwellings has increased slightly above the target, which is something that the Authority is working to address.


Members were advised that the number of accidental dwelling fires and the number of ASB fires, are significantly down on the previous year; and as the previous year in both areas was the lowest the Authority has seen, the direction of travel in these areas, is particularly good.


It was highlighted to Members that the number of special service calls has increased over the period, however this is not surprising given the amount of work that the Authority is doing, particularly with NWAS colleagues, in terms of supporting them over the pandemic.


With regards to performance around the number of false alarms attended, Members were informed that there was a spike around April/ May time. They were advised that analysis has drawn to the conclusion that this was due to a significant number of false alarm – good intent calls, due to controlled burning during the initial lockdown period, with people choosing to burn refuse.

Members were informed that this was exasperated during the bonfire period, as people were unable to attend large organised events; and therefore chose to have events in their own gardens.


In terms of the attendance standard, Members were informed that it has been achieved on 95.4% of occasions, against a target of 90%.


Members were advised that a particular area of focus is around the percentage of shifts lost to sickness absence. It was highlighted that MFRA staff are now working through a pandemic where FRS staff are contributing more widely, rather than just in terms of its statutory responsibilities; and has assisted partner agencies in working through the pandemic process.

It was confirmed to Members that sickness absence is currently at 3.45% against a target of 4%; and if all Covid related absence was removed, it would be as low as 3.01%, a significant improvement of previous performance.

It was highlighted to Members that this is testimony to the focus and dedication of our staff; and that sickness absence performance is therefore fantastic against a backdrop of a global pandemic.


In terms of the Authority’s carbon output, Members were informed that this has improved significantly across all Authority buildings.


Members were advised that the IRMP is also covered in the report, with one of the key IRMP objectives, being around the completion of the new station build at St. Helens and move to a hybrid duty system at the new location.

Members were informed that that has now concluded and although the new station has not been officially opened, it is fully functioning, really effectively; and staff are thrilled with the new work environment created for them.


In terms of the IRMP, Members were informed that there are still some peripheral issues, which still require some more work, which have probably been held up by the impact of the pandemic. However, they were advised that significant progress is being made and the Authority are on track in most areas.


A further area highlighted to Members was the Action Plan against the HMICFRS Inspectorate findings. Members were informed that progress is being made against all areas, particularly around promoting the right values and culture. They were informed that a piece of work is taking place organisationally, to consider refreshing the organisational values, given they were put in place approximately 10 years ago. Members were advised that engagement sessions have taken place with staff, officers and diversity networks, to see if the values remain fit for purpose and reflect the aims and ambitions of the service. They were assured that should it be proposed to refresh the values to any great degree, a report will be brought back to Members for their consideration and approval.


Members requested a brief update around the Equality Networks and whether work was still ongoing.


Members were advised that there is now a LGBTQ+ Network, a Gender Network and a BAME Network; and that the Chairs of those networks are very proactive. They were informed that the Chairs of the Networks are now part of the E, D&I Board, which means that they are involved in the formulation of the Authority’s strategy, as opposed to just the implementation, which has been very well received.

Members were provided with a recent example of the involvement of the Network Chairs. They were informed that the Chair of the BAME Network, recently supported the Chief Fire Officer in the delivery of a national presentation around “Inclusive Leadership”, particularly around how FRS’s responded to the Covid pandemic from an inclusion perspective. Members were informed that this presentation with incredibly well received by colleagues nationally.

It was suggested that Members may wish to receive the presentation, albeit delivered by the BAME Network Chair, rather than the Chief Fire Officer, with the other Network Chairs also in attendance. It was suggested that this would provide Members with a great opportunity to engage with those Chairs and see how things are feeling and how inclusive the organisation is being in regards to their specific needs.

Members were assured that the Networks are going from strength to strength and that Officers are very proud of the progress that is being made.


A question was raised by Members around the feasibility of all new recruits being trained in Urban Search & Rescue.


Members were advised that although this was certainly an ambition, at this moment in time, it was not considered to be the most efficient of effective use of resources, or management of that cohort of individuals. They were advised that as new recruits are being distributed across the organisation into different duty systems, at stations with different specialities, rather than invest financially in their development and maintenance of skills, which may not be utilised, it is deemed to be a better use of resources for staff to obtain those skills as and when they become part of the USAR team.


Members were advised that over the course of the next IRMP, recommendations will be brought to Members around the distribution of specialist capabilities across the Service. They were informed that there are lots of specialisms across different areas of the Service; and Officers are particularly keen for those specialisms to be distributed across the whole of Merseyside, to complement the strategic needs and address foreseeable risk. It was highlighted to Members that by spreading those specialist capabilities across the whole of the organisation, MFRA will become more effective; and it will also ensure that firefighters in those specific locations, gain those specialist competencies required.


Members Resolved that:


The attached reports be approved for publication on the Authority’s Website.




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