The report and appendix are attached.
Ben Brook (Assistant Chief Fire Officer) introduced the report, stating that between 28 September 2020 and 9 October 2020, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) undertook an inspection of the response of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) to COVID-19.
Ben Brook stated that it was clear that HMICFRS recognised the quality of the Service’s response to the Pandemic. In the report, HMICFRS acknowledged the breadth of services delivered by WFRS including expansion of the Hospital to Home scheme which had helped to relieve pressure on the NHS during a critical period.
Ben Brook reported that HMICFRS had praised the ability and willingness of WFRS to maintain its delivery of statutory functions whilst supporting the community with a wide range of activities during a demanding period.
Ben Brook acknowledged the effectiveness of the combined response to COVID-19 from across WCC as well as Warwickshire Police, Public Health England, and the NHS. He stated that the report had identified four areas of future focus which had been acted upon promptly to ensure that communities would receive the best possible provision of services.
Members praised the outcome of the inspection and findings of the report.
In response to Councillor Boad, Kieran Amos (Chief Fire Officer) advised that the Resources and Fire & Rescue OSC provided an effective forum to enable members, as representatives of the Fire and Rescue Authority, to examine relevant issues. He added that the development of an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) Assurance Panel would enable a specific focus on delivery of the IRMP.
Kieran Amos advised that WFRS had taken a leading role in raising the potential issue of whether furloughed on-call firefighters would continue to qualify for payments from their primary employer. This had been responded to promptly by the National Fire Chiefs Council, enabling on-call firefighters to continue to play a part. This advice had helped other fire and rescue services and was noted by HMICFRS in their report.
Councillor Crump highlighted the impressive contribution WFRS had made to provide support to communities during the Pandemic. He offered his congratulations to Henley-in-Arden Fire Station which had maintained around-the-clock uninterrupted availability for two years consecutively. This was a substantial accomplishment.
That the Committee:
a) Notes the summary findings of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) COVID-19 Specific Inspection of Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS);
b) Commends WFRS for the positive outcome of the inspection; and
c) Expresses its thanks to WFRS for its continued delivery of high-quality services to the communities of Warwickshire.