Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) has a statutory duty under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, via the Fire and Rescue Service’s National Framework, to prepare an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). This report seeks approval of the IRMP.
Councillor Andy Crump introduced the report, reminding council that the IRMP had been considered by Cabinet and the Resources and Fire and Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Council was informed that there is a statutory duty to produce an IRMP which ensures that the service makes the best use of people, resources and equipment in a well managed and risk assessed way.
Councillor Adrian Warwick seconded the motion and reserved the right to speak.
Councillor Sarah Boad (Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group) stressed the need for members to read and understand the IRMP. Regarding the responses to the consultation that had been undertaken Councillor Boad noted that 22% of respondents had objected to a proposal that the workforce of the Fire and Rescue Service should reflect the communities it serves. This was regrettable and surprising. The service has a good record regarding diversity, and it continues to work with communities to ensure that it recruits the correct people for the job.
Councillor Maggie O’Rourke agreed with Councillor Boad’s comments adding that it is important to challenge peoples’ prejudices. Having been the Labour Group Spokesperson on Fire and Rescue for a number of years she commended the service for its response during the pandemic and its support to the communities it serves.
Councillor Mark Cargill expressed his support for the Fire and Rescue Service and in particular for the staff at Alcester fire station. He had seen a mention on social media of a proposal to close Stratford fire station and sought clarification on the matter.
Councillor John Cooke commented on the size of the document pack and commended the service for its work during the Pandemic.
Councillor Keith Kondakor observed that the motorway system in Warwickshire places a major burden onto the service. He had heard that Bedworth fire station was set to lose an appliance and sought clarification on this. The service has done good work around fire prevention but there is a danger of it being stretched too thin he said.
Councillor Wallace Redford commended the report adding that the service is now firmly embedded in the community.
Councillor Adrian Warwick, who seconded the motion commended the service for its work around the Pandemic. The document before council set out priorities but it is important to appreciate that they are part of an evolving picture. He agreed with the concerns expressed around diversity but suggested that it is important to focus on the positives around the consultation. The technical ability of the service and its ethos are of importance. Finally, Councillor Warwick thanked the Resources and Fire & Rescue Overview and Scrutiny Committee for its work.
In closing Councillor Andy Crump acknowledged the contributions made by Councillors Boad and O’Rourke to the development of the Fire and Rescue Service. He agreed with comments made around diversity. The work of the Chief Fire Officer and his team was commended. Regarding the future of Stratford fire station Councillor Crump offered to brief Councillor Cargill on this at a later date. Responding to Councillor Kondakor’s concerns over the appliance at Bedworth Councillor Crump stated that members should not always believe what they hear in their constituency. Any proposals for changes will be the subject of discussion with local members. Appliances need to be in the right place and the decisions around this will be based on evidence.
A vote was held.
49 votes for the recommendations
1 vote (Councillor Keith Kondakor) against the recommendations
1. Notes the outcome of the eight-week Draft Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) 2020-2025 consultation process.
2. Approves the IRMP 2020 - 2025 and the proposals therein.
· Proposal 1 - Ensure our workforce and ethos reflect the diverse communities we serve
· Proposal 2 - Assess our capabilities to improve our ways of working in response to any future pandemics
· Proposal 3 - Assess our overall resource capacity to ensure our personnel and physical assets are in the right place and at the right time to deliver our statutory duties
· Proposal 4 - Develop further opportunities to support the wider community health outcomes and help to protect Social Care and the NHS
· Proposal 5 - Implement digital solutions to enhance our service delivery
3. Authorises the Cabinet to approve the annual action plans to deliver the IRMP.