South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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HMICFRS Round 2 Inspection

Progress against the HMICFRS recommendations made within our Round 2 inspection report as of April 2024.

South Yorkshire – His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (

Effectiveness, efficiency and people 2021/22 – South Yorkshire fire and Rescue (HTML)

Effectiveness, efficiency and people 2021/22 – South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (PDF document)

Areas for Improvement (AFI) updates:

AFI: The Service should ensure its firefighters have good access to relevant and up-to-date risk information.

We have a Site Specific Risk Inspection (SSRI) Review and Revisit Policy in place. A review of SSRI records commences in April 2024, which over the course of twelve months will see all medium risk records reviewed and brought up to date.  The last remaining element of this is a programme of quality assurance and upskilling operational crews on the expected standard of risk information records.

All crews and other relevant departments have good access to risk information through a variety of sources, such as Mobile Data Terminals, desk tops, laptops and TETRA (our temporary risk information system).  This also includes Control having access to the same risk records as crews.

We are now sharing our risk information with neighbouring services.  The process has now been tested and agreed within the region.  It provides a standardised approach to sharing both permanent and temporary risk information with any neighbouring service and the ability for our Control to share neighbouring risk information with our crews and officers as appropriate.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should make sure it puts in place measures so it can catch up on the home fire safety visits (HSFVs) identified and awaiting a visit that have built up during the pandemic.

The organisational working number HFSVs has now been agreed.  The backlog of overdue HFSVs is being monitored and actioned by district Station Managers and Community Safety (CS) management.  This will be monitored via district command meetings.

A new target address procedure is in place to ensure we are reaching those individuals who are most at risk.

CS have contacted all stations to assist in the short term to support watches with a backlog of scheduled HFSVs.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should make sure it quality assures its prevention activity, so staff carry out home fire safety visits to an appropriate standard.

A quality assurance framework has now been agreed for all areas of Prevention.  Further work is to be completed on the training of staff on new procedures to allow quality assurance against “what good looks like” and reviewed policies/procedures.

The Education advocate is conducting quality assurance on all education delivery and crucial crew.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should assure itself that its risk-based audit programme (RBAP) prioritises the highest risks and includes proportionate activity to reduce risk.

SYFR have met with Greater Manchester FRS to see how they manage their RBAP and will also be meeting with Merseyside FRS for the same purpose.  SYFR will apply learning to their own RBAP and continue to work with our Data Team to ensure complete data sets are available for use.

We are incorporating National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) risk guidance and methodology into our RBAP.

Business Fire Safety (BFS) ensure that the highest risk premises are prioritised and that staff resources are managed accordingly to meet set targets.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should make sure it has an effective assurance (QA) process, so staff carry out to an appropriate standard.

The quality assurance (QA) framework has been developed and approved.  The QA Framework outlines the time frames and type of QA done by Business Fire Safety.

All staff that undertake inspection of higher risk premises will be required to be registered with a 3rd party accredited body. This is with the IFE and staff will be initial assessed for competence, before being placed on the contextualised auditor’s register (CAR) re-validation will be required every 3 years.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should make sure it works with local businesses and large organisations to share information and expectations on compliance with fire safety regulations.

Business Engagement is now embedded within BFS.  The Business Support and Training Officer updates the Business Engagement Activity Tracker for all engagement activity and as a way of providing evidence to HMICFRS.

The Business Support Adviser will be used to help promote Business Engagement and provide interventions once qualified.

We have met with the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) Lead for Primary Authority Partnerships to discuss the benefits and how we might offer this service. A proposal is being drafted which will detail the resources required.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should improve the availability of its on-call crewed fire engines to respond to incidents in line with its community risk management plan.

We took on 12 new on-call firefighters in September 2023.  We have recently recruited a further eight who have completed their initial training and are currently on station whilst completing other safety critical courses.  Of the eight 50% are from underrepresented groups. Further to that, we have eight potential recruits at the practical testing stage of recruitment.

Availability is improving across the board with the exception being Cudworth.  On-call availability across the service is 49.1% for 2023/24. This is up from 35.1% in 2022/23 and 28% in 2021/22.

During 2024, we will undertake a full review of the Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP).  As part of this we will consider how we crew our fire stations (duty systems) and use of on-call firefighters.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should ensure it understands everything it needs to do to adopt national operational guidance (NOG) and it should ensure its plan is resourced to do so.

Following the People and Culture Board meeting in September 2023, the NOG Implementation Closedown Report was submitted for approval.  This report was formally approved by the Board. The closedown report was also accepted at the Service Improvement Board.

Additionally, to ensure SYFR is progressing with the implementation of NOG, the NFCC Implementation Support Team has undertaken a piece of assurance work.  The team found that a comprehensive implementation plan had been produced, with sufficient resources from relevant departments allocated to the progression of the project.  They also concluded it was clear that there was a solid understanding of the aims, objectives and scope of the project as well as plans in place to mitigate many of the barriers experienced by other services previously.

Action: Completed

AFI: The Service should ensure it has an effective process in place to obtain operational learning so as to improve its operational response.

Work has been undertaken to change the governance arrangements and process for how learning will be obtained, evaluated and disseminated throughout the organisation.  This process aligns to the NFCC Good Practice Guide for operational learning.

The operational learning framework is out for consultation and once agreed will form the road map for Operational Learning.

It is envisaged that all the work to satisfy this AFI and the wider operational learning fire standard will be completed by the end of Q2 2024.  A review of the fire standard has also been completed.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should arrange a programme of cross-border exercises, sharing learning from these exercises.

The exercise planning group met have finalised the exercise programme 2024/25. This has been communicated so that districts and departments can see what they have to achieve over the 12 month period.

The recording of exercises is still an issue with data recorded over a number of different systems.  We are working hard to improve this and plan to use the Mako system in the future.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service needs to make sure that it uses its resources across prevention protection and response functions in a more joined up way to meet the priorities in its community risk management plan (CRMP).

Much of the work we deliver for local people is outlined in our Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP). The CRMP explains how we allocate our resources to meet local risk and achieve our statutory objectives.  Work is underway to deliver a new CRMP for 2025-2028.

With regard to the 2021-24 CRMP, we direct our prevention, protection and response resources to provide the greatest possible return on investment by reducing the overall impact of the foreseeable risks we face.

The Response, Prevention, Protection and Resilience strategies have been produced and are clearly aligned to the CRMP.

The Medium Term Financial Plan is also clearly aligned to the CRMP.

We currently publish a Service Plan that describes our priorities for the next 12 months.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should have effective measures in place to assure itself that its workforce is productive and their time is used as efficiently and effectively as possible to meet the priorities in its risk management plan.

The Efficiency & Productivity Plan 24/25 and review of 23/24 has been published as per Home Office requirements.

Annual targets for all Emergency Response Stations have now been established.  This is to enable greater flexibility for staff in reaching the required activity levels, whilst being able to undertake additional work such as positive action, seasonal risk reduction such as water and wildfires etc.

A review of performance data and reporting has taken place, with an options report presented to senior leaders.  It is anticipated that improving access to performance data and information will improve productivity.

A positive action and community engagement database has been re-introduced to enable crews to be more proactive in the communities and record the work they are delivering more effectively. This will allow the service to more easily demonstrate our productivity in this area of work.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service needs to make sure that its fleet strategy is regularly reviewed and evaluated to maximise potential efficiencies.

The Joint Fleet Strategy has been reviewed and brought up to date for the period 2024 to 2029. This builds on the initial Joint Fleet Strategy that was put in place for the collaborative department in 2018.

Significant progress has been made on the Vehicle Replacement Strategy for SYFR, with eight new appliances going into service during 2023. Another twenty new appliances are on order, with four due to be delivered in April 2024 and then four per financial year from 2025 to 2028/29. As part of this strategy eight appliances will be retained as spares, to add resilience to the fleet and facilitate timely repairs and maintenance, whilst maintaining pumps on the run.

The timeline for replacement of Officer cars is now in place and links to the strategy around decarbonisation and our plan to electrify the fleet. This includes work with our partners both internally and externally.

Vehicle Telematics has now been installed in all SYFR Vehicles and gives a picture of how the fleet is currently utilised. This has enabled the removal of paper vehicle log books and assists with identifying drivers and reviewing incidents quickly. The next step will be to undertake a full review of the fleet using the data that is available to us.

The Fleet Management System has been upgraded and work is underway to ensure the systems are used to full effect, using the same processes and procedures. This will enable Key Performance Indicators to be monitored in real-time.

The introduction of a new Fuel Management System has also brought about efficiencies and more accurate reporting.

Action: Completed

AFI: The Service should make sure staff have access to services to support both their mental and physical health via an effective occupational health (OH) service.

Significant improvements have now been made to the OH Octopus system with all referrals, clinical notes and reports being stored on the system. This has improved the quality and consistency of management reports, enabled the introduction of statistical analysis and improved security and confidentiality.

Discussions on improvements to Officers Critical Incident Wellbeing Support are ongoing and in the meantime reminders are being sent in relation to the manual system in place.  All attendance at critical incidents is now recorded so that we are aware of individuals with high exposure rates and are then able to ensure they are offered further support/ signposting should they require it.

The Fitness Advisor has embedded the Sports Therapy side of his role and has seen positive numbers utilise this practice.  This will reduce external physiotherapy costs and reduce the waiting time for treatment which in turn should facilitate an earlier return to work for those absent or on modified duties.  Statistics in this area will be available once sufficient data is accessible.

A policy matrix has been developed for OH & Wellbeing policies and a plan is in place to review these going forward with some policies already being completed.

An internal audit has taken place.

There is now stability in the OH and Wellbeing teams with all roles now being permanently filled for a number of months.  The focus will now be on retention and improving services

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should make sure that it has effective absence/ attendance procedures in place.

Completion time and rates for return to work processes have continued to increase and outstanding numbers have more than halved, and are continuing to remain at a consistently lower level.

Absence management meetings are continuing along with case conferences to facilitate a return to work as early as possible.

There has been a significant improvement in the turnaround of OH reports which allows the process to be followed in a timely manner.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should ensure its workforce plan addresses any gaps in capability which affect the availability of fire engines.

A proposal has been developed for wholetime transfers in for 2024 and wholetime recruitment for 2025.  Work is ongoing to get a full picture of our retirement profile.

Data to show the status of drivers is being monitored and a new process seeking volunteers from new recruits to undertake LGV during first two years. A driver working group has been established.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should address the high number of staff in temporary promotion positions.

Work is ongoing and Passport developments will look to encourage even higher numbers to apply for promotional processes.

A task and finish group has been established to look at all operational routes of entry into SYFR which will include an update on the Operational Control Progression Policy and Internal Operational Transfer Policy & Process.

Improvements have been made to the tracking of individuals in temporary promotions and statistics. There is a joint agenda with the Emergency Response placement team lead to review the current process for temporary promotions including looking at the criteria for temporary promotions. The selection process has already been reviewed.

We are looking at utilising transfers in for 2024 to give a short term measure to improve the gap in the number of individuals in Station Manager and Watch Manager positions.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should identify and overcome barriers to equal opportunity, so that its workforce better represents its community.

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) training has been delivered by the new provider.

Completion rates of EDI training are regularly monitored and will be reported as part of our current Local Performance Indicators.

Equality Impact Assessment training continues to take place.

Work is ongoing to add the additional voluntary modules into Learn Pro (e-learning platform) and communications have been sent out to promote these.

The Positive Action Toolkit and Guidance has been issued with detailed information on how individuals can get involved in this work.

A positive action and community engagement database will be re-introduced to enable staff to be more proactive in the communities and record the work they are delivering more effectively.

District and station plans include positive action objectives which can be performance managed.

The EDI strategy for 2024-27 has been produced and an associated EDI plan has being developed.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should make sure that it has effective grievance procedures. It should identify and implement ways to improve staff confidence in the grievance process.

Grievance training continues to be delivered to new line managers with reminders of the requirement to adhere to timescales as much as possible. The grievance survey has now launched and is being set out. Responses are assessed for any learning or opportunities for improvements to be made.

Casework debrief forms continue to be sent to managers who have dealt with grievance cases to progress any areas for development in the process.

The See Hear Speak up service is now in place and could lead to further grievances.

Action: Ongoing

AFI: The Service should put in place an open and fair process to identify, develop and support high-potential staff and aspiring leaders.

The proposal for the Fast Track development was presented to senior leaders. They agreed to support fast track development for Firefighter to Watch Manager/Station Manager. They also agreed to support the development of high potential staff but we would need to make it clear that there is no promise of a promotion.

We keep informed regarding the NFCC direct entry scheme which has resulted in the recruitment of six direct entry station managers. SYFR are not one of the six services to receive a station manager. However, we are interested in how this scheme develops in the future as it is the first time there has been a national, robust, and quality-assured direct entry programme and process.

Discussions have taken place with the Implementation Liaison Manager at the NFCC to gain the latest updates in this area including a review of the NFCC positive practice portal for good practice in this area.

Action: Ongoing

For further information on our AFIs please visit the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority (SYFRA) website.  The Fire and Rescue Authority receive quarterly updates on progress against our Areas for Improvement via a Service Improvement Board Update Report.

This content was last updated on July 11th, 2024