FRSA National Update
20 January 2023
The State of Fire Report 2022
HMICFRS today published its latest State of Fire and Rescue Report. Once again it highlights the hard work that many in the fire and rescue service perform; it also draws attention to those issues on which we have campaigned for many years. These are some quotes from the report which we know will resonate with our members:
‘There is a compelling case for reform of our fire and rescue services. Society is constantly changing and public services should adapt accordingly. In too many respects, the fire service hasn’t.’
‘We were deeply concerned by some of our findings. And we are still seeing some unacceptable levels of bullying, harassment and discrimination.’
‘As a bare minimum, everyone has the right to work in an environment where they feel respected and valued. An inclusive workplace is fundamental to retaining a diverse workforce.’
‘However, some Tranche 3 services are struggling to maintain a high level of availability among their on-call staff. This is a long-standing problem, which affects services throughout the sector. Several national working groups have focused on this problem, but no sustainable solutions have been put into place.’
‘If services responded to more medical emergencies, they would provide extra support to an already overstretched ambulance service. They could use their capacity and fire engines more productively.
This would be of enormous benefit to the public. It is clear that services want to support their communities, as demonstrated during the pandemic when they provided support to health organisations. In their letters, 23 chief fire officers said there needed to be greater clarification on the role of firefighters and the fire and rescue service, and some thought that they should and could do more.’
‘Many on-call and non-operational staff don’t receive the same opportunities to develop and progress as their wholetime operational colleagues. Most female staff and staff from ethnic minority backgrounds work in non-operational roles, so this affects them disproportionately.’
FRSA response to report
We welcome the scrutiny that HMICFRS is placing on the fire and rescue service. This can only be to the benefit of firefighters and their communities they serve. However, we would have appreciated some more consideration of how the chronic recruitment and retention problems of on-call firefighters can be dealt with given so much of the country is dependent upon them.
This issue, like many others highlighted in the report, is not going to simply go away without a national strategy and clear leadership and direction. It is disappointing the HMICFRS is repeating itself in some of its recommendations, all of which need to be heard and actioned by national and local governments including key national stakeholders. There must be no more ‘kicking the can down the road’: firefighters and non-operational staff deserve better. r
Chief Executive Officer
We are now on WhatsApp!
In an ongoing effort to make it as easy as possible to contact FRSA HQ we now have our own WhatsApp account. You can contact us via the QR code, just scan the code to add us to your contacts.
Our offer to you
A new information leaflet is available encapsulating the key benefits of being a member of the FRSA. The document is available via our website and we would recommend that this is shared with your colleagues on station.