Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services has reported that Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has made “significant progress” in a number of areas since their previous inspection in 2018.
The HMICFRS inspection team revisited SFRS in September 2019. They went to two stations, spoke to our staff and operational managers, and interviewed those responsible for implementing the action plans.
In a letter to the SFRS Chief Fire Officer, Steve Owen-Hughes, they praised the Service’s Making Surrey Safer Plan, which sets out the changes now being implemented to improve the Service. They described it as a “comprehensive and evidence-based assessment of risk, with considered options”.
They wrote: “We found appropriate governance structures both within the Service and through Surrey County Council which provide scrutiny of progress.” They also commended the service on setting up an Advisory Group to provide assurance to and challenge the Senior Leadership Team throughout the implementation of the plan.
They noted though that the availability of wholetime and on-call fire engines is still a challenge for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. We have recruited 82 wholetime firefighters so far and we are continuing to recruit.
They found that considerable work has been carried out in relation to ensuring there is better management of overtime and this situation has now improved with effective controls in place.
Chief Fire Officer, Steve Owen-Hughes: “I’m pleased that the HMICFRS has recognised the significant effort Surrey Fire and Rescue Service has undertaken to make progress since their report of December 2018. We are acutely aware that there is still much to do, but this latest report shows that we are heading in the right direction and are focused on better outcomes for the public by putting their needs first.
I also want to recognise the hard work that has been done by members of the Service involved in the Making Surrey Safer plan and its implementation. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff for supporting the changes that we are making to the way we manage our resources, so that we can deliver the plan that will make Surrey a safer place for the public.”
Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire and Resilience, Denise Turner-Stewart: “I’m delighted that the HMICFRS have endorsed the Making Surrey Safer plan and have confirmed that by putting more resources into prevention, SFRS will be providing the Service that we need in Surrey for the future. This report also shows that the changes being made are not as a result of financial cuts, but are necessary improvements to the Service, which will help to protect vulnerable people in our county.”
For more information or media interviews with Chief Fire Officer, Steve Owen-Hughes please contact Surrey County Council Communications Team: 020 8541 8996.