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Inspection report shows Surrey Fire and Rescue Service is in “much better shape”

A new report, published today (Wednesday 15 December 2021), shows improvements have been made to Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

The report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) showed an improvement in six out of the 11 categories assessed – five of which have been rated as ‘good’. It also acknowledged some improvements that were still to be made which include more evaluation of prevention activity and making sure the service gives firefighters up-to-date and useful risk information. The report states: “We were particularly impressed with how the service identified risk in the community and approached the development of its new IRMP, called the Making Surrey Safer Plan.”

The report praises a variety of areas including improvements in prevention and protection work, audits to high-rise buildings, the Making Surrey Safer Plan, investment in technology, wellbeing policies and more.

Chief Fire Officer, Steve Owen-Hughes, said: “I am extremely proud of the hard work happening within our service and want to thank all of my colleagues in the service. I think the latest report acknowledges the vast amount of improvements that have taken place. It also recognises that, at the time of the inspection, we still had over 2 and a half years of further planned improvements left to deliver.

“We always welcome these reports, because they help us to ensure we are on track to deliver our public purpose – to keep people safe. They also help us recognise some areas that need more focus and we have already started working on these.”

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services Matt Parr said: “It was very heartening to see the progress made by Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. It is in much better shape – more effective and efficient at keeping people safe from fire. On balance, it is also improving how well it looks after its people. The service knows that there is a great deal of work to do to change and improve its organisational culture, but it is approaching this challenge positively.”

Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Kevin Deanus, said: “I really want to thank everyone within SFRS, it’s because of our incredible people that we have seen these improvements and we are dedicated to supporting them, as acknowledged within the report. We want Surrey to be a safe place to live, work, travel and do business. I look forward to working with the service on further improvements.”

The report also acknowledged what the service needs to focus on, this includes evaluation of prevention and operational work, better sharing of operational learnings and preparations for major and multi-agency incidents.

The service was inspected during Spring/Summer 2021. The first inspection, which took place in 2018, resulted in the service being rated as requires improvement and inadequate – it helped shape the service’s Making Surrey Safer Plan.

The full report can be read by visiting www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs.

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