The first independent review has seen Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service rated amongst the highest-performing services of the 14 fire and rescue services inspected so far.
The inspection looked at how effectively and efficiently the Service prevents and protects the public from, and responds to, fires and other emergencies. It also examined how well the organisation looks after its people. CFRS was rated as ‘good’ in the majority of areas inspected.
In particular, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS) praised the Service for its effectiveness in keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks; understanding the risks facing the local community; its work to prevent fires and protect the public through its fire regulation activity. The report also highlights that the Service’s response to fires and other emergencies is good, that it is efficient and uses its resources well.
Chief Fire Officer Mark Cashin said: “I am pleased that the Service has been independently recognised for the work it does across Cheshire to keep people safe from fires and other emergencies. I hope this reassures the community we serve that Cheshire is amongst the highest performing fire and rescue services to have been inspected and that it is operating effectively and efficiently.”
HMICFRS did state that the Service requires improvement in how it looks after its people.
The inspectors recommended that the Service improve the access and visibility of senior officers and improve the flow of communications between managers and the wider workforce.
Mark Cashin explained that work was already ongoing to address some findings within the report, areas of focus which the Service had already identified prior to the inspection process.
He said: “The Service has been through a significant amount of change in recent years and engaging with staff to promote a positive culture is a key priority for myself and other leaders within the organisation. We recognised this in our own self-assessment and action is already underway to address the findings of the inspection.
Myself and senior managers have undertaken over seventy visits to teams over the past five months to engage with staff and listen to their views and concerns. We will work with Members of Cheshire Fire Authority to develop action plans to address the findings of the inspection and improve the Service even further.
Overall this is a good report, with Her Majesty’s Inspector pleased with our performance and commending our successes. I would like to express my thanks to staff across the organisation. I believe that our people are our best asset and this report highlights the good work they do across Cheshire every day. They should be proud to work for a high-performing fire and rescue service.”