Operational Assessment Report
Fire and Rescue
Operational Assessment of Service Delivery
Hampshire Fire & Rescue Authority
Executive Summary ...................................................................................................... 2 The Assessment process ............................................................................................. 3 Overview of the “Key themes” and “observations” ........................................................ 4
Key Lines of Enquiry – Strengths & Areas for Improvement ......................................... 6
Risk Analysis ............................................................................................................. 7
Prevention and Protection ......................................................................................... 9
Operational Preparedness ...................................................................................... 12
Call Management and Incident Support .................................................................. 15
Emergency Response ............................................................................................. 18 Scoring matrix and judgement descriptions ................................................................ 21
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1. In the Fire and Rescue Performance Framework for 2006/07 published in July 2006, the Government outlines how performance management in the fire and rescue service will be assessed by the Audit Commission. This written feedback arises from an operational assessment of service delivery review carried out as outlined in chapter six of the Performance Framework. It gives the results from our review of the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority. We used the methodology published by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in the Operational Assessment of Service Delivery toolkit in July 2006.
2. Our on-site work took place in September 2006 by a team of staff seconded from Fire and Rescue Authorities. We received a self assessment from the Fire Authority which sign-posted evidence to support the five key lines of enquiry outlined in the toolkit. The teams reviewed the self assessment including the sampling of evidence on site and then made a judgement as to whether the self assessment score should be upheld or whether an alternative judgement should be recommended. The judgements we have made are based on the evidence we saw before and during our visit, and on any further information supplied to us by the Fire Authority during our discussions with them in the course of preparing this report.
3. Operational Assessment of Service Delivery is an operational assessment, at the service level, of how well the Authority is planning, organising and delivering its operational services. It does not give an opinion on how well the fire service is being run corporately.
4. In their self-assessment, the FRA rated itself as performing strongly. As a consequence of the review, the FRA self assessment key area scores have been changed in places and one KLOE score has been amended. This did not affect the overall judgement.
performing strongly. The FRA is rated by this assessment as
5. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) is performing strongly in the areas of Prevention and Protection, Operational Preparedness, and Call Management and Incident Support. There is clear empowerment of middle managers to make decisions in the way prevention and protection resources are used to maximise performance. Resources are targeted at clear objectives linked to HFRS‟ Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). In Operational Preparedness, there are clear policies for civil protection and a range of effective measures for monitoring and measuring performance. There are evident strengths in the provision of the technical infrastructure, systems and human resources required to sustain Call Management and Incident Support arrangements. HFRS are performing well in Risk Analysis, with tangible outcomes in the relocation of resources. Flexibility in response and resource deployment is a strength within Emergency Response, in which HFRS are performing well. Constant monitoring of resources enables HFRS to meet its attendance time to emergency incidents with the most appropriate resources to address risk. Overall, HFRS is a strongly performing FRA, with a clear heath and safety culture and a strong commitment to equality and diversity.
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The Assessment process
6. Before the site visit, the review team reviewed the FRAs self-assessment and other FRA information such as the FRAs Integrated Risk Management Plan and Best Value Performance Plan. The team spent a day together sharing their views on the self-assessment, finalising the details of the visit and agreeing how to follow the lines of enquiry on-site.
7. The review team customised their approach to the on-site fieldwork, and their subsequent requests for evidence, based upon the performance levels indicated in the FRAs self assessment. They used a range of techniques to verify their findings including the use of standard diagnostics and question sets where appropriate.
8. The review team spent four days on site with the FRA. During this time, they;
a. conducted interviews and focus groups with service delivery personnel and
the senior management team
b. visited a number of wholetime and retained fire stations
c. reviewed a substantial number of documents and other evidence provided by
d. spoke to partners and other stakeholders
9. The review team based their on-site work around evidence of the current levels of performance outlined in the Operational Assessment of Service Delivery Toolkit. These are described as follows;
1 Failure to meet level 2 criteria.
2 Level 2 performance represents a minimum requirement, and will need to be
in place before the FRA can be considered for level 3.
3 To achieve level 3 performance, FRAs must have all arrangements described
at level 2 in place. The arrangements should be embedded and operating
effectively with clear outcomes representing a more demanding test than for
level 2. The FRA should also have the majority of level 3 performance criteria
in place or, where there are gaps, have made substantial progress towards
4 An FRA that is performing strongly will need to demonstrate that it meets all of
the criteria for level 2 and level 3, and that its arrangements are embedded
and have a clear impact on outcomes. In addition to fully meeting level 2 and
3 criteria, evidence to support achievement of level 4 needs to demonstrate
innovation or notable practice which delivers tangible results and can be
shared with other authorities.
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Overview of the “Key themes” and “observations”
10. Prior to on-site activity, a detailed review of the self assessment document, context
statement and additional background information available from DCLG and publicly
on the Service‟s website was carried out. Where contactable, local Health and Safety
Executive liaison officer, the regional Business Change Manager and the Audit
Commission Relationship Manager were consulted in order to establish an external
view on developments relevant to their areas of interest. The review was carried out
with team members responsible for specific KLOEs, with pairing of KLOEs as
appropriate. During the pre-site meeting, the review team identified a number of
areas requiring further investigation.
11. HFRS‟ self assessment followed the DCLG template with regard to KLOEs, key
areas of enquiry and scoring. However, the initial submission was in excess of the
specified word count. The distilled version was made available to the team one week
prior to the field visit. This meant that the review team experienced some initial
difficulties reconciling the two versions. Within both versions, evidence was
presented of activities or initiatives that had either just happened and were not yet
embedded, or were planned and had not yet been implemented. HFRS were
advised that although this would be considered, developments after the submission
date would not be taken into account for the purposes of scoring.
12. The risk analysis self assessment presented evidence of strengths in the relocation
of resources to meet the needs of the community. There were a number of
statements regarding electronic performance management systems and information
databases, however these seemed to be very recent developments and the extent to
which they were embedded became area of focus.
13. Pre-site activity within Prevention and Protection resulted in a focus on the three key
themes of partnership working, the delivery on Home Fire Risk Checks (HFRCs) and
links made with the business community in relation to Regulatory Reform Order (RRO)
and automatic fire alarm call reduction. There was a strong partnership theme in the
self-assessment, which presented good evidence of engagement with a diverse
community and provision of services. There was evidence of little reduction in the
number of false alarms in both the current and previous four years.
14. The Operational Preparedness self-assessment presented evidence relating to
service orders and operational bulletins as well as its leading role in delivering New
Dimensions and Resilience expectations. The focus of the review was on these areas
coupled with the collation and availability of operational risk information, work with
key partners and the approach to workforce development.
15. The Call Management and Incident Support self assessment identified strong
performance across all areas. Areas of note included up to date technology, business
continuity planning, development training and maintenance of skills for staff, the
measurement of performance, and the arrangements for auditing control room
16. Within Emergency Response, there was strong evidence of the flexibility for
deployment of resources in accordance with identified changes in risk. Innovative 88941356.docFinal Report 4
ways of dealing with secondary fires and the ability to deploy firefighter resources in
providing co-responder in partnership provided key themes for the site visit.
17. In all KLOEs, except Call Management and Incident Support, HFRS self assessed
itself lower in audit and review than other key areas. In some KLOEs, there was
limited evidence presented in this area. This suggested an area for development and
became a focus for the field team.
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Key Lines of Enquiry – Strengths & Areas for Improvement
18. The Operational Assessment of Service Delivery looks at the five main areas of
service delivery. These are called “key lines of enquiry” (KLOE) and are organised
under the headings of risk analysis, prevention and protection, operational
preparedness, call management and incident support, and emergency response.
Each KLOE is examined and scored against the HS(G) 65 format of policy,
organising, planning and implementation, monitoring (performance) and audit and
review. This acts as a control loop and ensures that each KLOE stands alone, and is
considered in a rounded manner both by the FRA and the DCLG review team.
19. Whilst on-site with the FRA, the review teams examined a broad range of evidence in
order to verify the FRAs self assessment score or to make alterations accordingly. In
writing up their findings, the review team focused on identified strengths and areas
for improvement in order for the FRA to further recognise what they are doing well, or
not so well. Where areas of notable practice or innovation have been identified and
attract a “performing strongly” score in one key area or more, these have been
highlighted in bold throughout the document.
20. Hampshire FRA is performing at the following levels in relation to the five service
Performing well Risk Analysis
Performing strongly Prevention and Protection
Performing strongly Operational Preparedness
Performing strongly Call Management and Incident Support
Performing well Emergency Response
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21. HFRS scored itself as performing well in Risk Analysis with three out of five key
areas being scored at this level or higher. The review team found sufficient evidence
to support this view in relation to the overall KLOE score. However, it found
insufficient evidence to support this score in the key areas of Policy and Audit and
Review. There was a lack of evidence to demonstrate that arrangements were
embedded and operating effectively with clear outcomes. The score in these two key
areas were reduced from performing well to performing adequately. This had no
impact on the overall KLOE score which remains unchanged as performing well. Strengths and areas of notable practice
22. HFRS are key players in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Resilience Forum.
Their work in developing a template for the Community Risk Register has been
recognised as best practice by the Emergency Planning College. As a result,
HFRS is at the forefront in this area of planning.
23. There is good evidence of a clear understanding of the disposition of fire appliances
within the county. The strategic disposition of appliances has been plotted to take
into account a number of scenarios where operational resources are reduced, with
the remainder being relocated to provide optimum response. This foresight means
HFRS is well prepared for such scenarios.
24. The risk analysis process has produced tangible outcomes for HFRS.
Individual analyses, such as the Emergency Cover Review South, have
informed a number of response trials. These trials involve both the relocation
of resources to areas where they can be better placed to cover the risk and
alternative options such as a first response vehicle. The trials follow extensive
research both from a computer based and practical approach involving
representative bodies. As a result resources are now being relocated, and
response options altered in direct response to the results of the risk analysis
25. Existing and potential risks to firefighters are identified through a robust health and
safety process. The inclusion of a member of the FRA’s insurance company on
its health and safety committee has lead to tangible savings on the annual
premium and is recognised as notable practice in this area.
26. HFRS takes equality and diversity very seriously and this can be evidenced in its
comprehensive equality policy. In particular, the responsibilities under the Race
Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 are strongly adhered to, and this is evidenced by
HFRS‟ race equality scheme. With regard to policy development, equality impact
assessments are undertaken covering all appropriate areas.
Areas for improvement
27. In the key area of policy, HFRS self assessed itself as performing well. During the
field visit the team found that, whilst risk analysis is embedded within the culture of
HFRS, there is no overarching risk management policy consolidating the assessment
of existing and potential risk within the communities of Hampshire. The requirements
of such a policy are captured in several separate documents, such as the IRMP
2006/09, the departmental medium-term plans and the corporate risk management
strategy and policy. The integration of existing policies into a specific risk analysis 88941356.docFinal Report 7
policy, with additional emphasis on the risk analysis process and the risk reduction
activities to support the management of risk, would help to enhance the
understanding of staff and further focus the organisation in this key area. As a result
the score in this area is revised to adequate performance.
28. In the key area of audit and review, HFRS self assessed itself as performing well.
During the field visit, the team were unable to find evidence that a systematic
performance based audit system is in place to improve the risk assessment process
and there is no explicit audit and review of the risk analysis process as a whole. As a
result the score in this area is revised to adequate performance.
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Prevention and Protection
29. HFRS scored itself as performing strongly in Prevention and Protection with four out
of five key areas being scored this way. The review team found sufficient evidence to
support this view in relation to the overall KLOE score, but found insufficient evidence
to support this score in relation to the key area of Monitoring (Performance). There
was a lack of evidence to demonstrate innovation or notable practice leading to
tangible results which could be shared with other FRAs. The score in this key area
was therefore reduced from performing strongly to performing well. This had no
impact on the overall KLOE score which remains unchanged at performing strongly.
Strengths and areas of notable practice
30. HFRS have a clear and effective policy to ensure resources within prevention
and protection are directed to target areas and to ensure the successful
achievement of its IRMP objectives. HFRS have significant involvement with
partner organisations in order to deliver prevention and protection services.
This has lead to HFRS only engaging with partners where there will be a clear
measurable outcome in community safety terms. These have been subject to
close scrutiny by both internal and external organisations in order to ensure that
resources are directed to achieving the corporate aims identified within its IRMP. In
July 2005, HFRS commissioned external auditors to undertake a review of
effectiveness of its current partnership arrangements and make recommendations on
improvements. This was completed in April 2006 and recommendations are being
31. There is clear acceptance of responsibility for delivering the corporate aims
and objectives of HFRS. Group and station managers are fully empowered to
make decisions for both financial and physical resources. Support mechanisms
are in place at group and station level to provide support through coaching and
mentoring in order to deliver a successful community safety strategy.
32. HFRS have set an ambitious target of ensuring that every household in Hampshire
has a working smoke alarm by 2010. This requires an average installation rate of
20,000 smoke detectors per year. This is being achieved by clear targeting of both
risk and resources. HFRS are utilising partners, specialist staff, wholetime and
retained crews to deliver this. Clear targets are set for crews in achieving this priority.
An area of notable practice is the use of specialist teams of community
outreach workers. These teams are used to engage with minority groups and
are available to assist crews with language and customs which leads to very
effective engagement with minority groups. Evidence was available showing
operational staff working closely with Outreach workers to reach minority
33. Responsibility for HFRS representation on crime reduction partnerships is delegated
to group managers. Work at group and station level is targeted at primary and
secondary fires. Performance indicators show that a significant reduction in both has
been achieved in the past 12 months. There is good evidence that local
councillor engagement provides a significant benefit to the preventative work
undertaken by HFRS staff. The use of members is structured and within a 88941356.docFinal Report 9