HM Fire Service Inspectorate: Assessing the Effectiveness of Inspection Activity
3 The SFRS's process for 'Having Regard'
15. As explained in section 1, the SFRS is required to have regard to HMFSI inspection reports.
16. When HMFSI completes a thematic report, a draft copy is sent to the Service to obtain feedback on the draft in respect of factual accuracy and professional judgement. Draft documents are distributed internally to the relevant SFRS executive and staff and feedback is collated. This is currently undertaken by a SFRS Business Support Team.
17. A similar consultation for LAI reports is undertaken with the relevant LSO.
18. Our consultation process is subject to a Consultation Protocol (which is reviewed and updated periodically).
19. During the course of our inspection, the SFRS introduced a new system for the oversight of implementing the recommendations from external scrutiny.
20. When HMFSI published a final thematic inspection report, the previous system involved the SFRS Service Improvement Team (SIT) analysing the report to create an action plan with input from SFRS subject matter lead officers. An objective was to create actions which meet the SMART criteria.
21. Action Plans were supervised by a group of SFRS staff under the umbrella of the 'Performance Improvement Forum' (PIF). The role of the PIF was to provide a robust approach to performance improvement. The PIF in turn reported to the SFRS Corporate Assurance Board. The process was aimed at providing the Service Delivery Committee (SDC) and the SFRS Board with assurance that the SFRS had robust improvement review in place.
22. The PIF had formal minuted meetings to monitor and discuss reports and decision-making, and the progress of action plans. The PIF considered action plans on a six monthly basis, where appropriate a closure report of actions was considered. The PIF supplied a report to the SDC with biannual performance update on the response to reports.
23. In addition, there was a quarterly update for the SFRS response to national recommendations arising from LAI reports.
24. The Service used a BRAG rating scheme in its performance updates to monitor the progress of actions. The scheme is shown in Table 1.
Table 1 PIF BRAG categories
actions which are complete
actions which are behind schedule and will not be completed by the target date
actions which may not be completed by the target date actions which are on track
actions which are on track
25. The Service's revised arrangements for management of external scrutiny reports is shown in figure 1. The arrangements involve a Senior Management Board having oversight of scrutiny inspection action plans. A Strategic Planning Team prepares a report to the SLT which in turn appoints an executive lead to prepare a prioritised action plan and conduct impact and risk assessments but with the support of the Strategic Planning Team.
26. The SFRS's Senior Management Team (SMT) considers and agrees the action plan, and impact and risk assessment. The SLT considers and approves the action plan and recommends to the scrutiny committee. The relevant committee then scrutinises the action plan. The executive lead officer ensures progress on action plans is updated by action owners on a regular basis, and if required prepares exception reports. The Strategic Planning Team prepare a monitoring dashboard of all live action plans on a monthly basis and oversees preparations of cyclical progress reports. Reports are then submitted to SMT and quarterly to the relevant committee. The committee's consideration of the reports is then reported to the SFRS Board.
Figure 1 SFRS management of inspection reports
HMFSI consultation with SFRS on draft inspection report
Report issued to SFRS
Action plan development by SFRS
- executive lead allocated
- executive lead creates action plan and related assessments
- scrutiny by SMT then SLT
- referral to relevant Fire Board committee
Action plan progressed
- executive lead oversees progress on action plan actions
- SPT maintains dashboard of live action plans to allow oversight
- monthly reporting of action plan progress to SMT
- quarterly report to relevant Fire Board committee
- committee chair reports to Fire Board
Action plan closure
- executive lead produces completion report
- closure report submitted through SMT, SLT, relevant Fire Board committee and Fire Board
- SFRS notifies HMFSI Chief Inspector of closure
- executive lead creates an evaluation report
- evaluation report submitted through SMT, SLT, relevant Fire Board committee and Fire Board