Independent Inspection of the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service
Appendix A - Terms of Reference
Terms of Reference – Independent Review of Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service by HM Chief Inspector of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
The Department of Health (DoH) has commissioned HM Chief Inspector of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (HMFSI) to lead an independent review of Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS). The Inspectorate status brings great value to such a review and DoH is grateful to Scottish Government for permitting HMFSI to lead this review. The review has been commissioned by the Department of Health at the request of NIFRS Board and the Chief Fire and Rescue Officer.
Scope of the Review
The review will provide an independent examination of the challenges facing NIFRS and will include:
- NIFRS risk/demand profile, coupled with an analysis of historical activity levels and resourcing (headcount/finance).
- Appropriateness of NIFRS structures for fire safety enforcement, education and advice, compared with services of a similar size.
- Systems in place for ensuring operational staff attain necessary training and that these are maintained to a specified standard throughout their time in post.
- NIFRS succession planning processes to fulfil future resource demands at all levels.
- Consideration of NIFRS current support staff structures compared with organisations of a similar size and remit.
- Governance arrangements in place between the Department and NIFRS Board (MSFM/operational framework/Partnership Agreement), between NIFRS Board and the Executive Leadership Team (ELT).
- NIFRS progress against NIFRS “People Strategy” outcomes to better understand issues of organisational culture, staff development, wellbeing, diversity and leadership.
- NIFRS infrastructure, estate and equipment; to determine adequate safety levels and fitness for purpose.
- A review of relevant policies and standard operating procedures to ensure these are aligned to, or take account of, current National Operational Guidance.
HMFSI should make recommendations for the consideration of the Permanent Secretary/Minister.
A small review team of both fire and other appropriate professionals will be commissioned by HM Chief Inspector of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to support the Chief Inspector in the review. The team will consist of subject matter experts who have had prior experience of operating within, and/or leading, a UK fire and rescue service. HM Chief Inspector will be responsible for providing an interim (3 month) and a final (6 month) report. Findings of the review will be based on evidence and professional judgement. The review will not be open to influence by any other body or individual.
The review will require engagement with the Department of Health, NIFRS Board, NIFRS CFRO, the recognised Trades Unions, NIFRS ELT and other NIFRS personnel, as the review team deem appropriate, to fully understand the areas of focus and be supportive in nature.
HM Chief Inspector will engage directly with the DoH Director of Public Inquiries and Public Safety (PIPS) and will provide monthly progress updates. Areas of critical concern will be reported immediately. Should issues emerge as part of the review, HMFSI shall raise these with DoH Director of PIPS, so that the ToR can remain flexible, should this be necessary.
The review reports will be provided to DoH Permanent Secretary, as the Departmental Accounting Officer.