Independent Inspection of the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service
1.1 His Majesty’s Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland (HMFSI) is a statutory body that operates within, but entirely independent of, the Scottish Government. The Inspectorate exists to provide independent, risk based, and proportionate professional inspection of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). It performs an important role in the overall governance of the SFRS providing assurance to the people of Scotland and Scottish Ministers that the SFRS is working in an efficient and effective manner, meeting its statutory responsibilities and delivering Best Value.
1.2 Northern Ireland does not have its own Fire Service Inspectorate, and whilst HMFSI has no statutory standing or powers in Northern Ireland, there is a long-established professional relationship between HMFSI and the Department of Health (DoH) in Northern Ireland, with HM Chief Inspector of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (The Chief Inspector) having been asked to provide advice to DoH on a number of occasions since this relationship was first established. Therefore, in June 2022, following concerns raised around the operation of the NIFRS, the DoH (supported by the Board of NIFRS) recognised the need for independent, experienced, professional scrutiny and commissioned the Chief Inspector to lead a formal inspection of NIFRS.
1.3 This is the final report of the Inspection Team that carried out this work and although the inspection has been commissioned by the DoH, and welcomed by the NIFRS Board, the outcome of the inspection is entirely independent. The Chief Inspector takes sole responsibility for the report, its content and conclusions.