Inspection of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service: East Service Delivery Area
About this inspection
1. This is the first report of a new format and cycle of Service Delivery Area Inspections of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).
2. Since the SFRS was established in 2013, HMFSI has undertaken inspection of local service delivery at a local authority level. Going forward, reports on the inspection of local service delivery will be at the aggregated level of the SFRS's Service Delivery Areas (SDAs). The SFRS's organisational structure has three SDAs: North; West; and East. The management of each SDA is overseen by a Deputy Assistant Chief Officer (DACO).
3. A number of the local authority areas making up the East SDA have previously been the subject of a local area inspection by HMFSI, namely, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, and West Lothian. In this new approach to inspection we have revisited these areas along with those local authorities not previously visited; Clackmannanshire; East Lothian; Falkirk; Fife; and Stirling.
4. The format for reporting our cyclical inspection activity has also changed, our findings and recommendations contained in this report are based on our inspection of service delivery at a Local Senior Officer (LSO) level and are aggregated at a SDA level to inform our judgements/grading; however, we still take cognisance of local authority area activity. We have adopted a sampling approach in conducting this inspection, as such we cannot identify all potential areas for improvement or areas of good practice. We intend that it should be a proportionate activity that provides an overview of the East.
5. As another first we undertook a short anonymous survey of all SFRS staff based within the East SDA. We are grateful to all those who took time to complete our questionnaire, a summary of the findings from this survey can be found at Appendix A.
6. This report focuses on four key themes; Prevention and Protection; Response; Partnership; and People.
Prevention & Protection
Protecting communities from fire and other emergencies
Working in partnership with others to improve community safety outcomes
Responding to incidents when they do occur
Managing and supporting the workforce
7. Appendix B gives a synopsis of LSO area performance data, Appendix C contains information about HMFSI and Appendix D provides detail of how this inspection was carried out.
8. Our inspection took place shortly after the introduction of the new Scottish Government Fire and Rescue Framework 2022. At the beginning of our inspection the SFRS commenced a consultation on its new Strategic Plan 2022-25. The SFRS's Strategic Plan sets out how the Service intends to deliver against the priorities developed by the Scottish Government within the Framework. Due to the timing differences between the old Plan and new draft Strategic Plan we have considered the impact of both on measuring the Service's performance within the East SDA. Following the approval by Scottish Ministers of the Strategic Plan, the SFRS must review the Local Fire and Rescue Plans discussed later in this report.
What inspection judgments mean:
9. In making our assessment of how effective the SFRS is in the ESDA, we use the following gradings:
Opportunity for improvement
Where we find important failings of policy, practice or performance which require improvement.
Where we find limited shortcomings in the area being considered.
Where we find important strengths in performance.
Where we find performance which significantly exceeds Good.
10. The awarding of levels using a quality judgement is derived by the use of Inspector's professional experience and knowledge, based on evidence and observation, rather than a technical process.