Inspection of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service: East Service Delivery Area
Prevention and protection
Prevention and protection- How effective is the Service in the East SDA at keeping people safe and secure?
26. To be effective the fire and rescue service must identify and assess the full range of relevant and foreseeable fire and rescue risks its communities face. It should target its prevention activities to those who are at greatest risk and enable compliance with fire safety legislation through its protection work, carrying out enforcement action when required. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's overall effectiveness within the East SDA is judged to be Satisfactory.
27. The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (the Act) requires the SFRS to publish a Local Fire and Rescue Plan for each local authority area. The plans set out the SFRS's priorities and objectives for that area; why they have been selected; how the SFRS intends to deliver them, and (insofar as is practicable) outcomes by reference to which the SFRS's service delivery in the local authority area can be measured. We have examined all the local area plans in the East. As mentioned earlier, following approval of the Service's new Strategic Plan, these Local Fire and Rescue Plans must be reviewed. We conducted this inspection on the basis of the Plan's currency at the time.
28. The plans give a description of the area, highlighting the various risks which may exist and, where relevant, the actions of the SFRS and its partners to mitigate those risks. As might be expected there were similarities in the content of the plans aligned to the LSO areas. Some, but not all, contained targets by which performance could be gauged. The LSO areas of Falkirk and West Lothian; and City of Edinburgh publish targets for several local priorities.
29. The Service, through these plans, has assessed a good range of risks and threats. When assessing risk, it has considered relevant information from a broad range of internal and external sources and data. This includes data from other blue light organisations and resilience partners, historical incidents, social and economic information. There was evidence of adjusting response plans based on changes in identified risk. In some LSO areas, in line with the SFRS's planning structure, there are also individual station plans which give a more local context and direction for activities to be carried out, and in some cases targets to be achieved. Where these plans existed station-based management teams broadly found them useful.
30. The Service has responsibilities under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to work in partnership with other organisations, through the East Of Scotland Regional Resilience Partnership (RRP), and compile a Community Risk Register1. The Community Risk Register is the result of risk assessments carried out by the partnership members, to identify the likely risks in the area and rate them in terms of their potential impact and likelihood of occurring. The results of these assessments are used to inform the RRP and produce agreed and effective multi-agency plans and procedures. The Community Risk Register considers eight potential generic risks within the area, describes possible consequences, outlines what the RRP members are doing, and also what the public can do themselves to mitigate risk.
31. Resilience activity is further sub-divided into Local Resilience Partnership areas; Fife; Forth Valley; and Lothian and Borders. Each of these area partnerships produces a plan.
32. Preventing incidents occurring in the first place is the best and most effective way of mitigating the impact of fire and other incidents. Each LSO area has a prevention and community engagement plan, which guides personnel when they are carrying out a range of prevention activities within the East SDA. Prevention is focused on the people most at risk from fire and other hazards, such as road traffic collisions. Prevention work, carried out by frontline operational firefighters and personnel dedicated directly to community safety, seeks to improve the safety, health and wellbeing of communities leading to a reduction in incidents, injuries, and fatalities. The Service is working with a wide range of partners, using referral pathways across a number of sectors, to identify and target its activity appropriately. There are also examples of Service personnel working to address social inequality.
33. In some areas of the East SDA there are issues regarding the number of deliberate fires, predominantly those classed as secondary fires, such as grassland and refuse fires. Prevention activity in the context of these deliberate fires mostly takes the form of working with young people aimed at tackling this type of anti-social behaviour in conjunction with other partners.
34. Protection activity is the type of work that involves the Service working with people who have duties under fire safety legislation, to ensure the safety of employees, residents, visitors or customers in relevant premises. For the majority of non-domestic buildings in Scotland the Service is the enforcing authority for fire safety.
35. Under the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 the SFRS is a regulator and the Service operates a system which includes carrying out proactive fire safety audits within premises, reactive audits in premises where fires have occurred, and dealing with complaints, enquiries and contraventions. Proactive audits are carried out using a risk-based approach, following a national enforcement framework, which focuses on those premises which present the highest life risk from fire, such as care homes, hospitals and sleeping accommodation premises.
36. Broadly speaking, enforcement staff are finding it difficult to meet the nationally derived audit targets, beyond defined framework premises, in the East SDA. This is primarily due to a shortage of Enforcement Officers, for example within the City of Edinburgh LSO area there should be nine staff, at the time of our visit there were four and two of these weren't yet fully qualified. Similar to other areas across the East SDA, during 2022 following the change to firefighters' pensions there was an unexpected increase in retirements. Managers within the Protection function are actively trying to backfill vacancies, however, as would be expected it takes time to become a fully qualified Enforcement Officer.
37. Some Enforcement Officers we spoke to felt that if they were able to record fire safety audit findings on a mobile device, which was connected to a national recording system, whilst conducting the audit, it would release time and remove duplication of effort thereby generating efficiencies and a faster completion of audits. We have reported in previous inspection reports that enforcement staff have a generally poor opinion of the current SFRS national Prevention and Protection Enforcement Database (PPED), which is used to record premises and audit outcomes. Because of historical issues with PPED, such as losing records, the majority of staff maintain their own separate records.
38. The Service also has a quarterly inspection programme for high rise domestic buildings. The purpose of these Operational Assurance Visits is to provide visiting crews with familiarisation of the premises and to check dutyholder compliance with fire safety requirements. These visits are normally carried out by operational crews rather than fire safety enforcement staff; however, in the City of Edinburgh, where there are a large number of residential high rise buildings, enforcement staff are involved in compiling any required letters to dutyholders, outlining deficiencies where these are found. The enforcement staff we spoke to said that this was an additional workload where enforcement resources are already stretched. Beyond the impact on enforcement staff, there is also the scale of the task for operational crews conducting the visits. Two Edinburgh fire stations are particularly affected because of the number of high rise premises within their station areas. Locally managers have prepared a risk based strategy to reduce the impact of this activity. To date this risk based approach has not been introduced and consequently these visits continue to be a significant workload for operational crews and enforcement staff at a time of reduced resources.
39. A natural part of a fire prevention strategy should be an understanding of how fires start in the first place. The SFRS has a fire investigation capability which is geographically located within the three SDAs. The team in the East is located at Livingston. Although based within the East SDA the DACO has no direct control over the operation of the fire investigation team.
40. The significant findings from fire investigations should influence both prevention strategies, and where appropriate, efforts to improve firefighter safety. There should therefore be a direct link between fire investigation outcomes, incident debriefs, and operational assurance. Although there are national systems to debrief operational incidents members of the fire investigation team that we spoke to are of the opinion that their activity could add greater value to organisational learning if there was a more formalised mechanism for them to do so.
41. In June 2022 there was a restructure of the function, which was followed up by a six month review. At the time of writing we are unsighted on the result of that review. The duty model and resources used is not the same across the three units.
Response - How effective is the Service in the East SDA at responding to incidents when they do occur?
42. An effective fire and rescue service will, when the public calls for help, ensure its firefighters respond promptly and possess the right skills, knowledge and equipment to deal with the incident effectively. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's overall effectiveness within the East SDA is judged to be Satisfactory.
43. There is an Operations Control (OC) based in Edinburgh, one of three covering Scotland, which is responsible for handling emergency calls in the East. Although the East OC will handle the majority of the calls for the area it is also possible for the other two OCs to handle East calls for resilience purposes. Currently the three OCs use different mobilising systems, the Service was in the process of introducing a single mobilising system which had been expected to make it easier for the three OCs to manage each other's calls. However, during our fieldwork, following extensive delays and problems with delivering the new system, the contract with the supplier was terminated. HM Chief Inspector initiated an inspection to consider the operational consequences of this decision.‹ HMFSI: The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Command and Control Mobilising System (CCMS), 2023
44. Call handling times are reported nationally. As at the end of the reporting year 2021-22 the median time for the East was 1.27 minutes which is comparable to the West SDA's time of 1.25 minutes. Although based within the East SDA the DACO has no direct control over the OC, as it forms part of the operations function within the SFRS's management structure. We are aware that there are staffing shortages in the East OC similar to other operational areas of the Service. During the fieldwork period of inspection there was a recruitment campaign for OC staff.
45. There have been no national standards by which to measure speed and weight of response since the removal of the standards of fire cover in 2005. The median response time to attend an incident, 8.40 minutes, within the East SDA is broadly in line with the other two Service Delivery Areas.
46. The ability to promptly respond is dependent on the availability of a crew to do so. This is usually directly related to the crewing model at the station closest to the incident. Within the East SDA there are two basic crewing models, Wholetime (including day crewing) and On-Call (which is new nomenclature for the retained and volunteer duty systems). Wholetime stations are crewed by full-time firefighters working a five-watch duty system. On-Call stations work on an as required basis, where personnel respond to a pager alert and attend the station when requested: this therefore builds in a delay before the appliance can leave the station.
47. Similar to other areas across Scotland and the wider UK there are occasions, particularly during the day, when an On-Call appliance may not be available. There are a number of factors which influence On-Call availability and the trend in recent years of people no longer working within their local communities continues to impact on personnel's ability to respond. The total average On-Call availability within the East was just over 70% for the year ending 31 March 2022. Generally, availability has reduced since its peak during the pandemic. It should be noted however that there are a number of stations in the East where the availability is very good and the personnel at these stations should be commended. It should also be noted that availability is usually higher during the night and at weekends.
48. The Service monitors the availability of On-Call appliances electronically. On-Call personnel individually use a system to manage their own availability. At a number of On-Call fire stations personnel will also informally, collectively manage their personal availability, to ensure that an appliance will remain available. Once the number of personnel available falls below the minimum number, with the correct skill set required to crew an appliance, it will be deemed unavailable and as such would not be mobilised to an incident. In these circumstances the next nearest available appliance would be mobilised. Within one area of the East we were made aware of a pilot project to improve On-Call appliance availability, the Bank Hours pilot. Within the pilot area On-Call staff have the ability to move around the area, away from their normal home station, providing cover in other areas and therefore maintaining overall appliance availability.
Good Practice 1
We feel there is scope, budget permitting, to extend the Bank Hours pilot beyond the initial area following the evaluation of its success.
49. A Wholetime fire station's establishment is based on the Service's crewing level policy. In practice there are occasionally times when there are more than the required personnel on duty and other times where there are not enough. The SFRS has a five-watch duty system based on a ten-week, continually repeating, shift cycle. The five-watch duty system is designed to predict as far as practicable, where surpluses and deficiencies will occur, and realign resources accordingly. To ensure the duty system and Wholetime firefighter availability operates effectively, the SFRS has a national Central Staffing section, which has recently undergone a restructure. Central Staffing is responsible for arranging the number of firefighters on duty at each Wholetime fire station. This is done by the management of leave, controlled use of overtime, the use of the additional out-of-pattern roster reserve days (known as Orange days) and the use of detached duty staff. Detached duty involves personnel temporarily working from a fire station other than their home station to make up a crewing shortfall. Some watches we met with said that there was overtime 'fatigue', where staff were routinely declining the opportunity to work overtime.
50. The Service has an appliance withdrawal strategy. Due to the shortage of personnel there has been daily withdrawal of appliances in some areas in the East, normally the second pump at an affected station. The crew from that appliance will then be detached to make up the numbers at other stations. Due to the specialist rescue capabilities, and crewing requirements of some stations, it means that those stations don't form part of the withdrawal strategy and are broadly unaffected. This however places an added burden on other surrounding stations. Although not as a result of the impact of detached duties, we have been advised of specialist resources being unavailable due to crew shortages.
51. Prior to the pandemic, appliances in stations with two pumps were crewed to a minimum of five firefighters on the first appliance and four on the second. In response to the pandemic, crewing was reduced to a minimum of four and four. At the time of our inspection this reduction in crewing remains in place.
52. Detached duties and appliance withdrawal has been a major issue and source of frustration and low morale for the personnel affected. As they are often at short notice, detached duties can also have a negative impact on priority pre-arranged events, like training and other duties such as community safety work.
53. Last-minute crewing shortages due to sickness is understandable, and during the pandemic there were higher levels of sickness in the Service, but when pumps are being withdrawn daily it would suggest that crewing shortages are actually more predictable, with the possibility of giving personnel more notice of withdrawals. The short notice detached duty process involves personnel having to transport their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the other station which causes problems, if a person does not have their own transport, or they cycle or walk to work.
54. In very simplistic terms, the shortage of staff is the cause of the withdrawal of appliances. However, the solution is not as simple as just recruiting more firefighters, particularly at a time of constrained budgets. Staff costs represent just over 80% of the cost of providing the fire and rescue service. The Service has an overall Target Operating Model (TOM) that details how many staff it requires, in what roles and where, in order to crew and provide managerial and incident command support for all operational appliances. Currently the TOM is under-resourced and therefore the Service is experiencing difficulty trying to operate the five-watch duty system as intended. The Service has previously undertaken a review of its appliance withdrawal strategy. We believe that another assessment should now be carried out of the strategy and of the TOM, and conclusions drawn on the impact on firefighter and community safety.
We recommend that the Service conducts a review of its staffing strategy and how it relates to the current under-resourced Target Operating Model.
55. We have highlighted in previous local area inspection reports, dissatisfaction with the central operation of the five-watch duty system. We were advised of occasions when crew members have been brought in on their Orange days when there was not a shortfall in staffing, and they were not required. We were also advised of Orange days being predominantly used towards the beginning of the year, rather than spread throughout it. Generally staff felt that if there was more local control of staffing requirements, it would help. However, this function being centralised does give the advantage of a wider overview of staffing needs and the ability to move staff where required.
56. Central Staffing are aware of these issues, but fundamentally the problems with the operation of the five-watch duty system are caused by trying to operate with reduced numbers of personnel below the TOM.
57. As indicated earlier, there are staff shortages at some On-Call stations in the East and action is being taken in a number of local areas to address this, where possible through ongoing recruitment. We cover recruitment in more detail later in the report.
58. The Service nationally has had a property condition survey carried out on each fire station in the East. The surveys give SFRS's property managers information regarding the assessed condition of the fabric and services of the building, and to a degree, indicative costs for any identified refurbishment. This information generally allows property managers to prioritise improvement work.
59. Capital and resource expenditure priorities on premises refurbishment and repair is a national matter, in consultation with LSO area staff.
60. Eight of the fire stations within the East SDA have roof areas constructed of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC). RAAC was used extensively in the construction of flat-roofed schools and similar buildings from the 1960s to the 1980s. A safety alert was issued in 2019 following the failure of a roof constructed of this material. The SFRS has undertaken a risk assessment and where necessary remedial action to provide temporary structural support for the affected roofs. Overall, the situation with the roofs of the affected stations will have a significant financial impact for the Service, beyond that already spent on temporary support and investigation work. For some stations this will require an in-depth assessment of the cost/benefit of repairing the roof, against replacing the whole building. Prioritisation of which stations will be remediated first, and how, is a national decision and is obviously dependent on access to capital funding. It is therefore unclear how long it will take to remedy the defects within the East SDA. Until such time as a solution is decided for the stations affected, there is a significant ongoing cost for scaffolding support and monitoring inspections.
61. As can be seen in the images, the working environment for the staff at some of these stations is also less than ideal, and this has been the case for a number of years. For example, in addition to having to work around the scaffolding supports, already leaking roofs have not been fully repaired and water ingress is still a problem at some stations. Although the Service has developed a Strategic Asset Management Plan, which broadly sets out the Service's intentions for addressing the defects, it is of concern that this has not progressed further since the SFRS Board were first made aware in December 2019.
We recommend that the Service resolves the roofing problems at the affected fire stations as a matter of urgency.
62. A small number of stations in the East have had refurbishment work undertaken to provide more suitable dignified facilities for staff, which is to be welcomed. Some of the stations we visited had had work carried out to install solar panels and improve heating systems, as part of the Service's drive to reduce its 'carbon footprint'. However, a consequence of this work has been the loss of local control over heating systems which, for some stations, has had an impact on the ease of drying wet PPE.
63. A number of the On-Call stations are small, with limited facilities. This can impact the storage and care of PPE, the provision of suitable dignified facilities for firefighters and affects the general working environment for crews. Resolving these issues is again closely tied into the availability and prioritisation of capital funding.
64. The SFRS's national fleet function manages the procurement and servicing of vehicles used within the area, allocating and replacing vehicles on the basis of a national policy. The appliances allocated to the area are of a varying age and are generally being kept in good condition. Although, there were instances where, due to either age or configuration, appliances, including spare appliances, were in a less than satisfactory condition. In particular we were made aware of issues regarding the reliability, due to age, of the water bowser. Given the projected rise in the scale of wildfires, and the consequent increased demand on specialist resources, such as the water bowser, concern was expressed to us that it is not a priority for replacement. At the time of our thematic inspection of fleet in 2019 the bowser was listed in a SFRS capital backlog report, we are advised that work is progressing at present to replace the aging fleet of water carriers with demountable solutions. However, there has been recent investment within the East, for example, two new high reach vehicles were allocated to the City of Edinburgh during 2021-22. Overall we are advised there has been a reduction in the average age of the fleet in the East.
65. Major servicing of East appliances is undertaken at the Newbridge workshops managed by the Service's Fleet function. In 2019 HMFSI published a report of an Inspection of the SFRS's Management of its Fleet and Equipment Function HMFSI: The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's Management of its Fleet and Equipment Function, 2019. In that report we highlighted that recruitment of mechanics was proving difficult, that situation persists at Newbridge workshops, which has an impact on the throughput of work. We were advised that there could be opportunities to achieve efficiencies through changes to work processes. Such as enabling On-Call mechanics to record their activity through the use of mobile devices whilst away from the workshop. Thereby freeing up time to maintain vehicles when they return, rather than having to catch-up with record keeping as they currently have to.
66. An issue that was raised with us on a number of occasions, regarding newer appliances, related to the stowage of Breathing Apparatus (BA) sets in a transverse locker. The dimension of the locker was said to be too narrow to stow the BA sets without parts of the set catching on the locker door surround, leading to damage of the set or locker edge seal. When procuring new appliances, the manufacturers are made aware what BA set the Service uses and therefore the dimensions of the locker should be sized accordingly. The situation described, suggests that there is an issue with the vehicle build acceptance process. We are aware that on some of the most recent appliances, there has been a retrofitting of a piece of fabric material designed to hold the BA set away from the locker edges, to avoid damage.
67. We are aware that User Intelligence Groups are set-up as part of the procurement process, however, there was generally said to be no consultation or feedback given to end-users of the appliances or equipment when new vehicles are brought into service. This was also an issue that we raised in our inspection of Fleet and Equipment and continues to be a source of frustration for staff.
68. With some exceptions described below, personnel are generally satisfied about the level and quality of operational equipment supplied.
69. Periodic testing of equipment is carried out by fire station personnel as part of their normal routine. These tests form an important part of ensuring that the equipment is safe to use, is functioning correctly, and is ready to be deployed at an incident. The SFRS has no single electronic asset management system for equipment and its testing. The process used in the ESDA is predominantly paper-based, with some stations recently receiving new document folders to hold the recorded information. The Service has introduced as a pilot, for water rescue resources, an electronic system based on a mobile phone application to record standard testing. We were made aware that there have been problems accessing the system on occasions.
70. In three locations we were shown an electronic, instead of paper-based, record keeping system, using an Excel Spreadsheet format, for the testing of equipment. The Excel recording process had been developed by the individual station's management and we were advised that completing the information electronically was quicker and better than manually filling in records. We believe that the Service should standardise the recording of equipment testing with a national electronic system as soon as possible or expand the use of the Excel based method.
The Service should standardise its recording of standard tests taking cognisance of the electronic innovations already in use.
71. There are specialist rescue capabilities, such as water and rope rescue, based at a number of stations within the East SDA. The disposition of these resources is decided nationally and designed to give communities across Scotland equitable access. Some of the capability, such as USAR, was introduced across the UK following the terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001. Some of the equipment introduced then, such as mass decontamination, was said to be at the end of its useful operation due to wear and tear.
72. The BA set used by firefighters, which was first issued by the SFRS in 2016, was described by many of those we interviewed as being overly complex to operate and maintain and prone to defects. This particular issue was not subject to examination or inspection by ourselves as part of this inspection. As such we present this as a commonly held perception which we believe deserves further consideration by the SFRS. We were also made aware of a shortage of spare cylinders in some areas; this was said to impact on training, particularly in more remote areas, as crews are keeping charged cylinders available for operational use and there is limited access to cylinder charging compressors. A BA van, based at a station in Edinburgh, is used to transport replacement cylinders when required. Due to a lack of personnel within the Edinburgh area, this vehicle is now frequently unavailable, which is also having an impact on cylinder availability. In some areas fire appliances are being used to move cylinders, we would ask the Service to consider the economic and environmental impact of such an approach and aim to introduce a more suitable solution.
73. A consistent finding in our past inspection reports is the poor opinion that firefighters have of the fire-ground radios and the number of radios available. This continues to be the case. We are aware that the SFRS has plans to replace the current radios with a new digital format. At the time of our fieldwork the project had been running for several years and we were unsighted on its development. At the time of writing, we now understand that a contract for new radios has recently been awarded. We welcome this news; however, given the impact that this is having across all areas of operational response, we would urge the Service to complete the roll-out of this new equipment as a priority.
74. A frequent comment made by crews was that the provided structural fire PPE was good, but not practical for use at wildfire incidents. The structural PPE can cause the wearer to overheat when working over rough terrain. It was felt that lighter weight wildfire PPE was more appropriate. Some crew members had access to legacy Service-issued lightweight PPE which could be used at a wildfire; however, this PPE was not available to everyone, creating a mix of types and standards of PPE at this type of incident. The Service has plans to issue wildfire PPE to personnel at designated wildfire stations. However, given the scale of the response required to the wildfires during 2022 this will still result in most firefighters having to respond to incidents wearing PPE that is not ideally suited to that type of incident. We recognise that beyond the cost implications of providing all personnel with wildfire PPE there would be other practical difficulties such as those related to a lack of storage for these garments.
75. Although not related to the response function, members of the Service's community engagement staff reported a lack of suitable wet weather PPE and for some, particularly Community Safety Advocates, a lack of drill ground PPE when participating in youth fire skills courses.
76. We were advised of the difficulties experienced at some stations augmenting or changing the standard equipment provided on appliances, even when there was an identified local need. Whilst there are clear benefits in having a standard inventory, we are of the view that as risk is not standard across the country, there will be times when non-standard equipment is required, and local operational needs must receive clear recognition.
77. We were made aware of On-Call appliances, based at Wholetime stations, not receiving equipment on the basis that a Wholetime pump based at the same station has the equipment in question. This situation fails to recognise that the Wholetime appliance may not be available, or may be in attendance at another incident, leaving the On-Call appliance to have to 'make up' for the equipment not carried, such as a thermal imaging camera, leading to a possible delay.
78. In the reporting year 2021-22 the Service in the East attended 1,497 incidents of effecting entry or exit. Equipment regularly cited as being of use at these incidents, but not usually available, was specialised door opening equipment. It was felt by crews that being able to use this equipment would be more effective, by removing the lock, and cause less damage than the Service-provided door entry breaking-in equipment.
79. We were made aware of limited instances where there had been an exceptionally long delay in getting equipment repaired or replaced.
Operational Intelligence (OI)
80. The SFRS has a statutory duty to obtain information which may be required by its personnel in carrying out their operational role. When information is created, either by collection as part of that duty or through the writing of an operational policy, such as a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for an incident type, it is made available to firefighters through a demountable tablet device within the cab of the fire appliance.
81. The provision of up-to-date and accurate information to its firefighters is important in effectively responding to incidents when they occur. We saw varying quantities of available information across the LSO areas. There are processes in place for firefighters to collect OI; however, we noted that in areas covered by On-Call appliances, firefighters from those stations are less likely to be involved in the collection process.
82. We are also aware of continued ongoing issues with the automatic up-dating of the Getac tablet device. This is a national problem and one that the Service has been trying to resolve. Until the situation is finally resolved, firefighters may not have access to the latest risk information. In 2019 HMFSI published a Thematic Inspection report‹ HMFSI: The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's arrangements for the provision of Operational Risk Information, 2019 of the management and provision of risk information. In that report we highlighted that there were issues regarding the updating of the information on the tablet. We are disappointed that these issues have not been resolved and it is of concern that firefighters may not have ready access to the most up-to-date information.
83. Notwithstanding the issues of updating the tablet we found that, in general, the device was underutilised by firefighters mainly due to the problems associated with using it, which we also highlighted in our 2019 report. We found that the tablet is mostly being used for its map capability to locate hydrants rather than for its OI content. The mapping function does not however have traditional 'Sat Nav' capability to plot a route to the incident. Although it does have a 'follow me' function, which is reported as being of little use. Crews tend to use their own personal mobile phones for plotting a route to a location, as Service provided appliance mobile phones cannot access mapping systems. Towards the end of our fieldwork stage, the Service started to issue new mobile phones for appliances which did have data access. We see this as an improvement; however, it is still very disappointing that the tablet has not been developed to its full capability given the considerable investment in the technology.
It is of concern that there are still issues with the reliability and functionality of the Getac tablet which may result in firefighters not having access to up-to-date risk information at time of need. Action should be taken as soon as possible to resolve the technical issues with the system.
Training and exercising
84. Pre-pandemic the Service would routinely train and exercise with multi-agency partners. Within the East SDA there are a number of significant risks, such as the Grangemouth Petrochemicals complex. Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) regulations require site operators to test emergency plans and the SFRS routinely participates in these tests where appropriate. Also, within the East is Torness Nuclear Power Station, which is also required to test emergency plans. The response to the pandemic did have a negative impact on the ability to train and exercise; however, with the removal of the restrictions this activity is slowly returning to normality.
85. In areas of the East SDA, On-Call stations are 'paired up' with Wholetime stations for the purposes of joint training which had also been interrupted by the pandemic. The joint training was said to work well pre-Covid. Following removal of covid restrictions there is an expectation that joint training will resume.
86. Use is also made of off-station venues for training, for example disused buildings for BA search and rescue training. Prior to use being made of these sites a risk assessment must be completed for the venue. A change in the risk assessment process had taken place within one LSO area within the East and this new process was said to have resulted in lengthy delays in getting to use some venues, which was a source of frustration for crews.
87. Some fire stations within the East SDA also respond to incidents over the English Border. Arrangements are in place for the exchange of relevant information when working together with Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service. Joint working arrangements are also exercised. The arrangements were said to work well.
88. Acquisition and maintenance of skills by personnel is covered later in this report under the people function.
Partnership -How effective is the Service in the East SDA at working in partnership with others to improve community safety outcomes?
89. An effective fire and rescue service will work in partnership with communities and others in the public, private and third sectors to ensure community wellbeing and to improve community safety outcomes. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's overall effectiveness within the East SDA is judged to be good.
90. The main purpose of the SFRS, as defined by the Scottish Government in the Fire and Rescue Framework 2022, 'is to work in partnership with communities and others in the public, private and third sectors, on prevention, protection and response, to improve the safety and wellbeing of people throughout Scotland.' We have witnessed a great deal of work being carried out in partnership. As can be expected the response to the pandemic did impact on some of the partnership activity being undertaken, particularly face-to-face prevention work. Re-engagement activity was being undertaken with partners to promote an increase in joint prevention working.
91. There is a legislative requirement of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 for community planning partners to jointly develop a local plan aimed at improving the quality of life for the people experiencing the greatest inequality. There is evidence that the Service is complying with its statutory duty to work with others within the established community planning arrangements, particularly at a locality level. An area where the Service could assist with improving this work overall is how it prepares its managers to work at a strategic level with partners. SFRS managers can often inherit a role with little to no handover or previous experience of operating, at the strategic level, with Community Planning Partners. This was seen by some partners as a barrier. Particularly as there requires to be a shared ownership and vision of what the partnership priorities and goals are. If officers were given an early grounding centrally, perhaps as part of an officer development process, in how community planning operates and how the Service is expected to fit into that process, this could enhance the contribution that the SFRS already makes.
92. As already highlighted, the SFRS in the East SDA works in partnership with others to assess risk within the community, produces plans and makes preparation to respond to emergencies when required.
93. There are examples of co-location of emergency responder services within the East SDA. Ambulance crews from the Scottish Ambulance Service operate out of a number of stations across the East. To a limited extent officers from Police Scotland use fire stations as a temporary base, primarily in rural areas. There are also examples of other responders, such as HM Coastguard and mountain rescue organisations using fire stations in the East. Some partners we spoke to were keen to explore further asset-sharing opportunities where appropriate.
94. There are a number of examples of SFRS prevention staff participating in multi-agency partnership meetings, to discuss information sharing and design interventions, to improve community outcomes. There are also established referral pathways to allow the SFRS and its partners to share details when there are concerns regarding vulnerable persons. Staff have an awareness of issues beyond the home safety agenda, such as financial harm, human trafficking and domestic abuse.
95. The SFRS maintains, on behalf of multi-agency partners, a register of community based assets, the Community Asset Register (CAR). The development of the CAR was an outcome of a recommendation from an independent review of water rescue capability in Scotland, carried out by Paddy Tomkins QPM in 2009. The assets listed on the register are available to the SFRS and partners, on request, in order to provide assistance to the Service at an incident. Although launched by the SFRS in October 2017, we found that there was limited awareness amongst officers of what resources were available on the CAR. This lack of awareness will clearly impact the use made of resources, the details of which are held on the CAR. OC staff had a working knowledge of the CAR and were able to confirm that it is infrequently used. Although aware of the CAR, OC staff described a reluctance to suggest to Incident Commanders resources which may be available, as the Incident Commanders are 'in charge' of the incident and OC staff felt this would be going beyond their remit.
96. The view was also expressed to us that SFRS is not best placed to host the CAR and it would be beneficial if it were provided and managed by a government-based organisation.
As we recommended in our inspection report on command and control, we continue to suggest that more could be done to promote the existence of the CAR, and to encourage the use of assets contained on the list, where appropriate.
People - How effective is the Service in the East SDA at managing and supporting its workforce?
97. An effective fire and rescue service recruits, develops and maintains a workforce that is skilled, supported and reflects the diversity of its communities. Its managers promote a culture of fairness and respect. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's overall effectiveness within the East SDA is judged to present opportunity for improvement.
98. As would be expected as a national service, many of the systems, policies and procedures are defined centrally. How the Service manages its people is no different. The Target Operating Model for the number of personnel in the East SDA, as at the end of March 2022, was 1,631. The actual (fulltime equivalent) number of staff was 1,427. The number of vacancies varies across the LSO areas and within roles.
99. Turnover of staff within the Wholetime workforce is normally less frequent and more predictable than with staff of other duty systems. The projected turnover in Wholetime staff over the 12 months to March 2023 was 8.6% and 8.1% for On-Call staff. Consequently, under normal circumstances, the Service is more able to forecast staffing changes and has more control over the need for recruitment. However, the recent unpredicted change made to the firefighters' pension scheme, mentioned earlier, resulted in a sudden spike of retirements of eligible firefighters. This has had an impact on workforce planning. There has also been the consequential loss of very experienced officers. There are a number of staff in temporary promoted roles, some of whom have been 'acting up' for some time. Locally there are a number of vacancies at On-Call stations. The Service has centrally created a staffing solutions team. The stated purpose of the staffing solutions team is to maximise the SFRS's attraction, recruitment, retention and development of operational personnel to maintain the respective TOM.
100. Succession planning is an integral part of workforce planning, ensuring that there is a developed workforce able to replace others who are promoted and those that leave or retires. The SFRS has a centrally managed and established promotion, selection and development programme. We cover this further under developing leaders.
101. Wholetime and On-Call recruitment is broadly managed centrally. The Service provides prospective applicants with background information on what the process entails, such as details of the medical, fitness tests, psychometric test, practical examination and selection centre. Applying for vacancies can be done online.
102. For applicants interested in becoming On-Call firefighters there is now a Pre-Recruitment Engagement Programme (PREP). Once an application has been registered, personnel from the relevant local station will support the applicant in preparations to undertake the fitness and practical selection tests for On-Call firefighters. We heard first hand from some prospective members of the On-Call who were participating in PREP and who felt the process had been of benefit. We welcome this development.
Good Practice 2
We welcome the introduction of the Pre-Recruitment Engagement Programme (PREP) process and we have witnessed first-hand during our fieldwork the value of it.
103. As highlighted above, there are a number of On-Call vacancies at a number of stations, consequently there are continuous open recruitment campaigns running where necessary. We were made aware of locally prepared social media promotional material for the On-Call system and thought it a useful way to increase public recognition and promote recruitment opportunities.
104. There would appear to be some continuing issues around the length of time taken to complete the initial recruitment process for On-Call. Although we were told, latterly in our inspection programme, of some areas where there had been a significant improvement, we were also told of occasions where it had taken up to a year, leading to some applicants losing interest and withdrawing. The SFRS should continue to focus on this aspect of recruitment, building on the successes that had been experienced latterly.
105. Wholetime trainees attend a three-month course at a SFRS training centre. Following graduation from this course trainees then go into a development phase, where they are given three further assessments. Due to recent increased numbers of trainees, there are challenges in supporting and assessing their development phase which is proving resource intensive in some areas. We encountered trainees who had completed their development plans but could not be signed off as being competent firefighters, due to a lack of Assessors and Verifiers nationally to approve these plans. The Service is aware of this issue and is actively working to increase Assessor/Verifier numbers.
106. An issue that was raised with us by local trainers was a lack of access to a trainees end of initial course note, following their three-month course. This note would highlight any areas that should be an initial focus for further development by local training teams or watch management teams when they arrive on station.
107. Initial training for an On-Call firefighter is to attend a two-week task and task management course, followed by a further two weeks at a later date. The initial training for On-Call staff can be a barrier, as four weeks of training can use up all their leave entitlement or force them to use un-paid leave from their primary employer, if they have one. The Service is actively looking at improving the recruitment and initial training experience for On-Call firefighters through its national On-Call improvement programme. We encountered some good examples of this training being split over consecutive weekends to alleviate these issues, making the training package more accessible to the trainee and soften primary employment issues. The SFRS should maintain a focus on, and further enhance, this work.
108. The SFRS made a substantial change to its ongoing, or maintenance phase development planner (MPDP), training programme for firefighters in April 2022. Prior to that, ongoing training of operational staff included a competence framework containing a number of modules to be undertaken by staff. There were:
- 12 core skills modules to be completed over 12 months
- 12 standard modules to be covered over 36 months
- 24 (max) advanced modules tailored to each station risk profile, to be covered over 36 months
109. Continuous training is delivered using an e-learning system known as the Learning Content Management System (LCMS), which uses videos and online questions and answers to support and assess staff competencies. We have previously commented in a number of reports that the training packages were not entirely conducive to learning. As mentioned above, from April 2022 a change was made to ongoing training, some of the former modules have been combined to create a single topic, reducing the number of standard and advanced down from 36 modules to 24. The content of the modules has also been improved, with more of a focus on 'need to know' information for maintenance phase staff, rather than 'nice to know'. The changes implemented have been widely welcomed by staff. Notwithstanding the improvement in the LCMS packages, an issue, also raised by us in earlier inspections, is the restricted access, and perceived poor quality of computers particularly in On-Call fire stations. There is also a continuing demand for more 'hands-on' practical training, rather than computer-based.
110. Staff also receive some regular instructor led training, particularly On-Call staff. During the pandemic there was a move to provide this training virtually. On-Call stations were, in most cases, overwhelmingly positive of the support they receive from visiting training staff when this is possible.
111. The provision of training support is split between local training teams, who are part of the LSO's staff and a national training team, which is part of the Training, Safety and Assurance Directorate, who for the East, are based at the SFRS training centre at Newbridge, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Following the creation of the SFRS there was a rationalisation of training venues, which led to the closure of the multi-functional training venue at Thornton in Fife, amongst other smaller scattered units. This closure was said to have had a big impact on the training facilities available to some stations in the East.
112. The national training team at Newbridge is responsible for delivering certain courses, such as the BA Refresher Programme, Fire Behaviour Training, Incident Command and Driver Training.
113. The training of drivers has been a subject of focus for the national team. In previous reports we have highlighted that there is a shortage of appliance drivers in a number of areas, this is a continuing problem. A review by the driver training team in 2020 highlighted that, across the Service, there was a shortage of 270 drivers at that time. The national team has been working with other 'Blue Light' partners to explore the potential to share some of the training burden. For example, Police Scotland driving instructors delivering SFRS officer response car driver training. The SFRS has also revised course delivery by moving from one-to-one training to two candidates per session for appliance driver training. It is hoped that this package of actions will improve the number of drivers available.
114. We are advised that there is currently a shortage of instructors at Newbridge, which is impacting on the ability to deliver courses as programmed, this has led to the cancellation of courses, sometimes at late notice. It was reported to us that a number of BA and fire behaviour training courses were impacted by these cancellations, which at the time of our visits had not been rescheduled. The instructor shortage also often results in members of local training teams being used to supplement the national instructor cadre, which consequently negatively impacts the local training that these instructors can deliver. We were also advised that the delivery of BA Instructor refresher courses had also been impacted.
115. A recent change to harmonise the national terms and conditions of training staff, in particular working hours, has also had an impact on training delivery. Local instructors are now required to carry out more national work. This is reported to reduce the local instructor hours available, one area estimated this to be as much as 1,400 instructor hours per year. There is also now a requirement for instructors to provide targeted availability to deliver courses at weekends where necessary. However, we are aware that there is a salary enhancement available for instructors carrying out this work.
We have highlighted that there are problems with the resourcing of training, both locally and at the Newbridge national training centre, which has led to the cancellation of courses. We recommend that a review of training delivery in the East is undertaken with a view to improving training outcomes.
116. On-line refresher courses have been introduced for incident command level (ICL) 2 & 3. There was some criticism of the refresher training stating that it was more of a memory test than a learning experience. We were told the same when we conducted a Thematic Inspection of Command and Control published in 2020‹ HMFSI: Command and Control: aspects of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Incident Command System 2020.
117. A new process was introduced for the initial assessment of incident command competence during our fieldwork. The On Station Assessment of Incident Command Competence (OSAICC) process has been introduced as part of the Crew Commander promotion process. The OSAICC course is delivered online over three, three-hour sessions, followed by a practical incident command scenario. There were mixed views about this course, and we will maintain an interest as to how the process will develop in the future.
118. There are local training plans developed and kept under review which consider the skills, including specialisms, and capabilities required to effectively respond to the risks identified in the local areas.
119. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) define competence as 'the ability to undertake responsibilities and perform activities to a recognised standard on a regular basis. It combines practical and thinking skills, knowledge and experience.' Once a firefighter has acquired a specific skill, maintenance of the skill is achieved using the quarterly MPDP modules mentioned earlier. Training standards define a further three-year cycle when skills are refreshed at a defined national training centre.
120. Operational readiness within the SFRS is measured across competence in Core Skills, Incident Command, Specialist Skills and Maintenance Phase Development Modules. Nationally the Service sets a compliance performance target of 95% for the workforce. Performance in the East is set out in the table, where a number of core and specialist skills can be seen to be below that target. We have highlighted elsewhere in this report that the delivery of training was impacted by the response to the pandemic, added to that, the under-resourcing of instructor capacity has also affected the ability to run courses.
121. The SFRS's internal auditors recently undertook a review of training and published their report in February 2023. As part of the findings in that report the auditors concluded that competency rates in some core skills were below the performance target. The Internal Audit report concluded that there was an area of improvement to 'address non-compliance with completion rates for mandatory refresher training. Where completion rates fall below target, measures should be put in place to ensure firefighters remain competent and have the skills required to perform their role.' In response to findings within the audit report, the SFRS has indicated that the following is one of the actions that will be taken. 'Training [Department] will develop a Skills Maintenance Framework that will clearly set out what is required within each skill set to ensure compliance. This will detail how skills will be assessed and what action will be taken should any personnel be deemed to be not yet competent or are out with their refresher training currency periods. Training [Department] will review how training is recorded and reported to ensure that all training can be captured accurately as part of a wider review.'
|Core Skill||% Competence|
|Breathing Apparatus Refresher||83|
|Compartment Fire Behaviour Refresher||81|
|Tactical Ventilation Refresher||64|
|Incident Command Level 1 Refresher||96|
|Emergency Response Driving Refresher||93|
|Specialist Kills||% Competence|
|Urban Search & Rescue||27|
* Figures in excess of 100% are because more are trained than required for resilience
122. As stated earlier there are a number of specialist capabilities based in stations across the East. Consequently crews at these stations require to maintain additional specialist skills which can be challenging due to the shortage of personnel and appliances, as it is difficult to withdraw appliances for training purposes.
123. We have been advised of continuing local difficulties relating to training in USAR, borne out in the statistics above, as well as Water Rescue. This has been due to a lack of available national courses for USAR, and low water levels, coupled with restricted access to a bespoke water training venue in Glasgow, impacting on water rescue skills maintenance. There are also shortages of instructors with the necessary qualification in order to deliver this specialised training.
We have highlighted in this report and in others that there are problems in delivering USAR training, leading to the reported low levels of competency in this specialism. We would encourage the Service to review course delivery and resolve the issues identified as a matter of urgency.
124. There were also isolated examples of crews being unable to use some pieces of equipment because of a lack of training in its use.
125. We were advised that training for road traffic incidents involving vehicles was being partly frustrated by an instruction that crews were not allowed to practice techniques where the vehicle was on its roof or side. We understand this instruction was issued following damage to a piece of equipment at an earlier training session where the vehicle was to be placed off its four wheels. Following feedback from the Director of Training we understand that there has been no national direction issued regarding this practice. It would therefore appear to be locally derived. However, from whatever source of instruction this has the potential to lead to a situation where crews are being asked to respond to emergencies without adequate and realistic training on how to resolve these safely. We would therefore suggest that clarification should be given across the East on this matter.
126. The Service nationally has processes to develop and assess staff deemed suitable for promotion. These include formalised assessment centres. During the period of our fieldwork a national promotion process was underway. An issue of particular concern for some officers was that, in their opinion, this national process was thought to be flawed. We were made aware of a number of officers, who had been successfully undertaking temporary promoted roles, some for a considerable period of time, but were later unsuccessful at gaining a permanent substantive post in the promotion round. During their temporary promotion the officers, and the Service, had invested in their development through the attendance on courses and gaining qualifications such as incident command. The officers felt that an individual's performance at an interview was not the best way to assess the candidate, particularly where they had already been undertaking the role. It was felt that performance during temporary promotion should also count towards an individual's suitability for permanent promotion.
127. Beyond the impact on the unsuccessful personnel, the turnover of commanders also has an impact on the personnel that they manage and the partners with whom they engage. A number of partners raised with us the cycle of change and the need to repeat the engagement with the Service on a regular basis. We appreciate that any promotion process must be transparent and fair. However, we feel that there may be other ways that this process could be managed whilst still maintaining the goal of fairness and equity.
128. The Service commenced a pilot project of a non-mandatory development pathway for officers and staff in December 2022. The project focuses on enhancing the leadership and management skills of participants at a supervisory and middle management level. We look forward to seeing an evaluation of the project in due course.
129. More generally, particularly due to the recent spike in retirements, handovers between officers and their successors have been limited or in some cases non-existent, if the officer has already left before their successor has been appointed. This lack of handover places an unnecessary delay in the replacement officer 'getting up to speed'.
130. In our discussions with personnel across the East they generally reported a feeling of being supported by their immediate managers. An issue raised with us however was, for some stations, the frequent turnover of flexi-duty officers. This was a source of frustration as they felt that projects or issues concerning staff and stations were rarely seen through to a conclusion. Engagement with more senior managers was understandably less frequent, but this was not always viewed as a problem, although staff generally felt uninformed about significant projects, such as On-Call terms and conditions changes and the On-Call Improvement Programme project.
131. The SFRS has a procedure to manage performance through an annual appraisal process for all staff. In our experience from our station visits there is less of a focus on the process within the On-Call workforce.
Equality and diversity
132. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Framework requires that the 'SFRS should also seek to be an organisation that is more representative of the people and communities that it serves.' As part of their continual training, firefighters complete a diversity training package. The SFRS has a mandatory Professional Behaviours and Equality online module which staff are required to complete on the LCMS platform. The module retains a three-year currency for personnel. It highlights the expectations and legal requirements of employees, relating to fulfilling their obligations for equality and diversity, along with what employees can expect from the SFRS in how it meets its obligations. The module also explains to employees' concepts of equality, diversity, inclusion and human rights and why these are relevant to their job.
133. 8.2% of the total number of SDA staff, including support staff, identify themselves as female. However, the breakdown varies across the different roles and duty systems. For example, for Wholetime firefighters the split is 92.4% male 7.6% female, for On-Call it is 92.9% male and 7.1% female, but for support staff it is 31.3% male and female 68.8%. Within the constituent local authority areas that make up the East SDA, as at the 2011 census, females make up an average of 51.5% of the local population.
134. 0.6% of SFRS staff identify themselves as an ethnic minority. Again, within the constituent local authorities, those from an ethnic minority background make up an average of 2.8% of the local population. Identifying how ethnically representative the workforce is of the local community is difficult, as recording of ethnicity is not mandatory and 41% of the East SDA staff haven't recorded their ethnic background, or prefer not to say.
135. Since 2018-19 the SFRS has been publishing demographic statistics for new entrants and as part of its recruitment process the Service nationally is trying to improve the diversity of its workforce by trying to attract currently underrepresented groups. Nationally the Service aspires to have a workforce which is representative of the people and communities of Scotland. The Service published a Positive Action Strategy in 2019, which is currently being refreshed, with the aim of promoting the SFRS as an Employer of Choice to Scotland's diverse communities, to attract, recruit and retain people from underrepresented groups.
The Service should conclude the review and updating of its Positive Action Strategy and continue to promote the Service as an employer of choice in a bid to ensure the make-up of its workforce better reflects the communities it serves.
Physical and Mental wellbeing
136. Staff wellbeing is a priority of the SFRS and there is a range of support, for both physical and mental health available. Posters promoting the Service's mental health campaign were very visible at the stations we visited. Staff we spoke to were complimentary about the support that was available to them.
137. For those staff who may have concerns around bullying, harassment or discrimination, the Service have advisors that are an initial point of contact to discuss, in confidence, any issues.
138. Sickness absence within the East SDA has been reasonably static within most workforce duty bands as per the tables below. There are national policies for the management of sickness and helping to support staff in a return to work.
139. There are systems and processes in place for personnel to access support from occupational health professionals, through either self-referral or by being referred by the SFRS. Across the East SDA for the 12-month period to May 2022, there were 267 referral cases current. The most common reason for the referral was musculoskeletal injury, with work-related stress being the next most common.
|Year||Average Days Lost Per Person||absence %|
|Year||Average Days Lost Per Person||absence %|
|Year||Average Days Lost Per Person||absence %|
|Year||Average Days Lost Per Person||absence %|
Health and Safety
140. One of the Service's Core Values is 'Safety' and this is underpinned by a Safety and Assurance Strategy. The Service aims to promote a positive safety culture. There are national performance reporting and trend analysis for key indicators covering, for example, accident and near miss statistics. The view of staff we spoke to was that the new system, 'Think Act Stay Safe' (TASS), used for recording health and safety events and near misses was an improvement on the old one, but there were still times that the level of detail required was onerous. As can be seen in the following table, accident and injury numbers have declined over the last three reporting years and so have near misses. Though there is limited UK data available, nationally the reporting rate, per 1,000 employees, for near miss events within the SFRS is significantly lower than some other fire and rescue services in the UK. The SFRS should continue to promote the importance of reporting near misses in order to address any under-reporting. Near miss reporting is described by the Health and Safety Executive as a very important way of identifying problem areas.
Accident/Injury and Near Misses
141. Regrettably, acts of violence against personnel have been increasing over the last three reporting years.
Acts of Violence
|Acts of Violence||15||23||25||63|
Fire station management system
142. As mentioned earlier, Wholetime personnel work the five-watch duty system, where firefighters work a recurring shift pattern of two ten-hour days, two fourteen-hour nights, followed by four days off. The SFRS's five-watch duty system is based on a ten-week, continually repeating, shift cycle. In the ten-week cycle a typical firefighter would have seven periods of working two day shifts, two night shifts followed by four days off. At the end of the seven periods, the ten-week cycle is completed by firefighters being rostered off duty for eighteen days in a row. All annual leave is allocated within these eighteen-day break periods. On return from their eighteen days off, firefighters must catch up with any new information or changes introduced during their time off, which can sometimes be onerous. The LSO within the MELSB area has introduced a return from leave briefing for Wholetime personnel. These briefings are conducted via MS Teams and are attended by members of station watch management teams and the LSO Area management team, during which important information can be delivered in a single meeting session to be cascaded to remaining personnel.
Good Practice 3
The return from leave briefing is a useful method of updating personnel. If thought to be successful there could be scope for the briefing being rolled out across other LSO areas.
143. Currently being rolled out across the East is a SharePoint information management site. On the site there is a page for each station and, for Wholetime stations, each watch within that station. The system Is designed to make It much easier for station management teams to track Information relating to various aspects of station operation. The system has not been designed by the Service's ICT department but by uniformed and support staff within the East SDA. Inspectors were impressed with the ease with which information could be retrieved and disseminated and think there would be benefit in further roll out of the resource. The aim has been that information should be no more than 'three clicks away'. The image below is a screenshot from the system.
Good Practice 4
The SharePoint information management site is a valuable resource for station management teams and we think there would be benefit in it being rolled out across the other SDAs.