Agenda item

Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner's Fire & Rescue Statement for 2020/21


RESOLVED that: the Panel accepts the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner’s Fire & Rescue Statement for 2020/21.



The PFCC presented the Northamptonshire Commissioner Fire & Rescue Authority Fire & Rescue Statement for 2020/21, highlighting the following points:

·         The results of previous work to improve the governance of NFRS were now embedded in standard operating arrangements.

·         HMICFRS recognised improvements to performance and oversight that had been made in Northamptonshire. This represented tangible progress towards his aim as PFCC to deliver an effective, sustainable Fire & Rescue service.

·         He was proud of what had been done in Northamptonshire and the progressive approach taken to achieve it.

The Panel considered the Fire & Rescue Statement and questioned the PFCC on his confidence in the level of assurance it set out, with particular reference to operational assurance. Members made the following points during the course of discussion:

·         Following the first part of the Home Office review into the role of Police & Crime commissioners the government proposed to consult on making the PFCC model the standard national approach. This reflected positively on the work done in Northamptonshire and other areas that had already adopted this model.

·         The Panel should endorse the Fire & Rescue Statement.

·         Community engagement work by NFRS was particularly beneficial and the scope to carry out more activity in schools for this purpose should be considered.

·         It was questioned whether smaller community-based fire stations would continue to form part of the service provided by NFRS.

·         The Fire & Rescue Statement provided clear information about performance against key community outcome measures.

·         A member who had received training in using a defibrillator at Thrapston fire station questioned the potential to extend this offer, for example, by delivering training in schools.

·         NFRS personnel were commended on their work, particularly during the
COVID-19 pandemic.

The PFCC made the following additional points during the course of discussion:

·         The COVID-19 pandemic had created challenges relating to community engagement activity, although home fire safety checks had continued to be a means of providing information about fire prevention.

·         There were no plans to close any existing fire stations in the near future.
This position reflected that work carried out in support of the creation of the Northamptonshire Commissioner Fire & Rescue Authority had included a strategic review of future service delivery by NFRS. Ideally, he would want to consolidate the fire stations in Rothwell and Desborough and to move Kettering fire station from its current location next to a school. However, resources were not currently available to pursue this.

·         The future role of firefighters was the subject of current discussion at national level, including with the relevant trade unions. Services needed to be affordable within the resources provided by the government. Consideration was being given to matters such as fire appliances carrying defibrillators and trauma packs.

The Director for Early Intervention provided additional information in response to point made by members during the course of discussion as follows:

·         The OPFCC was currently working with NFRS to enhance its existing fire prevention offer, which would include working with young people.

·         The Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets scheme still operated. The OPFCC aimed to develop the scheme but this would involve changing the current delivery model to use officers’ professional expertise in a targeted way alongside contributions by general volunteers. Resources were available to support the development of the scheme once the approach was confirmed.

RESOLVED that: the Panel accepts the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner’s Fire & Rescue Statement for 2020/21.

Supporting documents: