Stephen Mold (SM)
Paul Fell (PF)
Paul Bullen (PB)
Helen King (HK)
Darren Dovey (DD)
Shaun Hallam (SH)
Rob Porter (RP)
Louise Sheridan (LS)
Minutes and Actions from previous meeting
Not Applicable. First meeting
Having reviewed the Draft Budget paper SM asked for reassurance that the confirmed budget for Fire will be £23.285 million.
– HK advised that she is in the process of completing the council tax
reconciliation but is confident on the numbers with the caveat that the
Government Grant will not be confirmed until February. Currently there is uncertainty around the collection of Business Rates (Circa £600k) 50% relates to business rates and Section 31 grants. Therefore approximately £300k uncertainty.
– Pension changes have profound implications for fire.
– Currently setting budgets over 3 years but will move to setting a 5 year
budget as become more confident.
The commissioner was reassured that both HK & RP were comfortable with the budget and that the transfer of governance to the OPFCC will create an environment where investment in the Fire & Rescue Service could increase.
There was a discussion about 68 support staff who do not receive any pay for their first day of sickness.
In the spirit of fairness it was agreed this change will be brought forward to 1 February 2019.
ACTION – HK to make change in the budget allocation & DD to communicate change to staff
Reserves are a key part of medium-term financial planning – other components include revenue spending plans, income forecasts, potential liabilities, capital
investment plans, borrowing and council tax levels.
The opening reserves balance is forecast to be £700k.
Part of the 2019/20 budget agreement includes an annual £400K contribution towards strategic and OPFCC office costs.
DD advised that Northants Fire & Rescue Service is one of the few services that has zero Reserves and has therefore had no money to invest in transformation.
DD plans to pursue opportunities of funding offered by the government.
HK advised that the capital programme currently estimated at £2.965m will be reviewed and updated quarterly as the year progresses.
Following a discussing regarding the current stores arrangement. It was agreed that RP would send the business case regarding additional racking. This will free up space to allow fire fighter uniform and equipment to be relocated. By
sharing stores with the police will reduce costs.
ACTION – RP to send business case to SM & PF
It was agreed that PB will raise the need for an overarching Collaboration
Agreement with Michelle Tilston in Legal who he is meeting later this month.
ACTION – PB to discuss Collaboration Agreement with Legal Team
Clarification was provided on how Fire calculates the budget for establishment figure vs the number of people in the service particularly in regard to Retained posts.
RP explained that it is based on the number of people who are contracted.
There was a discussion about interoperability.
It was agreed moving forwards that resource numbers would be simply reported on the basis of establishment being the number of posts catered for in budgets
and strength would be actual headcount in roles.
ACTION – PR to amend report
Establishment confirmed at 242 establishment. Strength is 229 whole time.
There was a discussion on resilience and the local model vs the strategic
model. This relates to the number of pumps available.
14 – 17 acceptable but relies on some out of county support below 14 is considered unacceptable
Typically in terms of fire cover there are:
9 engines available during the day time
7 engines available between 6pm and 7am supported by retained deployments.
Action – PF and RP to review current establishment strength to agree variance and establish need.
There was a brief discussion on the appropriate duty model system to provide optimum required cover.
ACTION – DD to review what is legal and safe but provides additional resource
SH explained how police work on demand and the fire service work on risk.
It was proposed that the NFRS formally adopt the recommendation that response times are set at 10 minutes. (Original standard 8 minutes).
PF asked if the Commissioner is clear on why it was 8 minutes in the first place so that the amendment can be explained to the Police & Crime Panel.
Following a discussion it was agreed that the commissioner has been reassured that the service is committing to a safe target that can achieve and be measured
ACTION – It was agreed that SH would do a presentation to the Panel and OPFCC to explain what goes into the IRMP
There was a discussion about Community Safety Team.
DD advised that there are only 7 people in the CS team responsible for
31,000 commercial premises. Based on risk, HMO’s and residential flats are expected more regularly but currently they are only inspecting the highest risk.
In light of additional legislation that is expected post Grenfell this will need to be reviewed.
DD confirm that it hasn’t yet been costed as don’t have the recommendations.
ACTION – DD to explore how greater levels of CS team work could be delivered.
DD advised HMICFRS Inspection team will be coming back early March, for
additional fact finding They will report on three areas: Effectiveness, Efficiency
and People. Early feedback from Northamptonshire Inspection appears to be in line with others so far across the Country
This trend appears to be that most services are effective but have some cultural and people issues to address.
ACTION DD to find out how other services achieve an outstanding rating on people.
DD explained some key themes from the local inspection.
– Day time fire cover – bit thin but already in RMP to address.
– Maintenance and Competence – New maintenance and competency
framework in place. There have been a few issues with it not fully rolled
out but have an action plan to embed in RMP.
– Prevention – People understanding risk and it becoming more of a higher
– Culture – Consistent theme across the sector. Predominantly white male
workforce not representative of communities. Piece of work still to be done. Local managers must challenge poor behaviour. DD has relaunched all the Values and implement a strategy but yet to see that it is taking effect.
DD advised that the national picture is 60% of fire fighters had experienced harassment or bullying in last 12 months
ACTION – SM requested a Detailed Action Plan following visit in March. Progress against the plan will be monitored quarterly via accountability board