Agenda and minutes

Fire and Rescue Scrutiny Committee - Friday 13 January 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

No. Item



To note any apologies.


Apologies were received from Cllr Pam Tracey.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 11 November 2022.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 11th November 2022 were approved with the addition of Cllr Dave Norman’s apologies.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any pecuniary or personal interests from members.


There were no declarations of interest.


Update from the Chair of the GFRS Improvement Board pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To receive an update report from the Chair of the Improvement Board on GFRS progress to date against the Improvement Plan.

Additional documents:


77.1 Steve Mawson, Chair of the GFRS Improvement Board, presented a report on the Board’s progress. There had been a recent Board meeting to discuss possible slippage of certain dates and targets. In the discussion it was agreed that certain targets such as improvements in culture would take longer than anticipated and it would be better to take a slower approach and fulfil the changes the Improvement Board had been created to achieve rather than rushing to meet targets with only a superficial change in culture.


77.2 It was also reported that a critical aspect of the work was its assurance framework which would ensure that the changes that Improvement Board implemented were translating into the targeted improvements. Part of this would come from two groups that reported to the board, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group, as well as the Service Improvement Group. Representatives from both these groups had been invited to attend Improvement Board meetings.


77.3 A recent difficult issue had been the establishment of a zero tolerance policy. The Zero Tolerance Policy that had been proposed had not been accepted by workers within the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service. For the time being, the Zero Tolerance Policy had been removed with a temporary statement in place until a policy could be agreed upon by all members of the service. A member asked officers if they could clarify what the issue had been. The officers reported that the reaction to the Zero Tolerance Policy had been unexpected but their understanding was that the concern arose from the fact that the Zero Tolerance Policy had been drafted too quickly without enough consultation from the team. The solution was not to remove the statement altogether but it would be brought back with more detail and a slower rollout. It was added that the Workplace Charter would eventually supersede the Zero Tolerance Policy.


77.4 It was also explained that as part of the survey that asked for feedback about how improvements were going, there was feedback on the service outside of the remit of the Improvement Board’s Causes for Concern. Those concerns raised could then be flagged with the Chief Fire Officer for long-term improvement. The Improvement Board were also reported to have explored how best to communicate changes and investments with members of Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue.


77.5 Steve Mawson also updated members with the development of the programme team. Three positions had been filled with one position that had an interview scheduled shortly and another position planned to start at the end of March.


77.6 In response to concern raised over whether focus was being drawn away from day-to-day fire training to concentrate on cultural training it was explained that £178,000 had been invested in command and competency training for recently appointed officers. There was a sizeable portion of funding going into additional training for on-call staff including an extra hour a week of training.


77.7 Concern was raised by members over the progress and timeline of the Improvement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 77.


GFRS's Service Plan within the Context of the Draft Budget 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To receive an overview of GFRS’s service plans within the context of the draft budget for 2023/24.


78.1  It was explained by Steve Mawson, Deputy Chief Executive, that it was not in the remit of this committee to suggest adjustments to the budget, but it could be reviewed with regards to the service implications of the budget.


78.2 Cabinet Member Cllr Dave Norman summarised the updates in the service plan. The administration was increasing the revenue budget by over £3million. This would support the community safety directorate. This additional funding had been allocated for additional staffing to ensure continued progress against the Community Risk Management plan and the HMI improvement plan. £400,000 was proposed for essential training, £175,000 for courses and £225,000 for an additional training hour per week for on-call staff. £25,000 had been allocated to annual fitness tests. £174,000 had been provided to help ease the pressure of cost-of-living related increases in contract costs. £416,000 had been allocated to improvements to Stroud Community Station, providing treadmills, fleet charging systems, and new equipment. £3.7 million had been allocated for PPE and light vehicles. There were no savings or requirements for efficiency savings.


78.3 Mark Preece, Chief Fire Officer, added that the budgetary allocations were focusing on the objectives outlined on p47 as well as to respond to the HMI Causes for Concern. £1.28 million had been budgeted in for pay inflation but the final pay offer was yet to be finalised. A 5% pay rise offer had been made nationally but that had been rejected.


78.4 A member asked where the details on road safety spending were. It was explained that £1.8 million had been allocated to road safety but specific spends within road safety had not been itemised in the budget. There was also discussion over how aspects of road safety fell under the responsibility of Highways and Maintenance, Police and Crime, and Fire and Rescue. The Cabinet Member explained there was ongoing discussion with the Police and Crime Commissioner as to whether income from speed cameras should go to the Fire and Rescue Service for the development of educational programmes. Cllr Dave Norman said he was happy to bring up concerns to do with road safety from members in his next Collaboration Board Meeting.


78.5 In response to questions over the £80,000 budgeted for treadmills, it was explained that these were necessary specifically for yearly fitness and medical assessments and that calibrated treadmills were not available at all Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service locations. The plan meant that staff would no longer have to travel for their yearly tests. The treadmills were planned to be bought in phases with an initial phase where the department purchased some treadmills. Up-take would then be evaluated with further rollout dependent on sufficient use. It was also explained that the most cost effective option of renting or buying would be evaluated.


78.6 There was also a question raised over what was being charged by the investment in charging points. It was explained that certain vehicles in the GFRS fleet were becoming electric and that certain equipment was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.


Motion 901 - Road Safety in Gloucestershire pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To consider a report on GFRS’s approach to road safety, including its role in education, prevention, and responding to collisions.


79.1 Mark Preece, Chief Fire Officer, gave a summary of the report. Road deaths were reported at 25 per year, serious injuries at 300 per year, and all injuries at 800 per year. 4000 children had been through a Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service education programme in the past year and 100% of teachers surveyed felt the programme would change the children’s behaviour. Younger drivers and older drivers were being specifically targeted through tailored educational programmes to help them understand the risks of driving and to encourage sensible behaviours on the road. Outside of education, improvements were also being made to fire station response to road traffic accidents. All crews were equipped with rescue equipment and at Cheltenham Community Fire and Rescue Stations they were equipped with heavy and large rescue capabilities.


79.2 In response to a question on whether there was more that could be done to combat road accidents, it was explained that Skillzone was a significant asset that most other Fire and Rescue Services did not have access to. GFRS were also innovating with new approaches that used virtual reality as part of the education programme and there was already a plan for further rollout. Members were invited to visit Skillzone so they could see how training and education was being implemented.


79.3 Members asked what was being done to address the middle group between young and old drivers. Officers explained that that audience was particularly difficult to target and that usually people in the middle age group were targeted at the point of having been caught speeding. In those cases, people were enrolled on speed awareness courses. Most deaths had been occurring in younger drivers so fixing those behaviours at that stage was the best route of investment for minimising accidents.


79.4 It was also explained that young drivers were targeted through schools, local businesses, Gloucester University, colleges and army barracks. The national focus on drink driving was also highlighted.


79.5 Equestrian, cycling, scooters and reducing speed were noted as having been missed from the report. It was also suggested that young drivers could be targeted through insurance companies. There was also discussion over e-scooters and officers explained that there was currently no real training for them. E-scooters were being continuously evaluated by the Road Safety Co-ordinator and was on the agenda for 2023/24.


ACTION – The discussion of this report would be reflected as part of the regular update to full council - DSU



GFRS Performance Data and Updates pdf icon PDF 348 KB

To consider the latest GFRS performance data and any updates, including on the work being undertaken by the Prevention Team on cost of living issues.


80.1 A summary of this report was presented by Ian Tonner, Area Manager Prevention and Protection for Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service. It was explained that 6000 Safe and Well visits had been carried out in the previous year. Each visit was taking longer (90 minutes rather than much shorter visits historically). The officer explained that those longer sessions had decrease the reported output but would drive better outcomes for fire safety.


80.2 The operational crews had also been occupied with a series of wild fires and this had drawn capacity away from Safe and Well visits. Two new members of staff had also joined the core prevention team and this would help deliver more Safe and Well visits.


80.3 A risk based inspection programme for commercial properties had been developed this last year. This inspection was supported by an algorithm that used location fire safety score to determine regularity of return visits. In 2019 there was a cause for concern for Protection but the HMI has said that they had improved so this cause for concern had been resolved. There had been a drop-off in Q2 inspection performance as a series of new staff had been recruited. It was explained that this would only be temporary.


80.4 In terms of Prevention, the GFRS were promoting Online Home Fire Safety checks. The service had also invested in one hundred slow cookers which would be given to families that had been identified as needing the most support. These had been deemed as very safe cooking equipment that ran with a lower electricity cost than typical ovens. A Cost-of-Living leaflet had been developed and just under 5000 were ready to be distributed to the public. The service were also evaluating their supply of carbon monoxide detectors and target those where most necessary.


80.5 Members asked if the Cost-of-Living leaflet could be circulated amongst the committee


ACTION – DSU to circulate leaflet PDF and hard copies



Fire and Police Collaboration Written Brief pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To note the written brief detailing the update provided at the previous Committee meeting on fire and police collaboration in Gloucestershire.


81.1 This brief was taken for note rather than discussion



Work Plan 2023 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To consider the Committee work plan, and suggest items for consideration at future meetings.


It was suggested that the following adjustments be made to the action plan:

Items added to future meetings:

·      Kit and Equipment report (Quality, spares, contracts) (Mark Preece) (26th May)

·      Update on Community Risk Management Programme (26th May)

·      Skillzone development and funding report (15th September)

·      GFRS Improvement Board Progress Report (15th September)

·      Complete GFRS Improvement Board Progress Report (January 2023)




Future Meetings

To note the dates of meetings for 2023 (all meetings to start at 10am):


10 March 2023

26 May 2023

14 July 2023

15 September 2023

17 November 2023


The Committee noted the dates of future meetings.