Agenda and minutes

Fire and Rescue Scrutiny Committee - Friday 4 March 2022 10.00 am

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

Contact: Laura Powick 

No. Item



To note any apologies.


Apologies were received from Cllr Brian Tipper.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2022.

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 14 January 2022 were agreed as a correct record.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any pecuniary or personal interests from members.


No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.


GFRS collaboration with SWAST pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To receive reports from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) and South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWAST) highlighting the impact of collaborative work on both services, including the positives and negatives of this collaboration.

Additional documents:


Mark Preece, Chief Fire Officer (CFO), presented the report by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) on collaboration with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWAST).


Members were advised that GFRS first started collaborating with the ambulance service in the form of co-responding in 2006, which had since been followed by cardiac response, Concern for Safety, use of GFRS station facilities and Operation Braidwood in 2020.


Members understood that GFRS co-responders were used when they were the closest medical asset to the incident, with protocols mobilising an ambulance in tandem. However, this could take some time given the rural nature of Gloucestershire. There were 11 stations co-responding and two co-responding models operating in the County.


It was noted that in 2021, GFRS attended 732 co-responding incidents on behalf of SWAST, and there were a further 403 incidents that GFRS could not attend for several reasons. Members were advised that the statutory responsibilities of GFRS always came first and therefore a co-responder would not be mobilised if it would have a detrimental effect on these responsibilities. All staff costs were re-charged to SWAST.


In terms of cardiac care, which involved a full appliance being mobilised from wholetime stations to persons with cardiac issues, the Committee was informed that GFRS attended 51 incidents in 2021, with a further 62 not attended. This was for a number of reasons including that cardiac care was not part of the firefighter’s national role, and therefore not all staff were comfortable to undertake the activity. It was noted that there was a regular challenge through trade unions for this service to not be provided.


Members were informed of the Concern for Safety initiative between GFRS, SWAST and the Police whereby GFRS took on the responsibility for gaining access to a locked property when requested by SWAST if there was a concern for a person’s welfare. The benefits of this collaborative work included better outcomes for patients.


Finally, it was explained that four fire stations in Gloucestershire were used by SWAST for welfare facilities, and a further two for change of shift and storage.


Derek McCullough, SWAST, introduced the report from SWAST on its collaboration with GFRS, focusing particularly on Operation Braidwood. Operation Braidwood was introduced in response to Covid-19 and involved the dual crewing of a number of SWAST ambulances with a member of SWAST and a firefighter from one of the 5 fire services in the South West, including GFRS.


Members were informed that the model adopted was for firefighters to undertake emergency driving and provide support to the SWAST member of staff. It was noted that this project was a good example of partnership working, with agreement for the project being established within just two weeks and enabling patients to receive the care they needed throughout the pandemic.


The Committee was informed that initially, firefighters were crewed with Emergency Care Assistants and tasked to low acuity patients, however as demand increased as the pandemic progressed, firefighters were despatched alongside a paramedic to all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.


Update on the Community Risk Management Plan pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To receive an update on progress with the CRMP 2022-25.

Additional documents:


The CFO introduced the update on progress with the Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP), thanking the team responsible for its development for their work.


Clive Webber, Head of Business Planning and Performance, GFRS, explained that feedback from the public consultation had been incorporated into the document, which had resulted in an additional objective being included. It was understood that the document was still in its draft format as it was still being developed by the GCC design team.


The Committee was informed that the document would be considered by Cabinet at its meeting on 30 March and subject to approval, would be publicly available from 5 April.


One member suggested that a version of the CRMP that would be accessible to the visually impaired or non-readers should be developed.


Referring to the project to combine GCC and GFRS ICT systems, one member queried whether GFRS would be resilient to cyber incidents. In response, the CFO explained that whilst they could integrate with GCC in some areas, some systems would remain separate. He also provided assurance that cyber security was under constant review and monitoring.


One member suggested that potential GFRS recruits should be signposted to the CRMP, given the depth of information it contained, as part of the recruitment process.


A member queried the role of GFRS in contributing to GCC’s net zero carbon target and suggested that this should be addressed within the CRMP. The CFO explained in response that they currently had a mixed fleet; however green fire appliances were currently cost prohibitive. Clive Webber added that GFRS was moving towards a combined fleet unit with GCC and therefore the exploration of fuelling alternatives would be considered more holistically moving forward.


Another member cautioned against setting time limits within the CRMP relating to the net zero carbon target, particularly given the current cost of living crisis and global events.


It was suggested that an annual update be provided to the Committee on GFRS progress towards the net zero carbon target, and that an initial report be brought to the next Committee meeting.


There was a further query as to whether the targets set in the CRMP were achievable. In response officers recognised that they were ambitious but advised that a number of projects were already underway and that additional funding through the budget for additional posts would help to increase capacity.



GFRS Performance Data and Updates pdf icon PDF 169 KB

To consider the latest GFRS performance data and receive any relevant updates.

Additional documents:


Clive Webber presented the Committee with the latest GFRS performance data, highlighting that half of all indicators were better than target in Quarter 3; the number of accidental dwelling fires had continued reducing; the timeliness of responding to accidental fire dwellings was better than target; the rate of Safe and Well visits saw a marginal improvement for the second quarter; 78% of Safe and Well visits were undertaken to people in vulnerable groups; work was continuing to ensure all service areas had up to date business continuity plans in place; and MTFS bids were currently progressing to cover additional resources, development and training.


A member queried whether an increase in the number of residential fires was anticipated as people explored the use of alternative fuels to heat their homes as result of the increase in fuel bills. In response, it was explained that changes to the legislation relating to carbon producers in the home had resulted in log burners becoming unfashionable, and that people would be prevented using calor gas heaters as it cost the same as natural gas. Nevertheless, this situation would be monitored.


Clarification was sought as to what a pre-alert was and how it would help to improve response times.


There was a query as to the impact of Brexit on supplies and related costs. In response, officers explained that production delays had resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic rather than Brexit, with the time between ordering and receiving appliances extending to up to 2 years.


Further clarification was sought as to whether GFRS had its own maintenance team, and whether parts could be stocked in advance.



Work Plan 2022 pdf icon PDF 56 KB

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


At its next meeting on 27 May 2022, the Committee would consider:


·         Proposals for the shared use of Newent and Dursley Community Fire Stations.

·         How GFRS will achieve the target of net zero carbon.

·         An update on progress to address the two causes of concern identified during the HMICFRS inspection.


The following items were added to the work plan for future consideration by the Committee:


  • Review of Severn Park Joint Training Centre (November)
  • Emergency Services Network Programme (September)
  • HMICFRS Inspection Feedback (July)
  • The future of the Tri-Service Centre (July)
  • An additional meeting to be arranged to consider the white paper on fire services reform
  • Visits to Severn Park/ vehicle workshops at Waterwells.



Future Meetings

To note the meeting dates for 2022 (all meetings to start at 10am):


27 May 2022

15 July 2022

2 September 2022

11 November 2022.


The dates of future meetings were noted.