Agenda and minutes

Fire and Rescue Scrutiny Committee - Friday 8 March 2024 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Laura Powick  Email:

No. Item



To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2024.

Additional documents:


2.1   The minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2024 were deferred to the next Committee meeting for approval.




Members of the Committee are invited to declare any pecuniary or personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.


Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.


3.1      There were no declarations of interest.



GFRS Improvement Board Progress Update pdf icon PDF 336 KB

To receive a progress update on the GFRS Improvement Board.


4.1      Pete Bungard, Chief Executive and Chair of the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) Improvement Board, provided members with an update on GFRS progress against the Improvement Plan.


4.2      It was noted that considerable investment had been made into GFRS over the last two years and further investment had been agreed in the budget for 2024/25. Additionally, the Improvement Team had been made a permanent resource available to GFRS.


4.3      The Improvement Board had been focused on addressing the two Causes of Concern that had been identified in the 2021/22 Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspection relating to the culture of GFRS. Around 80 percent of the improvement actions had been achieved, however there were still improvements to be made.


4.4      It was expected that the most recent HMICFRS inspection report would be published in April 2024.


4.5      Members were informed that, going forward, the remit of the Improvement Board would be expanded to focus on prevention and protection as part of GFRS’s journey to ‘Good’.


4.6      A member queried whether it would be of benefit to bring in an independent assessor to advise GFRS on improvements, in advance on the next inspection. In response, it was explained that GFRS had received extensive external support as part of the improvement process so far. Members were advised that the results of the most recent inspection should be understood before considering further external support.


4.7      There was a discussion as to what still needed to be done to further progress changes to the culture of GFRS. The importance of bringing everyone on the improvement journey was highlighted, as well as the importance of showing that the Service could be led in an inclusive way. It was felt that noticeable change was starting to be recognised.



Fire Station Cover Analysis pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To consider a report on the Fire Station Cover Analysis, including recommendations from Cabinet.


5.1      Mark Preece, Chief Fire Officer, presented the report on the fire station cover analysis, including the recommendations from Cabinet. The report was attached to the agenda for the meeting.


5.2      Members were advised that, at its meeting on 31 January 2024, Cabinet had approved for a public consultation on retaining staffing levels at all existing stations and to establish a new day shift at Cinderford only. This would require an increase of an additional two Watch Managers, two Crew Managers and ten firefighters.


5.3      Clarification was sought on the proposed shift changes for firefighters. Proposals were to introduce 12-hour shifts for firefighters, as opposed to the current 9-hour day shift and 15-hour night shift.


5.4      Clarification was also sought regarding the consultation process. It was understood that a full consultation would commence in March 2024 for a period of 10-12 weeks. The results of this would be brought back to Cabinet in December 2024 for them to consider whether to implement the proposals for next year.


5.5      A member also asked about the cost basis for the proposals. It was noted that details of the data analysis which informed the proposals were included in the report which was presented to Cabinet. This included consideration of call volumes and the number of daily incidents.


5.6      It was explained, in response to further queries, that the availability of on-call firefighters in Gloucestershire was better than a number of other Fire and Rescue Services. However, the availability of on-call firefighters during the day could be challenging, given that on-call firefighters were often also employed outside of GFRS. The proposal for full-time firefighters at Cinderford during the day would ensure fire cover in the Forest of Dean. It was noted that on-call staff would be able to apply for the proposed whole-time firefighter positions.


5.7      It was recognised that fire cover was not static and often changed. This exercise was about ensuring GFRS fire cover kept apace with risk. The proposed fire cover changes at Cinderford would have the greatest impact according to modelling data.


5.8      Clarification was sought on the costs for each of the proposals contained within the Cabinet report.


5.9      The CFO delivered a presentation which highlighted the proposals for the consultation.


5.10   In response to a further question, it was noted that GFRS would engage with town and parish councils in the Forest of Dean on the proposals.



HMICFRS Inspection Update

To consider a verbal update on the outcomes of the HMICFRS Inspection.


6.1      The CFO provided an update on the HMICFRS inspection which took place in autumn 2023.


6.2      Members were informed that the CFO and Lead Cabinet Member had received a hot debrief on the inspection. The pre-publication inspection report had also been received to be checked for factual accuracy. It was expected that the final report would be publish by HMICFRS in April 2024.



WORK PLAN pdf icon PDF 67 KB

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


When making suggestions, members should consider the reasons for and expected benefit of, scrutiny’s involvement.


For reference, please find the link to the Cabinet forward plan below:


Forthcoming Decisions (



7.1   The work plan would be considered at the lead member work planning session on 14 March 2024.




To note the date of future meetings (all meetings to start at 10am):


24th May 2024

19th July 2024

13th September 2024

8 November 2024.



8.1   The dates of future meetings were noted.