PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005

9 780755 947096 ISBN 0-7559-4709-6 © Crown copyright 2005 This document is also available on the Scottish Executive website: www.scotland.gov.uk Astron B41862 6/05 Further copies are available from Blackwell’s Bookshop 53 South Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1YS Telephone orders and enquiries 0131 622 8283 or 0131 622 8258 Fax orders 0131 557 8149 Email orders business.edinburgh@blackwell.co.uk PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 HM Fire Service Inspectorate for Scotland w w w . s c o t l a n d . g o v . u k

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 7, 8 and 9 February 2005 A Report by HM Fire Service Inspectorate for Scotland St Andrew’s House Edinburgh

HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND © Crown copyright 2005 ISBN 0 7559 4709 6 Scottish Executive St Andrew’s House Edinburgh EH1 3DG Produced for the Scottish Executive by Astron B41862 06-05 Published by the Scottish Executive, June, 2005 Further copies are available from Blackwell’s Bookshop 53 South Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1YS The text pages of this document are printed on recycled paper and are 100% recyclable.

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 1 CONTENTS Executive Summary 5 Recommendations 6 Section 1 The Strategic Management of the Service 10 Section 2 Integrated Risk Management Planning 12 Section 3 Integrated Personal Development System 14 Section 4 Community Fire Safety and The Local Government (Scotland) Act 2003 16 Section 5 Fire Safety Issues 18 Section 6 Heads of Agreement 19 Section 7 Diversity and Equality Issues 21 Section 8 Health and Safety 23 Section 9 Information/Communications 24 Section 10 Personnel Attendance Levels 25 Section 11 Freedom of Information Act 26 Section 12 IT and Data/Information Capture 27 Section 13 Duties under the Civil Contingencies Bill 29 Section 14 Funding 31

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PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 3 HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE PERFORMANCE INSPECTION – 7, 8 and 9 FEBRUARY 2005 The Team: Jeff Ord Chief Inspector Andy Harrison Assistant Inspector Angela Webb Assistant Inspector Andy Wilson Assistant Inspector Brendan McCaffrey Assistant Inspector Background As Fire and Rescue Services across Scotland move towards implementation of The Modernising Agenda, the Inspectorate will inspect the Services between October 2004 and March 2005.

The findings of the inspection will be reported to Ministers, the relevant Fire Authority, the Firemaster and will be available to the public. Aims and Objectives of the Inspection The aim of the inspection is to support, assist and, where appropriate or necessary, challenge the Fire Authority and the Service’s progress towards modernisation in accordance with National Guidance and within Best Value.

The objectives of the inspection are – To assess: u The overall strategic management of the Service; u Progress on the Fire Authority’s Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP), including compliance with National Guidelines and timetables; u Progress on the introduction of Integrated Personnel Development System (IPDS), including Rank to Role and the opportunities this presents particularly for retained/ part-time and support staff; u The Fire Authority’s preparedness for the new Statutory Duty (Fire Service Bill) of Community Fire Safety and the duties contained within The Local Government (Scotland) Act 2003; u The Fire Authority’s plans to become the enforcing authority for all fire safety issues (Fire Service Bill);

4 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND u The degree to which the Fire Authority is utilising the service delivery flexibilities arising from The Heads of Agreement signed between The Employers and the Fire Brigades’ Union in 2004; u The Fire Authority’s and the Service’s progress on Diversity, Equality of Opportunity and Cultural Change and compliance with all relevant legislation; u The Fire Authority’s performance on Health and Safety at Work in accordance with relevant legislation and guidance; u The Fire Authority and the Service’s information flow, staff communications and general consultation arrangements across all groups of staff; u The Fire Authority’s performance in terms of staff attendance levels; u The Fire Authority’s performance and compliance with The Freedom of Information Act and general handling of complaints, etc.; u The Service’s ability to maximise Information Technology (IT) and central data capture; u The Fire Authority’s progress on identifying realistic efficiencies to enable the transitional funding for whole-time operational staff (provided by the Scottish Executive) to be absorbed over the Spending Review 2004 period; and u The opportunities taken by the Service and/or the Fire Authority to review the uniformed Service establishment (Section 19 of The Fire Services Act 1947).

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Fire Authority and the Service are addressing a host of challenges at the current time. Some of these arise from the Modernising Agenda and some are issues that have been challenging the Service for several years. It is both correct and appropriate that they should now be addressed. During the inspection period it became obvious that the Fire Authority, the management team and all staff are working extremely hard to address these issues which, in turn, will further improve the safety of the community.

Within the resources available to them, the Firemaster and his staff have taken a professional and sustained approach to these challenges.

The Service has only a small complement of wholetime staff. Whilst a number of officers are based in key locations spread throughout the area, the majority are in Inverness. Therefore, it is almost inevitable that even following prioritisation some challenges will be addressed whilst others have to wait. During the inspection it became clear that, with further assistance from the Scottish Executive and the Fire Service Inspectorate, some outstanding areas of work could be accelerated. This would complement some of the excellent areas of work already underway in the Service.

I am pleased to report that the Fire Authority are effectively discharging their duties in accordance with the Fire Services Act 1947.

During the inspection period the Fire Authority and the Service were found to be in the “Improving” category and in the areas of IRMP and community fire safety they are amongst the best performing (“Achieving” category). The remainder of this report and subsequent recommendations are designed to support continuous improvement. The Fire Authority is invited to adopt the recommendations and utilise them within the overall Modernising Agenda and prioritise them within the Service’s existing performance management and service planning processes.

JEFF ORD HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services March 2005 Note: For further information relating to Highland and Islands Fire and Rescue Service visit their website: www.hifb.org

6 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND RECOMMENDATIONS Section 1 – The Strategic Management of the Service 1. Wherever possible, positions in the Service should be open to all persons with the necessary competencies. This may lead to increased diversity, increased specialist abilities and the release of uniformed staff to further concentrate on service delivery. (Para 1.4) 2.

The Firemaster’s plans for improved staff information/communication flows should be actioned without delay. (Para 1.6) Section 2 – Integrated Risk Management Planning 3. An early assessment of the greater use of a wholetime crew at Inverness should be undertaken which may result in opportunities for further community safety work and/or training which will benefit areas, not just in Inverness, but also beyond. (Para 2.3) Section 3 – Integrated Personal Development System (IPDS) 4. It is recommended that the Service prioritise the provision of further realistic fire training facilities. (Para 3.10) 5.

It is recommended that the Service consider how it may best improve the accommodation aspects of the Invergordon training facility. (Para 3.11) Section 4 – Community Fire Safety and the Local Government (Scotland) Act 2003 6. All community safety initiatives should be evaluated to ensure they are contributing to the aims of the Authority and prioritised within the capacity of the Service. The availability of validated data on operational activity and risk through the FSEC toolkit should be used to enhance the excellent work already being undertaken and assist in the development of targeted Community Fire Safety initiatives.

(Para 4.2) 7. It will be important to ensure that the increasing workload in this area is monitored. Resources must adequately match expectations. The efficient use of operational staff needs to be re-emphasised, if resources are to be maximised. From the evidence presented and staff interviews conducted during the inspection, the Service has a clear policy and strategy in place for operational staff involvement in community fire safety work. However, some work is still required to fully engage all personnel in this process. As work increases in community safety, the Service may wish to review and consider how best to include the retained service.

In time, the use of support staff to complement service delivery of community fire safety should be considered. (Para 4.8)

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 7 Section 5 – Fire Safety Issues 8. The Service should monitor the legislative workload to ensure that it does not exceed staff capacity, particularly whilst the review process is being undertaken. (Para 5.2) 9. It is suggested that the Service should further consider the full range of staffing options available to them to deliver some elements of legislative work, including utilising operational personnel. (Para 5.4) 10. The Service should urgently consider further training being undertaken by all staff using the Terrian management system.

(Para 5.6) Section 6 – Heads of Agreement 11. The advertising of part-time firefighter vacancies should be brought to the attention of internal wholetime staff and neighbouring Fire and Rescue Services. (Para 6.3) 12. The utilisation of mixed crewing should be monitored to ensure that maximum flexibility and the most efficient service delivery is being achieved. (Para 6.2) Section 7 – Diversity and Equality Issues 13. The Service should look at its processes for implementing policy and communicating changes in employment legislation to all staff, particularly work- life balance and disability issues.

(Para 7.2) 14. All equality policies should be reviewed and communicated to all staff. Standards of behaviour are included within these policies and the issue of vicarious liability is a risk to the organisation if staff are not aware of their responsibilities under these policies. Vicarious liability will always lie with the Firemaster acting on behalf of the Fire Board in relation to equality issues. The equality policy should be issued to all staff and a group of advisors for progressing complaints developed. Everyone on this group must be trained in equality issues and discrimination law.

(Para 7.2) 15. The Service should focus on forging stronger links with the black and ethnic minority communities, the disabled community and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to meaningfully take forward positive action. This could be done in partnership with Community Safety initiatives. (Para 7.4) 16. The duties of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act (RR(A)A) including the Race Equality Scheme should sit at corporate level within the organisation. Ownership should be at the highest level and reporting on progress made regularly to the Service Management Team. This is an area of risk to the organisation as the duties are not clearly leading to mainstreaming race equality within the Service.

A training programme should be developed for delivery of specific training for all grades of staff in race issues as legally required by the RR(A)A. This could form part of a wider equality training programme. (Para 7.7)

8 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND 17. The Service should formalise its processes in relation to equality. Whilst there appears to be good decision making to progress issues and good written policies, the processes cannot be evidenced. The processes and monitoring need further development to ensure consistency in approach when dealing with equality issues. (Para 7.7) 18. Like all other Scottish Fire Services, Highland and Islands will undertake a cultural audit later in the year. In order to progress the issues which may arise from the cultural audit the organisation should consider forming a staff forum involving all levels of staff to take forward any issues which may arise from this.

(Para 7.7) Section 9 – Information/Communications 19. The Service should review the current operational strategy to include the retained crews in Inverness supporting the Service’s New Dimension arrangements. (Para 9.5) 20. The Service should ensure that staff concerns identified during the inspection, relating to home fire safety visits, are addressed. (Para 9.3) Section 10 – Personnel Attendance Levels 21. The Service may wish to require the secondary employer to endorse the application for secondary employment, to prevent a conflict of employment interests by ensuring that they also fully understand and accept the primary employment conditions set out in the contract by the Fire Authority.

(Para 10.4) Section 11 – Freedom of Information Act 22. It is recognised that the Service has developed a number of procedures which provide guidance to staff on FOI. This guidance and training should be cascaded to stations. It may benefit the Service in the interim to provide staff in those locations where IT is not available, with an awareness procedure highlighting the key actions required by staff receiving such a request. (Para 11.5) Section 12 – Information Technology and Data/Information Capture 23. The development of a Service-wide IT facility is a priority for an organisation as geographically diverse as Highland and Islands Fire Service.

However, it appears that it is dependent solely on receiving central funding support to provide this facility. The Service does not appear to have a fallback position which identifies how to progress key elements of an IT network on a phased basis. (Para 12.5) 24. In order to ensure effective capture of data and information, a strategy for a central unit should be pursued, along with timescales for implementation, supported by a strategic lead from senior managers and the Authority. (Para 12.7) 25. Further work should be carried out on the interface between FSEC and the BOSS software system and this needs to be progressed as soon as possible.

(Para 12.4)

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 9 26. There is also a need to transfer limited amounts of data from the FSEC model, which is already being gathered, to stations and departments. This would allow staff to analyse the data and the running of planning scenarios, which in turn would build up confidence in the use of the FSEC model at both strategic and practitioner level. (Para 12.4) Section 13 – Duties under the Civil Contingencies Bill 27. The Service is working closely with the Scottish New Dimension Forum to establish an appropriate deployment strategy that will meet both the needs of the Service and the national strategy.

It would be appropriate to further examine opportunities to better utilise some of this specialist equipment to support normal operations, as intended within the initial New Dimension project strategy of delivering an enhanced service to the benefit of communities. (Para 13.8) 28. The Service has produced a draft strategy for developing the New Dimension project in its area. It is recommended that this strategy is further validated by developing enhanced risk profiling for the Service area and, where appropriate, consideration of the wider Scottish capability and resilience deployment arrangements.

(Para 13.10) 29. It is recommended that the Service progresses its intended development of live exercising of these arrangements. This should include, where appropriate, the deployment of mass decontamination facilities and support arrangements from Services with Major Incident Units to further validate mutual aid and local planning assumptions. (Para 13.6) 30. The Service’s current capability and resilience for a major decontamination incident is presently compromised, due to the lack of trained gas suit operatives. Therefore, to enable the Service to support the capability for the provision of mass decontamination resources, it must consider alternative options to provide sufficient trained personnel in accordance with the national guidance.

(Para 13.4) Section 14 – Funding 31. The Fire Authority should plan for the absorption of the recently provided Transitional Funding. This may be assisted by a review of Service infrastructure. (Para 14.3)

10 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND SECTION 1 1. The Strategic Management of the Service 1.1 Highland and Islands Fire Service is a small organisation in terms of wholetime staff but large in geographical area. These two factors in themselves are challenging in terms of infrastructure support and logistics. During the inspection period it became clear that the management team and many of the key managers, both uniformed and support staff, are “Maturing” in strategic management planning, resource allocation, implementation and review. Particular examples of this professional maturity lie in the progress on Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) and Community Fire Safety (CFS) which is outstanding.

The Firemaster is both aware and desirous of further application of this systematic and thorough approach to other areas of the Service.

1.2 Without doubt the Fire Authority and the Service have been challenged for many years with the issue of funding. Recently, following an Authority submission and reviews undertaken by the Fire Service Inspectorate and the Scottish Executive, a substantial increase in funding has been achieved. This increase now places the Fire Authority in a position to chart its own destiny and ensure that resources are best allocated to meet the risks to communities, whilst always being mindful of Best Value. 1.3 This stable financial platform is further complemented by the professional relationship between the Fire Authority and the Firemaster.

As recommended in the Independent Review of the Fire Service (Bain Report, 2001), the Convener and the Fire Authority are very clear as to their role, whereby they set and approve policy, leaving the Firemaster and the managers of the Service to manage. The Authority monitors performance and has enthusiastically taken ownership of the recently published IRMP which is designed to make communities and staff even safer, within a risk assessment based environment. The Fire Authority and the Firemaster are to be congratulated on their progress to date. It is now essential that the same skill sets, attributes and professional determination that have enabled progress to date are maintained, in order to continuously improve the Service.

1.4 The opportunity was taken to discuss the filling of vacancies in the Service. It is essential that the recent opportunities created by the introduction of IPDS and the removal of the long-standing appointment and promotion regulations are utilised to the full, in order to allow any person who meets the “job competencies” to compete for these posts. Wherever possible the use of support staff specialists should be considered, as they often bring specialist ability, experience and diversity to the Service which, in turn, allows uniformed staff to more effectively concentrate on service delivery.

1.5 The Service has utilised a number of specialist support staff such as the recently appointed Personnel Advisor and Finance Manager, and the new post of IPDS Manager will also be advertised as a non-uniformed post. Plans also exist for transferring some of the roles within the Community Risk Management Department from uniformed to support staffing.

1.6 The Fire Authority and the management team are currently addressing a host of challenges in the organisation. Some of these arise from the Modernising Agenda and some are long-standing issues which it is now appropriate and correct to address. The extent of the Fire Authority’s consultation exercises with external stakeholders relating to these challenges is commendable, and it is essential that the same exercise takes place

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 11 internally. Invariably, at times of change, staff will often feel concerned.

It is vital that, over and above the normal communication chains, opportunities are taken to maintain staff information. The Firemaster is aware of this issue and has plans for early action. 1.7 Overall, the strategic management of the Service is in a “Maturing” stage. The strategic application of skills, systems and experience to the areas of IRMP and CFS are outstanding examples of the quality of the management team and other key personnel in the Service. Application of these qualities and systems across other areas of the Service will soon place the organisation in the “Achieving” category of performance.

Given the recent levels of financial support provided by the Scottish Executive on funding, the support by the Inspectorate referred to later in this report, and the prospect of continued joint working, there is every reason to be confident for the future.

RECOMMENDATION 1. Wherever possible, positions in the Service should be open to all persons with the necessary competencies. This may lead to increased diversity, increased specialist abilities and the release of uniformed staff to further concentrate on service delivery. 2. The Firemaster’s plans for improved staff information/communication flows should be actioned without delay.

SECTION 2 2. Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) 2.1 The Fire Authority and the Service are making excellent progress in terms of IRMP at a strategic and policy level.

They are achieving all the milestones in accordance with the Scottish Executive’s guidance documents and are now undertaking wide stakeholder consultation on their draft IRMP for 2005-06 (improvement plan). The results of this should be ready for implementation in April 2005. 2.2 The Fire Authority has published its 2005-06 draft IRMP for extensive consultation. The major IRMP consultation exercise for the draft plan has now concluded. Over 1200 groups, individuals, and organisations were consulted and to date the Fire Authority has received approximately 157 responses. These responses will be considered and the Fire Authority will require the Firemaster to implement the first annual plan in April 2005.

2.3 In March 2005 the Recommended Standards of Fire Cover (which recommended a prescriptive operational response to all incidents) will be replaced by a risk-based response. This will allow the Firemaster greater operational flexibility in terms of resources. Whilst the scope for utilisation of this flexibility is limited in a Service with only one wholetime fire station, the Fire Authority and the Service are to be commended for their initiatives to date. In addition to these initiatives, the new flexibility will allow for even greater use of one of the wholetime crews based at Inverness.

The Fire Service Emergency Cover (FSEC) risk modelling software has been used to produce risk maps of the area. The maps will be used to fully engage both the retained and wholetime personnel in Community Fire Safety (CFS) initiatives. Whilst it is the initial intent to utilise the wholetime service for CFS activities within the immediate Inverness area, the scope for applying FSEC to CFS further afield should be explored. The engagement of retained firefighters in CFS duties should continue to be encouraged.

2.4 The Service is utilising the Fire Service Emergency Cover (FSEC) computer software provided by the Scottish Executive. This enables them to collect extensive data and help support the Firemaster in exercising professional judgement when prioritising resources. The initial issue of this software was affected by minor problems and uncertainty surrounding its long-term future, as maintenance of the software is dependent upon an ongoing resource commitment from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This uncertainty has now been removed and it is clear that FSEC will continue to be a major tool in the progress and review of IRMPs.

It is vital that full resourcing and commitment to the data team and FSEC is achieved, in order for the Fire Authority to take advantage of the flexibility afforded by IRMP and reduce wastage of resources which can be better used for community fire safety delivery.

2.5 The IRMP team are in the process of gathering statistics and evidence on all risks. However, they have already completed 32 operational planning scenarios in order to support the Firemaster’s plans and intervention options for both retained and auxiliary units in the Service area. This is the first time such a task has been undertaken by Scottish Fire Services. Due to the extensive work that has been completed the team have been able, via the FSEC Helpdesk, to contribute to the development of the FSEC modelling process on a national level.

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PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 13 2.6 The achievements of the staff who have produced the databases to date are outstanding and they deserve credit for their work. However, it is noted that the uniformed members of this team are to be replaced, in the near future, with support staff employed specifically for this work. It will be important to ensure that this changeover of staff is completed in a manner that does not erode the availability of knowledge that has been acquired to date. This will ensure that the new team continue to provide the same excellent strategic direction and annual action plans for the Fire Authority’s approval.

2.7 The Service already has pilot projects running on risk-based response to automatic fire alarms and emergency call management. This is a demonstration of the Fire Authority’s commitment to applying the new flexibilities available to the Service, which will ensure that the right resources are much more likely to be in the right place at the right time. These pilot projects will be reviewed in March 2005.

2.8 Overall the progress of the Fire Authority and the Service on IRMP is outstanding, and there is reason for confidence that this excellent planning work will produce early results which will improve public safety, staff safety and comply with Best Value. RECOMMENDATIONS 3. An early assessment of the greater use of a wholetime crew at Inverness should be undertaken which may result in opportunities for further community safety work and/or training which will benefit areas, not just in Inverness, but also beyond.

SECTION 3 3. Integrated Personal Development System (IPDS) 3.1 Overall the Service is progressing well with the guidance documents available to it and is making good use of the help available from the IPDS hub.

The Authority is fully engaged at policy, resources and review level and this is evidenced by their “Making Communities Safer” introduction booklet for IPDS. 3.2 The staff involved in IPDS are clearly well informed of all the issues surrounding the system and are working very hard at addressing them for the Service. However, these staff are not dedicated full time to IPDS and deal with other Service matters. In recognition of the difficulties this brings, the Service is currently finalising job specifications for two full time staff for IPDS, which may include support staff. The Service is to be complimented on this approach.

3.3 Whilst wholetime staff are generally well aware of the impact of, and opportunities within, IPDS this was less apparent with retained personnel. Although an overview of IPDS was provided at the last retained officers’ meeting, this would have had a limited audience and there is perhaps a need to further examine how the remainder of retained personnel can be kept informed on IPDS issues. 3.4 The Service is currently examining some aspects of its delivery of IPDS to the retained element. A report on training department working routines is currently being considered. The Inspectorate suggested that the report should be reviewed to add consideration of additional staffing needs for this area of work and, in particular, to consider the viability of having retained personnel employed as district training officers.

3.5 The Service is progressing well in its preparations for workplace assessments and is currently working with the IPDS hub on Assessment Development Centre staff training. The Service’s IPDS implementation plan was to be considered at the next meeting of the Fire Board. The delivery of IPDS is dependent on access of all personnel to a computer for completion of the Personal Development Record and access to training packages. 3.6 The Service is currently examining how it will develop this IT infrastructure across such a large geographical area. Until this is fully in place the Service is encouraged to examine what, if any, interim solutions can be used for the retained and volunteer personnel.

Several options for this were suggested by the Inspectorate and discussed with staff.

3.7 Whilst the Service may feel that it is too early to see any improvement in service delivery due to IPDS, it was apparent to the Inspectorate that Service capability for delivering IPDS is progressing well. 3.8 At the time of the inspection, the Service did not have dedicated staff working on IPDS. This work was being undertaken by the training department. Given the balance of wholetime and retained staff within the Service, the clear focus of the training department was on the delivery of IPDS to the retained staff. Clearly such training will form a large part of the training department’s workload.

It was also evident that the department is fulfilling its remit extremely well in all aspects of training delivery and support for general and specialist subjects.

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PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 15 3.9 On the issue of realistic fire training and ventilation, all wholetime personnel have been fully trained and continue with refresher training. Whilst all retained personnel have received the technical input on this subject, they have not yet all received the practical training. Reasons cited for this are the geographical extent of the Service and the travelling times associated with this. The Service is aware of the need to train additional tactical ventilation instructors but is making commendable use of collaboration arrangements with Grampian Fire and Rescue Service to cover this shortfall.

3.10 Some thoughts were outlined to the Inspectorate on the potential provision of additional realistic fire training facilities. A possible collaboration project with the construction industries’ training board, involving the use of a combined training rig, is at the early stages of discussion. Given the serious nature of this training need it is recommended that the Service prioritise the provision of further realistic fire training provision. 3.11 The opportunity was taken to visit the Invergordon training facility. The staff at the facility were enthusiastic and focused on delivering training of the best quality.

It was evident however that the condition and layout of the facility does not fully support that focus, particularly with regard to dignified facilities. It is recommended that the Service consider how it may best improve the accommodation aspects of this facility. 3.12 There was clear evidence that adequate multi-pump exercises take place, although it was unclear if the subject of guidelines was adequately covered within these. As this is a safety critical training need, the Service was asked to clarify this and, if required, to ensure such exercises are carried out.

RECOMMENDATIONS 4. It is recommended that the Service prioritise the provision of further realistic fire training facilities. 5. It is recommended that the Service consider how it may best improve the accommodation aspects of the Invergordon training facility.

16 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND SECTION 4 4. Community Fire Safety and The Local Government (Scotland) Act 2003 4.1 The Service has a clear policy of involving all operational staff in both Community Fire Safety (CFS) and, where appropriate, legislative work. In general, wholetime personnel have embraced CFS and a number of examples of CFS work carried out by station personnel in the local community were provided.

There are some notable initiatives being driven both centrally and locally, and the priorities for prevention form an integral part of the Service’s IRMP. The Service is very proactive in identifying operational activity trends and implementing appropriate intervention strategies, which are clearly having a positive impact on incident reduction and community safety. The initiative centred on alcohol abuse and fire deaths could be used as a model of good practice in relation to CFS working. 4.2 The Service has an extensive range of partnership initiatives across the Authority’s area, and whilst this is most commendable it is, by its very nature, resource intensive.

Staff are extremely motivated and committed to these initiatives. Whilst not wishing to dilute any enthusiasm or impact of this work, it is timely to evaluate the benefits of all partnerships with a view to ensuring they contribute to the overall aims of the Authority and are within the capacity of the Service’s resources.

4.3 The Service is fully engaged with operational crews in the delivery of CFS, and encourages partnership working at the point of service delivery. Once again this is commendable and clearly demonstrates Best Value. The CFS work at station level is centrally directed and involves initiatives such as home fire safety risk assessments, the fitting of smoke alarms and Hot Strike campaigns. At present, the use of dedicated support staff to complement operational crews delivering the community safety message is not utilised within the Service.

4.4 At the time of inspection the use of validated data or evidence to provide a true measurement of outcomes, with regard to the success or otherwise of certain initiatives, was only partly being achieved.

However this issue has been recognised by the Service, and the developing work based on the FSEC toolkit will be utilised to better inform and more accurately measure results and target resources. 4.5 The CFS toolkit is available and utilised across the Service. At present this is predominantly within the wholetime sector. The Service has also developed its own specific school toolkit for use by operational crews.

4.6 The Firemaster and his team are encouraging (in a monitored and co-ordinated manner) the “bottom up” development of fire safety, fire awareness, and educational initiatives from staff throughout the Service. This has the obvious benefits of allowing local staff to initiate local solutions to local risks. This is not being undertaken at the expense of national or strategic initiatives. It is simply complementary and encourages ownership of these challenges at the local level. 4.7 The full application of the FSEC toolkit is still at an early stage. However, this work will enhance, inform and more accurately measure results which will further assist in targeting resources.

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 17 4.8 The Service has attempted to proactively use retained staff to develop CFS in their areas and has introduced more flexible employment arrangements for wider use of retained staff. However, in light of the change in emphasis from intervention to prevention, the Service will need to consider how to maximise the effectiveness of retained personnel in delivering community safety initiatives. Competing work and personal priorities may impact on the success of this work.

RECOMMENDATIONS 6. All community safety initiatives should be evaluated to ensure they are contributing to the aims of the Authority and prioritised within the capacity of the Service.

The availability of validated data on operational activity and risk through the FSEC toolkit should be used to enhance the excellent work already being undertaken and assist in the development of targeted Community Fire Safety initiatives. 7. It will be important to ensure that the increasing workload in this area is monitored. Resources must adequately match expectations. The efficient use of operational staff needs to be re-emphasised, if resources are to be maximised. From the evidence presented and staff interviews conducted during the inspection, the Service has a clear policy and strategy in place for operational staff involvement in community fire safety work.

However, some work is still required to fully engage all personnel in this process. As work increases in community safety, the Service may wish to review and consider how best to include the retained service. In time, the use of support staff to complement service delivery of community fire safety should be considered.

18 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND SECTION 5 5. Fire Safety Issues 5.1 The Service is well-placed to accommodate the forthcoming statutory duty of becoming the enforcing authority for fire safety. The sustained capacity and competency of staff in this specialist area is once again commendable 5.2 In light of forthcoming additional responsibilities under the Fire (Scotland) Bill, the department has recently undertaken a paper review of its inspection programme and reclassified areas in order of risk. The outcomes of the reclassification process are now being validated as part of an ongoing physical inspection process to better identify workload in accordance with risk.

Inspection results are graded on a matrix and priority is given to those premises assessed as high-risk. However, the Service’s policy remains flexible and prepared for change, subject to new work or reassessment of existing priorities.

5.3 Currently, the profile of staff within the legislative section of the department is well balanced in terms of expertise and experience and there are appropriately trained personnel throughout the Service who can be utilised where necessary. 5.4 The Service does not currently utilise wholetime operational crews to undertake any routine inspection or legislative work. It is considered that at present insufficient numbers of wholetime staff have the required competencies and experience, and competing priorities would prevent the consistency and forward planning necessary to manage this area of work.

5.5 The Service has, in regard to licensing of houses in multiple occupancy, a beneficial working arrangement to better manage this area. 5.6 The department uses a software package called ‘Terrian’ to manage legislative fire safety information. This system is currently used in a number of Fire Services throughout Scotland. However, it became apparent during the inspection that there was little confidence being displayed in this system at all management levels. Although personnel who have access to Terrian had received one day’s training in its use, it was clear that it was not being fully utilised.

RECOMMENDATIONS 8. The Service should monitor the legislative workload to ensure that it does not exceed staff capacity, particularly whilst the review process is being undertaken. 9. It is suggested that the Service should further consider the full range of staffing options available to them to deliver some elements of legislative work, including utilising operational personnel. 10. The Service should urgently consider further training being undertaken by all staff using the Terrian management system.

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 19 SECTION 6 6.

Heads of Agreement 6.1 The recent long-running dispute in the service was ended with the joint signing of a document entitled “Heads of Agreement”. This agreement allows for much greater flexibility in terms of working practices than the Service has hitherto enjoyed. 6.2 In terms of policies, the Fire Authority have approved all the necessary documents relating to overtime working, mixed crewing and the opportunity for wholetime firefighters to volunteer for part-time duties. Whilst this is good progress there is little evidence that changes are occurring at the “front end.” The lack of evidence of these changes is not entirely surprising.

The use of pre-arranged overtime, for example, has to be costed within the budget and should not be used without good reason.

6.3 The issue of wholetime firefighters being made aware of part-time opportunities is less understandable, given that vacancies do arise from time to time. Every opportunity should be taken to draw the attention of wholetime firefighters within the Service, and neighbouring Services, to the vacancies in the part-time Service. 6.4 Whilst the opportunity for mixed crewing is particularly relevant to Inverness fire station, there was no evidence presented that the policy has been utilised. In the opinion of the Inspectors there was a limited appetite, at station level, for such flexibility. Whilst this may be a historic carry-over from the period before the Heads of Agreement, the situation should be closely monitored by the management team to ensure that maximum flexibility and efficiency of service delivery are achieved.

6.5 The Fire Authority and the Service have recently introduced a new daily working routine for staff which appears to afford good flexibility and productivity. A review of other duty systems is currently underway. 6.6 The Heads of Agreement also require Fire Authorities, managers and staff to be compliant with IPDS. It is appropriate to record in this section that the Firemaster and his team are operating within IPDS in terms of attempting to open up job opportunities to all sections of staff. In some cases this allows part-time firefighters and support staff to apply for posts previously restricted to wholetime uniformed staff, which is commendable.

6.7 The Service also currently utilise retained personnel in a variety of non-operational roles. These include Breathing Apparatus Maintenance Engineers, and training support for auxiliary units and at the Service’s Training School at Invergordon. 6.8 Where particular areas of staffing shortage impact on service delivery, the Service utilises a combination of both local and centrally managed initiatives to raise awareness and highlight the problem in the communities where this exists. 6.9 The Service has implemented a wholetime/retained policy to utilise wholetime staff to support retained crewing where appropriate.

At this time, no significant developments have occurred to suggest that this would have a major impact on the areas where staffing problems prevail.

6.10 Overall the Fire Authority and the Service are making very good progress on the opportunities afforded by the Heads of Agreement.

20 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND RECOMMENDATIONS 11. The advertising of part-time firefighter vacancies should be brought to the attention of internal wholetime staff and neighbouring Fire and Rescue Services. 12. The utilisation of mixed crewing should be monitored to ensure that maximum flexibility and the most efficient service delivery is being achieved.

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 21 SECTION 7 7.

Diversity and Equality Issues 7.1 Highland and Islands Fire Service have gone some way to take forward equality issues, despite the fact that there is no dedicated equality professional undertaking the work. 7.2 There are good policies on equality and fairness, although they do not appear to have been communicated effectively throughout the Service. A lot of good work is being undertaken with informal processes, but this cannot be evidenced fully without procedures and policies in place. For instance, the changes to employment brought about by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) have not been communicated to staff; nor have the employer’s legal requirement to provide, and employees’ rights to, work-life balance.

The equality and fairness policies all need to be updated, to include recent changes in legislation and changes to responsible personnel for complaints and advice etc. Whilst a review of policies is included in the Service Plan, this should be undertaken as soon as possible.

7.3 On the issue of taking advantage of the removal of Appointments and Promotions Regulations, the Service has already been doing this for some time. There have been a number of recent appointments taking advantage of this, and plans to replace other uniformed posts are in place. 7.4 The Service has not recruited wholetime firefighters for some time but is about to begin this process for future courses, which will hopefully be taken up later this year. The recruitment process is currently being revised to take into account the DDA and legislative changes. However, the Inspectorate would strongly encourage the adoption of positive action initiatives.

7.5 Regarding training, there has been some progress and there are plans in place to train the Service Management Team using the officer seconded from Central Scotland Fire Service. There has been some training in disability issues, although this has not been cascaded throughout the Service. Staff have also undertaken conflict resolution training although it is unclear what value the Management Team felt the training provided. 7.6 In terms of complaints, the Service has not dealt with any issues involving equality and diversity.

7.7 There are major issues regarding implementation of the Race Equality Scheme.

Whilst the scheme itself is good, the Service must develop ownership of the action plan outcomes and there must be clear routes for the reporting of progress. The Action Plan itself must be more comprehensive as it misses out many areas, e.g. finance. No evidence was available of equality impact assessments being undertaken, which is a requirement of the RR(A)A. Training has not been undertaken in race awareness which is another requirement of the scheme. Failure to address these issues may result in the issue of an improvement plan if the CRE came to assess the Race Equality Scheme.

22 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND RECOMMENDATIONS 13. The Service should look at its processes for implementing policy and communicating changes in employment legislation to all staff, particularly work- life balance and disability issues. 14. All equality policies should be reviewed and communicated to all staff. Standards of behaviour are included within these policies and the issue of vicarious liability is a risk to the organisation if staff are not aware of their responsibilities under these policies. Vicarious liability will always lie with the Firemaster acting on behalf of the Fire Board in relation to equality issues.

The equality policy should be issued to all staff and a group of advisors for progressing complaints developed. Everyone on this group must be trained in equality issues and discrimination law.

15. The Service should focus on forging stronger links with the black and ethnic minority communities, the disabled community and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to meaningfully take forward positive action. This could be done in partnership with Community Safety initiatives. 16. The duties of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act (RR(A)A) including the Race Equality Scheme should sit at corporate level within the organisation. Ownership should be at the highest level and reporting on progress made regularly to the Service Management Team. This is an area of risk to the organisation as the duties are not clearly leading to mainstreaming race equality within the Service.

A training programme should be developed for delivery of specific training for all grades of staff in race issues as legally required by the RR(A)A. This could form part of a wider equality training programme. 17. The Service should formalise its processes in relation to equality. Whilst there appears to be good decision making to progress issues and good written policies, the processes cannot be evidenced. The processes and monitoring need further development to ensure consistency in approach when dealing with equality issues.

18. Like all other Scottish Fire Services, Highland and Islands will undertake a cultural audit later in the year. In order to progress the issues which may arise from the cultural audit the organisation should consider forming a staff forum involving all levels of staff to take forward any issues which may arise from this.

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 23 SECTION 8 8. Health and Safety 8.1 The department is staffed by competent and enthusiastic personnel who have a clear understanding of the needs of effective risk management.

8.2 The Service has not been inspected by the HSE recently but has had a visit from a specialist HSE inspector looking at “Electricity at Work.” In addition, regular contact has been maintained with the Health and Safety Executive in relation to the IRMP review. 8.3 The Service has an effective process for safety management and data collection as well as trend analysis, reactive safety improvement actions and pro-active safety management.

8.4 Given the wide geographical extent of the Service Area and the large number of retained personnel deployed throughout it, the work of this section would benefit greatly if it was supported throughout the Service by a fully integrated IT system. 8.5 It would appear that for historical reasons the department is dealing with some issues that should, in the Inspectorate’s view, more properly be dealt with by others, such as those responsible for property and operations. Reporting procedures that appear to have no bearing on safety management also drive some areas of the department’s workload.

The Service is encouraged to examine this area to see if there is scope for improved efficiency. This in turn would free up time and resources within the department to enhance their focus on pro-active risk management.

8.6 It was apparent that the ongoing work associated with the volunteer units has placed a new, short term, specific workload on the section. This may have diverted a degree of focus from general risk management areas. The Service was encouraged to monitor this closely. 8.7 Like other Services of a similar profile, the Service is faced with the challenges of the devolved management of safety and how to maintain safety awareness within the retained section. The Inspectorate was able to recommend two other Services that should be benchmarked on these issues.

8.8 Notwithstanding the relatively minor issues referred to, the Service can be complimented on its safety management.

SECTION 9 9. Information/Communications 9.1 Senior officers and departmental staff were very well informed in all areas regarding the modernisation agenda, and communications at that level seemed to be very good with good use of the IT available to them. 9.2 Station level staff at Inverness, whilst fairly well informed on many of the modernisation issues, felt that the information flow and contact from Service HQ was particularly poor. This was not offered in a negative manner, but by way of a request for Senior Officers to visit the station more often and to discuss issues with them in a less formal manner than that which accompanies consultation exercises such as IRMP.

9.3 The majority of staff interviewed were proactively involved, and supported their role, in developing and providing CFS to their communities. However, there were some concerns raised about the potential difficulties involved in home fire safety visits. This may be because of perception or misunderstanding of some elements of the training provided. 9.4 The issue of communications was discussed and it was perceived by some staff that when consulted on issues such as evaluating equipment, they did not receive meaningful feedback on recommendations and findings.

9.5 Concerns were also raised by a number of staff about local training and use of some of the specialist equipment provided as part of the New Dimension project.

The retained staff sampled indicated that they had no involvement in any of the New Dimension arrangements, although they were happy to take on additional work in this area. RECOMMENDATIONS 19. The Service should review the current operational strategy to include the retained crews in Inverness supporting the Service’s New Dimension arrangements. 20. The Service should ensure that staff concerns identified during the inspection, relating to home fire safety visits, are addressed. 24 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 25 SECTION 10 10. Personnel Attendance Levels 10.1 The Service policy on managing attendance follows what is recognised to be typical of current practice in this field. It was introduced in the last two years and whilst it is somewhat soon to gauge what impact it is having, the Service do feel that it has begun to have a positive effect in improving attendance levels. 10.2 Recent data was discussed. What appeared at first to be significant rises in absence were readily explained, by Service managers outlining the effect that small numbers in any staff area can have when using percentages.

10.3 The Service has an established procedure for personnel wishing to undertake secondary employment, in accordance with the existing provisions within the NJC Scheme of Conditions. The Firemaster has been provided with delegated powers by the Fire Board to authorise or reject such applications. 10.4 Whilst the present application form requires the applicant to identify the secondary employer, the present procedures do not require any formal endorsement from the secondary employer of acceptance of the primary employer’s contract conditions. RECOMMENDATION 21. The Service may wish to require the secondary employer to endorse the application for secondary employment, to prevent a conflict of employment interests by ensuring that they also fully understand and accept the primary employment conditions set out in the contract by the Fire Authority.

SECTION 11 11. Freedom of Information Act 11.1 Highland and Islands Fire Brigade have adopted the CFOA (Scotland) model publication scheme which has been made available internally to Service personnel and generally to members of the public on the Service website. This is presently being upgraded with additional information to support increased transparency under Freedom of Information (FOI). 11.2 The Service fully participates in the Scottish CFOA working group and has also established a collaborative and Best Value arrangement with Grampian Fire and Rescue Service. The Information Manger from Grampian is presently working with the Service to provide additional staff training and assist in development of suitable records management, retention scheduling and information audit arrangements.

11.3 A draft FOI implementation plan and toolkit have been prepared for approval by the Service Management Team. These documents set out the procedures and arrangements for Service personnel on the discharge of functions and responsibilities under FOI. 11.4 An initial information audit is being completed within the Service and is due for completion by the end of February 2005. The results will be used to inform the Service on its next steps. 11.5 Training has been undertaken for senior managers utilising the Masons seminar held at Strathclyde and general staff training has been phased in on the basis of need.

Due to the geographic and logistical issues, there is an urgent need for an integrated IT system which will be able to support this work.

11.6 The Service has an established order for dealing with complaints, and the examples provided confirmed a complete audit trail on the outcome of each investigation and the feedback to the complainant. 11.7 The Service also reports to the Fire Board on the number of complaints and letters of appreciation. Current evidence would suggest that the majority of complaints relate to matters arising from the review of existing Volunteer Units within the Service. RECOMMENDATION 22. It is recognised that the Service has developed a number of procedures which provide guidance to staff on FOI. This guidance and training should be cascaded to stations.

It may benefit the Service in the interim, to provide staff in those locations where IT is not available, with an awareness procedure highlighting the key actions required by staff receiving such a request. 26 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 27 SECTION 12 12. Information Technology and Data/Information Capture 12.1 As Fire and Rescue Services begin to implement IRMP (April 2005), the need to acquire even broader and shared databases will take on greater importance. The activities of the Service in every area will also create a need to ensure that numerical data is captured, along with other forms of information – preferably at a central point. This will allow the Service to develop a highly efficient IT system and its accompanying support. 12.2 The Service has liaised with Grampian Fire and Rescue Service’s IT manager on this issue.

It is essential that this work receives strategic support and direction within the management team and the Authority.

12.3 The Service appeared to be clear about the future direction and resources required in order to make sure that all staff, no matter on which site location, are connected through information technology. 12.4 The Service, under the direction of the IT Manager, has adopted the Fire Service Emergency Cover software coupled with the BOSS software package. They are now utilising these along with the Terian software system. It is hoped these integrated software packages will be used to bring about benefits at fire stations or the Community Fire Safety Department.

12.5 The Service’s IT system is presently restricted to Service Headquarters, the Inverness locations and each of the District Offices.

However, the Service has utilised IT consultants to fully review the requirements to provide these facilities across a wide and diverse range of locations. A capital top slice bid has been submitted to the Scottish Executive in support of the project. 12.6 The Service’s website provides general user access and a short term appointment has been made to further develop this facility.

12.7 The Service does not presently have a central data capture department in IT terms. However, an Information Audit to identify all records currently held is presently being completed, as part of the Service’s FOI implementation arrangements. The FSEC work to support IRMP provides a source of consolidated and validated data to support a number of strategic matters in the Service beyond IRMP. 12.8 The Service requires to develop: • An overall Information Strategy • A review and recommendations for change • A Records Management Strategy • Data sharing guidance and protocol requirements In addition, an Electronic Records Management System for the Service requires to be developed.

12.9 The Service is making an effort to develop cross-border coordination in relation to Information Management, in particular with Grampian Fire and Rescue Service. They are also developing a single point of entry and access into their system, where information will be categorised by subject and not department.

28 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND 12.10The Service has also started to look into a data-sharing exercise with other agencies such as Police, NHS and Ambulance services. RECOMMENDATIONS 23. The development of a Service-wide IT facility is a priority for an organisation as geographically diverse as Highland and Islands Fire Service.

However, it appears that it is dependent primarily on receiving central funding support to provide this facility. The Service does not appear to have a fallback position which identifies how to progress key elements of an IT network on a phased basis. 24. In order to ensure effective capture of data and information, a strategy for a central unit should be pursued, along with timescales for implementation, supported by a strategic lead from senior managers and the Authority. 25. Further work should be carried out on the interface between FSEC and the BOSS software system and this needs to be progressed as soon as possible.

26. There is also a need to produce limited amounts of data from the FSEC model, which is already being gathered, to stations and departments. This would allow staff to analyse the data and the running of planning scenarios which in turn would build up confidence in the use of the FSEC model at both strategic and practitioner level.

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 29 SECTION 13 13. Duties under the Civil Contingencies Bill 13.1 The Service has identified, within its service action plan, the high-level arrangements to be implemented in compliance with the new duties as Category One responders within the Civil Contingency Bill. The Service is also planning to examine these new duties concurrently with a review of existing major incident plans and site specific risk assessments. 13.2 The Service is an established key partner in both the planning and coordinating groups within the local emergency coordinating group arrangements for the Highland and Islands Council areas.

This new area of work has recently seen the re-establishment of the Highland Emergency Liaison Partnership (HELP). Its remit is presently being reviewed to consider whether it may be the appropriate forum to take this work forward. However, much of this work is still at a developmental stage and it is, therefore, too early to comment on its likely outcomes.

13.3 The Service has established enhanced decontamination facilities based at Inverness utilising the New Dimension equipment. An existing non-operational vehicle is used for deployment purposes. 13.4 However, the current arrangements rely predominantly on existing wholetime staff, and are constrained by the availability of trained personnel to support operations in gas tight suits. The present deployment difficulties are being addressed through the Scottish New Dimension project, which is working with the Service to establish an appropriate deployment strategy that both meets the Service’s operational needs and provides an appropriate national response capability.

13.5 The Service and its partners within the remit of Highland and Islands Emergency Co- ordinating Group (HIECG) have developed a combination of Service-specific operational procedures and Multi-Agency Joint Response Plans for chemical and biological incidents and mass decontamination. 13.6 The Service already participates in a variety of existing multi-service exercises within the local HIECG, and it is intended, as part of the current review of the existing exercise programme, to consider relevant situations to further measure the effectiveness of these new arrangements.

13.7 Presently the majority of the new Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) equipment is held centrally at Inverness, with additional support packs located at Wick, Stornoway, Lerwick and Kirkwall.

These locations were identified in the Service’s initial risk assessment process. This strategy is supported by Service-specific operational procedures as detailed in the recently introduced document, “Guidance on Responding to USAR Incidents”. 13.8 However, these arrangements do not currently support immediate operational deployment, due to present transport difficulties and the lack of availability outwith Inverness of existing specialist trained staff. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, it is unfortunate that the Service has been unable to take full advantage of providing greater enhanced operational capability by utilising the additional specialist resources provided as part of the Scottish New Dimension project to support normal operations across the Service.

13.9 It is recognised that this situation is, in part, due to a combination of the geographical area of the Service and the current logistical difficulties. However, this is being further examined within the remit of the Scottish New Dimension Project. It is intended to establish an appropriate deployment strategy that will provide the Service with the necessary flexibility to support, where appropriate, normal operational activity, and provide national capability and resilience at major incidents. 13.10 A key component of resilience planning is the need to review both existing and potential risks in the Fire Authority area against a range of accidental and/or deliberate Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear (CBRN) scenarios.

Guidance was issued to the Fire Service by the Inspectorate in November 2001. The Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) provided a planning tool and guidance for this purpose to all Fire and Rescue Services in June 2002. The Service composed an initial risk assessment profile utilising this planning tool, which was used to inform the resource requirements of the Service. This work is to be further enhanced within the remit of the HIECG. RECOMMENDATIONS 27. The Service is working closely with the Scottish New Dimension Forum to establish an appropriate deployment strategy that will meet both the needs of the Service and the national strategy.

It would be appropriate to further examine opportunities to better utilise some of this specialist equipment to support normal operations, as intended within the initial New Dimension project strategy of delivering an enhanced service to the benefit of communities. 28. The Service has produced a draft strategy for developing the New Dimension project in its area. It is recommended that this strategy is further validated by developing enhanced risk profiling for the Service area and, where appropriate, consideration of the wider Scottish capability and resilience deployment arrangements.

29. It is recommended that the Service progresses its intended development of live exercising of these arrangements. This should include, where appropriate, the deployment of mass decontamination facilities and support arrangements from Services with Major Incident Units to further validate mutual aid and local planning assumptions. 30. The Service’s current capability and resilience for a major decontamination incident is presently compromised, due to the lack of trained gas suit operatives. Therefore, to enable the Service to support the capability for the provision of mass decontamination resources, it must consider alternative options to provide sufficient trained personnel in accordance with the national guidance.

(Para 13.4) 30 HM FIRE SERVICE INSPECTORATE FOR SCOTLAND

PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 31 SECTION 14 14. Funding 14.1 As mentioned earlier in this report, the Fire Authority has recently received a significant boost to its Grant Aided Expenditure (GAE) as approved by the Scottish Executive. This increase will now allow the Fire Authority to operate on a more stable platform, particularly in the early term of IRMP. 14.2 The Service has a limited number of wholetime staff and therefore opportunities for efficiencies may be limited. Whilst this is understood by the Inspectorate, it should not preclude the Fire Authority and the Firemaster from reviewing the scope for efficiencies in the infrastructure of the Service.

Such reviews may identify efficiencies and/or savings which will allow the Fire Authority to address other areas of the Service which may require attention.

14.3 The Scottish Executive recently provided transitional funding (to part fund the modernisation agenda) over and above the additional GAE received by the Fire Authority. All Fire Authorities must now plan to absorb this transitional funding element over the next three years. The review referred to in the preceding paragraph may assist the Fire Authority in this task. RECOMMENDATION 31. The Fire Authority should plan for the absorption of the recently provided Transitional Funding. This may be assisted by a review of Service infrastructure.

9 780755 947096 ISBN 0-7559-4709-6 © Crown copyright 2005 This document is also available on the Scottish Executive website: www.scotland.gov.uk Astron B41862 6/05 Further copies are available from Blackwell’s Bookshop 53 South Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1YS Telephone orders and enquiries 0131 622 8283 or 0131 622 8258 Fax orders 0131 557 8149 Email orders business.edinburgh@blackwell.co.uk PERFORMANCE INSPECTION REPORT HIGHLAND AND ISLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE 2005 HM Fire Service Inspectorate for Scotland w w w .

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