Agenda item

Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP), formerly known as the Integrated Risk Management Plan, Annual Consultation


The Committee received a report and presentation of the Deputy Chief Fire Officer that provided a background to the Fire Authority’s CRMP annual action plan for 2024-2027 and that set out details of the plan and consultation process (for copy see file of minutes).


K Carruthers, Deputy Chief Fire Officer gave a presentation that explained that the service was undergoing the annual consultation process to develop their community risk management plan that was set out in the Fire and Rescue National Framework.  He gave members background information that the fire authority served approx. 630,000 people and protected 302,500 households and 20,150 businesses from 15 fire stations with 600 staff.  In the fire authority’s most recent HMICFRS inspection they had achieved Good in all three categories of effectiveness, efficiency and people and had won Fire and Rescue Service of the year at the Public Sector Transformation Awards in 2022 and 2023.  The fire authority planned to gather views from the community both online and face to face through their consultation process on the CRMP that looked to identify risks that the community faced and ways in which to alleviate those risks. There were financial pressures but the Medium-Term Financial Plan had been approved in February 2024.


He noted that from the consultation carried out in 2023 the service had implemented suggestions to crew all their wholetime fire engines with four firefighters with effect from 1 July 2023 and would continue to monitor the crewing of fire engines throughout 2024/25. He added that they had also reviewed and updated their Risk Based Inspection Programme (RBIP) for business premises that would commence on 1 April 2024 that utilised the developing work of the NFCC in collaboration with Operational Research in Health that would increase focus on premises types identified as a higher risk through this new research.

Members were invited to take part in the consultation and were given surveys to complete. The consultation questions for 2024/25 were i) Do you agree with the Service’s approach to keeping you safe? ii) Do you agree with our commitments outlined in the plan? And iii) Do you have any comments on our plans for 2024-2027?The CRMP is available on the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service website.


Councillor J Miller commented that the Fire Service within his division were excellent and had given him help and support since he had been elected.


Councillor E Mavin commented that the Fire Service carried out good work in the community.  He noted that there was nothing in the annual consultation about fire fighters’ safety.


The Deputy Chief Fire Officer confirmed fire fighter safety was included in internal documents.


Councillor D Sutton-Lloyd was impressed with the home visits that had taken place to ensure safety in the home.  He asked if the service worked with community centres, if any visits had fallen by the wayside and how he could arrange a visit to a premises in his division to advise them on what to do.


The Deputy Chief Fire Officer advised that community centres were addressed in the risk space work element.  There were less visits carried out post pandemic due to hybrid working conditions but there had been a change in legislation to enforce authorities to have stricter levels.  He noted that there was information on their website that provided advice and support that anyone could access.  He confirmed that if Councillor D Sutton-Lloyd emailed him he would get a site visit organised.


Councillor P Heaviside stated that the community centre in his division had received a visit last year and he had found it to be very helpful.


Councillor J Charlton felt that home visits were tremendous and the service provided by the fire authority was outstanding.  She noted that there had been a horrendous tragedy in her village and within two weeks officers from the fire authority were knocking on resident’s doors to install fire alarms in their homes.  She wanted to pass on her thanks on behalf of her community for their services to the general public.


Councillor D Nicholls reiterated that the service had been outstanding in his area as well especially when dealing with waste and illegal bonfires.  He asked how they would plan the ultimate move in the next inspection from good to outstanding as he felt the service should be recognised as such.  He queried if the service had been impacted by Covid in terms of less road accidents with more people working from home, if the service was back to normal or if there had been any changes to the service.


The Deputy Chief Fire Officer responded that he would like to see the service achieve Outstanding but that was not just one big step to achieve as it would require every little aspect of the service to be reviewed across the sector.  He thought it was the best Fire and Rescue Service in the region and Inspectors would see that in their reports.  Lessons had been learnt from Covid and changes had been made with more hybrid working for office-based staff that was more flexible for them.


During Covid, home visits were abandoned and instead were undertaken via telephone calls.  Home visits had now resumed back to face to face in person post pandemic.  He noted that there had been fewer road accidents during Covid that they had had to respond to but tragedies had increased post pandemic with five fatalities in the last year.


Councillor E Mavin queried who he could contact to have a fire safety audit carried out on a working man’s club in his division.


The Deputy Chief Fire Officer asked Councillor E Mavin to contact him and he would organise a visit.  He advised that Fire Safety Audits were a legal duty for the service to inspect. 


Councillor C Lines thanked the Deputy Chief Fire Officer for the useful and informative presentation.  He noted that last year there had only been 300 responses to the survey and knew the difficulties in engaging with the public.  He was glad to see that the survey was online.  He asked if there was anything being done differently this year to try to increase responses by promoting the survey in community centres or libraries.


The Deputy Chief Fire Officer responded that officers were getting out and about more this year in person to promote the survey at community events, open days and having a presence at market days.


The committee were advised that there was a comprehensive engagement programme to promote the survey to encourage more responses.  This had not been done in previous years due to the restrictions of Covid.  The survey was online and was being promoted heavily through social media channels.


Councillor D Nicholls noted that no news was good news. He felt that if people were happy with a service they tended not to comment on it.  It was only when they had issues that they would then comment.  Potentially there were a lot of people who had not had any need of the fire authorities service in their life which would be another reason as to why there had been a low response rate in the past.  He stated that no responses indicated indirectly that it was a well delivered service. 




That the CRMP action plan and consultation be noted and the comments raised by the Committee in respect of the CRMP action plan formulated into a formal response to the consultation.


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