Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has published its report into Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s effectiveness, efficiency and how well it looks after its people.
The service has been graded as good at both understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies and responding to fires and other emergencies. The report has also rated the service as good at making the fire and rescue service affordable now and in the future.
But it also highlighted several areas for improvement, where the service is already taking action to address.
Chief Fire Officer, Jim Wallace, said: “I am pleased to see that HMICFRS has found us to be good at understanding the risks we face and, crucially, responding to fires and other emergencies. This shows that when you call us to an incident, we are good at providing the required response to deal with it and keep you safe.
“We are, however, disappointed to have been rated as ‘inadequate’ at ensuring fairness and promoting diversity. We provided evidence at the inspection that we feel demonstrates good work that goes on within the service in this area and since the inspection have shown how we are continuing to make improvements. I do not feel this reflects the reality of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service as we continue to strive to make this a welcoming place for everyone to work.
“This includes introducing an Inclusivity Strategy and improved Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity staff training package. We also have a core of passionate and dedicated staff carrying out diversity and inclusivity work.
“Our attraction strategy has already had significant success recruiting from underrepresented groups and Home Office Data shows that we have the second highest percentage of new female recruits in England and the highest percentage of new recruits from minority ethnic backgrounds in England.
“In other areas, we have acknowledged ourselves the need for improvement to lay the foundation for a stronger organisation and that is why we initiated Programme for Change, a major review of the entire service. This is looking at all areas of the fire service and largely our direction of travel is consistent with HMICFRS’ findings.
“We have already started work on many of the improvement areas referred to in the report and will continue to look at how we can improve moving forward.”
Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes for Policing, Crime and Fire added: “Fundamentally people want to know that when there is an incident, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service will respond quickly and effectively, so it is reassuring that the inspectors found the service is good at this.
“There are a number of areas identified where improvement is needed, and GMFRS is already taking action. The Programme for Change announced by the Mayor and upon which we are consulting is designed to improve further the effectiveness and efficiency of the service.
“However, given the remarkable work that has been done at GMFRS to improve representation amongst women and ethnic minorities, it is disappointing that inspectors did not recognise the real progress that has been made in this incredibly challenging field.”
Notes to Editor
Programme for Change: The Programme for Change is a major transformation project for GMFRS with the aim of ensuring the service has the right resources in the right places, is well-equipped, well-managed, and well-led. You can find out more here: https://manchesterfire.gov.uk/programme-for-change/
HMICFRS: Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) independently assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of police forces and in July 2017 extended its remit to include inspections of England's fire & rescue services.
20/06/2019 09:08 AM