His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Inspection Cause of Concern Actions 2023

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Inspection Improvement Actions 2023

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) underwent an inspection by His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in Spring 2023, This is part of the nationwide assessment of Fire and Rescue services in the UK. The report received from HMICFRS, highlighted areas of good performance and areas that require improvement.

One of the areas identified by HMICFRS [that requires improvement] was regarding our ability to ensure that fire safety work, known as a risk-based inspection program (RBIP), effectively prioritises the highest risks and includes appropriate actions to reduce them.

The Concern was: SFRS was unable to guarantee that its risk-based inspection program effectively prioritises the highest-risk premises and incorporates suitable activities to mitigate the identified risks. As a result, HMICFRS made some recommendations which will allow us to address the concerns raised:

Recommendation 1: SFRS should review its fire safety work, the risk-based inspection program, to ensure it accurately identifies the highest-risk premises and aligns with its set targets.


Recommendation 2: SFRS should ensure that all its staff are well-informed about their roles and responsibilities in managing the risk-based inspection program.

Our RBIP groups buildings using a detailed planning model. This model helps us to classify these buildings and work with them to reduce the risks of fire for individuals and the buildings in the communities.

As part of our continuous improvement, we have carried out a thorough review and developed an action plan to address the findings from the HMICFRS.

  • We reviewed the planning method [above] and the delivery of the fire safety inspection program. This included a review of the data involved to make sure all buildings are identified in line with the planning model.
  • Buildings are now classified into very high, high, medium, and low risk. This will enable the Fire Safety team to focus on the very high and high-risk buildings while still addressing medium and low-risk properties.
  • Our planning model and Fire Safety work has been tested as well as being peer reviewed by the National Fire Chief Council (NFCC) and neighbouring Fire Safety lead officers to assure the process is robust.
  • Our Fire Safety Managers will continue to oversee the inspection program, focusing on very high and high-risk buildings.
  • All of our teams will continue to be advised on how we deliver Fire Safety across Surrey and how they can have an impact on our continuous improvement process.
  • Our internal audit process with Surrey County Council and external peer reviews will continue to offer assurance of our continuous improvement.

This revised approach to risk management will result in a robust Fire Safety inspection program.

In February 2024, the HMICFRS carried out a revisit, to review our progress against the action plan we had in place. They interviewed a number of individuals and groups and were able to conclude that:

  • Significant steps had been taken in response to the cause of concern issued.
  • The service has improved its RBIP and the way in which it is managed.
  • Considerable work has been carried out to support these improvements and as a result, the cause of concern is discharged.

The HMICFRS continue to monitor the service's progress as part of their scheduled inspection programme.

For more information on the HMICFRS revisit findings, please read the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Revisit letter below.

HMICFRS inspections are based on the pillars detailed below. Our recent report grading are listed against the areas of focus within each pillar.

Effectiveness – the operational service provided to the public (including prevention, protection, and Response):

  • Understanding the risk of fire and other emergencies, graded as Adequate
  • Preventing fires and other risks, graded as Requires Improvement
  • Protecting the public through fire regulation, graded as Requires Improvement
  • Responding to fire and other emergencies, graded as Requires Improvement
  • Responding to major and multi-agency accidents, graded as Requires Improvement

Efficiency – the efficiency of the service (how well it provides value for money, allocates resources to match risk, and collaborates with other emergency services);

  • Making best use of resources, graded as Requires Improvement
  • Making the fire and rescue service affordable now and in the future, graded as Adequate

People – how well the service looks after its people (how well it promotes its values and culture, trains its staff and ensures they have the necessary skills, ensures fairness and diversity for the workforce, and develops leadership and service capability):

  • Promoting the right values and culture, graded as Good
  • Getting the right people with the right skills, graded as Adequate
  • Ensuring fairness and promoting diversity, graded as Requires Improvement
  • Managing performance and developing leaders, graded as Requires Improvement

The report identified 24 Areas for Improvement (AFIs) and the Service has developed an Inspection Improvement Plan (IIP) to address each recommendation. This is a comprehensive document which shows in detail the actions we are taking to address all the AFIs identified by the HMICFRS.

The IIP was developed with the Service Leadership Team and was shared for feedback with all Leaders within our wider workforce. The IIP is updated on a quarterly basis and progress presented to our Service Leadership Team, our Portfolio Holder and our HMICFRS Service Liaison Lead for updates and questions.

Surrey Fire and Rescue is committed to ensuring that we provide efficient and effective services for our communities. We will show progress against this plan to our communities and to our Members of the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee who are in place to challenge and scrutinise progress and to ensure our continued improvement in all areas.

Please take the time to read the IIP.

His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services' values and culture recommendations

In March 2023, His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) produced the Values and culture in fire and rescue services' report, which focuses on the values and culture of all 44 Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) in England and draws on the evidence collected through the HMICFRS inspections of FRSs since 2018.

The report identified 20 recommendations for FRSs, to assist in improving values, culture, fairness and diversity.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service have completed 19 of the 20 recommendations and have made good progress on the remaining one recommendation not yet finalised. Read our action plan here.

Files available to download

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