Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) revisited Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) in September 2019, following their first, full inspection of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service in 2018. They went to two fire stations and spoke to staff, operational managers and the Senior Leadership Team.
They found "significant progress" had been made in a number of areas since the previous inspection. Their findings are outlined their Surrey Fire and Rescue Service second revisit 2018/19 revisit letter.
They praised the Making Surrey Safer Plan. They described it as a "comprehensive and evidence-based assessment of risk, with considered options".
They wrote: "We found appropriate governance structures both within the Service and through Surrey County Council which provide scrutiny of progress." They also commended the service on setting up an Advisory Group to provide assurance to and challenge the Senior Leadership Team throughout the implementation of the plan.
They recognised that considerable work has been carried out in relation to ensuring there is better management of overtime. The inspectors said there are now effective controls in place.
They noted that fire engine availability for both wholetime and on-call continues to be a challenge for the Service. We have already recruited 82 new wholetime firefighters, and have recently started another recruitment drive.
The inspectors told us that more needs to be done to attract and recruit a more representative workforce. We are very aware of this. SFRS is now focusing on engagement with and encouraging women and BAME within our communities before and during all our recruitment campaigns and at every level, so that no opportunity is missed to ensure that our workforce represents the communities that we serve.
We do also recognise that we need to be more proactive in our external communications and recently we have started a Customer Interface project which will address the concerns around communications to the public.
All improvement opportunities highlighted by the HMICFRS will have appropriate and positive actions incorporated into the current Inspection Improvement Plan in order to drive forward our service transformation.
The HMICFRS will continue to monitor our progress data. We expect them back during 2020 for another inspection.