'High-risk' residential buildings still not inspected by Warwickshire Fire Service two years after concerns first raised - The Rugby Observer

'High-risk' residential buildings still not inspected by Warwickshire Fire Service two years after concerns first raised

Rugby Editorial 14th Sep, 2023   0

‘HIGH-risk’ residential buildings have still not been inspected by Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS) two years after concerns were first raised, according to a new report.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) says WFRS ‘urgently’ needs to improve the effectiveness of its fire safety regulation.

The inspectorate has graded the service’s performance as ‘requires improvement’ in seven areas and ‘adequate’ in four.

Inspector Wendy Williams said: “I am satisfied with some aspects of the performance of WFRS, but there are areas where the service needs to improve. In particular, the service’s effectiveness at protecting the public through the regulation of fire safety is a cause of concern.

“We were disappointed to find that it hadn’t made enough progress against the cause of concern we identified in 2020-21. We found high-risk residential buildings that still hadn’t been inspected and the service still needs to put in place a suitable risk management system.

“We also found that the service hasn’t made the progress we expected in other areas. For example, IT systems are still not efficient or effective, and the productivity of the workforce still needs to improve.

“I will continue to check the service’s progress in addressing areas for improvement and monitor the cause of concern and associated recommendations.”

The report also noted WFRS had improved its community risk management plan and its promotion of equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.

WFRS said improvements to fire safety regulation, workforce efficiency and IT systems were ongoing.

Chief Fire Officer Ben Brook said: “It was good to see the inspection note progress in the areas of community risk management and in our approach to equality and diversity, in response to the previous inspection.

“We have a robust plan of action in place which is already making significant inroads into improving the services we provide to make Warwickshire a safe environment to live, work and travel in.”

Coun Andy Crump, Warwickshire County Council’s spokesman for Fire and Community Safety said progress had been made, but more was required.

He added: “We know Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is held in high regard by many people but that doesn’t mean that we rest easy.

“Our staff put in an immense amount of hard work and commitment to their communities, and I would like to acknowledge that and thank them for it.

“I am confident that we have the right plans in place moving forwards and remain committed to making the service the best it can be now and, in the future, to keep the communities of Warwickshire safer.”

Visit https://tinyurl.com/3554hhym to read the full report.

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