More uncomfortable reading for Avon Fire And Rescue Service as inspector raises 'serious concerns'

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 December 2018

Mick Crennell

Mick Crennell

Contributed

'Inadequate and requires improvement' - that is a Government watchdog's assessment of Avon Fire and Rescue Service, which has once again been told it is not good enough by an inspector.

The service was assessed by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), with inspector Wendy Williams publishing her damning findings on Thursday.

She found the service was ‘inadequate’ at looking after the people it serves, and Ms Williams deemed the organisation must do more to ensure people are kept safe and secure from fire.

The findings follow a pair of damning reports – a Home Office review in July 2017 and last month’s staff survey – which highlighted a culture of bullying and management failings.

Chief Fire Officer Mick Crennell admitted people will ‘understandably have concerns’.

Ms Williams said: “We have concerns about the performance of Avon in keeping people safe and secure. In particular, we have serious concerns about the service’s effectiveness, and how it looks after its people.

“There are improvements we expect the service to make. We do not underestimate the difficulties the service has experienced since the publication of the independent statutory inspection report in 2017. The senior management team has made clear to us its determination and commitment to change the culture, behaviours and effectiveness of the organisation.

“The service has a new Chief Fire Officer who is keen to improve performance, and I am confident this will translate into a better service.”

Mr Crennell said: “The past 18 months have seen the release of three key publications. There are common themes running through them and it comes as no surprise the HMICFRS report reflects what we already know and have already committed to improving.

“It is inevitable after a long period of austerity and the fact the service has, as much as possible, protected frontline operations that resources across the service are very lean and that modernisation improvements are needed.”

Don Davies, chairman of Avon Fire Authority, added: “Our staff are dedicated to keeping our communities safe and the service remains committed to continually improving while providing value for money.”

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