Strategic IRMP Plan

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Since the introduction of Integrated Risk Management Planning (IRMP) in 2004, Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority has embraced the concept of holistic countywide risk management. The cornerstone of this being a full and comprehensive review of risk within the county and the implementation of risk reduction measures resulting in changes to prevention, protection and response measures that demonstrate proven and sustainable long term benefits to the communities that we serve.

Building on the improvements to service provision made to date, the Fire Authority developed its 2009/12 Strategic Plan, which outlined its vision and ambitions and its policy for achieving those ambitions.

The Strategy covered a 3 year period and was supported by an IRMP Action Plan 2010/11 which presented detailed proposals that were put out for consultation.

The table below summarizes those proposals and highlights the benefits that have arisen following their implementation.

Code Action Comments
01/2010 District
Development
Teams

A one year Pilot Project, involving two temporary Watch Managers, was undertaken to look at how members of the proposed District Development Team could best support our Retained Duty System (RDS) staff.

In April 2011, the full team was put in place. Due to the budget cuts required by the Service, as a consequence of the Government’s austerity measures (see ‘Public Value’ below), the full Team comprised of three Watch Managers, rather than the original four. However, they have still been able to bring much needed support for our RDS staff, particularly in relation to supporting our new entrants and existing managers with their professional development. They also provide additional support for our RDS station management teams, as well as developing local and county wide exercises and providing specialist training. They are now also involved in the initial RDS recruit training, which will ultimately free up capacity within our Training Department, enabling them to progress training in other crucial areas.

02/2010 Changes to Ridership Factor

Since IRMP was introduced in 2004, the Service has made several changes to the way it crews its fire engines, and also introduced a full-time crewed fire engine at Tweedale. These changes had resulted in a high level of resilience within our wholetime staffing levels. Again, with an uncertain financial future ahead, the Fire Authority were keen to ensure the Service was running as efficiently as possible. It therefore proposed to reduce the number of wholetime staff by 8 personnel. This would be achieved through not replacing those that left the Service through retirement. Following lengthy consultation with our staff and other stakeholders, the Fire Authority agreed that this should be done in a phased approach, with a reduction of four in the first year and the other four only reducing following a review of the impact from that first year.

With the uncertainties around Government cuts, that existed around this time, the Fire Authority had indicated that any efficiencies accrued through this change, would either be reinvested into other service delivery priorities or realised as financial savings. As the size of the cuts to the Service’s grant from Government became clear, in December of 2010, the opportunity to consider reinvesting these savings was removed. Therefore, whilst the first year reductions were achieved, the following year’s reductions became part of the considerations for the larger budget reductions programme, for which the Fire Authority introduced the ‘Public Value’ process (see below).

03/2010 Aerial Ladder Platform Location

The original proposal was for the Service’s two Aerial Ladder Platforms (ALPs) to be co-located at Telford Central, but, following significant consultation on the matter, the Fire Authority agreed that they should instead be consolidated in Shrewsbury, with the Incident Response Unit moving from Shrewsbury to Telford Central to enable this to happen. This alternative proposal was fully implemented towards the end of 2010.

The benefits provided by this not only included those identified in the initial proposal, which were mainly related to reducing the number of competencies needed by Shrewsbury staff, but it also negated the need to spend £25,000 on extending an appliance bay at Telford in order to accommodate the second ALP. Additional benefits have also come from having the IRU based at Telford, in relation to there being more room at Telford to train with the equipment carried on the IRU and that the Training Centre also have the Fork Lift Truck available for driver training.

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Impact from the 2010 Government Spending Review – Public Value

As a consequence of Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (2010), the Service, along with the rest of the public sector, was set a significant challenge of how it could continue to deliver an excellent service for the people of Shropshire, as specified in the Fire Authority’s Strategic IRMP, whilst also planning to deliver on a 25% reduction in the grant it receives from Government over the next 4 years.

The Fire Authority therefore undertook a Public Value Review in 2010, which looked to identify ways the £3 million savings could be achieved without significantly impacting on its IRMP. This is not a replacement for IRMP, but is simply a progression of the Fire Authority’s IRMP process. The review was the most comprehensive staff engagement exercise ever undertaken by the Fire Authority and sought to create a Service culture and approach of one Team, to deliver one Service, with one clear Vision. The most significant change from the previous IRMP process was that our staff were heavily involved in developing the ideas for change.

The outcomes of the Public Value Review act as a framework for the change necessary to address the £3 million reduction to the Service’s budget over the four-year period 2011/12 to 2014/15 (see the Public Value Review 2010 document below). The review identified a range of initiatives that predominantly take advantage of natural staff attrition rates to secure savings whilst maintaining, without significant reduction, frontline services to the community. Essentially, this approach allows for a gradual budget reduction whilst avoiding compulsory redundancies, maintaining all fire stations and alleviating the necessity for merger with one or more other fire authorities.

In July 2012, the Fire Authority received a report which summarized the progress made to date with the changes specified in the Public Value Review 2010 (see the Public Value Progress Report below). This report specifically details the impact that these changes have had on the Fire Authority’s Strategic IRMP.

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Review of the Fire Authority’s IRMP Strategy – ‘20:20 Review’

With the existing Strategic IRMP now coming to the end of its life, the Fire Authority are now undertaking a major refresh. This will not only need to address the changing risk profile within Shropshire, but also the Government’s most recent priorities for Fire and Rescue Services nationally, as detailed in the Fire and Rescue Service National Framework Document 2012:

  1. Identify and assess the full range of fire and rescue related risks their areas face, make provision for prevention and protection activities and respond to incidents appropriately
  2. Work in partnership with their communities and a wide range of partners locally and nationally to deliver their service; and
  3. Be accountable to communities for the service they provide

The review, known as the ‘20:20 Review’ will also need to take into account the changing economic environment in which the Service is operating, both in the short and longer term. Building upon the success of its Public Value process, the Fire Authority is using ‘Scenario Planning’ as the tool to help inform this review. The ’20:20 Review’ will, once again, involve significant staff and other stakeholder involvement, with a new draft Strategic IRMP being published during the middle of 2013. Further details about the ‘20:20 Review’ process is given in the report below.

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Documents

IRMP

Public Value

20:20 Review