Our Safety Plan 2020-2024

Our Safety Plan for 2020–2024 sets out our priorities for protecting Staffordshire over the next four years. We look to build on the success of our previous plans, whilst recognising the challenges we have yet to face.

We have worked hard to transform our service and the way we operate to ensure we continue to deliver a first-class emergency response to fires and other emergencies. This transformation will need to continue as public sector finances are set to carry on reducing over the lifetime of this Safety Plan.

The number of deaths and injuries caused by fire have fallen in recent years. As such, we will continue to invest in proactive activities that help prevent fires and other emergencies happening in the first place. However, we cannot be complacent as demand on the fire and rescue service has started to rise, both locally and nationally, with new risks emerging, including terrorism and incidents caused by extreme weather.

We continually need to review all aspects of the work we do and how we do it. Consideration of new technologies, equipment and training will allow us to explore alternative approaches to how we deliver an effective and efficient service. To meet future demands we need to make sure that we continue to invest in our people, their development and wellbeing, as they are our most valuable asset.

Priorities: Prevention and early intervention

To prevent fires and respond promptly and effectively to fires and other emergencies we will:

  • Work together with our partners across the county to share information and create a more detailed understanding of the risks to our communities and identify the people and properties most at risk
  • Prioritise these risks to ensure our activities have the most positive impact on community safety
  • Develop targeted activities to make the most efficient use of our resources and minimise our impact on the environment
  • Work with partners to educate our communities and share goals to reduce duplication and inefficiencies in the public sector.

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Plans and evidence to support this priority:

Priorities: Protecting Staffordshire and its people

To protect our people, buildings, the environment and reduce local risk we will:

  • Continue to modify and develop our activities to embrace the changing needs of the county and use advances in technology and techniques to ensure our response to emergencies is efficient and effective
  • Contribute to building communities which are fit for the future – resilient, healthy and sustainable
  • Contribute to ensuring that buildings in Staffordshire are safe for residents and visitors for generations to come
  • Ensure that we have the capability to meet new and emerging risks from incidents that may involve flooding, wildfire, terrorism or supporting other emergency services.

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Plans and evidence to support this priority:

Priorities: Public confidence

To maintain public confidence and trust in the service we will:

  • Ensure plans and resources are in place to provide a flexible efficient and resilient response to emergency incidents
  • Consult with our communities and listen to our people when developing our plans and services
  • Provide evidence that our activities are based on a recognised need and are targeted where they are needed most
  • Adopt a transparent and easily understood approach to planning and reporting throughout the service.

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Plans and evidence to support this priority:

Priorities: Service reform

To ensure we are effective, efficient and able to transform the service to meet the challenges ahead we will:

  • Invest in our people by providing them with the right equipment, training and skills to keep them safe, encourage innovation and inspire our future leaders
  • Continue to strive to improve the services we provide
  • Be honest and open, encouraging people to be themselves and treat each other with kindness and respect
  • Promote a positive and supportive culture committed to improving the health, fitness and wellbeing of our people
  • Work with our communities and partners to improve the diversity of our workforce.

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Plans and evidence to support this priority:

Our funding

Our aim is to identify the financial challenges we may face and demonstrate how we intend to mitigate the impact of these and to manage our budgets to deliver services to our communities.

The Staffordshire Commissioner is ultimately responsible for the finances of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. Our two main sources of funding are:

  • Settlement Funding Assessment from central government (this includes a share of local business rates)
  • Council Tax, collected on our behalf by the nine local authorities in Staffordshire.

The draft Local Government Finance Settlement for 2020/21 was received on 20 December 2019. The provisional settlement, issued by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, included protection for vital services by increasing core settlement resources, which includes Revenue Support Grant and business rates baseline funding levels, in line with inflation; and by continuing other key grants from 2019/20.

The Settlement Funding for the Staffordshire Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority included an inflationary increase in Revenue Support Grant (RSG) set at 1.63%. This is the first increase for a number of years, with RSG reducing by £9.0m during the period 2012/13 to 2019/20 following a number of years of reduced funding across the public sector.

The decision by the Staffordshire Commissioner to increase the local council tax funding for the service by 1.99% was supported by the Police, Fire and Crime Panel at its meeting on 10 February 2020. A 1.99% increase in Council Tax is equivalent to an additional £1.51 per annum (three pence per week) and would increase Band D Council Tax for the Staffordshire Commissioner to £77.24 (circa £1.48 per week).

The decision will provide a small increase in funding which will help us to make further progress to deliver on our priorities for protecting people across Staffordshire. Over the last three years, due to good financial planning and the implementation of numerous changes across the organisation to transform our services and the way we operate, we have continued to deliver a first-class emergency response to fires and other emergencies. We are continually exploring our options for developing and improving the services we provide to ensure that we are as efficient and effective as possible and fit for the future.

Download the complete Safety Plan 2020-2024

Group of firefighters at the bottom of a ladder

Our Safety Plan outlines the priorities we will adopt over the next four years and the approach we will take to ensure we do not compromise on our commitment to protecting our local communities, reducing risk and maintaining firefighter safety.

Our future

We are accountable to you for the services we provide, so we aim to involve as many people as possible when we are developing our Safety Plan. These conversations with our communities, our people, partners, representative bodies and other stakeholders will help us to improve our understanding about your expectations and the services you require from us.

We will use the feedback from these conversations to help influence and develop our plans as we look to deal with future challenges and ensure that we deliver the best outcomes for our people and the communities of Staffordshire.

As our plans develop over the next four years we want you to help us to shape, improve and transform our prevention, protection and response activities to make Staffordshire safer, meet the challenges of reduced public sector funding and reflect the changing demands and risks placed on the service. When we have specific proposals to discuss, we propose that we will consult with you in more detail. We will do so in a way that helps us understand the effects of such proposals whilst making best use of our resources.

We will be exploring ways in which we can continue to improve how we do things and look to transform the service to make best use of our people, places and resources. We will consider:

  • The way we crew our fire engines
  • Our on-call firefighter duty system to see how we can maximise our availability for responding to emergency calls
  • Reviewing the way we use, and crew, our specialist vehicles and equipment so that we respond in the most effective and efficient way
  • Working collaboratively with partners to improve the safety, health and wellbeing of our people and communities
  • The range and scope of the fire safety work we do to help keep people safe in their homes and the buildings they work in and visit
  • The way we share our estate with Staffordshire Police where it will benefit the service and our communities.

We would welcome your opinion about our future proposals and the way, in which we combine our prevention, protection and response activities to make Staffordshire safer, meet the challenges of reduced public sector funding and reflect the changing demands and risks placed on our people and resources.

When we have specific proposals to discuss, we will consult in a way that is proportionate and targeted so we best understand the effects of a proposal on those groups affected. The way we consult on proposals will depend on the issues being considered, who needs to be consulted and available time and resources.

If you would like to take part in future consultation, or you are interested in providing us your feedback, thoughts or suggestions please email us at consultation@staffordshirefire.gov.uk