Avon Fire Authority has unanimously approved Avon Fire and Rescue Services’ (AF&RS) revised Service Plan 2020-2023, which outlines how the Service will to use its resources to help prevent, protect and respond to the needs of its local communities.

This is the first annual refresh of the Service Plan, which built upon the work undertaken as part of the Service’s Corporate Plan 2018-19 by combining the Corporate Plan and Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) in to one, integrated, Service Plan that set the strategic direction for the Service.

The Service Plan is reviewed and refreshed annually, setting out what AF&RS will do to ensure it continues to deliver a high-quality, effective and value for money fire and rescue service.

It does this through two strategic priorities of Making our Communities Safer and its Service Stronger.

Updates to the Service Plan (2020 to 2023) include:

  • The launch of the Services’ new response standards and the way in which AF&RS responds to automatic fire alarms, which was approved by the Fire Authority (AFAs)
  • The commencement of work to redevelop Avonmouth fire station, which will remain fully staffed and operational throughout the 65 weeks of work
  • Introducing the Transformation Programme which will focus on digitising the Service, reviewing and improving policies, processes and systems; and procedures
  • The review of the Services’ fleet which has seen the purchase of seven new narrower and shorter fire appliances for the service area’s congested streets, set for delivery later this year
  • Introduced a ‘Chief Fire Officer’s Management Statement’ which outlines how AF&RS is matching resource to risk

Chief Fire Officer, Mick Crennell, said: “Throughout the last year, our fantastic staff have worked tirelessly and diligently to implement our Service Plan effectively. Already, our Internal Improvement Programme has completed 115 work packages dynamically and on budget.

“However, this is not the end of our improvement journey. Indeed, it is around 40% of the journey we have laid out as we make AF&RS the very best it can be. We have a professional, proud and passionate workforce whose commitment to the communities they serve is second to none.

“Reviewing our Service Plan annually allows us to review and refresh our key Service objectives and focus on how we can improve them, ensuring we are the best Fire and Rescue Service we can be, and to show how committed we are to keeping our communities safe.”

Other achievements from the Service Plan (2019-2022) include:

  • Introduced a Staff Engagement Network, cultural change advocates, relaunched our values and produced a behavioural framework to promote our values.
  • Employed a full time wellbeing officer to bring together all aspects of wellbeing, welfare and fitness.
  • Invested in our buildings and workplaces through the design of new wellbeing spaces to promote health and wellbeing.
  • Introduced three On-Call Support Officers (OCSOs) who provide a dedicated support function for the on-call crews. In the first three months appliances have been made available on 118 occasions when they would have otherwise been unavailable. As a result, this allowed us to attend 27 incidents with on-call appliances. The OCSOs assist with recruitment, training and competence, administration, crew development and quality assurance.
  • Restructured our Control Room function to provide improved resilience, dedicated development and improved career pathways.

Councillor Donald Davies, Chair of Avon Fire Authority, added: “As an Authority, we are responsible for providing the public with information and fire safety advice, making our roads safer, and ensuring our Service is provided to our communities in an honest, transparent and cost effective way.

“Our Service Plan sets out a clear roadmap of where we are and where we are going, and is constantly driven by the Services strategic priorities of Making our Communities Safer and our Service Stronger.

“Fire and rescue services are increasingly in the spotlight, particularly in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating fire in London’s Grenfell Tower in June 2017, with significant scrutiny on Fire and Rescue Services and our response to such emergencies.  

“Despite these challenging times, Avon Fire and Rescue Service continues to adapt to any situation, ensuring the Service is strong and communities are safe.”

You can read our latest Service Plan here.