Capturing the learning from the response to Covid-19 is critical to improve future planning both locally and nationally. Dr Rowena Hill, Rich Pickford and DCFO Andy Hopkinson share the work of the C19 National Foresight Group and their insights into the contribution of fire and rescue services over the last year.
Covid-19 challenged the Fire and Rescue Service in many different ways and HMICFRS says it can be proud of its response. Political Editor Catherine Levin reviews the first virtual inspection reports for FIRE and finds a wealth of innovation and team spirit.
The 2019 inspections by HMICFRS set a benchmark for the performance of fire and rescue services and a second round of inspections was scheduled to start in 2020. With the emergence of Coronavirus in the early part of last year, these inspections were paused. It was inevitable that the fire and rescue services’ response to Covid-19 would form the basis of their first thematic inspection. HMICFRS published its Covid-19 inspection report on January 22.
While this is not a routine inspection, the report makes strong links back to State of Fire and the recommendations set out by Sir Tom Winsor in early 2020. The Covid-19 inspection appears to have reinforced what the inspectors said before about the role of fire and rescue services, the issue of operational independence and conditions of service.
‘The employment arrangements in the fire and rescue sector are longstanding and, in our view, outdated’. HMI called for them to be reviewed and to consider if they are still fit for purpose. The pandemic provided an opportunity to show how far the current arrangements could be flexed.