Tayside Fire and Rescue service has a strong focus on prevention, as reflected in decreases in the numbers of fires and fire casualties, according to a report by the Accounts Commission. The report states: 'The service has many of the essential elements of Best Value. The board should develop its strategic governance role, with more effective scrutiny and challenge and a clearer role in shaping strategy and prioritising use of resources'.

The Accounts Commission's findings say that Tayside is making substantial progress in its transition from a fire and rescue authority to a fire prevention authority. The report confirms: 'It has made good progress with risk management planning. There is a strong culture of continuous improvement, which is seen throughout the service and there are many good examples of this, including self-evaluation, information sharing and performance reporting'.

But the Commission urges the board to do more to meet its best value duties. 'It is especially important to have good management practices at times of financial challenge and change such as this. Tayside needs to keep its focus on improving its service to the public whilst fire and rescue services are being restructured on a national basis. The board should be doing more to scrutinise and challenge the service on its performance, with a clearer role in shaping the service's strategy, and prioritising its use of resources. Councils can help support the councillors on the board to develop their skills'.

Chair of the Accounts Commission, John Baillie, said: "Tayside Fire and Rescue has a strong focus on prevention and it is helping reduce the number of fires and casualties. It has a strong culture of continuous improvement and many of the elements which are essential to providing Best Value. However councillors on the fire board need to do more to scrutinise and challenge the service's performance and help shape its strategy and use of resources."


Posted February 6th, 2012 at 0835 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: andrew.lynch@pavpub.com