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Our Accounts

Documents with figures, and an iPad with graphs and charts

As part of our commitment to transparency, our accounts are available to view on our website.

Today we are issuing a formal notice to our communities that from Monday 19th July 2021 anyone on the electoral register is able to inspect our accounts for the financial year 2020-2021. The period of exercise of public rights commences at 10.00am on 19th July 2021 and will conclude at 5pm on 27th August 2021.

Changes for 2020/21
The Accounts and Audit (Amendment) Regulations 2021 are temporary and cover the 2020/21 and 2021/22 accounting years.

The deadline to publish the Authority’s audited 2020/21 Statement of Accounts has been changed from 31 July 2021 to 30 September 2021.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the practice of inspection may differ from previous years. However, our (currently unaudited) Statement of Accounts 2020-2021 can still be viewed in our Documents section which also includes many other publications.

Formal notice of the right to inspect the financial year 2020-2021 accounts is given below.

Documents with figures, and an iPad with graphs and charts

WEST MIDLANDS FIRE AND RESCUE AUTHORITY
AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS YEAR ENDED 31st MARCH 2021
NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS
The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014
The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015
The Accounts and Audit (Amendment) Regulations 2021

The Authority’s accounts are subject to external audit by Grant Thornton UK LLP of 11th Floor, Colmore Plaza, 20 Colmore Circus, Birmingham, West Midlands, B4 6AT. Members of the public and local government electors have certain rights in the audit process:

  1. Notice is hereby given that from 19th July 2021 to 27th August 2021 (excluding Saturdays and Sundays) between 10.00am and 5.00pm any person may inspect the accounting records of the Authority for the financial year to 31st March 2021 and certain related documents (comprising books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts) at the address given below. They may also make copies of the accounts and documents.
  2. From 10.00 am on 19th July 2021 to 5pm on 27th August 2021 at the request of a local government elector, the local auditor must give the elector, or any representative of the elector, an opportunity to question the auditor about the accounting records of the Authority.
  3. From 10.00am on 19th July 2021 until the conclusion of the audit process a local government elector for the area of the Authority or his/her representative may object to the Authority’s accounts asking that the auditor issue a report in the public interest or apply for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. Written notice of the proposed objection and the grounds on which it will be made must be sent to the auditor at the address given above, or via the Grant Thornton UK LLP website (https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/) and also copied to the Authority at the address given below.
  4. The Statement of Accounts for West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority is available to view on the internet during the period of display. The web address is: www.wmfs.net

Dated 5th July 2021
Mike Griffiths
Treasurer
West Midlands Fire Service
99 Vauxhall Road
Birmingham
B7 4HW
e-mail: Mike.Griffiths@wmfs.net

Caught on camera! Candle fire rips through flat

ceiling burning and smoke as candle fire rips through flat

A West Midlands man has warned people to take care with candles, after a home security camera caught a candle fire ripping through his flat.

Wazcar Abreu briefly left his home after lighting tealights. Just minutes later he returned to find it ablaze and ten West Midlands firefighters tackling the flames.

Footage from his security camera shows him lighting the tealights on a shelf, in memory of a relative. After he briefly pops out of his flat, the tealights ignite combustible items nearby. It takes just two minutes for the fire and smoke to consume the first-floor landing.

At the start of Home Safety Week, which is led by the National Fire Chiefs Council, we’re echoing Wazcar’s call for people to take extra care with candles and tealights.

He said: “I only left the flat for a few minutes but then got a call from a friend telling me what was happening.

“It all happened so quickly, the speed of the fire and the firefighters arriving. There was lots of fire and smoke. I still can’t believe it, so I want to send a message to people to please take care.”

We got the 999 call to Summer Road in Erdington from a passer-by. Just after 7.20pm on 14 May 2021 they saw a window being blown out by an aerosol exploding in the heat of the fire.

Two fire engines, from Ward End and Sutton Coldfield fire stations, arrived within five minutes.

Crew Commander Dave Bailey, from Ward End fire station, said: “It’s incredibly rare for a candle fire like this to be caught on camera. The footage not only shows the nightlights being lit but the speed at which the resulting fire develops.

“We needed to wear breathing apparatus and to force our way into the empty flat, before using hose reel jets to extinguish the flames.

“The fire damage was confined to the landing area, but could have been much worse. Fortunately, no-one was hurt but there was extensive smoke damage throughout.

“Please never leave burning candles unattended, even if only for a few seconds or minutes. Keep them well away from other combustible items. When you do blow them out, make sure they’re fully extinguished.

“Be sure to fit and regularly test smoke alarms on every level of your home and in the areas you use most. Whenever you leave home or go to bed, always close internal doors to help stop the spread of flames and smoke if there is a fire.”

Still candleAvoiding Candle Fires

Candles can create a relaxing or special atmosphere, but also bring fire into your home. So to avoid candle fires please use them carefully:

  • keep burning candles in sight and extinguish them before leaving a room or going to sleep
  • never burn a candle on, or near, anything that can catch fire
  • keep them out of the reach of children and pets, and away from anywhere they might knock them over
  • place burning candles at least three inches apart so they don’t melt one another or create draughts that can cause the candles to flare
  • always use a sturdy, heat-resistant candle holder on a heat-resistant surface that’s big enough to contain drips and melted wax
  • keep burning candles away from draughts, vents, ceiling fans and air currents. Draughts could also blow lightweight items into a flame where they could catch fire.

A candle with the wick smoking just after being put outPutting them out

Extinguishing candles with water could cause hot wax to splatter or a glass container to shatter. Instead, use a metal spoon or a snuffer. Make sure a candle is completely extinguished and the wick is no longer glowing before leaving the room. Never use a candle as a nightlight. Never touch or move a burning candle when the wax is liquid.

Find out more about keeping safe in the home on our Safety in the home page.

Keep looking while you’re cooking!

Firefighter shows wooden spoon with kitchen safety message

Firefighters in south Birmingham are hoping to stir residents into thinking about kitchen safety.  

Wooden spoons carrying the message ‘Keep looking while you’re cooking’ are set to be given out by fire crews following a rise in cooking-related fires.  

Firefighter shows wooden spoon with kitchen safety message

The handy safety reminders were the idea of firefighters at Bournbrook fire station, following a rise in kitchen fires on their patch as well as in the Kings Norton, Hay Mills, Sheldon and Billesley areas. 

Half of all accidental fires at home start in the kitchen, and often start when people get distracted while they’re cooking.  

Crew Commander Rob Hickinbotham, of Bournbrook Blue Watch, said: “A number of our fire stations have, unfortunately, seen a rise in the number of kitchen fires they’ve attended. 

“We’re still working to understand the reason, but it’s possible that the increase is linked to the coronavirus lockdowns. It’s possible that more people have been cooking at home more often, or in homes that have been much busier than usual. 

“Whatever the reason, we’re asking people to be really careful when they cook and not to get distractedfor example by their mobile phones, the TV or other people. 

We hope the wooden spoons will serve as a simple reminder to people to ‘keep looking while you’re cooking’. We’ll be giving them out with safety leaflets to people unlucky enough to have a kitchen fire, as well as their neighbours.”

A fire in the home can have devastating and long-lasting consequences – but many kitchen fires are avoidable:  

  • make sure you don’t get distracted when you’re cooking 
  • take pans off the heat, or turn the heat down, if you need to leave the kitchen 
  • make sure handles don’t stick out, so pans don’t get knocked off the hob 
  • take care if you’re wearing loose clothing, which can easily catch fire, and keep tea towels and cloths a safe distance away from the cooker 
  • never leave children alone in the kitchen 
  • double check the cooker is off when you’ve finished 
  • don’t cook if you’ve been drinking alcohol or taken medication that makes you drowsy. 

If you are unlucky enough to have a fire at home, never be tempted to tackle it yourself Always: Get out, stay out, call 999.

E-scoot safely!

A firefighter with an e-scooter and safety poster

Firefighters in Birmingham are urging users of Voi scooters to stay safe and be mindful of other road users and pedestrians.

The call comes as a trial of the two-wheeled e-scooters takes place in the city.

A firefighter with an e-scooter and safety poster

A safety campaign launched by Bournbrook Fire Station will be targeting riders, including students at The University of Birmingham which is on the station’s patch.

Firefighter Jack Hunter, of Bournbrook Blue Watch, said: “The e-scooters are a convenient and eco-friendly way of getting around, but need to be ridden and parked correctly and safely.

“It’s illegal to ride them on a pavement, where there’s a clear risk of colliding with someone. Parking them incorrectly can also cause a hazard for people trying to walk by.

“We’re definitely seeing the scooters around more often. Younger people are already more likely to be involved in road traffic collisions, so that’s why we’ll be trying to reach them with some simple e-scooter safety tips.”

Posters and social media graphics will target students at the university and other e-scooter riders with six safety messages:

Only Voi e-scooters are currently road-legal
Don’t drink and ride
Always wear a helmet
No tandem riding
Use the beginner mode to limit the speed if you’re a new user
Use the dedicated parking zones where possible.

More details can be found at gov.uk and on the Voi website.

Core Code of Ethics for Fire and Rescue Services

West Midlands Fire Service has welcomed today’s publication (18 May) of a new Core Code of Ethics for Fire and Rescue Services.

Core code of ethics for fire and rescue services created by Local Government Association (LGA), the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC)

The document has been launched by the Local Government Association (LGA), the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC). It has been developed in response to Sir Tom Winsor’s recommendation in the State of Fire report 2019.

Public trust and confidence in fire and rescue services rely on all employees demonstrating ethical behaviours.

The Core Code sets out these ethical principles and is designed to help services to continuously improve culture and workforce diversity, helping to support communities in the best way.

Everyone in every fire and rescue service (FRS) is expected to follow the Core Code. This includes those working with, or on behalf of, a service.

The Core Code sets out five ethical principles, based on the existing Principles of Public Life, which provide a basis for promoting good behaviour and challenging inappropriate behaviour:

• Putting our communities first – we put the interest of the public, the community and service users first

• Integrity – we act with integrity including being open, honest and consistent in everything we do

• Dignity and respect – making decisions objectively based on evidence, without discrimination or bias

• Leadership – we are all positive role models, always demonstrating flexibility and resilient leadership. We are all accountable for everything we do and challenge all behaviour that falls short of the highest standards

• Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) – We continually recognise and promote the value of EDI both within the FRSs and the wider communities in which we serve. We stand against all forms of discrimination, create equal opportunities, promote equality foster good relations and celebrate difference.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer (Temporary) Sarah Warnes, People Programme

Sarah Warnes, Assistant Chief Fire Officer with WMFS, led on developing the code on behalf of the NFCC , in partnership with the LGA and PFCC.

She said: “As the Core Code states, our communities’ trust and confidence in us and our work relies on all employees demonstrating ethical behaviours.

“The Core Code sets out these ethical principles and is designed to help us keep improving culture and workforce diversity. Ultimately, it helps us to support our communities in the best way.

“Our existing Core Values already focus on service to the community and valuing our people, diversity and improvement.

“Our next steps will be to look at how we can enhance and incorporate the Core Code of Ethics into our values, behaviours and policies.”

The Core Code will sit alongside the Code of Ethics Fire Standard developed by the Fire Standards Board.

The Code of Ethics for Fire and Rescue Services can be read at: https://www.local.gov.uk/publications/core-code-ethics-fire-and-rescue-services-england

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