Fire Safety Inspections – 17066

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A request for information about Fire Safety inspections

Ref: FOI/17066

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 27th June 2017.

Please find below a summary of our findings.

  1. For 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (to date), please break down by year:

Request

a. The number of on site inspections of premises carried out by fire service personnel

Reply

For the years 2010/11 onwards this information is exempt under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as this information is reasonably accessible to the requestor. Information concerning the number of inspections carried out by West Midlands Fire Service is published annually by the DCLG, table Fire1202 at the following link.  https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables

For the years 2006/7 to 2009/10 this information is exempt under section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as we do not hold this information. We do not keep a record of the number of inspections once our returns have been submitted to the DCLG.

Request

b. The number of specialist fire safety inspectors (not fire station firefighters) in post

Reply

For the number of full time-equivalent fire safety officers have been employed by West Midlands Fire Service on 31st March on each of the years requested, please see below.

YEAR FTE
2006/2007 64
2007/2008 82
2008/2009 72
2009/2010 72.5
2010/2011 63
2011/2012 55.5
2012/2013 58.5
2013/2014 56.5
2014/2015 58.5
2015/2016 57
2016/2017 54.1

The number of staff within the WMFS is based on a number of factors and this is decided by the fire authority based on evidence and financial resources available. The West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority has a rolling plan based on community needs, risk profiles, resources available, incorporating requirements of investment into equipment and buildings etc. Included into this is the allocation and distribution of employees following strategic reviews into operational requirements. The operating model within the protection department (fire safety) is continually reviewed as a result of the rolling plan and subsequently the number of full time fire safety officers fluctuates. It is also worth mentioning that currently all fire fighters have completed or are undergoing training in basic fire safety allowing them to deal with simple issues leaving more capacity for dedicated fire safety officers to carry out more complex issues and help support the businesses within the West Midlands.

Request

c. The numbers of “Alterations Notices” served by the fire authority in respect of major works proposed on any tower block

d. The number of “Enforcement Notices” served by the fire authority on any tower block

e. The number of “Prohibition Notices” served on any tower block because the risk to persons from fire was “excessive”

Reply

For the years 2010/11 onwards this information is exempt under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as this information is reasonably accessible to the requestor. Since 2010 all alteration, Enforcement and Prohibition notices have been published on the CFOA website and can be found at the following link http://www.cfoa.org.uk/11822  go to search Enforcement Register and select West Midlands Fire Service from the dropdown menu. Press search and a list of notices will appear.

This information was uploaded in 2010 and any notices current at that time have been uploaded even if the issue date was prior to this.  For the years 2006 to 2011, we do not keep a record of notices that have been compiled with, and would have to make a manual search, in the West Midlands we have over 300 tower blocks and over 85,000 properties known to us and each property record would have to be looked in order for this work to be completed, in order to complete this we would have to issue a fees notice would you like us to proceed with this?

Request

f. The number of prosecutions of any “Responsible Person” with control of the common parts of the tower block because of the offence of placing relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury from fire. NB the term “at risk” which implies that a fire does not have to occur for the offence to be committed.

Reply

The number of prosecutions of any “Responsible Person” with control of the common parts of the tower block because of the offence of placing relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury from fire is zero.

For all premises the years 2010/11 onwards this information is exempt under section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as this information is reasonably accessible to the requestor. Information concerning the number of inspections carried out by West Midlands Fire Service is published annually by the DCLG, table Fire1202 at the following link.  https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables. The number of prosecutions requested are under Article 32.

For the years 2007/8 to 2009/10 please see below, prior to this we do not have any prosecutions as the legislation was only brought into force at the end of 2006.

Year 07/08   5 prosecutions

Year 08/09   3 prosecutions

Year 09/10   0 prosecutions

Request

2. Any documents relating to the training of fire inspectors

Reply

At present we work in line with CFOA’s competency framework which suggests the level of training and competence a fire safety inspecting officer should achieve to carry out their roles respectively. this is Level 4 diploma (fire inspectors), How we achieve this is by following our progression model on e-cademy, our electronic internal training facility, which is supported by line managers and mentors. We provide some training in house which is run by qualified teachers who have the level 4 diploma in fire safety and a level 5 diploma in education and teaching in the post compulsory sector. The remainder of the complex training courses are delivered by external training providers which will then be assessed to gain the relevant qualifications. we have a robust recording tool called Melio which all our staff use to record all their activities on a development plan or against objectives to demonstrate that they are maintaining their competencies. we also run CPD events and refresher training.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

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