Customer Care Standards

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Legal terms and policies

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Published on 15 March 2022

West Midlands Fire Service are proud of the services we provide and are committed to providing you with a caring, efficient and cost-effective fire service, which we continually seek to improve. We are the second-largest Metropolitan Fire Service in the country, providing fire safety education and emergency response to people who live and work across the West Midlands area to make you safer, stronger and healthier.

Our service provides a wide range of services to you, the public. This page provides you with information about the standards you can expect when you contact us and how you can compliment, comment or complain (CCC) about the service you have received.

Your comments are important to us and help us to improve our service to you.

About West Midlands Fire Service

Our guiding vision statement is to make the West Midlands safer, stronger healthier. We believe that we have an important role to play, in helping people live safer, healthier lives and supporting West Midlands businesses and the economy to thrive.

West Midlands Fire Service is the second-largest fire and rescue service in the country, delivering emergency response, prevention, advice and legislative enforcement services to
2.8 million residents in the seven local authority districts that make up the service area within the West Midlands conurbation.

We are accountable to the public, via the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, made up of 15 local
councillors from Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton. We’re as committed as ever to getting to the most serious incidents in a five-minute, risked based attendance time.

We continually remain focused on reducing risk by preventing emergencies through public involvement, engaging with our partners, and targeting schools, communities and vulnerable people with advice and guidance.

Our protection service prioritises the risks to the business sector, focusing on the provision of advice and, importantly, the enforcement of legislation.

Our response service protects life and properties across the range of emergencies we attend.

Please be aware that our operational staff work to a shift pattern system which, may cause a slight delay in our response.

Phone enquiries

General (non-emergencies) Always dial 999 in an emergency We will aim to answer calls within seven rings in a courteous and professional manner.

We will answer the call giving our name and location.

If we have to transfer calls we will aim to:

  • ensure the caller is connected to the person they need
  • give the caller the correct phone number
  • take a message if the relevant person is not available and ensure it is given to the person concerned as soon as possible

We will not intentionally ignore a ringing phone.

During Operational Emergencies

We will obtain a telephone number to call you back on at the start of the call and explain that should it be necessary to terminate the call we will ring you back when the emergency has been dealt with.

Written Communication

When you write to us:

We will, where appropriate, acknowledge receipt of your letter within three working days and send a written reply within ten working days.

If we are unable to reply fully to your letter within ten working days, we will let you know why and when you can expect to receive a full reply.

When we write to you, we will:

  • thank you for the correspondence
  • state who is dealing with the issue
  • state what is being done
  • give name and contact number for any queries
  • action any stated proposals and give a timescale for these

Response standards for e-mail

We will:

  • acknowledge e-mail enquiries within 24 hours, and reply within ten working days
  • let you know why and when you can expect a full reply if we are unable to satisfy your request within the initial ten working day period

Face to face communications

All visitors will:

  • be greeted in a courteous and friendly manner
  • be given the name of the person greeting them
  • be given any information, where appropriate, requested during the visit
  • be given an explanation of why information is not available at the time of the visit and when it will be available or why it will not be possible for the information to be provided by the Service

Data Retention

West Midlands Fire Service will retain comments and compliments for a period of two years and may use content that you have provided for auditing purposes and trend analysis.

We may also use anonymised content as part of promotional material such as community fire safety promotional messages.

Complaints will be retained for a period of three years for auditing purposes and trend analysis and will be securely destroyed after this period.

Compliments, comments and complaints

We value your views. Your comments will help us to improve our services.

When things go well:

  • Please let us know. You can contact any local fire station in person, by phone, letter, email or social media and your points of view will be noted and acted upon.

When things go wrong:

  • we will receive your complaint at any fire station or fire service
  • premises in the West Midlands by phone, letter, e-mail, social media or in person.
  • acknowledge your complaint within three working days. This may be by phone, personal visit, e-mail, letter, or a direct message on social media
  • contact you within ten working days and inform you of the outcome or progress of the investigation of your complaint
  • give an explanation for any delay in the investigation and a new deadline for the outcome of the complaint. In certain circumstances, it may not be possible to provide the full details of the action taken
  • to resolve the complaint but we will inform you of the reason why.If you feel your complaint has not been resolved satisfactorily you may also contact your local councillor, the local Government Ombudsman or seek independent advice from the Citizens Advice or
  • a solicitor.

Find out more about our comments, comments and complaints policy.