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Fire Safety – General Service Standards (Regulatory Functions)

Gives information and links to information regarding the Regulatory functions of the Fire and Rescue Authority (FRA)
Category: 
Fire Safety
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Last review or amend date: 9 May 2022

1. Quick-guide

1.1 The regulatory function of the Fire and Rescue Authority

We work to protect people in case of fire and prevent and respond to fires and other emergencies. Our regulatory functions primarily protect people in case of fire. We focus on higher risks and have a strategy and priorities in place to help us do this. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.2 How we work

We want to help those we regulate to provide safety, especially when they want to do so. We act proportionally to the risk that we see, so that minor matters are dealt with informally whereas serious matters are dealt with more formally. We comply with the Regulators’ Code. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.3 Working with businesses and others we regulate

We want to talk and engage with business. Our officers will adhere to established standards and will work with other authorities where it will benefit business. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.4 Helping you get it right

We will welcome you contacting us about any fire safety matter that concerns you. We look to help before we look to enforce the law. Our advice will be the best we can provide, based on the information you give us. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.5 Inspections and other safety visits

We visit businesses proactively and reactively. We give notice of proactive visits we plan to carry out. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.6 Responding to non-compliance

When we find people at risk in case of fire we will act proportionately, taking into account the likelihood of fire and the consequences of fire if it breaks out. If we make requirements of you, we will explain what we want you to do and will provide contact details so that you gat more information if you need it. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.7 Requests for our service

When we receive requests for assistance, we will provide as much help as we can and will let you know what to expect at each step along the way. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.8 How to contact us

You can find out contact details here. All contacts will be treated in confidence (unless you tell us otherwise). To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.9 Working with others

Where we can, we work with other authorities to make our work more efficient and to save each of us collecting the same information from businesses. It also enables us to signpost information that might be helpful. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.10 Our team

Our officers are competent for the tasks they deal with. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.11 Having your say

We want you to be confident to talk to us, whether you want help or challenge something we have asked you to do. You will find us willing to talk about all these matters. Whether it is good or bad, we want to hear from you. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

1.12 Developing our service to you

We love to consult with the people we regulate; they make sure we ‘get it right’. If you would like to join them, we want to hear from you. To find out more about this, click the relevant section in the contents area.

2. More about the regulatory function of the Fire and Rescue Authority

The FRA delivers services to the community in a number of ways including:

  • Prevention activity (helping people to be safe and well on the roads and at home),
  • Protection work (helping people to be safe and prosperous at work and at leisure), and
  • Response (helping people in all kinds of emergency situation)

While we do all we can to provide a rescue and emergency service to keep people safe and well, we only regulate (or enforce) as a part of our Protection work.

A table showing the Protection work that the FRA undertakes is shown at appendix 1 to this document.  We involve ourselves where the risk to life, business, property and the environment is highest, and we make a fundamental contribution to the maintenance and improvement of public health, quality of life and wellbeing through our activity.  We can take enforcement action when there is a risk to people in case of fire.  We give other advice, based on our experience of dealing with fires and other emergencies (and with respect to business continuity).

Details of our current work programme / strategy / priorities are set out in The Plan (our 3-year strategy to make the West Midlands ‘Safer, Stronger and Healthier’, including the targets against which we measure ourselves).

We are committed to being transparent in our activities and we publish our performance data annually in The Report. Our latest performance data is available also using that link.

3. More about how we work

We carry out all our activities in a way that supports those we regulate to provide safety to people in case of fire and to grow as a business.  Information and guidance is made available to help those we regulate.  Where we can (in terms of time, effort and impact it would take to understand your business), we will tailor advice to your particular needs.

We use an intelligence-led approach to target our resources, including how we monitor and check safety with statutory requirements.

We deal proportionately with breaches of the law as set out in our enforcement policy, which includes the taking of firm enforcement action when necessary.

Our service will be delivered in accordance with the requirements of the Regulators’ Code, which can be seen by clicking here.

We are ethical in the way we work and officers will treat people with courtesy, consideration, openness and honesty.  We respect privacy.  In the provision of our services this means we will:

  • be independent, fair and consistent
  • take full account of what people say to us
  • establish the facts and communicate accurately, promptly and in plain language
  • explain fully the reasons for decisions, and
  • treat people with respect and not discriminate on any improper ground.

4. More about working with businesses and others we regulate

We would like to work with you to help your business to be successful.  It is important to us that you / your business feel able to come to us for advice when you need it.  You will find us ready to help you with working through issues relating to fire safety.

In all your dealings with us you can expect (and will receive) an efficient and professional service.  Our team of officers will:

  • be courteous and polite;
  • identify themselves by name and provide you with their contact details;
  • try to understand how your business operates and the pressures you face;
  • provide details of how you can raise any concerns you may have;
  • agree time scales, expectations and preferred methods of communications with you; and
  • ensure that we are available to discuss progress against issues raised.

We recognise that your business will receive advice and inspections from other organisations and regulators.  We will do our best to work alongside them and to ensure that you receive the best information, advice and service that we can provide.

5. More about helping you get it right

We would like to work with you to help your business to be successful.  It is important to us that you / your business feel able to come to us for advice when you need it.  You will find us ready to help you with working through issues relating to fire safety.  If you contact us to discuss a fire safety issue, we will only take enforcement action if the safety of people in your premises is in danger.

Information and guidance to help you do what you need in relation to fire safety law is available to you here.

Where you need advice to help you meet your legal obligations we will:

  • provide reliable advice that supports safety;
  • provide advice that is appropriate to your circumstances (so far as time will reasonably allow)
  • suggest the most straight forward (best value) solution for you;
  • provide clear advice that can be easily understood and implemented by you;
  • distinguish legal obligations from good practice advice;
  • send written confirmation of our advice; and
  • acknowledge good safety practices that you have in place.

We are open to discuss the Primary Authority scheme with businesses and groups to which that scheme is open.  Click here to read about your eligibility for the scheme.

6. More about inspections and other safety visits

Compliance is about providing safety in case of fire.  We work proactively and reactively.  Reactive work comes to us from complaints made to us about the safety of premises.  Proactive work is based on a schedule of prioritised premises according to information and intelligence we have.  We always base our visits on an assessment of risk.  When working proactively we give notice that we intend to visit your premises.  Reactive work is not normally announced.

Depending on the nature of our visit, officers will (prior to or at the time of our visit):

  • explain the reason and purpose of the visit;
  • carry their identification (and authorisation) cards and produce them for you on request;
  • exercise discretion in front of your customers and staff;
  • consider how you approach fire safety in your premises and take this into account in future interactions with you;
  • provide advice to support you in meeting your statutory obligations, if required;
  • provide a written record of the visit (in most cases, especially if you request it);

We do not charge you for undertaking visits under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Charges are made for the work we do in connection with licensing Petroleum and Explosives (See Appendix 1).

7. More about Responding to non-compliance

Non-compliance means that we believe a person is (or people are) at risk in case of fire.  In such cases we will respond proportionately, taking account the likelihood and severity of that risk, in line with our enforcement policy.

When we require you to take action to remedy unsafe conditions we will:

  • explain the nature of the risk;
  • discuss what is required of you to achieve safety (taking into account your circumstances, if you have explained them to us);
  • explain any advice, actions required or decisions that we have taken;
  • agree timescales for making improvements that are reasonable to you and us;
  • provide you with details in writing of how to appeal against our regulatory decisions (and how to complain about our conduct);
  • explain what happens next, especially if you do not make improvements;
  • provide you with our contact details; and
  • keep in touch with you (where required) until you have provided safety.

8. More about requests for our service

We respond to requests for assistance that we receive, including requests for advice, appeals and complaints.  We will:

  • Acknowledge your request within 24 hours;
  • Tell you when you can expect to receive a substantive response;
  • Seek to fully understand the nature of your request;
  • Explain what we may or may not be able to do, so that you know what to expect;
  • Keep you informed of our progress throughout our involvement;
  • Provide clear advice where appropriate; and
  • Inform you of the outcome of our involvement as appropriate.

Usually we intend to acknowledge your request within 24 hours and provide meaningful feedback within three days.

9. This is how to contact us

You can contact us by:

Telephone: 0121 380 7500

Email: FireSafety.Admin@wmfs.net

Web: www.wmfs.net

Post (or in person):

Fire Safety
West Midlands Fire Service Headquarters
99 Vauxhall Road
Nechells
Birmingham
B7 4HW

In all cases we will seek to work with you in the most appropriate way to meet your individual needs.  We can make information available in different formats, and we have access to translation and interpretation services if you need them.

We will treat your contact with us in confidence unless you have expressly informed us that we can share your details in relation to the matter you have raised with us.  We respond to anonymous complaints and enquiries when we judge it appropriate to do so.

Personal data will be dealt with in accordance with our Data Protection Policy, which you can access here.

10. More about us working with others

Under the banner of Better Regulation; we work closely with other regulators and council services including (among others):

  • Licensing Authorities,
  • Building Control Bodies
  • Housing Authorities.
  • Environmental Health Officers,
  • Trading Standards Officers, and
  • Health and Safety Officers.

Working with our partners means that we can signpost to you to advice and guidance that you might need or that might benefit your business and that means we can better target our resources to where they will be most beneficial or make / keep people safe.

We determine our activities each year by assessing the needs of local people and business communities, and considering the risks that require addressing.  We do this by:

  • Consulting with partner agencies and national peers and with (among others) local Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses and with members of the public (in particular when consulting on our Integrated Risk Management Plan).
  • and by using data and other information available to us and our partners.

These activities ensure our resources are targeted appropriately and in light of local needs and national priorities.  Our aim is to provide a streamlined service and to maintain safe and healthy communities.

We are members of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) and happy to be involved with other LEPs in our area.  We are signatories to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Regulatory Services Charter.  We contribute to the government agenda for economic growth and healthier lives.  If you have any comments or concerns about the way in which the local regulatory system is operating, you can find your nearest LEP by clicking here.

11. More about our team

We have a dedicated team of competent officers to deliver our services and have arrangements in place to ensure their ongoing professionalism and competence.  Officers will seek to work with those they regulate in the most appropriate way to meet individual needs.

12. More about having your say

If for any reason you wish to challenge a regulatory decision, appeal against a notice or complain about officer conduct, the method of how to do so is in our Appeals, Challenges and Complaints procedure.

We are always willing to discuss with you why we have acted in a particular way or made particular requirements of you.

We value your input.  To help us ensure that our service is meeting your needs we would like to hear from you whether your experience of us has been good or whether we need to improve.  Hearing from you ensures that any changes we make to our services are made in the right way.  From time to time we operate customer satisfaction surveys and while we encourage your participation in these, we would welcome your feedback to us at any time.  You can provide feedback using any of the ways detailed in section 9 'This is how to contact us' above.

Any feedback we receive will be acknowledged, considered and responded to and where necessary, acted upon.

13. More about developing our service to you

We have a number of groups that we consult with to ensure that we are delivering our service well.  We currently develop our services in conjunction with: the Chief Fire Officers Association (other fire and rescue services, to make our work more consistent), Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Federation of Small Businesses, Chambers of Commerce, etc.

If you are interested in finding out more about the work of our consultation groups, or would like to participate in one, please contact us on 0121 380 7500.

Dated: April 2016

Name: Jonathan Herrick

Job title: Fire Engineering and Partnerships Manager

Review date: April 2017

Appendix 1 – Table of Protection work undertaken

This table shows the Regulatory activity undertaken by the FRA

What we regulate / enforceLaws that we enforce
  
Fire Safety   Petroleum licensing   Explosives licensing (fireworks, airbags etc)The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005The Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014Explosives Regulations 2014    
Authorities with whom we consultLaws that apply
  
Licensing Authorities   Building Control Bodies   Housing AuthoritiesThe Licensing Act 2003 – (with respect to licensable activities)The Building Regulations 2010 – (with respect to Building Work)The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 – (with respect to Houses in Multiple Occupation)
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