National inspectors have graded West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) as ‘outstanding’ in its overall effectiveness, including its emergency response and understanding of fire and other risks.
WMFS remains the only fire and rescue service in England to be classed as outstanding for its 999 work.
The service’s last inspection assessed its understanding of fire and other risks as ‘good’ - but that has now also been boosted to ‘outstanding’. Only one other fire and rescue service in the country shares this assessment.
As a result, today’s report from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) classes WMFS’s overall effectiveness at keeping its communities safe as outstanding.
The report also highlights improvements in WMFS’s promotion of the right values and culture, managing performance and developing leaders – all now assessed as ‘good’, demonstrating progress from the previous inspection.
HMICFRS also highlights how WMFS’s use of its resources provides value for money to communities across the West Midlands, and continues to improve how it looks after its staff, including their health, safety and wellbeing.
Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Brown, said: “Our three ‘outstanding’ assessments from HMICFRS are testament to the hard work of staff across West Midlands Fire Service and their dedication to making our communities safer, stronger and healthier.
“We are delighted to remain outstanding in our response to fire and other emergencies, and to receive the same assessment for our understanding of fire and other risks. Knowing where fires and other emergencies are most likely to happen means we can plan and allocate our staff and resources accordingly.
“Our improvements in values, culture and development are key to supporting our staff. The better they’re cared for, the better they can keep our communities safe. Our continued improvement stems from their diligence and innovation. They have my thanks and gratitude for excellent work very well done.
“We’ve worked exceptionally hard to achieve this recognition from our national inspectorate, and do not take it for granted. We have set ourselves incredibly high standards. Our challenge now is to continue to meet and exceed them.”
Cllr Greg Brackenridge, Chair of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “The dedication of WMFS to continually improve is plain to see within the contents of this report. I'm proud to see that the work put in over the last three years to adapt the way that we deliver means that the people of the West Midlands can be assured but if they need the fire service, they will be in the best possible hands.
“All this amounts to a first-class fire and rescue service for our area, and we should feel fortunate to have such dedicated people keeping us safe.”
Read more on the HMICFRS website, which highlights our ‘first-rate performance in keeping people safe and secure from fires and other risks’.