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A welcome to ‘Our Plan’
from Councillor Greg Brackenridge, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority and Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer, West Midlands Fire Service.
Our Plan forms part of West Midlands Fire Service’s (WMFS) rolling three-year strategy. It is an opportunity to reflect on the last year and look at our priorities for the next three years to ensure we make the West Midlands Safer, Stronger and Healthier.
As we emerge from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there has never been a more poignant time to reflect on that journey over the last 12 months. 2020/2021 has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging and transformational years WMFS has ever faced.
While our outstanding emergency response continued as normal throughout the pandemic and the majority of serious incidents were attended in under five minutes, all other areas of the Service had to swiftly flex and adapt ways of working.
Evolving government guidance and announcements meant staff had to meet challenges head on, ensuring the most vulnerable were front and centre to every decision made.
This was later reflected in Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report that praised our new ways of working and our ‘innovative’ use of technology which enabled flexible and efficient home working and allowed for the continuation and adaptation of critical prevention and protection activities.
One of the outcomes of the pandemic was the strengthening of existing partnerships and the many new partnerships formed. These will prove vital to future collaborative projects and initiatives with local councils and other emergency services, in supporting those most vulnerable in our communities.
There are three core elements that underpin much of our role as a fire service – our people, value for money and our digital approach. Staff culture, values and behaviours are at the very core of our service delivery. Regardless of role, we want all staff to understand how significant their contribution is and how it fits in to the bigger picture in terms of helping us to achieve our priorities.
We must ensure we recruit and retain the best staff to deliver services within a balanced budget while seeking out more efficient ways of developing and transforming what we do without compromising public safety or performance.
With the full economic impact of COVID-19 yet to be realised, we know the next few years are going to be extremely challenging.
Our focus on digital transformation has been the corner stone to our delivery of services, certainly during the pandemic. Across many parts of the Service digital change arrived much faster than we could have imagined but the positive outcomes of that have been far reaching.
We’re now proud to say that we can deliver some of our services just as well digitally.
Transforming our delivery of services that are fit for the future, will mean investing in digital approaches to create efficiencies in the longer term which will support ‘smarter’ ways of working.
Over the next year we will be looking to better understand how and why data and technology can improve the services we provide, efficiency and performance.
This delivery will, of course, only be possible with the continued commitment of our greatest asset – our workforce. A workforce that, against a backdrop of continuous change and significant financial challenges, remains ready, willing and able to play a major part in helping to ensure the people of the West Midlands live safer, healthier lives.
All of the details on Our Plan can be found on our website. Our website also provides better accessibility options and language translation. However, for those who prefer a static copy of Our Plan to view or print, it can be downloaded below.
|This is a downloadable PDF of 'Our Plan' which forms part of West Midlands Fire Service’s (WMFS) rolling three-year strategy. It is an opportunity to reflect on the last year and look at our priorities for the next three years to ensure we make the West Midlands Safer, Stronger and Healthier. All the information contained within the PDF is available on the 'Our Plan' pages of our website and is correct as of 17/05/21.||1.0||Download|
We are the second largest fire and rescue service in the country
We serve seven local authority areas, including Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils.
Knowing where the risks are, we can decide where we need our fire stations, firefighters and vehicles. It also helps us plan how we deliver our full range of services which we split into…
The role of a fire service and a firefighter is to understand and manage risk to communities and the brigade, in the delivery of its services. We identify this through our Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP).
We continually review our risk assessment using an evidence-based approach to identify the annual priorities and three-year objectives and to make sure we are meeting the changing needs of our communities.
Tackling the ‘causes of the causes’ issues that make people more vulnerable to harm from fire, as well as forecasting future risk to meet our Response, Prevention and Protection objectives will be the ongoing focus in the development of our CRMP.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve utilised every hurdle, success and experience in order to adapt, learn, evolve and plan more effectively for the future. This informs not only our role locally to communities, but also our influence within the National Fire Chiefs Council to develop CRMP and adopt digital transformation throughout the fire sector.
While we don’t fully know what lies beyond the pandemic, what we can say with certainty is that WMFS will continue to put its communities front and centre to ensure we deliver an assertive, effective and safe service.
As part of our commitment to the national fire agenda, we continue to host and support the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), the professional voice of the UK Fire and Rescue Service.
NFCC is headed by a national Chair who also acts as adviser on fire-related issues to the government and represents the wider fire sector.
He has a key role in delivering influential, national work. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we collated information from fire and rescue services on additional duties undertaken to report into government and to assist with the spending review submission.
We continued to provide ongoing support to NFCC and its Council meetings, where all Chief Fire Officers from across the UK come together to discuss emerging national themes and take decisions on behalf of the sector.