From finance through to our vehicles, technology and communications, we work hard to ensure that our services are delivered in the most relevant, effective and efficient ways. Everything we do is achieved by our cost-effective, flexible and agile workforce.

At a time of unprecedented change and financial challenges for the public sector, our staff keep finding exciting, new ways to transform the services we provide and achieve even more with less.

We recognise the need for change and continuous improvement and have developed a new and innovative approach to how we work.

This has been made possible by our brilliant workforce, a blended fleet of vehicles, a new approach to communication and a commitment to the use of technology.

We want West Midlands Fire Service to be governed in a way that enables it to keep delivering services in the most relevant, efficient and effective ways for its communities.

Our governance is on track to move from the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority and to be incorporated into the Mayoral West Midlands Combined Authority.

We are already coordinating an important area of the Combined Authority’s work. The Public Sector Reform (PSR) programme is about improving the life chances of West Midlands people. It continues to do this through four key work streams: Mental Health with Health and Wellbeing; Criminal Justice; Skills and Employment; Multiple Complex Needs.

Here at West Midlands Fire Service we have committed resources to the work stream that supports people living with multiple complex needs. Our prevention work focuses on vulnerable people, on what makes them vulnerable and how we can help them to live safe, independent and fulfilled lives.

Our dedicated staff keep finding exciting, new ways to deliver and transform the services we provide, and to achieve even more with less. Individually, and in teams, their positive contributions are making the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier.

Thank you for visiting our website. Please click, explore and encourage your friends and family to take a look, too.

We hope we get the chance to meet you and hear your valuable feedback at one of our fire station open days, when we’re out and about doing our prevention work, or simply by dropping in at one of our 38 community fire stations.

Value for money

We want to be absolutely sure we’re giving value for money through our work making the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier.

It means striking a careful balance between how we deliver our services and reductions in the money we get from the Government.

It enables us to protect our resources and keep responding to serious incidents in 5 minutes – while still providing all the services of fire and rescue that we know our communities value, including reducing vulnerability.

Our Government core funding reduced by £37m between 2011/12 and 2018/19. It will be cut by a further £1m in 2019/20. In 2019/20 we have a net budget requirement of approximately £97m. Most of this will be spent on ‘Service Delivery’ – firefighting, rescue operations and community fire safety work, with the majority covering staff costs.

£53m will come as core funding from the Government combined with our share of Council Tax collected by local authorities in the West Midlands (£44m). In 2019/20, the Authority plans to spend approximately £6.5 million on capital projects, the bulk of which will be spent on buildings and vehicles. Most of this money will come from what are known as ‘earmarked’ reserves.

For every £1 spent with us, West Midlands communities receive £5 of ‘social value’.

We’re continuing to identify alternative ways to get funding, such as by providing training for others or attracting sponsorship.

Working closely with other organisations – collaborating with our partners – is an essential part of being able to deliver our services effectively and efficiently. Your fire service will ensure:

  • Government funding reductions will be met and our Service Delivery Model, which focuses on public safety and vulnerability, will be maintained
  • services delivered will be managed efficiently and effectively using the most appropriate management of resources and assets in delivering the organisational priorities
  • efficiency opportunities will be identified and delivered through collaborative activities and by exploring social value and sponsorship opportunities, to support the delivery of our strategy and public safety through targeting the most vulnerable.

Commercial and sponsorship work

Another way we’re responding to our financial challenges is being paid by other organisations to do work for them.

For example, we’re proud of the ongoing training and development we give our firefighters and all of our staff. And we can share our expertise by being paid to deliver training for others.

Through our commercial work we engage with business to ensure that fire safety is top of their agenda. We work with big-name companies such as Nationwide and Wilmott Dixon. We provide firefighting skills to manufacturing companies such Jaguar Land Rover and our other partners include the Home Office and the Department of Trade and Industry.

Find out more about our commercial training opportunities

We also develop people who manage others’ safety. For example, after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, many other Fire and Rescue Services have asked to use our high-rise training facility at Oldbury.

We’re seeking sponsorship for many projects, including those with young, unemployed or elderly people, plus others who are marginalised and vulnerable.

We also have exciting partnership opportunities to work with our Research and Development team.

Digital and Innovation

Using our resources effectively and efficiently is really important to us.  

Technology plays a massive part in helping us to make the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier.  

Across our prevention, protection and response work it’s vital that our systems allow us to make evidence-based decisions.  

Our emergency 999 systems help our staff in fire control send the appropriate response to an incident, while satellite mapping lets us see the precise location of our fire engines.  

As our workforce becomes more mobile and spends as much time as possible in the community, they need to be able to access accurate and useful information when they need it.  

This is key to working with the most vulnerable people in our communities as well as collaborating with other agencies in delivering joined-up services.  

We will continually explore opportunities to enhance and transform services to our communities that are underpinned by innovative and digital solutions:  

  • with a commitment to research and development enabling assertive, effective and safe firefighting
  • in a culture where digital as an enabler will help people, systems and processes become more efficient and effective
  • by providing assurance and intelligence for evidence-based decisions with accurate, useful and timely information that will reduce community risk through our mobile workforce
  • enabling the secure and reliable sharing of data with our partners and the cost-effective, joined-up delivery of services to the most vulnerable people in our communities.

We position our resources based on real-time, evidence-based risk, to support our five-minute attendance standard. If we’re experiencing high demand during a major incident, we can re-distribute our remaining vehicles and crews to ensure the greatest levels of emergency cover across the West Midlands.  

And our radio and communications network lets us share vital information with our firefighters as they’re on their way to an incident. When they arrive, technology helps to keep them safe.  

Photo of one of our operators at their desk in our Fire Control suite.
Our ‘Dynamic Cover Tool’ used by our Fire Control to see live and projected views of our vehicle deployments to ensure we work to maintain our commitment to getting to the most serious incidents within 5 minutes.
Our ‘ICCS’, or Integrated Communication Control System – this digital phone, radio and communication system allows us to deal with incoming 999 and administrative calls, contact our staff and vehicles via phone or radio and keep in touch with partners and agencies like police and ambulance.
Our mobilising system, called ‘Vision’, is one of the primary digital tools we use to create and manage incidents, deploy our resources and manage our emergency staff and vehicles.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx6Na1OgqwE

The people who work for us here at West Midlands Fire Service are our finest asset. Without them, we couldn’t achieve what we do for the people of the West Midlands.

People

We’re proud of our ongoing work to ensure that our workforce reflects the amazing diversity of the West Midlands.  

We’re committed to attracting and recruiting people from groups that are under-represented in our organisation, including women and people from BAME backgrounds.   

The trust our communities place in us lets us into the lives of some of the West Midlands’ most vulnerable residents. 

People in poor health or from poorer backgrounds are more at risk from fire and other dangers. So we focus our prevention work on keeping them safe. 

A large organisation like ours needs effective leadership, so we invest a lot in training and development. 

We aim to use all of our resources effectively and efficiently, and know the importance of looking after our staff’s physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing. 

We ask a lot of them, so it’s important our staff feel valued, happy and supported so they can provide excellent services. 

That is why we continue to focus on organisational development to enable:

  • an agile, accountable and competent workforce, to provide the sustained delivery of our strategy by individuals and teams through adaptability, authenticity and cohesion
  • an environment and culture where the benefits of health and wellbeing are understood and valued equally, to enable our staff to respond positively to change
  • Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equality (DICE) to support the safety, health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in our communities
  • a workforce reflective of the communities we serve, using ‘positive action’ to attract, recruit and support progression for individuals with protected characteristics.