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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

9th Meeting
of the
Fire Statistics User Group
held on
Wednesday 29th October 2003
Eland House

Present :

Mr. G. Evans

Chair, FBU

Mr. T. Wilmot

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. A. Paish

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. D. Champion

Fire Statistics Research Branch, FSED, ODPM

Mr. S. Emery

English Heritage

Mr. D. Hobbs

Buildings Division

Mr. M. Rowan


Ms. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Mr. I. Jerome

Fire Protection Association

Mr. B. Tregunna


Mr. A. Henderson

Scottish Executive (HMFSI Scotland)

Mr. A. McCormack

Secretary, FRD, ODPM

1 Chair's Introduction

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, saying the main issue for the Group was the future and the proposed new Terms and Conditions of the Fire Statistics User Group.

2 Apologies

Dr. D. Peace


Mr A. Burd


Ms G. Ford

Fire Stats Research Branch

Mr. I. Evans


Mr. S. Kidd

Fire Industry Confederation

Ms. C. Reynolds


Mr M. Eady


Mr. B. Tucker

Fire Service College

Mr. G. Lipscombe


Mr. M. Fordham


3 Minutes of Previous Meeting

3.1 The following change was agreed.

In section 6.2.3 the last sentence of the action should read as follows. "The note should include mention of the change in responsibility for data collection taking place as part of the Bain Review."

4 Matters Arising from the Minutes.

4.1 Action 4.1.3 passes to the next meeting. Mick Eady was attempting to identify if a database of Fires of Special Interest existed and if the reports could be made public.

ACTION HMI Eady to report to the group at the next meeting.

4.2 Report to the FSAB on Resource used by Brigades on Fire Inspections.

4.2.1 The report on fire inspections had been submitted to FSAB at its final meeting. The Chair felt that this report was the start of a process rather than the completion of the work, and proposed to submit it to the Practitioner's Forum.

4.2.2 DCFO Tregunna suggested he could take it forward to the CACFOA National Fire Safety Committee and this was agreed.

ACTION: Secretary to forward the paper to DCFO Tregunna who would raise it at CACFOA.

4.2.3 In answer to a query from the Secretary, Andrew Henderson confirmed discussions about the role of inspection of the fire service were ongoing with Audit Scotland, and no final decision had been made on the matter.

4.3 Preservation of Fire Information.

4.3.1 Sheila Pantry had located some of the BRE fire information that was being stored in Glasgow. Together with the information staff at the Fire Service College she had managed to retrieve a great deal of it. This was being put into the Fire Service College library. She added that it was necessary to keep publicising the Fire Service College as the contact for information of this type so that the knowledge is not lost. She felt at present this isn't widely known. The Chair agreed and commended her on the success in preserving this collection.

All other matters arising were dealt with during the agenda for this meeting.

5 Future of the Fire Statistics User Group

5.1 Following the 8th Meeting of the Group the Chair and David Champion had met to discuss the future of the Group. Jointly, they had agreed and drafted a revised set of Terms of Reference for agreement by Ministers. Paragraphs 1 to 6 were agreed by the Chair and David Champion, while paragraph 7 was added later at the request of Ministers. Paragraph 7gives the Group an informal link to the new fora set up to replace FSAB.

5.1.1 Tony Paish sought clarification upon the meaning of paragraph 7 of the new Terms of Reference, where it was stated that the Group would be "requested" to provide statistics to the new fora. He asked whether this meant that the Group would have to be asked to provide information, or that the Group could also raise points it thought relevant?

5.1.2 The Chair responded that he believed that the Group would need to have informal contact with both fora through their respective Chairs (Jeff Ord of CACFOA for the Practitioners Forum and Pamela Castle for the BCF). It would also report to Ministers through David Champion. He did not believe therefore that the activities of the Group would be unduly restricted by paragraph 7 of the Terms of Reference.

5.1.3 The Group would also be renamed the Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group (FRSUG) and would become a member of the Statistics Users' Council. This is a standalone body that is independent of government which has a wide ranging membership (for example the Health Statistics User Group) with whom joint programmes could be set up in the future to look at specific aspects of fire statistics, such as fire injuries.

5.1.4 Following further minor discussion the proposed Terms of Reference and the proposed change of name for the Group were then agreed by the members present.

5.2 David Champion proposed developing a programme with the other User Groups in the Statistics User Group including seminars and guest speakers relevant to both this group and others. This was agreed.

5.2.1 Ian Jerome asked about funding of the new group, and any seminars or functions. David Champion felt this would continue as now with facilities and secretarial support provided by the ODPM, but no formal funding being provided. Tom Wilmot asked whether the seminars would be open to all? It was agreed by the members of the Group that they should be.

5.2.2 Tom Wilmot suggested seminars on the annual trends in fires and causes of fires, or fires in certain areas or types of building. He felt that the purpose of the Group was to gather and analyse statistics to produce actions, which meant putting conclusions in front of those who could introduce change.

5.3 At the last meeting of the Cost of Fire Sub Group (CoFSG) a merger with the FRSUG was raised as a possible future for the CoFSG. However, the members of the Cost of Fire Sub Group felt it should continue as a separate body, but would need a new Chair as the existing Chair, Mike Reed, formerly of Fire Policy Division, has been promoted. It was understood that CoFSG would not be joining the Statistics Users Council.

5.4 The Chair thanked David Champion for his work in finding the FRSUG both a new purpose and home. The Chair also confirmed he was meeting with the Statistics Commission, which is part of the Office of National Statistics (ONS), in December to discuss the future work of the Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group.

6 Demonstration of Prototype Fire Statistics Website

6.1 Sheila Pantry had completed her action from the last meeting and had produced a prototype website for the Group. This was demonstrated at the meeting. The Group agreed that it is a clear, simple to navigate site. It contains the Terms of Reference, membership, agendas, papers produced, useful links and, possibly in future, the Minutes and Reports of Meetings. The site is not on-line.

6.2 The Group thought that the new site was excellent. The following issues were raised.

6.2.1 It is planned that the membership of the Group will be published. This will require permission from members. The Chair said that he was reluctant to recommend that individuals Email addresses be displayed on the website as they were only then targeted by "spammers" distributing unsolicited advertising material, some of which was extremely unpleasant. He said that this practice was becoming a great problem.

ACTION Secretary to e-mail all members to get permission to put details on the website.

6.2.2 It is planned to put an abbreviated version of the Minutes of Meetings on the website. This will require a separate set of Minutes to be written that are suitable for general publication and which do not identify individuals by name.

ACTION Secretary to prepare these new Minutes and submit to Chair and then to the Group for approval. This may mean that they will be a Meeting behind.

6.2.3 The most important features to incorporate are the papers and the database produced by the group so that the information is available to other interested parties. A list of forthcoming events would also be useful.

6.3 The Chair thanked Sheila for her work and suggested that the next step was to decide where the website should be hosted. It was agreed that the website would be modified in line with the issues raised by the Group and then offered to ODPM via David Champion for DOC to host.

ACTION: Secretary to supply necessary information to Sheila Pantry.

ACTION: Sheila Pantry to arrange for first set of modifications (including name of the website) to be made.

ACTION: David Champion to discuss with DOC about hosting the site.

7 Report of the Meeting of the Fire Safety Advisory Board

7.1 There were two minor errors in the report for correction. There were no issues raised upon the content of the report.

8. Matters arising from FSAB Meeting.

8.1 As most of the Group were aware, the Fire Safety Advisory Board had met for the final time and was being replaced by the Business and Community Safety Forum.(BCSF). This was to be chaired by Pamela Castle. Another body, the Practitioners' Forum, had also been created and would be chaired by the President of CACFOA.

8.2 The membership of the BCSF would include a number of new organisations such as the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), RoSPA, Shelter, Child Accident Prevention Trust and Help the Aged. At present, there was no common membership between the Practitioners' Forum and the BCSF and neither would have standing sub-committees. It was intended that ad-hoc working groups would be formed between the two fora as was necessary and then only for the life of the project that they were dealing with.

9 Any Other Business

9.1 Ian Jerome pointed out there was a European request for statistics on fires in hotels. David Champion confirmed he was aware of it and was preparing data.

9.1.1 The Chair confirmed that Prof. Donald Christian had produced an update on guidance for fire safety in hotels, but this was mainly an update bringing it into line with other European legislation rather than a full review. It was agreed that the EU legislation is more prescriptive than the UK legislation, which is risk-based.

9.2 Steve Emery updated the group on the work by English Heritage to inform fire services of the listed buildings in their area. The data was available on English Heritage's website at:

The CD-ROMs for brigades were being produced and be sent out to brigades shortly.

9.3 Sheila Pantry mentioned that Dennis Davis would be presenting at the Euroshe conference in London the 5th and 6th of November.

9.4 The Chair asked everyone in the Group to consider how the Group might proceed with its new mandate. He said that he would make the issue of strategic planning an agenda item at the next meeting.

9.5 The new bulletin from the World Fire Statistics Centre (bulletin 19) had been produced and is attached to these Minutes.

9.6 David Champion confirmed that a company called Katalysis had been appointed to consult on the review of the fire statistics collection (the FDR1 and FDR3). It had scheduled meetings with both government and non-government stakeholders (the former had been completed and the latter occurred the day after this meeting).

9.6.1 A consultation document was being produced for circulation with comments required as quickly as possible as the final report is due at the end of November. The consultation document will be forwarded to members as soon as possible.

9.7 Andrew Henderson confirmed this would be his last meeting as the Scottish Fire Service Inspectorate representative, as he was moving to another post in the Justice Department of the Scottish Executive. The Chair and Secretary thanked him for his work, especially in helping to get data for the report to the FSAB on the resource required for fire safety inspections. Andrew will confirm his replacement before the next meeting, and the Group wished him well in his new post.

10. Date of Next Meeting.

10.1 The next meeting of the Fire Statistics User Group will take place in Eland House on Tuesday 3rd February 2004 at 10:30 am.

Appendix A

Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group.

Terms of Reference.

  1. To provide a consultation forum for fire and rescue statistics and promote the free exchange of views and information.
  2. To promote the use of fire and rescue statistics to inform policy and practice.
  3. To identify and monitor existing sources of data and improve users access to fire and rescue statistics.
  4. To encourage collaboration and data sharing between users and producers of fire and rescue statistics and data.
  5. Based on users' needs: to identify and prioritise any shortfalls in existing data provision.
  6. To keep fire and rescue statistics users informed of any new developments in fire and rescue statistics.
  7. When requested, to provide advice on statistical matters to both the Practitioners' Forum and the Business and Community Safety Forum.