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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

14th Meeting
of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
Tuesday 1st March 2005 at 11:00 am
Ashdown House


Mr. G. Evans

Chair, FBU

Mr. T. Wilmot

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. A. Paish

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. D. Champion

Fire Statistics and Research Division, ODPM

Mr. S. Emery

English Heritage

Prof. A. Everton

University of Central Lancashire

Ms. C. Reynolds


Mr. N. Donnelly


Ms. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Mr. G. Gower-Kerslake

Buildings Division, ODPM

Mr. I. Evans


Mr. M. Coull

Historic Scotland

Mr. S. Robbins


Mr. T. Aldred

Central Economics Unit, ODPM

Mr. M. Robinson


1 Chair's Introduction

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, including Mick Robinson, the new member for HMFSI.

2 Apologies

Mr. A. McCormack


Mr. D. Pearson


Mr. M. Rowan


Mr. B. Tregunna


Mr. S. Kidd


Mr. N. Bason


Ms. K. Helm


3 Minutes of Previous Meeting - 13th November 2004

3.1 There were a few minor corrections to the Minutes.

4 Matters Arising from the Minutes.

4.1 Due to the absence of the Group Secretary the following matters from the Minutes of the 13th meeting remain outstanding;

  • Item 5.1.1 - Fire Service College - Slides
  • Item 5.1.2 - FRSUG Publications

Action - Secretary

4.2 Item 8.2 - David Champion gave a brief report on the manner in which the ODPM collected and calculated fire death statistics. It was generally agreed that there was no sure way to obtain 100% accuracy for fire deaths, but that the UK's methods of doing so were as near to that standard as could reasonably be hoped for. Tony Paish explained that the figures provided to the WHO's annual causes of death enquiry referred to 'deaths from accidents caused by smoke, fire and flames', and therefore excluded fire deaths resulting from actual and suspected suicide and homicide; they also excluded fire deaths occurring in all forms of transport accident. Tom Wilmot added that, after consulting the relevant Home Office expert about 5 years ago, the WFSC had for its own purposes been adding 5% to the official published UK fire death figures, to allow for fire deaths not reported by local authority brigades.

4.3 Item 8.3 - Ian Evans gave an update on community fire safety statistics: the National Community Fire Safety Centre (NCFSC) is developing a fire injuries database - CFS Innovation Fund is monitoring CFS outputs - the ROSPA is also collecting fire safety statistics in the form of HASS and LASS (home and leisure accident statistics- the Chair invited Ian to give a presentation of the work of the NCFSC at the next meeting of the Group.

Action - Ian Evans

4.4 Item 9.2 - The Chair reported that the FPA had nominated Kay Helm as their replacement member.

5. Fire Research Academy Presentation (Stephen Robbins)

5.1 Stephen Robbins gave a presentation on the proposals that the ODPM were consulting upon to form a Fire Research Academy. The Chair said that he believed that it was long overdue that a consultation on the coordination of fire research was undertaken. He also believed that proposals for fire research in the future should be fully supported by comprehensive statistical evidence of need. Members asked if the proposal was simply to be a web site or a real body.

5.2 Members from the ODPM said that initially the Academy was seen as being web based, but that proposal was now seen as a starting point and it was very much an evolving issue. ODPM had employed KPMG to undertake the consultation and report back to them. This was due at the end of March 2005. Other members expressed concerns that funding should come from government and not members of the Academy there may be funding available from the EU for such a body. The emerging findings from the KPMG consultation to date were circulated to Group members present.

5.3 In connection with the possibility of a web-based academy, reference was made to the E-Fire project, and the Chair and Cath Reynolds explained that this was a proposed portal-type vehicle which acted as a tool by which the public could link with the Fire & Rescue Service and relevant Government Departments. The Chair offered to arrange for a presentation on E-Fire at the next Group meeting.

Action - Chair

6 Cost of Fire Model (Tom Aldred)

6.1 Tom Aldred gave a presentation on the Cost of Fire Model. A copy of Tom's slide presentation was distributed to members present. The total cost of fire in 2003 was £7.6bn which is about 0.9% of England and Wales GVA (this figure aligned closely with those of the World Fire Statistics Centre). Publication of the 2003 report was expected by the end of March, and it was hoped to repeat this exercise annually.

6.2 A debate then ensued regarding the presentation. Tom Wilmot said that he believed the cost of protection to building contents should be included, Professor Everton referred to the costs of legal actions, this was supported by Geoffrey Gower-Kerslake who referred to future costs of judicial application arising for the proposed Fire Safety Order. Tom Aldred pointed out that whilst there had been fewer fire deaths the overall cost of a life had risen thus increasing costs in this area.

6.3 The Chair asked Tom Aldred if he felt that he Cost Of Fire Model Sub Group should be reformed or whether he preferred to report occasionally to this Group with assistance from the Group members when required. Tom confirmed that he preferred the latter option of reporting occasionally to the Group and seeking their assistance when he required it.

7 Report from Scottish Heritage (Mike Coul)

7.1 Scottish Heritage is creating data base of heritage buildings to pass onto the Scottish fire brigades for inclusion in their control and command computerised mobilising systems, there are four brigades left in Scotland to deal with. The work is funded by the EU Cost C17 reporting of fire incidents in heritage buildings.

7.2 All Scottish brigades have geocoded heritage buildings in Scotland involving 47.000 properties and the system is scheduled to go live in April 2005. There are however, differences in building classification between Scotland and England and Wales.

7.3 The Chair asked what data the national heritage groups hoped to get from the statistical information provided by these initiatives and what use it would be put to. Steve Emery said that it enabled better advised planning of the allocation of funding and resources to those properties proven to be most a t risk.

8. Data Definition Group (David Champion)

8.1 The Group had held its final meeting on the 29th November 2004. The final package of proposals for an electronic incident reporting form will be circulated for public consultation by the middle of March. The Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group members will be consulted as part of that process.

8.2 There will be a 12 week consultation period and at the same time ODPM will be reviewing the IT support needed to put the system on line once it is published after the consultation process is completed and its findings considered.

9 Practitioners Forum/Business and Community Safety Forum - Risk Data Task and Finish Group (Chair)

9.1 It should be noted that the Agenda for this meeting showed the Practitioners Forum as the parent body for the Risk Data Task and Finish Group, this was an error as this is a joint Task and Finish Group with the Business and Community Safety Forum. The move to create the Task and Finish Group did indeed start within the Practitioners Forum in February 2004, but at their recommendation had included the Business and Community Safety Forum. The proposal to create the Group is attached to these Minutes which also sets down the basis for its creation. The Task and Finish Group is led by the FPA on behalf of the two fora.

9.2 The Chair said that the Task and Finish Group has met three times since its creation and he had attended two meetings of it on behalf of F&RSUG, the first and the third. At the third meeting in January 2005 it had been agreed to conduct a small sample exercise using 10 commercial premises in Tyne & Wear to assess value of insurers' loss potential estimates and risk assessment methodologies when applied to FSEC. The proposal is to get a better understanding of fire losses in relation to property losses. It is hoped to wind up the work of this group by the middle of April 2005.

9.3 The Chair said that one of the problems that he had experienced was the alleged lack of knowledge of certain groups of the existence of the F&RSUG despite the fact that those Groups were represented upon it. He said that whilst he fully understood that Groups sent different representatives to different meetings he felt it was incumbent upon them to have some form of central information collection so that they recognised and at least knew collectively about the work done in differing areas by their representatives.

9.4 The Chair said that he had urged and understood that upon completion of the work of the Task and Finish Group responsibility for data identification and collection would return to the F&RSUG in line with its Terms of Reference. However, in correspondence with the Chair of the Task and Finish Group it had been said that this decision rested with the Practitioners Forum. This matter will be pursued further.

9.5 The Chair said that he had also held a meeting with Alan Doig, Chair of the Practitioners Forum and David Lawrence of the ODPM regarding the creation of the Task and Finish Group. He had pointed out to them that the Group had members upon it from organisations who claimed they knew nothing about the work of the FRSUG. After some discussion regarding this matter, it was agreed that the FRSUG could give a presentation upon its work to the two Forums.

9.6 The Chair also undertook to try to get an article published in the fire press about the FRSUG, and Tom Wilmot suggested that there might be a press release issued after each meeting. The Chair added that for publicity purposes the creation of the Group's website would be crucial.

Action - Chair to arrange fire press article

10 Papers for the Fire Research Event - Fire Service College - Autumn 2005

10.1 The Chair raised this item with the meeting. He said that it really flowed from the previous item and it was necessary in his opinion for the Group to be represented at such events either collectively or via the contributions of individual members. It was agreed that a collective paper on the work of the Group should be submitted to the event's organisers for their consideration.

Action - Chair to arrange

11. Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group Website (Secretary)

11.1 David Champion confirmed that the Minister had agreed in principle to the setting up of the website. Due to the absence of the Secretary, who has taken this matter under his wing, it is set back to the next meeting of the Group. It is hoped that by the next meeting the FRSUG Website will be active.

Action - Secretary to arrange

12. Statistics User Forum Report (Secretary)

12.1 Due to the absence of the Secretary who attended the first meeting of the Forum this matter is set back to the next meeting of the Group.

Action - Secretary to report

13. Any Other Business

13.1 Tom Wilmot commented that the recent Scottish Fire Service reform consultation paper included a proposal that the protection of property (as well as life) should be a Government responsibility. He trusted that this change would also soon be made for England & Wales. The Chair asked Tom if he would produce some background information to assist with processing this matter.

Action - Tom Wilmot

14 Date of Next Meeting

14.1 The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 7th June 2005 in Eland House Room G A and GB at 11.00 am (Tea and coffee from 10:30)

The Meeting was then closed.