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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

20th Meeting
of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
Tuesday 26 September 2006 at 10:30 am
Eland House, London.


Mr. G. Evans

Chair, FBU

Mr. A. Paish

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. S. Emery

English Heritage

Mr. I. Gough

Sprinkler Assoc.

Mr. D. Champion

Communities and Local Government

Mr. M. Robinson


Mr. G. Gower-Kerslake

Communities and Local Government (retired)

Mr. T Wilmot

World Fire Statistics Centre

Ms. S. Wright, Secretary

Fire Statistics and Research Division, Communities and Local Government


Ms. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Prof. A. Everton

University of Central Lancashire

Mr. S. Kidd


Mr. D. Pearson


Mr. M. Rowan







Samantha to send round the latest FRD organogram, for information.



Stewart Kidd to contact CILA for comment.



Glyn Evans to write to Cath regarding destroyed/lost fire data.



Samantha to add the three recommendations to these minutes.



The Group to consider these recommendations and suggest ways to carry them forward at the next FRSUG meeting.



Dick Pearson to write to the IRMP Steering Group about Prof. Stevens' presentation and to consider looking at the three recommendations as part of the work-streams to develop IRMPs



Samantha to suggest contact(s) for Tony Paish to approach regarding outstanding points on the UK return for WFS, if possible.



Glyn to write to Cath regarding

  1. who currently writes the Cost of Fire report and
  2. Group concerns over timetable for the introduction of the IRS system



Samantha to pursue situation regarding the Group website with Aidan



Stewart Kidd to forward historic building fires in Scotland information to Samantha for circulation







Samantha to amend minute 9.1 and re-send to all.



A full list of FRSUG members is required to select from, which Samantha can provide



Samantha to confirm her attendance at the Statistics Uder Forum Conference



Glyn to write to Jane Milne regarding finding an ABI representative to join the Group after Nick Bason's departure.



Glyn to find out contact details for the Health and Transport User Group after attending the Stats User Forum


1 Chair's Introduction

1.1 The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

1.2 Glyn announced to the Group that he will be retiring as Chairperson in January 2008. Early in 2007 the group will need to start thinking about arranging a replacement for a handover mid-2007 and the mechanism for doing this. Nomination and election may be a fair way of electing.

1.3 A full list of members is required to select from, which the Secretary can provide.

1.4 Glyn will look into setting up a procedure which will be circulated to members.

1.5 Tom Wilmot spoke on behalf of the group saying that he was very sorry to hear of Glyn's retirement.

1.6 Glyn told the Group that Geoffrey Gower-Kerslake had retired from Communities and Local Government but had been invited to future meetings. It was agreed by all that Geoffrey should remain as part of the Group to continue to share his knowledge and enthusiasm on the subject.

2 Apologies:

Ms. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Prof. A. Everton

University of Central Lancashire

Mr. S. Kidd


Mr. D. Pearson


Mr. M. Rowan


3 Minutes of the 19th Meeting


3.1 Amend minute 9.1 and re-send to all.

4 Matters Arising

4.1 David Champion told the Group that a re-launch of Communities and Local Government is happening on Monday and a new Organogram should be available.

4.2 Mick Robinson said that it was the Department's intention to cut staff numbers by 20% this year and 20% next year. HMFSI will become a very small staff organisation by the end of this calendar year.

4.3 HMFSI record FOSIs including attacks on firefighters and firefighter injuries. Some of this information is moving onto the IRS, but not everything. The FOSI question does cover attacks on firefighters.

4.4 Glyn was concerned that Communities and Local Government perceive there to be a significant under-reporting of FOSIs. Those who have influence need to make FRSs aware about the concern of loss of data.

For the fire industry it is very concerning as with significant changes in fire enforcement it is important to keep figures tight so that trends can be spotted quickly. With new legislation old FOSI forms are as important as ever.

The World Trade Centre attack highlighted issues around firefighting methods and fire safety in large buildings and the BDAG assessment was created. Data on building design and performance is very important. We want to know if what we are enforcing is working.

Steve Emery asked if there was a central library where FOSIs could be seen by the public. Mick Robinson said that records of all FOSIs are kept and although they are not available on the internet they can be requested under Freedom of Information Act. They are produced as a Word document now, but it is unsure where the past paper versions are. It is unlikely that there are any forms pre-year 2000.

4.5 The Cost of Fire report is being reviewed in light of priorities in Communities and Local Government. Communities and Local Government have identified that there is a post required to do the work, but are not allowed to fill it under the new regime. It could be contracted out as there is programme money to spend. David will ask Cath Reynolds to confirm the position.

4.6 The Group were concerned that the new Incident Recording System being introduced by Communities and Local Government

4.7 There was a concern from the Group that the IRS was being introduced to FRSs over a two year period. They were reassured that no problems were envisaged reconciling records and historical data would be available under the new system. When a full dataset is received then the amount of data published will increase. Before this time the extra data will not be published, but will be available for FRSs to retrieve and use for their own purposes.

This data cannot be retrieved by anyone else, but data can be requested from Communities and Local Government in the usual way. We do not have a subscription service at the moment, but this may be a possibility in the future.

4.8 Regarding the three recommendations to come out of Prof. Stevens' presentation, listed in the minutes of the 19th meeting, while it was accepted that the work is needed it would not be effective for this user group to undertake as there is not the expertise or competence. It was thought that Prof Stevens' group would consider undertaking the work, but this would probably incur a cost.

An earlier action for Dick Pearson was to write to the IRMP Steering Group about Prof. Stevens' presentation and to consider looking at the three recommendations as part of the work-streams to develop IRMPs

Ask Simon Hunt, the UK representative to the Fire Safety Group to discuss Prof. Steven's third recommendation at the next FRSUG meeting.

Euro Stats have set up an information service which fulfils point three. Tony Paish has had correspondence from the Euro Fire Safety Network.

5 Response from Cath Reynolds

5.1 The response from Cath Reynolds to Glyn Evans' letter was forwarded to the Group and is also attached with these minutes.

6 Group website

6.1 Samantha gave an update on the FRSUG website. She had recently made contact with Aidan to find out where he had got to in the development stages. Suggestions were to speak to Ian Horsefield with regards to asking CFOA if they could host the site and speak to Sheila Pantry as she had involvement in designing some of the web pages for the site.

6.2 Also see if we can get a link for FRSUG to the Communities and Local Government website.

6.3 Samantha to take these actions forward.

7 Statistics User Forum Conference

7.1 The conference is to be held on 16 November and Samantha had circulated the documents to the group.

7.2 Glyn will be attending. Samantha is to confirm her attendance at this meeting.

7.3 The next meeting of the Statistics User Forum (SUF) is 12th October at the RSS, 2pm-4pm.

7.4 Samantha will be circulating the SUF minutes and agendas when they are available. If any member wishes to raise any issues through the Group, can they please send them to Glyn 14 days, or 10 working days, before the meeting to raise on your behalf.

7.5 Tony Paish and David Champion asked if representatives contact details from the Health Statistics User Group and Transport Statistics User Group could be found from the conference. Glyn said that he would try to find this information out.

8. AOB

8.1 Tony Paish has used the Neighbourhood Statistics website to try to find out information on the neighbourhood he lives in, but found it disappointing. The site should show crime and fire information and other information such as league tables in a local area, but when the postcode was entered the details crossed ward boundaries, contained no information on fires in the area. Approximately two thirds of the information was at borough level.

8.2 David clarified the situation. The site is a Neighbourhood Renewal and Neighbourhood Statistics initiative. The site does contain statistics on primary fires as provided on our FDR1 forms. It will show data from 2002, 2003 and 2004 to middle-super-output area (SOA) level. It also links in with the FSEC system so shows data beyond FDR1 level on special services and false alarms. 2002 data has just been delivered. There have been some problems with the site such as the postcode search facility taking a long time to load, but this has been reported. There are other ways to access the data.

8.3 Steve Emery asked whether more data on thatch fires was available or could be collected, for example it may be known that there may have been a fire caused by the chimney of a wood burning stove, but require more detail such as the type of fuel involved, depth of thatch, chimney system and detail of previous chimney fires at the property. Questioning owners who have had thatch fires may be a route to take, but it is a sensitive issue especially when insurance companies are involved or if their home was destroyed, causing understandable upset.

This is because there is a trend to replace a whole thatch after a fire, whereas in the past only the top third was replaced leaving the blackened thatch underneath which is of historical interest.

Sometimes flue liners are not replaced after a fire, when they should be, which could be a cause of some larger thatch fires.

An FDR1 search would not be useful as data is not collected in this amount of detail, but Dorset FRS has done some research so it may be useful to speak to them. Loss adjusters may also hold information which could provide an insight into causes.

8.4 David Champion gave a brief update on the IRS pilot. There are now nine FRSs involved who will be piloting the system from 31 October until 22 December. A further update will be given at January's meeting.

Date and location of Next Meeting

Eland House, Room LMR 3ABC. Tuesday 9 January 2006, 10.30 am - 1.00 pm