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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

34th Meeting of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
9th February 2012 1.30 pm in
Eland House, Victoria St, SW1


Ms Sheila Pantry

Fire Information Group

Ms Kirsty Bosley

Scottish Government

Mr Gavin Sayer

Communities and Local Government

Ms Nazneen Chowdhury

Communities and Local Government

Mr Jon Gamble

Communities and Local Government

Mr David Sibert

Fire Brigades Union

Ms Riana Smit

London Fire Brigade

Mr Rob Gazzard

Forestry Commission to the South East England Wildfire Group

Mr Richard Johnes

Fire Service College

Mr Graham Ellicott

Fire Industry Association

Mr Mike Coull

Historic Scotland

1. Chair’s Introduction

Kirsty Bosley welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2. Apologies

Mr Simon Bird

Fire Protection Association

Ms Lindsay Bennison

Scottish Government

Ms Claire Davis

Welsh Assembly Government

Mr Dennis Davis


Mr Tony Paish

World Centre for Fire Statistics

3. Minutes of the 33rd Meeting

The minutes of the 33rd Meeting were accepted with minor amendments as an accurate record of the meeting.

4. Matters Arising

The draft report on European fire statistics was available on the Communities of Practice website so that members of the FRSUG could download it.

Sheila Pantry and Gavin Sayer had prepared a draft report on the work of FRSUG. This had been circulated ahead of the meeting.

Action: Jon agreed to circulate details of the next Statistics User Forum around the FRSUG with a request for volunteers to attend.

Action: Jon agreed to contact Dennis for a summary of the deliberations of the Fire Community Partnership.

Action: Members were asked to update listings on the FIG website

5. UK Stats Authority Assessment

Gavin Sayer explained how the UK Statistics Authority was planning to review the national Fire Statistics collection against their code of practice. A questionnaire would be circulated to FRSUG members to canvass their experience of DCLG as a statistical provider and to comment on how much it engages with them as users of fire statistics. The UK Statistics Authority will assess the quality of statistic provided and DCLG responsiveness to requests for revisions to published statistics. Gavin Sayer will provide them with a list of users in England; Kirsty Bosley will provide the same for Scotland. The same assessment will happen for Wales too.

6. FRSUG Proposed Plan of work for 2012

i. Dissemination Activities – to promote FRSUG and its activities

The Group discussed the importance of raising the profile of its activities.

The Group expressed its gratitude to Sheila Pantry for preparing a draft report of FRSUG activities over the last year. Gavin Sayer explained how useful the work of FRSUG had been in shaping the development of DCLG published fire statistics. Rob Gazzard commented that we should continue to “celebrate success” of FRSUG activities via the website and associated press releases where appropriate.

Action: Members to consider by 17th February; Sheila Pantry to publish the report and share with interested parties (e.g. journals, etc.) as appropriate.

Kirsty Bosley asked what the Group’s attitude should be towards stakeholder expansion in its activities/meetings. She outlined the need to review the benefits from involvement in the Group. What are we doing right? What do we need to do more of? Sheila Pantry agreed that a work plan format for organising our activity in 2012 would be useful.

Rob Gazzard reported that Forestry Commission and DEFRA have both benefited from involvement in the Group. Dave Sibbert explained how he was involved in a working party to review a British Standard.

Gavin Sayer agreed to review the data needed; Dave Sibbert would provide the details.

ii. Website updating – any suggestions for additions

Sheila reported that the website is constantly updated and received around 1,000 hits a month. She also requested any links to stats related documents that could be posted on the site. The Group discussed the importance of opening up to wider sector involvement in the use of fire statistics.

Gavin Sayer explained how DCLG was encouraging the involvement of FRS performance-related data groups. Sheila Pantry commented on RoSPA Health and safety Committee interest. Graham Ellicott cited trade interest in false alarm data – sometimes there was an apparent disparity between FRS level data and national data. It would be useful to find out the extent of false alarms that were due to poor management rather than faulty apparatus.

Action: Gavin Sayer offered to copy a CoP forum discussion of false alarm reporting for Graham Ellicott.

Action: The Group agreed to send content for the FRSUG website as available/appropriate.

Action: Rob Gazzard to provide wildfire analysis for draft report of Group activities. Sheila Pantry would include an update of the wildfire analysis to the FRSUG website.

Action: Sheila Pantry updating Group contact list and website information.

Dave Sibbert indicated that there was diverse FRS interest in performance-related incident statistics. He suggested subsequently FRSUG should collect examples of good practice from fire and rescue services and let the others know how they could utilise their own data (and pooled national data) in a way that would drive public safety awareness and their own performance improvement.

7. Review key areas of the work plan

Kirsty Bosley explained how the Group needed to develop a comprehensive plan of work to cover 2012 going forward. The Group agreed that the best way to formulate such a plan would be through contributing to an email discussion ahead of the next meeting.

Action: Kirsty Bosley to circulate a template work plan around the Group.

8. IRS Review and Development

Gavin Sayer reported that some relatively minor changes to the IRS collection were being rolled out in March 2012. Major changes would need further consultation with FRSs which would feed into a business case. An example of a change is tenure of dwelling at fire locations. Numerous FRS are keen for tenure data to be included and FRSs have advised it would be a practical and desirable addition to the collection. However, cost was an important factor and there would be a significant lead time.

Gavin Sayer outlined the current process for approaching major changes to the IRS collection. The issue of diverse FRS collection methodology meant that there were considerable cost both to the centralised system and the diversified local collection systems. A proposed list of changes would need to go first to DCLG/FRED; then to FRS to consider new items; then to be considered as a business Case with sector approval.

Dave Sibert asked if the Group could consult with other public bodies – e.g. charities like SHELTER – to find out what they would find useful to collect fire data about. Kirsty Bosley thought wider concerns could be addressed through expanding the involvement/attendance, for example, at FRS level via “IRS User groups”.

9. European Statistics

DCLG commissioned research into comparability across European fire statistics was in a queue for publication on the DCLG website. As a temporary workaround Gavin Sayer arranged for the Draft report to be made available to FRSUG members via the Communities of Practice website (now known as the Knowledge Hub). Sheila Pantry suggested adding the link to the FRSUG website.

Gavin Sayer had been approached by a US NFPA Govt contact regarding the ISO standard as one of a number of countries asked to review the kick-off questionnaire for this project.

10. Scottish data

Kirsty Bosley reported on developments in the organisation of the Scottish FRS:

  1. A Bill to create a single national fire service was before the Scottish Parliament. There would be many implications for the fire statistic collection as a result if it is passed. One important one was likely to be a requirement to produce local authority level Scottish data.

  2. New SFRAU performance indicators were published in February 2012. Each FRS may be using IRS data to monitor performance ahead of the publication of central official statistics.

  3. A consultation on incident statistics had just been completed. The results were being written up.

11. Rob Gazzard – presentation on wildfire statistics in IRS

Rob Gazzard gave a ground-breaking presentation on research using IRS data into the social, economic and environmental impact of the wildfire phenomenon. For more information go to:

12. Any Other Business

Kirsty Bosley was resolving a few minor issues related to the new FRSUG Constitution. She would keep the Group informed of any developments.

13. Date of Next Meeting

Date of the next meeting: June 2012; Location – London.

Action: Jon Gamble to arrange via Doodle.