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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

35th Meeting of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
15th June 2012, 1.00 – 3.00 pm in
Eland House, Victoria St, SW1


Ms Kirsty Bosley

Scottish Government

Mr Gavin Sayer

Communities and Local Government

Ms Nazneen Chowdhury

Communities and Local Government

Mr Tony Paish

World Centre for Fire Statistics

Mr Steve Emery

English Heritage

Mr Geoff Wilkinson

CIOB Building Standards Group

Mr Dennis Davis

Fire Sector Partnership

Mr Rob Gazzard

South East England Wildfire Group

Mr Daniel Walker-Nolan

Electrical Safety Council

Ms Julia McMorrow

Manchester University, Natural Environment Research Council Knowledge Exchange Fellow;
Knowledge for Wildfire project

Mr Ron Nairn

Scottish IRS users group

Ms Riana Smit

London Fire Brigade

1. Chair’s Introduction

Kirsty Bosley welcomed everyone to the meeting. Due to a wider than normal circulation of the previous minutes there had been unprecedented interest in the meeting and attendance had to be limited to some extent. For this reason Kirsty reminded everyone that they were all here representing organisations and she hoped that this would be recognised and the information shared would be for and from their wider communities.

2. Apologies

Ms Sheila Pantry, Mr Mike Coull

3. Minutes of the 34th Meeting

The minutes of the 34th Meeting were accepted with minor amendments as an accurate record of the meeting. They will now be published on the FRSUG website and on the Knowledge Hub.

4. Matters Arising

Dennis pointed out that FOBFO, who he used to represent, had wound up and was now replaced by the Fire Sector Partnership.

Gavin Sayer was approached by John Hall of the US NFPA regarding a proposed ISO standard. The query invited participation in a project of ISO TC92 WG8, to develop comparative national information on terms, definitions, and procedures used to collect and record fire incident data and analyse fire statistics.

Action: Gavin to forward the ISO standard specification to the members.

Action: Gavin to provide link to EU Fire Statistics for all FRSUG members and the ISO project. Done Sent by email 15/6/2012 5:33 pm

5. UK Statistics Authority report on Fire Statistics

The UK Statistics Authority has reviewed fire statistics in England Scotland and Wales as a joint review to ensure that they are all of sufficient quality to qualify as National Statistics. Gavin Sayer reported that the assessment report has been published on its website: He thanked the members of the group for giving their views to the UKSA. The number of respondents was well above average for reviewed statistics. The review noted that both statistics and publications have been developed over recent years to meet users’ needs. The report lists 11 requirements which needs to be implemented within the next six months by one or more of DCLG, and Scotland and Wales Governments.

Kirsty Bosley reported that there were separate assessment visits for each administration. She said the main issue for Scottish Government is the recommendation to focus on ‘response times’. Her initial reaction was that this could undermine the culture change that has refocused attention away from inputs (response times) and onto outcomes (reducing fires, injuries, deaths). However, UKSA felt that Scottish and Wales Governments should consider the user need for response times.

Gavin Sayer informed that English ‘response time’ statistics will be available in the public domain on Wednesday, 4th of July 2012.

Action: Gavin to send a link of UK Statistics Authority assessment report to the members. Done (Sent by email 15/6/2012 5:33 pm:

6. Access to IRS records

Gavin Sayer said that access to IRS provided an opportunity to expand fire analysis and the challenge was how to get this wider value from the data within available resources. He explained how, once the risk of disclosure of personal information had been assessed in Autumn/Winter 2011, Fire and Rescue Authorities in England will have access to incident level data, and other users will be able to register with ONS and use its Secure Data Service to access the data. It had already been possible to grant access to IRS records in a few cases e.g. Loughborough and Glasgow Universities EPSRC study and the outdoor fires data set which Julia and Rob have analysed

Action: Gavin plans to put a note in DCLG’s monthly bulletin (early September issue) on how Fire and Rescue Authorities and others will be able to access the English record-level IRS data.

7. Incident Recording System

Gavin Sayer described the new release concerning Incident Recording system as substantial. He said the new release has got extra categories for some questions. These would be on the DCLG website shortly at Some improvement to user functionality had been delivered too He added that the online form has been revised based on feedback from fire and rescue authorities. He also mentioned that changes had been brought into the IRS guidance. Members of the groups asked about making changes to IRS – how long it might take, how it could happen. Gavin replied that any substantial changes could have a very long lead time, though changes to the guidance are easier. Questions were also asked around any discontinuities between FDR1 and IRS, and about QA and training on IRS. Gavin and Kirsty said that although there are some discontinuities (mainly around recording of casualties) the move to IRS had actually gone remarkably smoothly and most of the data trends displayed no breaks.

8. Proposed enhanced Fire and Rescue Authority role on data

Gavin Sayer reported that there is a new Government-wide new Gateway process for data collected by central government from local authorities in England. The Gateway group is the means of maintaining the Single Data List (list of all collections required of local government). Any changes to what data are collected from Fire and Rescue Authorities in England, including through the IRS, will need to go through this process. Fire and Rescue Authority staff will make up the majority of members who assess any such proposed changes.

Kirsty Bosley reported that Fire and Rescue Services in Scotland will become a single service in April next year and this will have an impact in terms of data collection. This means it is likely that local authority data will replace FRS level data. The ownership and management of fire data in Scotland is also under review with the reform of FRSs. A project to consider the future of fire data comes within the remit of the CFOAS-led Performance Management group project. The data collection and SG publications will continue throughout the transitional period to maintain data integrity during that period.

9. FRSUG Proposed Plan of Work

Kirsty Bosley had sent out a paper requesting thoughts on a proposed work plan for FRSUG for the coming year. She thanked everyone who had offered thoughts on the paper. A summary of the thoughts is attached at the end of this paper and will be re-circulated so that the work plan can be discussed at the next meeting.

Tony raised the issue of a representative of FRSUG attending the Statistics User Forum. At the last SUF meeting there was a discussion around the ONS forum for publishing data and the sale of publications which was relevant to fire data. Tony volunteered to attend the next SUF meeting. Jon Gamble used to circulate the SUF communications to all members.

Action Nazneen to circulate SUF emails to the group.

10. Uses of Fire and Rescue Statistics

Gavin Sayer highlighted the achievements that have been made through the publication of fire statistics data. He invited members to add any item which was not covered in the discussion paper prepared and circulated among the members. He pointed out that it is a working paper and will be re-circulated when it is more complete.

He also referred to a survey of users of the publication of Fire Statistics Great Britain which has a reply date of end July, which had been emailed to members of the group.

For the Electrical Safety Council, Daniel stated their strong support for the publication and use of reliable fire statistics, and would like the opportunity to use members of the group in peer reviews of their work.

In the wildfire arena, Julia mentioned that the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have an interest in using fire data to calculate carbon losses, in particular from peat or vegetation fires.

Geoff mentioned the use of data to assess the impact of different legislation and policies in England, Scotland and Wales. He also raised the issue of construction site fires that occur during the building of premises, training for contractors and education for suppliers and installers of solar panels. He mentioned that BRE play their part in sharing the lessons learned, for example, from fires in timber framed buildings. He would like an increased evidence base in the application of fire engineering to simple dwellings and flats.

11. AOB

Dennis talked about a feasibility study relating to codification system constructions for the FRS. The study is funded by the Fire Service Research and Training Trust (FSRTT) and includes:

  • What are the elements of construction
  • What is their risk and resilience
  • What contribution does their occupancy make to the risk

He also mentioned a smoke report by Rockwell, to prepare for panels and modern methods of construction with reference to smoke generation.

Action: Dennis noted that the latest CTIF cost of fire statistics are published and offered to circulate the link to them.
Note – There will be a link to the CTIF international data via the Fire Sector Forum website, currently in build.

Finally he mentioned a policy think tank, which is an idea that he has to reflect the change in relationship between the government and FRS as responsibility is devolved to the service.

Ron raised a request to have the latest IRS bugs and solutions circulated to FRSs.

Action: Gavin to circulate IRS bugs and solutions document.

Julia McMorrow circulated a paper which provided an overview of the National Environmental Research Council (NERC)-funded Knowledge Exchange Fellowship project on wildfire, which starts in September and aims to improve the management of UK wildlife fire.

Geoff requested data around the details of enforcement notes and what caused them.

Action: Gavin to supply details of the CFOA fire safety enforcement group who are working on the fire safety audit.

Steve talked about his work with the EPSRC funded IRMP research carried out by Loughborough and Glasgow Universities. He had been working with Stefan Raue (who presented some of his work to a previous FRSUG meeting) on identifying heritage buildings and linking them to fire data. Linked to this work, Kirsty Bosley circulated the paper (part of a PhD dissertation under IRMP project at Loughborough University) which investigated using FDR1 data as the evidence base for a cost effective decision support system.

12. Next Meeting

Next meeting will be held in February 2012.

Action: Nazneen Chowdhury to arrange via doodle.