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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

43rd Meeting of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
30th July 2015
at IFE House, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

1. List of attendees

Adedayo Akinfolajimi

FRSUG Secretary

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

Andy Davis

Local Area Research & Intelligence Association (LARIA)

Carole Jeffcock

Fire Service College Library

David Townsend

IFIC Forensics

Dave Berry

UK Timber Framed Association

Dennis Davis

FRSUG Vice Chair

Fire Sector Federation

Jason Davis

West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service (FRS)

Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell

Building Research Establishment (BRE)

Kirsty Bosley

FRSUG Chair

Scottish Government – Fire research and statistics

Lisa Cooper

Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE)

Martin Duggan

Fire Industry Association (FIA)

Paul Gaught

DCLG

Rafal Pisula

DCLG

Richard Haines

Hampshire FRS

Rob Gazzard

Forestry Commission England

Sheila Pantry

Fire Information Group

Simon Flood

Avon FRS

Steve Emery

Historic England

Stewart Kidd

British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA)

2. Chair’s Introduction

Kirsty started by thanking IFE for hosting and everybody for coming. As there were several new faces, members around the table introduced themselves.

3. Apologies

Neil Gibbins, Bob Bantock, Julia Mcmorrow, Bob Cherry, David Wales, Catherine Barham, Heidi Jones, Shantha Dickinson, Neil Wholey

4. FRSUG Business

a. FRSUG Discussions

Members of FRSUG recently joined in a discussion about fires involving E-Cigarettes & Lithium batteries. The group agreed that it is a valuable use of the group as a forum for this kind of debate. Sheila offered to share information like this and collect relevant literature on the website for others to use and refer back to.

Members also considered the connections with the Trading Standards Board information and how we could engage with them.

Action: Kirsty to look into contacting someone from Trading Standards to see if they’re interested in joining.

b. Statistics User Forum

FRSUG used to be part of the Statistics User Forum (SUF) and circulate information provided from them. Emma Emery of SUF has recently been in touch to reconnect. She will hopefully provide a presentation at the next meeting.

c. UK Data Service – call for research

The UK Data Service are currently looking for new case studies of successful research projects carried out using data held by them. The projects can be either large- or small-scale, with local, national or international reach and can cover both individual researchers and larger research groups. Over the coming months they plan to promote the research that’s taking place across the UK Data Service by highlighting research excellence on their website, through their news stories and data impact blog and via their social media links. Find out more www.aqmen.ac.uk/UKDataServiceResearchPromo?dm_i=2MQP,C3Q9,40GNLI,S1RI,1

Members of FRSUG might be interested in promoting their own research through this route.

5. National Reports

a. Scotland

Fire Statistics

Scottish Government will no longer publish fire statistics; the two publications will be transferred to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). This will mean that the statistics are no longer national or official statistics as audited by the UK Statistics Authority, though, over time the SFRS may become producers of official statistics and regain UKSA endorsement.

Recent publication

HM Fire Service Inspectorate published Performance Management Information Systems in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. A review of the systems the SFRS uses to collect and report data relating to its performance.

Published May 2015 www.gov.scot/Resource/0047/00476788.pdf

Fire Framework

The fire framework in Scotland sets out what ministers expect SFRS to do. The first, transitional framework is about to end, so Scottish Government are due to start revising it, including a review of indicators that help to set out the policy focus.

Data sharing in Scottish Government

In response to many queries and comments about the difficulties of data sharing, Scottish Government has a web page that talks about data sharing and how to go about it. Link www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About/DataAccess.

It includes discussion of Data Access Agreements, an application form and risk matrix to help determine how risky it is to release the data (and therefore how difficult it could be to share).

This is a potentially a very useful resource for anyone looking to share data.

SFRS analysis

SFRS are looking into trends in fire fatalities, accidental dwelling fires and the severity of fires.

b. Wales

Claire Davey in the Welsh Assembly Government provided the following updates:

New statistics

WAG is publishing their annual bulletin (Fire Statistics Wales, 2014-15) and Statswales tables on July 30th. The links below show the most recent published data.

Bulletins:

Fire statistics – A report which includes information on fires, location, cause, motive, casualties and false alarms attended http://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/fire-statistics/?lang=en

Statswales tables – Providing access to the tables underlying the Fire Statistics https://statswales.wales.gov.uk/Catalogue/Community-Safety-and-Social-Inclusion/Community-Safety/Fire-Incidents

Consultation on Fire Statistics

A consultation (closed on 19th March) regarding the operational data collection, proposals and responses can be found at the link below.

http://gov.wales/consultations/statistics/collection-publication-fire-statistics/?status=closed&lang=en.

Operational data will hopefully be published in September.

Research Report

A recently published report ‘Time for Action’ (http://gov.wales/topics/people-and-communities/communities/safety/fire/?lang=en) looked at the impact of false alarms in Wales.

c. DCLG

IRS Review

Paul Gaught provided an update from DCLG on the IRS replacement project. He said that the contractor working on the project had provided a prototype front end system, but subsequently decided not to continue with the project for commercial reasons. The Department decided to take this opportunity to pause and review the project overall, and discussions are continuing internally across a range of future options for the IRS in light of technologies and products available, our new Ministers views and priorities, and the recent spending review announcements. The department has made no firm decisions yet and DCLG will update the group as soon as there is information on further developments.

Statistical Publications

Paul announced publication dates for the next set of publications

  • Fire and rescue authorities: operational statistics bulletin for England 2014 to 2015 will be published on Thursday the 24th of September.
  • Fire Incidents Response Times: England, 2014-15 will be published in September/October.
  • Fire Statistics Monitor April 2014 to March 2015 [published since the meeting] was published on the 20th of August. It covers annual headline statistics on fire fatalities, non-fatal casualties and incidents attended by fire and rescue services in England. The full publication and supplementary tables are on https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fire-statistics-monitor-april-2014-to-march-2015

DCLG Research

Rafal mentioned that the English Housing Survey 2013 to 2014: fire and fire safety report results were published on 16th July 2015. The English Housing Survey (EHS) is a national survey of people’s housing circumstances and the condition and energy efficiency of housing in England. This report provides the latest findings on fire and fire safety. A number of questions relating to fire safety features are included every year. However, as some questions on fire and fire safety rotate in and out of the EHS, this report presents findings from several different survey years. The report focuses on the extent to which the existence of fire and fire safety features vary by household and dwelling type.

Stewart Kidd asked whether there was scope to include economic figures in the EHS to help with cost benefit analysis of fire safety features. However, the surveys are very expensive and it is difficult to get questions included. Although the analysis of the data looks at socio-demographics, it is not likely to be able to include economics.

Spending Review

The Spending Review is running and by mid-August fire research is due to provide options to the treasury looking at potential reductions of 25% to 40%. A questionnaire is being sent to fire finance networks with the same kind of financial pressure.

Discussion

Access to the data supporting the Economic Cost of Fire Model was discussed. Dennis Davis feels he will have to send an FOI to gain access to the IRS data needed for the model. Dennis Davis mentioned that the Fire Sector Federation have offered DCLG financial resources if that would help to make IRS data more accessible for all.

Paul reported that Jenny Boler has recently joined the team as head of research and analysis and he will speak to Jenny regarding access to fire data.

6. FSEC

Bob Cherry couldn’t attend the meeting but provided a written update on the current status of the FSEC development project and the findings of a recent survey undertaken as part of the project.

a. FSEC Update

  • A survey has been conducted on behalf of CFOA to further identify and confirm national user requirements. A report of the findings is attached for information, largely confirming the key project deliverables. At this point formal engagement between the project and CNR (the CFOA commercial arm) is not in place. Further discussions are planned imminently
  • A temporary contract has been put in place between Kent Fire and Rescue Service and FARMSS to ensure the continued provision of the current helpdesk provision for the existing system
  • Developers continue to express an interest and useful contacts have been received regarding graphics experts from Abertay university

b. CFOA Survey – Risk Intelligence and Modelling requirements in UK Fire and Rescue services

Why was the survey undertaken?

Across the UK a wide range of software with differing functionalities, methods and cost is currently in use. In collaboration with a separate project to redevelop the Fire Services Emergency Cover (FSEC) Toolkit, CFOA undertook the survey to identify what requirements for Risk Intelligence and Modelling currently exist within UK Fire and Rescue Services.

Who was asked?

The questionnaire was sent to all UK Fire and Rescue Services via the CFOA community and a contact list of practitioners who use the systems on a day to day basis.

Who responded?

Principal Officers, IRMP Managers and Practitioners all responded to the survey. A table showing which Fire Services participated and a role profile of respondents who completed the relevant field is shown at the end of the survey results (attached at the end of these minutes). Of the 101 survey submissions, approximately 10 contained little or no information, leaving approximately 90 responses to each question asked.

What are the outcomes?

The analysis of responses provides the numerical detail identifying a range of functionalities and system requirements that are differentiated between essential, should have, nice to have, or not needed. The results provide a useful snapshot of requirements across the UK FRSs.

What happens next?

The survey results will be stored as part of the CFOA body of knowledge and passed to the FSEC Transition project to inform the Technical and User specifications.

Rafal Pisula said the FSEC project aims to develop and modernise the software platform. Discussions are continuing between DCLG and CFOA to enable a formal engagement with CNR to take place. The helpdesk is up and running and interest from prospective developers for FSEC remains strong.

7. Presentations

a. IFE Future plans

Lisa Cooper, Head of IFE Membership and Registration, gave a presentation on an overview of the IFE, achievements, future plans and strategic plan, Special Interest Groups, grades of membership available and Engineering Council registration.

Since the IFE has relocated to new offices, there has been a launch of a new international journal (International Fire Professional journal) and an increase in take up of IFE exams. She stated that there are 20 branches in the United Kingdom and over 20 international branches with many fledging international groups in operation including a new Branch about to be inaugurated in the UAE. There has been a large increase in affiliate membership and the new website allows more involvement / interactivity for members within the dedicated members’ section. A new Strategic Plan has been launched as well as a focus on a variety of Special Interest Groups. There has also been a steady growth in numbers both for the IFE’s Engineering Council registrants group as well as the number of IFE Registered Fire Risk Assessors (the biggest register of its kind in the UK with over 200 registrants).

The IFE has almost 10,000 members worldwide and had a turnover in excess of one million pounds for the first time in 2013. It has 110 exam centres across the world and is looking to invest in a new member database. There is an IFE London Branch Heritage Buildings event taking place on the 17 September 2015 at London Fire Brigade Headquarters in London. Should anyone like to get involved with the IFE’s Centenary Planning group, please email with your ideas to info@ife.org.uk

For further details regarding membership and Engineering Council registration please see www.ife.org.uk/About-IFE-Membership. If you would like to join the IFE as an Affiliate member, please see www.ife.org.uk/Join/Affiliate-Individual where you can easily join online and start your journey towards graded membership.

b. LARIA – Local Area Research and Intelligence Association

Andy Davis, Treasurer of the Local Area Research & Intelligence Association (LARIA) spoke about LARIA, highlighting that it has been in existence since 1974, encouraging knowledge exchange between those involved in research and intelligence in Local Government and other local public services and, in particular, to aid the sharing of technical knowledge, research methods and best practice amongst local researchers. It also represents the interests of local research and intelligence practitioners. LARIA works with senior decision makers (through organisations such as SOLACE) helping them to better understand the role that research, intelligence, insight, data and evidence can play in decision making. LARIA is a membership organisation, keen to welcome new members from related sectors, such as the Fire Statistics Users Group, and to foster better links around sharing good practice and experience around data and statistics issues. More details about LARIA’s activities, membership, and events, and annual conference can be found on its website, www.laria.org.uk. LARIA always welcomes contributions from related sectors to speak at its conference and its events, and these are advertised through the Calls for Papers promoted on the website – FSUG would be welcome to contribute to LARIA events in this way.

Andy’s main role is Manager of the Warwickshire Observatory. The Observatory is the home for information and intelligence about Warwickshire and its people and provides a centre of excellence in research, data collection and analysis, supporting evidence-based policy-making across the public sector in Warwickshire.

c. Presentation – West Midlands FRS new approach to the IRMP (Jason Davis)

Jason Davis spoke about the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service’s new approach to their Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP). He said they are moving from producing a static, paper-based PDF document, to developing a Community Safety Strategy which is more dynamic and interactive – essentially a website with links to analysis, documents and the “Plan”. He said they are working with the software company ‘Shoothill’ to make a dynamic and interactive system.

Features of the new system include a focus on attendance times and the ability to overlay small area geographies with data such as incidents, census data and flood data. The consultation process on the new format is ongoing.

In discussion about the new format, Rob Gazzard, pointed out, from the point of view of a non-FRS organisation, the value of a consistent approach to IRMP. In particular, issues such as outdoor fires cross administrative boundaries and if policies change or are unclear, planning becomes very difficult.

8. Any other Business

Rob said he was working with one of the national operational programmes on wildfire and last presentation on burns by Ken Dunn, Burn (Plastic Surgeon) was helpful as they are looking at the physiological impacts on people.

Carole reported that Jess Smith has left the Fire Service College having completed the tasks required of him. Mr Martin Thomas, the former sales director, has taken over as the new Managing Director.

9. Next meeting

Members will be polled for the time and location of the next meeting.

Secretary’s note – The next meeting has now been agreed for 13th November in DCLG offices in London

Annex A – CFOA FSEC Survey results

Survey results

In the following tables, in addition to the raw data, weighted average rating is provided by the survey evaluation tool for each element asked. The smaller the ‘rating average’ number, the greater the importance placed on the element by the respondents.

Risk modelling

Risk modelling

Narrative

Basic import and ranking mechanisms, consideration of the nearest FRS response base along with prevention and protection activity, expressing risk in numerical form and portrayal of RTC risk, can be seen as essential requirements.

Assessing population migration and local development plans are not viewed as priorities and can be ‘lived without’.

Demand and Performance modelling

Demand and Performance modelling

Narrative

Optimisation, workload, attendance times and performance standards are mostly seen as essential requirements.

Mapping and road networking

Mapping and road networking

Narrative

The majority of respondents would clearly prefer a system that can link to a range of industry standard GIS products using ‘plug in’ technology, opposed to a single incorporated system. It also seems that respondents would like to see a standard road network (e.g. Integrated Transport Network – ITN) but would also like the ability to make local adjustments to it when deemed necessary. The ability to define a ‘drawn by hand’ area as opposed to relying on preset shapes was also considered important.

Cost modelling

Cost modelling

The concept of a modelling system that can incorporate costing mechanisms was popular with respondents, although many did not see it as essential.

General system requirements

General system requirements

Narrative

Linkage to mobilising systems does not seem a priority for FRSs and the capacity to model more than one FRSs data received a mixed response, with the majority of respondents viewing this facility as non-essential. What is clearly required is a system that has a user friendly interface.

Respondents

43 Fire and Rescue Services responded to the survey. A response was also received from an employee of the Scottish Government.

  • Avon Fire and Rescue Service
  • Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service
  • Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Cleveland Fire and Rescue Service
  • Cornwall Fire and Rescue service
  • County Durham & Darlington Fire and Rescue Service
  • Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
  • Dorset Fire and Rescue Service
  • East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service
  • Essex County Fire and Rescue Service
  • Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
  • Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Humberside Fire and Rescue Service
  • Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service
  • Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service
  • Kent Fire and Rescue Service
  • Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue Service
  • London Fire Brigade
  • Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service
  • Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service
  • Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service
  • North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
  • Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service
  • Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Scottish Fire & Rescue Service
  • Scottish Government
  • Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • South Wales Fire and Rescue Service
  • South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service
  • Surrey Fire and Rescue Service
  • Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
  • West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
  • West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service

Role Profile

CFO / ACFO 18
IRMP MANAGER 20
INFORMATION / INTELLIGENCE / PERFORMANCE MANAGER 23
RISK MODELLING PRACTITIONER 29
TOTAL RESPONDENTS 90

Survey Comments

A number of useful comments were contributed by respondents which provided technical insight into the perception of risk, system requirements and what financial modelling should look like. Rationale behind why negative responses were made were also an important aid to understanding submissions.