London Fire Brigade exits enhanced monitoring following improvements


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Background and recent developments

London Fire Brigade (LFB) has been removed from an enhanced level of monitoring by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

This change follows notable improvements made by the brigade.

HMICFRS routinely monitors the performance of all fire and rescue services in England through a two-stage process: Scan and Engage.

While all services are initially in the Scan stage, they may be escalated to the Engage stage if there are significant concerns that are not being effectively addressed.

In December 2022, LFB was moved into the Engage stage due to such concerns.

However, recent assessments have led to the brigade being reverted to routine monitoring.

Key Improvements by London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade has implemented several measures, contributing to its positive reassessment.

These include the active involvement of staff in developing and understanding brigade values, with most staff affirming that senior leaders embody these values.

Furthermore, there has been a commitment to enhance leadership skills among managers, evidenced by a comprehensive training programme.

Progress in improving the brigade’s human resources function and better processes to address issues like bullying and discrimination, notably the establishment of a Professional Standards Unit, has been acknowledged.

Moreover, LFB has developed a thorough plan for staff vetting and has shown promise in sustaining a cultural shift within the brigade.

Chief Inspector’s Statement

His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Fire & Rescue Services, Andy Cooke, commented on this development, saying: “I am pleased with the progress that London Fire Brigade has made so far.

“Whilst there is still more to do, I have decided to remove the brigade from our enhanced level of monitoring, known as Engage, and return it to routine monitoring.

“I am reassured by the plans London Fire Brigade has in place to continue making improvements.

“The brigade will be inspected again this summer, when we will assess its progress to make sure the people of London are getting the service they deserve from their fire and rescue service.”

London Fire Commissioner’s Reaction

Reacting to the HMICFRS announcement, London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe expressed his gratitude and pride in the brigade’s staff.

Commissioner Roe stated: “The Inspectorate’s decision recognises the significant amount of work that has been undertaken over the last 15 months since the Independent Culture Review.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank the whole Brigade. This is important recognition for so many of our staff that go about their work professionally every day.

“I am proud that our core values are rooted in our incredible history which shows our staff’s courage and commitment to London.

“There is still more to do. As Commissioner, I have always been clear that the work to ensure that we have a safe and dignified workplace culture can never stop.

“I look forward to the Inspectorate, our staff and Londoners continuing to hold us to account.”

IFSJ Comment

The London Fire Brigade‘s transition from enhanced to routine monitoring signifies its commitment to continuous improvement and adherence to expected standards.

The steps taken by the brigade to enhance internal culture, staff training, and professional standards reflect a dedication to providing a reliable and ethical service to the community.

The ongoing efforts, as well as the upcoming inspection, will ensure that the brigade remains accountable and focused on serving the people of London effectively.

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