Peer review of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service highlights good practice

The service was assessed over four days in May this year on a number of subjects, including how it manages public and firefighter safety; the effectiveness of its leadership and outcomes for citizens.

Notable practice

Three particular areas of work were highlighted as being of 'notable practice' by those conducting the review, which was led by Cornwall's Chief Fire Officer Des Tidbury and Councillor Pauline Helliar-Symons, Vice Chairman of the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority.

They were:

  • The service's commitment to supporting the county council in its safeguarding approach - this work will be shared as an example across the fire sector
  • The strong performance of the service's management ethos and systems that were well-embedded across the service
  • The development of enhanced emergency medical skills - First on the Scene, where some firefighters have been trained to provide care for a casualty until an ambulance arrives should they be first to arrive at an emergency - in partnership with South Central Ambulance Service

It was agreed by the county council's Cabinet on Tuesday 21 October to publish the peer review group's findings.

Success of 365alive

The 365alive campaign, an initiative devised by Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, to reduce fire and road deaths and accidents via educational work, which reached targets two years early, was also mentioned as an area of good practice.

Work by the service to influence decision-makers about the fitting of sprinklers at Oxford's Westgate Shopping Centre; at high rise blocks of flats in the city and at the Campsfield House detention centre near Kidlington was also singled out as an area to be praised.

A great effort

Dave Etheridge, Oxfordshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer, said: "I am delighted with the outcome of the recent peer review - it is the result of hard work by staff across the Fire and Rescue Service and beyond. It is particularly pleasing that some of our work has been highlighted as being of notable practice.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their involvement in helping make Oxfordshire as safe as possible. We recognise the high value in collaborating with our county council colleagues and other agencies and really feel that this integrated approach benefits all who are involved.

"We will not however rest on our laurels and will continue to strive to further improve the way we serve Oxfordshire's public."

Benefits of integration

Councillor Rodney Rose, the Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, who has Cabinet responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: "People locally are fortunate to have such a high-performing and well-respected fire and rescue service and my congratulations go to everybody involved in achieving such an impressive peer review result.

"I am particularly impressed with the way Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service integrates with other county council services - whether that be working with adult social services regarding fire safety advice for older people or with school children to deliver a range of important educational messages about keeping safe.

"The fire and rescue service really does add value across the board and I am delighted its integrated approach has been recognised via the peer review."

The Operational Assessment Peer Review is managed by the Local Government Association, the Chief Fire Officers Association and is supported by the Fire and Rescue Sector.