HM Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland: Chief Inspector's Plan 2022 to 2025

The Chief Inspector's three year plan outlines how HM Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland (HMFSI) will meet its statutory purpose to inquire into the efficiency and effectiveness of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to assist in its continuous improvement.


We aim to deliver our programme in line with our core values of Integrity, Objectivity, and Fairness.

The Chief Inspector's three year Plan (the Plan) outlines how HM Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland (HMFSI) will meet its statutory purpose to inquire into the efficiency and effectiveness of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to assist in its continuous improvement.

This Plan describes the role and function of the Inspectorate, along with our strategy and priorities for the inspection of the SFRS.

The Plan has been prepared to meet the requirements of section 43F of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (the Act), which is reproduced at the back of this document.

The Plan contains information on priorities for inquiries to be carried out by Inspectors, and details how these will be conducted, in a proportionate, accountable and transparent manner.

Each year HMFSI identify a number of specific areas of business that have been risk-assessed as being particularly significant. These form the basis for our programme of Thematic inspections.

In addition to our Thematic inspections we seek to assure the public, and Scottish Ministers, that SFRS is performing in an efficient and effective manner and is working effectively with local authorities and strategic partners.

To provide this level of assurance we have, since 2014, undertaken a rolling programme of inspections of fire and rescue service delivery across Scotland's 32 local authorities areas.

Whilst this Local Area Inspection (LAI) approach has provided a valuable insight into SFRS arrangements at a local authority level, it is a resource intensive process and the results of inspections can at times appear repetitive.

With this in mind we have taken the decision to introduce a new style of inspection that will consider performance across an entire Service Delivery Area (SDA) of the SFRS against a range of key themes.

Whilst this new SDA inspection approach will replace the LAI process, we will ensure that we maintain our focus on arrangements for ensuring suitable local service delivery. Further detail with regard to this new approach can be found within this Plan.

In addition, the Inspectorate may from to time respond to investigate unplanned events under the description of 'significant incidents' or otherwise. These can be either self-directed or where Scottish Ministers have directed the Chief Inspector to carry out such an inquiry.

HMFSI will keep this Chief Inspector's Plan under review and adapt it, as necessary, over the course of the three years' to meet any changing or pressing requirements identified or placed on the SFRS.

We have consulted with our key partners regarding this Plan and, will further consult should any changes during the course of the three years' be proposed.

HMFSI is committed in delivering against its statutory purpose, as defined by the Act, and looks forward to supporting the SFRS as it goes about its duty of protecting the communities of Scotland and continuing on its transformation journey.

COVID-19 Pandemic

This Plan cannot be presented without acknowledging the challenging and unprecedented times that have resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The restrictions imposed across the country in a bid to minimise risk, made it very challenging to carry out our functions in a traditional manner. As such, as has been the case across many other organisations, we have had to adapt and introduce new ways of working to reduce travel and physical contact. Whilst this has had an impact on our planned programme of events, we have also learned to operate in a manner that can at times improve efficiency and reduce cost. We will ensure that this is considered in all future inspection activities and lessons learned are used to improve performance.

Whilst the Chief Inspector's Plan 2022-2025 sets out our intent, we recognise that we may need to further adapt areas of inspection throughout the period of the document.

In accepting the possibility of slippage to our programme, we remain committed to delivering this three year Plan to fulfil our statutory duty and to support the SFRS in its journey of continuous improvement..

Robert D Scott QFSM
HM Chief Inspector of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service



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