1. Introduction and Context
The Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland 2022 (‘the Framework’) sets out Scottish Ministers’ expectations of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). The Framework provides SFRS with strategic priorities and objectives, together with guidance on how the delivery of its functions should contribute to the Scottish Government’s purpose.
SFRS was established as a single national organisation by the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 (‘the 2012 Act’) to provide fire and rescue services across Scotland. The 2012 Act also amended the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 (‘the 2005 Act’) to take account of fire reform and further modernise and update the functions of SFRS.
The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee’s Report on its post-legislative scrutiny of the 2012 Act recognised significant SFRS achievements, including the creation of national capabilities in fire and rescue, which have improved the service to Scottish communities.
Scottish Ministers have a statutory duty to prepare a Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland setting priorities and objectives and providing guidance to SFRS on the execution of its functions. SFRS has a statutory duty to have regard to the Framework when preparing its Strategic Plan which sets out how it will deliver its functions as well as setting out the outcomes which will be used to measure its performance in doing so.
Contribution to the Scottish Government’s Purpose and National Outcomes
The National Performance Framework (NPF) sets out a purpose, values and 11 National Outcomes for Scotland, showing the kind of country we want to be. It is Scotland’s wellbeing framework, and reflects the issues that affect people in Scotland now and for future generations. The 11 National Outcomes are aligned with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals which set out the major global challenges to be achieved by all nations by 2030.
Progress towards the vision in the NPF is tracked through 81 National Indicators covering a broad range of social, environmental and economic measures.
The NPF is for all of Scotland. We aim to:
- Create a more successful country;
- Give opportunities to all people living in Scotland;
- Increase the wellbeing of people living in Scotland;
- Create sustainable and inclusive growth; and
- Reduce inequalities and give equal importance to economic, environmental and social progress.
SFRS’s delivery of the priorities and objectives set out in the Framework will also help to achieve the Scottish Government’s purpose by contributing to the delivery of our National Outcomes, which are:
- We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential;
- We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy;
- We have thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone;
- We are open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally;
- We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe;
- We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society;
- We are healthy and active;
- We tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally;
- We are creative and our vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely;
- We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment; and
- We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination.
The Justice Vision and Priorities
The Scottish Government’s “Vision for Justice in Scotland” was published in February 2022. It sets out the vision for a just, safe resilient Scotland and it is aligned with and underpinned by the Scottish Government’s NPF. The NPF recognises that Government alone cannot deliver those broad societal outcomes and that it requires all of us from all sectors and as individuals to realise these.
Part of the Vision for Justice is the aim for a society in which people feel, and are, safer in their communities. The need to feel and be safe is not just about being protected from crime and offending. We also should be supported to be as safe from unintentional harm whether that is in our homes or in our communities, either as a result of accidents or emergency events.
We aim to reduce unintentional harm in our communities in regards to events like fires, flooding and other emergency events which put our communities under strain as well as harm from accidents. We have made real progress in this area and the number of fires has fallen by over a third in the last decade. However, we still require greater resilience to limit the impact of these emergency events, using the assets within our communities and support from public services to ensure that as individuals we suffer less harm including from emergency situations and fires.
SFRS, as a member of the National Justice Board, has endorsed this Vision for Justice in Scotland and will be instrumental in achieving its aims.
“The main purpose of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is to work in partnership with communities and with others in the public, private and third sectors, on prevention, protection and response, to improve the safety and well-being of people throughout Scotland”.
SFRS’s purpose embodies the Scottish Government’s aspirations for the Service to achieve better outcomes for the people of Scotland. In carrying out its purpose SFRS should work with its partners to identify and focus on mitigating the wide range of risks facing communities in order to keep communities and citizens safe and promote their well-being.
SFRS should be alive to the broader challenges facing our communities and evolve to meet new risks, to adapt to social change, to improve effectiveness and efficiency and to grasp the opportunities offered by technological advances.
Christie Commission – 10 Years On
The Framework is published 10 years after the Christie Commission published its report on the future delivery of public services in Scotland, and the Scottish Government produced its response which sets out our commitment to Public Service Reform (PSR). The Christie Commission report and our subsequent PSR agenda share the same underpinning purpose: to improve outcomes, reduce inequalities and empower people in sustainable ways. Our commitment to reform is built on five pillars: a focus on prevention; partnership working; empowering staff and communities; outcomes-based performance, and an emphasis on the distinctive needs of Place.
A decade on, the need for continuous improvement and the value of these pillars are stronger than ever, not least as we pursue recovery and renewal from the impacts of the Covid19 pandemic and address the challenges of climate change. While we continue to strive and reinforce these principles - by engaging with citizens, promoting open government and empowering individuals and communities – there continues to exist an opportunity for Scotland to be a world leader in developing evidence based approaches for policy with a prevention, co-production and outcomes focus. SFRS should continue to look for opportunities to share buildings and other assets with the other emergency services in Scotland along with actively engaging with communities in order to drive change.
SFRS should explore how it will continue to change what it does; how it operates; how it works with communities and partners in achieving success and how it will further develop its people to drive better outcomes for the communities of Scotland.
There is an opportunity for SFRS to take a lead in developing some of the emerging methodologies associated with participative, joined up, preventative and outcomes focused policy and practice. For example co-produced research can help ensure that evidence is user focused, relevant and understandable to communities and partners seeking to take a more active role in improving public safety/health outcomes.
The Framework sets out 7 strategic priorities for SFRS which are outcome-focused and set within the context of the Scottish Government’s purpose. These priorities form the basis for the narrative of the following sections of the Framework. Many of these priorities are overarching and are relevant to several aspects of SFRS’s role. The strategic priorities for SFRS are summarised at Annex 1. It should be noted that the order of the priorities does not denote their level of importance. All priorities are of equal importance.
Covid19 Recovery and Renewal
The Covid19 pandemic has changed our lives on a dramatic scale. The direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic have been devastating for individuals and communities across the whole of Scotland.
The Scottish Government acted quickly to support people and communities, doing all it could to protect people's jobs, homes, living standards and access to necessities. In doing so, the Scottish Government invested more than £1 billion of additional resource to support people impacted by the pandemic and to build resilience in public services. Covid19 recovery is a priority for the Scottish Government and will be embedded in wider and accelerated public sector reform.
Like many Scottish public services SFRS rose to the numerous challenges posed by Covid19 and has shown compassion, ingenuity and innovation in how it maintained service delivery whilst harnessing its ‘can do’ outlook to aid both partners and communities alike, as well as looking after its own staff. The pandemic has demonstrated that real change can happen at scale when we work together at pace, with flexibility and passion to deliver positive outcomes for our communities.
Another lesson from the collective response to Covid19 has been that professional, local teams that have more flexibility and freedom to prevent or solve problems can quickly build trust in communities and deliver impressive results. These frontline teams are often best placed to help individuals, families and communities. In particular during the pandemic, in some health board areas, SFRS was able to offer fire stations as community testing premises with SFRS staff assisting the process by carrying out ‘meeting & greeting’ and ‘exit interviews’ whilst also tending to important administrative work.
As Scotland undertakes the long, necessary and challenging process of Covid19 recovery, SFRS should explore the implications and opportunities for the Service going forward.
Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland 2022
The strategic priorities for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service represent our high level ambition for what we want from a modern, skilled and dynamic fire and rescue service.
Fire Framework Priorities:
Prevention and Protection
Innovation and Modernisation
Effective Governance and Performance
National Performance Indicators:
We have a globally competitive entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy.
We are open, connected and make a positive contribution internationally.
We tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally.
We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe.
We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential.
We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society.
We have thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone.
We are healthy and active.
We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment.
We are creative and our vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely.
We respected, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination.
Our Purpose: To focus on creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
The Fire and Rescue Framework for Scotland 2022 (“The Framework”) sets out the Scottish Ministers’ expectations of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. The Framework provides SFRS with strategic priorities and objectives, together with guidance on how the delivery of its functions should contribute to the Scottish Government purpose.
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