HM Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland Annual Report 2020-21

2020-21 Annual Report which reflects HMFSI's current inspection programme and on work which has concluded within the past 12 months

6. Inspection programme 2020-21

6.1. Local Area Inspections

6.1.1. Due to the significant impact of Covid-19 restrictions in 2020, our programme of inspection of the SFRS local service delivery across local authority areas of Scotland was restricted. We were able to complete, in early 2020, the inspection
of the City of Edinburgh and published the report in June 2020.

  • City of Edinburgh
Report published June 2020

6.1.2. We commenced the inspections of Midlothian and Argyll & Bute using desk-top analysis and also carried out some fieldwork, however, the Argyll & Bute inspection has not been completed during the prescribed timeframe within the Annual Plan 2019-20, due to further Covid-19 restrictions. As an interim measure, we arranged a series of remote meetings and these will be followed up in more detail by recommencing our fieldwork when circumstances allow. It is likely that this will take place post publication of an interim report. The Midlothian inspection has been completed remotely with the report due to be published.

  • Midlothian
Report to be published in May 2021
  • Argyll & Bute
Interim Report to be published between April – June 2021

6.2. Thematic Inspections

6.2.1. During 2020-21, HMFSI completed the following Thematic Inspections.

  • RDS Training
Report published in April 2020

6.2.2. The inspection of 'The Training of Retained Duty System Personnel' which was initially programmed within the Scrutiny Plan 2016-21, was delayed, as the SFRS undertook an internal review of Operational Training throughout the whole Service. Following the completion of that review, we recommenced this Inspection in 2019. This report was laid in Parliament in April 2020.

6.2.3. The Outline for this Inspection was to review the efficiency and effectiveness of RDS training systems and consider any potential risk to the Service.

6.2.4. Contained within the report are 22 recommendations for the SFRS to consider.
A follow-up review with the SFRS to discuss progress on these recommendations will be undertaken in May/June 2021.

  • Command and Control
Report published in August 2020

6.2.5. The Command and Control inspection assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of areas within the SFRS Incident Command (IC) System, Organisational Learning and IC Training, with particular focus on the Command and Control of Operational Incidents within the SFRS.

6.2.6. Elements of Command and Control specific to incidents in high rise buildings were excluded from this inspection. However, this will form the focus of a separate thematic inspection, namely 'Firefighting in High Rise Buildings', which will commence during the business year 2021-22.

6.2.7. In the Command and Control Report, HMFSI made 21 recommendations. A follow-up review with the SFRS to discuss progress on these recommendations will be undertaken in November/December 2021.

  • Assessing the Effectiveness of Inspection activity
Report published in March 2021

6.2.8. Our Thematic Inspection 'Assessing the Effectiveness of Inspection Activity' was designed to identify improvements and examine the way in which the SFRS receives and implements recommendations from our thematic inspections and national recommendations from our LAI reports.

6.2.9. The results of this Inspection will provide an insight into the effectiveness of our thematic scrutiny activity and the SFRS management of the external scrutiny process.

6.2.10. Fieldwork for this inspection commenced in March 2020 and was placed on hold due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, however the outstanding fieldwork was finally completed through the use of virtual interviews.

6.2.11. The report will be published and laid before Parliament in March 2021.

6.3. Other Self-identified Inspections

6.3.1. Two reports were presented to the Director of Safer Communities within Scottish Government in December 2020, these follow-up reports tracked the SFRS preparedness and planning throughout 2020, of Covid-19 and Exiting the European Union. The follow-up reports contained a series of key findings that were designed
to assist SFRS organisational learning and assess the adequacy of preparations.

6.3.2. The formulation of the reports involved analysis of relevant data and virtual engagement from a broad stakeholder group that consisted of all levels of the SFRS management, Representative Bodies and Resilience Partnership leads.

6.3.3. Our reports can be accessed via our website

6.4. Follow-up reviews of our Inspections

6.4.1. We undertook reviews of the following LAIs:

  • Dumfries & Galloway
Inspection follow-up in November 2020
  • City of Edinburgh
Inspection follow-up in December 2020

6.4.2. The following Thematic reviews were completed or are due to be undertaken on:

  • Operational Risk Information
Inspection follow-up completed September 2020
  • Fleet
Inspection follow-up currently
being undertaken, due for completion
March 2021
  • Retained Duty System
Inspection follow-up to be undertaken May/June 2021
  • Command and Control
Inspection follow-up to be undertaken November/December 2021



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