Publication - Statistics

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Fire Safety and Organisational Statistics, Scotland, 2013-14

Published: 24 Feb 2015

Statistical bulletin providing information on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Topics covered include Home Fire Safety Visits, stations, equipment, workforce and attacks on personnel at incidents.

56 page PDF

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56 page PDF

963.0 kB

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Fire Safety and Organisational Statistics, Scotland, 2013-14
6. Notes on statistics used in this publication

56 page PDF

963.0 kB

6. Notes on statistics used in this publication

6.1 Background

This publication, formerly known as Fire and Rescue Services Statistics Scotland, covers five topics; fire safety activity, stations, appliances, workforce and attacks on SFRS personnel. Following a user consultation held by Scottish Government during 2009-10, an annual data collection covering these topics was initiated.

The statistics on fire safety activity, stations, appliances and the SFRS workforce have been compiled using data returns submitted to Scottish Government from the SFRS as part of the annual data collection exercise.

The statistics on attacks on SFRS personnel at incidents are compiled from reports submitted to the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) via the electronic Incident Recording System (IRS). This system records details of all incidents attended by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. Analysis of IRS data in this publication is based on provisional data for 2013-14 which was extracted from the system by DCLG in May 2014.

6.1.2 Fire Service Reform

On 1st April 2013, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was established as the national fire and rescue service for Scotland, combining the eight predecessor Fire and Rescue services and the Scottish Fire Services College. The SFRS is responsible for fire and rescue services across Scotland and is governed by an appointed Board. In addition, Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland exists to provide independent, risk based and professional inspection of the service, independent of the SFRS and the Scottish Government.

The SFRS is organised into three Service Delivery Areas (SDAs); East, North and West. Each SDA has a number of Local Senior Officers (LSOs) responsible for managing the resources within their area, to provide engagement with the local authority and to deliver response and community safety strategies. There are 17 LSO areas across the three SDAs, each containing one or more of the 32 local authority areas. Table 18 in the tables to accompany this bulletin provides details of the local authorities in each LSO and SDA area, as well as former FRS areas for reference.

6.2 Changes to this publication

6.2.1 Changes following fire reform

Following the creation of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on 1st April 2013, a public user consultation was undertaken by the Scottish Government. The purpose of the consultation was to collect views from users of Scottish fire and rescue statistics on the redesign of Scottish Government fire and rescue statistics publications to take account of the organisational change brought about by fire service reform. Based on the results of this consultation and engagement between SFRS and local authorities, SG agreed to produce statistics at local authority level. In this way, the statistics can be aggregated to LSO or SDA level or, for comparison purposes, to former Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) level. Table 18 in the accompanying dataset to this publication shows how the 32 local authority areas in Scotland map to the Local Senior Officer and Service Delivery areas of the SFRS, as well as former FRS areas.

The statistics in the 2013-14 publication cover the first year following the establishment of the SFRS. As such, this is the first year that this publication includes statistics at local authority level, in place of former FRS level breakdowns. Workforce data for 2013-14 is presented using the organisational structure of the SFRS.

Responses to the consultation also indicated that users were not clear of the distinction between this publication, formerly Fire and Rescue Service Statistics Scotland and the other annual statistical publication on fire and rescue in Scotland, the former Fire Statistics Scotland. In order to clarify, the publications were renamed in consultation with users. This publication is now named SFRS Fire Safety and Organisational Statistics, Scotland covering statistics on fire safety activity, stations, appliances, workforce and attacks on SFRS personnel. The second annual statistical publication has been renamed Fire and Rescue Statistics, Scotland and covers all incidents attended by the SFRS (fires, special service incidents, false alarms and casualties).

6.2.2 Non-domestic fire safety data

Until 2012-13 this publication included statistics on non-domestic fire safety, as well as the topics presented here. Changes in data management by SFRS following the establishment of the single service have meant that it has not yet been possible for the SFRS to provide non-domestic fire safety data for 2013-14. Scottish Government and the SFRS are committed to providing users with this information and it will be made publically available in a separate report following the publication of this bulletin.

6.2.3 Support staff role breakdown

Support staff figures in this publication were previously reported using the same role breakdown as that used for uniformed FRS staff, with the addition of the two categories "Community fire safety" and "Other". Typically the vast majority of support staff (around 90 per cent) fell within the "other" category, which minimised the value of this information.

In order to address this issue, Scottish Government and SFRS HR have agreed on a new role breakdown for reporting support staff figures, used for the first time in this year's publication. The new breakdown categorises support staff according to their function within the new organisational structure of the SFRS. It is not possible to compare these new categories with those used in previous editions of this publication. At the time of collection the structure of support staff within SFRS was not yet finalised, meaning reporting categories may change in future to match the final categories used by SFRS. Any changes will be minimised to allow comparability over time.

6.3 Revisions and Corrections

6.3.1 Revisions policy

Revisions will be handled according to the Scottish Government's "Corporate policy statement on revisions and corrections", with the following clarifications:

i) Analysis of IRS data in this publication is based on provisional data for 2013-14 which was extracted from the system by DCLG in May 2014. Figures in future editions of this publication will be revised to account for subsequent updates to the live database. This only affects Tables 16a, 16b and 17.

ii) During the production of this publication the SFRS notified Scottish Government of minor changes needed to information supplied by the eight former FRSs and which had appeared in previous editions of this publication. Tables containing Scotland level trend data have been amended to account for these changes and notes have been provided below the relevant tables. This may cause slight discrepancies with the more detailed tables previously published. Figures provided here supersede those in previous editions of this publication.

6.3.2 Revisions as a result of the CIPFA statistics data exchange

From 2011-12 onwards, Scottish Government and CIPFA statistics have taken part in a data exchange of the workforce, stations and appliances data found in this publication. The exchange was set up to reduce the data collection burden on the then eight FRSs in that it avoided the need for data on the same topics to be collected twice. A number of minor changes to the workforce statistics collection methodology were required in order to facilitate this exchange. These changes have been in place since the 2011-12 edition of this publication, details of which are provided below:

Revisions to RDS workforce figures for 2009-10 and 2010-11

It is possible for a staff member to have more than one contract with the SFRS. The most common example is where a wholetime operational staff member also holds a contract to work part-time as a member of Retained Duty System (RDS) staff. Previously in this publication, Scottish Government would only have counted this person once in the figures (as wholetime staff) to enable clear monitoring of diversity and equality amongst staff. In contrast, CIPFA collected information on individual employment contracts and so would have counted such a person twice in their figures. Scottish Government has now adopted CIPFA's counting methodology for staff with more than one contract, meaning such staff will now be counted twice within this publication

Following the change to the new counting method, revisions have been made to the RDS figures as at 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011. This allows consistent time series data to be provided in compliance with Principle 4 of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

To assess the impact of the change in methodology, comparisons were made between the figures collected using the two different methods as at 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2011. Where the RDS figure reported in previous Scottish Government publications was lower than the CIPFA figure by more than four staff members, the CIPFA figure has now been used. This has allowed the time series data using the new methodology to be extended back to reflect the dual contracts for the previous two years. This has increased overall RDS figure as at 31 March 2010 by two per cent (from 3,063 to 3,125) and as at 31 March 2011 by one per cent (from 3,039 to 3,066). The other staffing categories were not affected.

Revisions to wholetime operational and support staff figures

Prior to the data exchange, wholetime non-uniform staff at the pay equivalent of brigade manager, area manager and group manager were categorised as wholetime operational staff by Scottish Government. In the CIPFA publication, the same personnel were categorised as support staff. To align the two collections, non-uniform staff are now categorised as support staff within the Scottish Government publication.

6.4 Statistical Issues

The statistics on Home Fire Safety Visits, workforce, stations and appliances in this bulletin are compiled from data collection returns provided by the SFRS and former eight FRSs to the Scottish Government. Provisional data at Scotland level on workforce, stations and appliances was shared by Scottish Government with CIPFA statistics on behalf of SFRS earlier this year. Under normal circumstances Scottish Government would have published this data earlier than CIPFA statistics. This was not possible for 2013-14 due to a delay in receiving the full set of data collection returns from the SFRS. The Incident Recording System (IRS) provided the data for attacks on SFRS personnel, which has been validated by the SFRS.

To minimise the risk of disclosure, tables showing the age, ethnicity and disability breakdown of SFRS staff have been provide at Scotland level only (Tables 13, 14 and 15). Ethnicity and disability statistics have been provided only as percentages. The total number of SFRS personnel injured in attacks has been disclosure controlled where appropriate and only reported nationally (Tables 16a, 16b and 17).

The age of SFRS personnel was reported as of 31 March 2014.

Retirement age will vary depending on personal circumstances and the conditions of a member of staff's pension scheme. Retirement arrangements for operational staff are different to non-operational staff, which is particularly important to remember when comparing the proportion of staff in the 50 and over age category across staff types. For wholetime operational and RDS staff who work in a fire-fighting capacity there are two main firefighters' pension schemes in operation which have different retirement ages. Control staff and support staff are covered by UK legislation on retirement age.

For further information on FRS pension scheme:

The percentages and figures given in tables and charts have been independently rounded, so they may not always sum to the relevant sub-totals or totals.

6.5 Estimated Cost of Data Collection

The estimated cost to the SFRS of supplying and validating the data for this bulletin was £5,002. Details of the calculation methodology are available on the Scottish Government Crime and Justice Statistics website at:

6.6 Glossary of terms


Wholetime operational staff - A person whose main employment is as a firefighter, regardless of the role. These staff tend to be referred to as uniformed operational staff within the SFRS.

Retained duty system (RDS) staff - A person who is contracted by the SFRS to be available at agreed periods of time for fire-fighting duties. This person may have alternative full-time/part-time employment outwith the SFRS. Similarly, these staff tend to be referred to as uniformed operational staff within the SFRS.

Control staff - A person who is employed to work in the SFRS control centres primarily to answer emergency calls and deal with mobilising, communication and related activities. These staff tend to be referred to as uniformed control staff within the SFRS.

Support staff - A person who works in a non-uniformed capacity, employed within supporting roles within the SFRS. For the purposes of this data collection, this includes all posts that are not classified as uniformed.

Volunteer staff -A person who volunteers in a fire fighting capacity. A volunteer is generally not paid a retaining fee and they tend to be volunteers in small rural communities, where the number of incidents are low. For this publication, staff who are in community response units have been included under this category to aid with reporting.

Ethnicity Classification

White - for this publication this includes the white ethnic groups of Scottish, English, Welsh, Northern Irish, British, Irish, Gypsy/Traveller, Polish and Other White.

Ethnic Minority - for this publication this includes Pakistani, Pakistani Scottish, Pakistani British, Indian, Indian Scottish, Indian British, Bangladeshi, Bangladeshi Scottish, Bangladeshi British, Chinese, Chinese Scottish, Chinese British, Asian other, African, African Scottish, African British, Caribbean, Caribbean Scottish, Caribbean British, Black, Black Scottish, Black British, Black other, Mixed or multiple ethnic groups, Arab and any other ethnic group.

Ethnicity Not Stated - for this publication this includes when a person's ethnicity is unknown to the FRS or has been marked as 'Preferred not to say'.

Disability Classification

Disability - A person who has disclosed to the SFRS that they are disabled as per the definition provided in the Equality Act 2010 (EA). The EA 2010 states that a person has a disability for the purposes of this Act if the person has a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long term effect onthe person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSVs)

HFSV figures are reported per 1,000 dwellings and by FSEC risk level

Dwelling - Buildings occupied by households, excluding hotels, hostels and residential institutions. Mobile homes are specifically included in the dwelling count. In 2000, the definition of a dwelling (for the purpose of reporting fires) was widened to include any non-permanent structures used solely as a dwelling, such as caravans, houseboats etc. (amounts to 0.3 per cent of the total number of UK dwelling fires). All analyses prior to 1998 relating to dwellings were retrospectively revised to include the new categories of dwelling. Caravans, boats etc. not used as a permanent dwelling are shown according to the type of property (caravan, vehicle etc.).

FSEC Risk Level - The SFRS uses the Fire Service Emergency Cover Toolkit (FSEC) to classify the risk level of each home into the following five categories:

  • well above average
  • above average
  • average
  • below average
  • well below average

FSEC uses a range of information about a household to determine the appropriate risk category. This includes the history of fires in the area (if any), socio-demographics of the residents and how close the nearest emergency response is (for example the distance to the nearest fire station). The toolkit calculates the risk of dying in a fire for an individual (usually very low) in comparison to the UK average and can be used to help target HFSVs.

6.7 Other


The following symbols are used in the tables in this bulletin:
- = nil or less than half the final digit shown
n/a = not available or not applicable
* = disclosive


Email: Phillipa Haxton