A RECENT assessment of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) has found that the organisation is “well-run” and that its overall performance is good.

The service took part in an Operational Assurance (OpA) Assessment in November 2012 and the results presented to Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority show the organisation has many strengths including an “open, confident and approachable leadership style of the Chief Fire Officer and senior managers, with a clear direction and professional focus, which is well understood and supported by staff”.

The assessment into many aspects of HWFRS was led by a Local Government Association review team.

Councillor Derek W Prodger MBE, chair of Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority, said: “I am delighted the assessment has shown that our fire service is in such a strong position. Whilst there will undoubtedly be challenges ahead I am confident that we will continue to provide an excellent fire and rescue service for our local communities.”

Some of the other key findings from the HWFRS assessment were the clear commitment to health and safety and its focus on continuing improvement, the investment in operational training and development focused on key risk areas, and in those service areas that have undergone significant change and restructuring, staff are keen, involved and highly motivated.

Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates said: “Overall, the conclusions of this assessment are very positive. The report notes that we benefit from highly competent and enthusiastic staff, which undoubtedly has a significant effect on the service we deliver to the public.  However, we are never complacent and we will continue to look for opportunities for further improvement.”

The report noted some areas where improvements could be made - these include the need to ensure close and continued management of the risks associated with financial planning in the light of current and future budget reductions, the need to ensure that the management of major projects is mainstreamed into ‘business as usual, and the need to fully embed member involvement and public consultation in strategic planning and decision making.

The OpA review process has also identified several areas where HWFRS and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service could work closer together.

To read the full list of potential areas for collaboration and full report visit www.hwfire.org.uk and click on the ‘FRA papers Feb 13’ link on the home page.