Chief Fire Officer Graeme Binning

Significant improvements confirmed in fire service inspection

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) has been commended by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) on the significant improvements it has made since its last inspection in 2021. 

HMICFRS carried out a detailed inspection of NFRS between May - August 2023, and it has been judged as: 

  • Good at promoting its values and culture. 
  • Good at Preventing fire and other risks. 
  • Good at managing its future affordability.  
  • Good at getting the right people, with the right skills. 

HMICFRS highlighted the service’s effectiveness and efficiency and how well it looks after its people. In addition to the four good grades, the service was rated as adequate in the other seven areas covered during the inspection process. 

This is the third time the service has been inspected by HMICFRS, with the first taking place in 2018 and the second taking place in 2021. The Service was rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ in all but one area in 2018. This is the first time an inspection of NFRS has resulted in zero Requires Improvement graded judgements. The report also did not include any Inadequate graded judgements or Causes of Concern. 

Chief Fire Officer Graeme Binning said: “I am incredibly proud to lead Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service. The outcome of this inspection clearly demonstrates the professionalism, dedication and hard work of everyone within the service, and it also reflects ever-strengthening relationships within Northumberland County Council. 

“As a Service, we strive to continually improve, and this report indicates how much we have improved since 2018. Putting communities first is at the heart of what we do, and we will continue to focus on our vision of ‘Making Northumberland Safer’. 

The inspection covered all areas of the Service including how it responds to emergencies, its support functions and how it manages its people.  

In her report, HMICFRS Inspector Michelle Skeer said: “I am pleased with how Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service has improved since our last inspection. I encourage the service to continue to improve in the areas we have highlighted and look forward to seeing how this benefits the public and the organisation in the future.” 

The full inspection report and those of the other fire and rescue services inspected so far are available here

Councillor Gordon Stewart, Chair of the Fire Authority and Cabinet Member for Looking after our Communities said: “This is a brilliant outcome and reflects the hard work, long term commitment and efforts by everyone in our Fire and Rescue Service.  

“Every member of staff has played their part in the ongoing improvements and I’m sure I speak on behalf of all those in Northumberland when I say how proud we are.” 

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