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Fire cover public consultation is now open: visit our consultation page for more information about the proposed changes and you can have your say by filling in our consultation survey.

Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP) Consultation Feedback

Presentation of Key Findings to SLT

by Kelly Lock and Catherine Wall 18 January 2022

From 18 October to 24 December 2021 the Service undertook the process of public consultation on the draft Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP) (2022-2025). Opinion Research Services (ORS) facilitated the consultation on behalf of the Service. The objectives of this consultation was to understand the views of the public, partner agencies and stakeholders regarding the six strategic goals contained within the draft CRMP (2022-2025). A variety of activities were undertaken with a wide range of people that shape up our communities in Nottinghamshire, and a total of four focus groups were facilitated by ORS, involving 42 people. The online survey resulted in 98 responses, seven of which were on behalf of other organisations. overall the findings of the consultation show there is 'widespread support' for the Service's direction of travel and the six strategic goals, however, following on from the received feedback, we will be slightly altering the CRMP.

The Commission

  • Formal consultation to gather views on NFRS' six Strategic Goals for 2022 - 2025
    • 18 October - 24 December 2021
    • Open online consultation questionnaire
    • Three online focus groups with members of the public and one with representative of disability organisations
Strategic goal 1

We will help people stay safe from fires and other emergencies

Strategic goal 2

We will improve fire safety in the buildings people live and work in

Strategic goal 3

We will respond immediately and effectively to emergency incidents

Strategic goal 4

We will continue to support, develop and diversify our professional workforce

Strategic goal 5

We will continue our improvement journey to deliver an outstanding service

Strategic goal 6

We will manage and invest in our service to ensure we are fit for the future

Methodology: Open Consultation Questionnaire

  • 98 completed questionnaires
    • 7 by organisations[1]
      • Blyth Parish Council
      • Colston Bassett Parish Council
      • Nottingham City Homes
      • Nottingham Turkish Community
      • Nottinghamshire FRS
      • Pulp Friction
      • Ruddington Parish Council

[1] Findings that follow are based on individuals' responses - organisations were very strongly in support of the CRMP overall

Methodology: Focus groups

  • 3x 'deliberative' online focus groups with residents
    • 2 hours
    • Presentation interspersed with Q&A and discussions
    • Recruited by Acumen Field (specialist recruitment agency) to match 'quotas'
    • Recruitment monitored to ensure social diversity
Breakdown of focus groups by location
  Total 38
Area Time and Date Number of Attendees

North Nottinghamshire

(Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Mansfield, Newark & Sherwood)

Thursday 25 November 2021

6:30pm - 8:30pm

10
City of Nottingham

Tuesday 30 November 2021

6:30pm - 8:30pm

14

South Nottinghamshire

(Broxtowe, Gedling, Rushcliffe)

Wednesday 1 December 2021

6:30pm - 8:30pm

14
Breakdown of focus groups by demographic
Gender Age Working Status Ethnic Group Limiting illness or disability

Male: 21

Female: 17

16-24: 7

25-44: 10

45-59: 15

60+: 6

Working: 27

Not working: 11

White British: 31

Non-White British: 7

Limiting illness or disability: 8
  • 1 x online focus group with representatives of Pulp Friction (social enterprise that aims to employ the talents of young people with learning difficulties) + Nottinghamshire Disabled People's Movement
    • Participants invited by NFRS
    • 4 attendees

Strategic Goal 1

Strategic goal 1

We will help people stay safe from fires and other emergencies

NFRS intends to...

Support vulnerable individuals
  • Increase the number of ‘Safe & Well Visits’ to those most at risk of being injured or killed by fire – to offer advice and install smoke alarms/other safety equipment (aiming for 15,000 a year by 2025)
  • Continue to develop its understanding of communities and the people living in them, to help target those most at risk
  • Ensure it continues to safeguard the most vulnerable, including by giving its staff regular training
  • Continue working with people involved in arson or identified as potential fire-setters, to address those behaviours
  • Further embed the role of OT within the Service, to provide joined-up support for people with more complex needs
  • Explore and establish new efficient and effective ways of delivering Prevention activities
Community engagement
  • Promote fire, road and water safety through media campaigns, safety messages on its vehicles and other channels like social media – and deliver road safety training to groups of young people
  • Target high-risk areas to offer advice/guidance/ identify vulnerable individuals who may benefit from a Safe & Well Visit ▪ Attend community events that support its aims and objectives
  • Work with communities to reduce the number of incidents it attends – and provide community reassurance and engagement following an incident
  • Build stronger links with communities, particularly with under-represented groups, to ensure its community engagement activities are as effective as possible
  • Roll the Fire and Police Cadets out further, to engage young people with an interest in the Service
  • Continue to monitor and evaluate activities to ensure they are effective and accessible
Integration and collaboration
  • Continue to educate/train its partners to recognise the risks of fire and make appropriate referrals to NFRS
  • Increase awareness of Prevention issues among its partners
  • Work to improve the way information is shared between agencies to help identify high-risk individuals and communities
  • Questionnaire respondents strongly supportive of Strategic Goal 1
    • 88% agreed with NFRS' approach to supporting vulnerable individuals
    • 91% agreed with its approach to community engagement
    • 88% agreed with its approach to collaboration and integration in Prevention activity

Also supported in focus groups

  • Poll
    • 37 people agreed with the Service's approach, 21 strongly
    • remaining participant neither agreed nor disagreed
  • Discussion
    • Questions re whether some activity (e.g. supporting the vulnerable) should be NFRS's responsibility and why Service employs and OT
      • Explanation = understanding
      • Importance of outline rationale and benefits of new/'different' initiatives as most people have a 'traditional' view of the FRS
    • After clarification/discussion, participants commended the Prevention work done by NFRS and others
      • Safe & Well visits praised, as was NFRS' work with young people
        • Disabled organisation representatives > youth engagement activities must be fully accessible to all young people
      • Some questions around which groups are 'under-represented' and how they will be accessed (must look beyond more visible community organisations / leaders to ensure widest possible engagement)
I was just wondering about the aspect of supporting vulnerable people. A lot of it seems like social work to me. So, I was wondering how much of officers' time is spent doing that rather than actually going to incidents where they are desperately needed? (Nottingham City)
It's good that you are reaching out, joining up with lots of other organisations, and identifying people who might need help... (North Nottinghamshire)
... initiatives aimed at young people, it's about how you make that accessible for all young people, a broad programme that people with disabilities can access as well ... (Disability organisation representative)
... Are you going by gatekeepers ... community leaders? How are you establishing who these community leaders are to make sure they're the right ones and that you get to those from all sectors of the community? (Nottingham City)

Strategic Goal 2

Strategic goal 2

We will improve fire safety in the buildings people live and work in

  • Questionnaire respondents strongly supportive of Strategic Goal 2
    • 96% agreed with NFRS' approach to business education
    • 90% agreed with its approach to fire safety inspections
    • 89% agreed with its approach to collaboration and integration in Protection activity

Also supported in focus groups

  • Poll > unanimous agreement (29 'strongly agreed')
  • Some key concerns in discussion
    • Ambitious programme of work that may not be achievable without further funding
    • Encouraging developers to use fire safety measures in their plans supported, but worry that it is not mandatory
    • Potential impact of ever-increasing numbers of student accommodation in Nottingham City on NFRS resources
    • Whether NFRS' inspections look at the equipment in place to get a disabled person out of a building in an evacuation
The number of fire protection audits is not currently achievable (Questionnaire response)
I'm just thinking county-wide; if you think about every high-rise residential building that's over 11 metres, that's an awful lot of extra work ... I know that large organisations have funding battles with central government every year to even maintain service levels, let along increase them (North Notts)
I believe that a few years ago there was a change that it wasn't the responsibility of the fire service to get a disabled person out in an emergency. I'm not sure how much awareness there is around that. There's a bit of confusion ... (Disability organisation representative)

Strategic Goal 3

Strategic goal 3

We will respond immediately and effectively to emergency incidents

  • Questionnaire respondents strongly supportive of Strategic Goal 3
    • 91% agreed with NFRS' approach to training and exercise
    • 90% agreed with its approach to optimising its response
    • 79% agreed with its approach to improving its supporting services, systems and infrastructure
Keep our station fully manned 24/7. The expansion in the area is massive - more homes equals more people more risk (Questionnaire response)
Where I live, there is a massive expansion taking place ... yet NFRS decided ... to make our station non-permanent, full-time cover for evenings and nights, just using retained - which will lead to longer response times and higher risk (Questionnaire response
My concern would be a potential reduction in services once a review has been done on numbers of fire engines (Questionnaire response)

Also supported in focus groups

  • Poll
    • 37 people agreed with the Service's approach, 24 strongly
    • Remaining participant neither agreed nor disagreed
  • Discussion
    • Strategic Goal 3 underpinned by a series of reviews - which in themselves will have been informed by sophisticated data analysis
I think what this shows is that there has already been an element of review and thinking to get to this place. If you're talking like training and partner agencies, this is the next step in that journey. It hasn't plopped out of the sky. It's a thought-through thing so it's another one that's difficult to disagree with (Disability organisation representative)

Strategic Goal 4

Strategic goal 4

We will continue to support, develop and diversify our professional workforce

  • Questionnaire respondents supportive of Strategic Goal 4, though slightly less so than other goals
    • 67% agreed with NFRS' focus on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)
    • 77% agreed with its approach to enhancing skills and professionalism
    • 82% agreed with its approach to capacity and flexibility
    • 84% agreed with its approach to supporting its workforce
We should do ongoing positive action to our community for working within NFRS. This would raise the profile of our organisation and get people to start to realise there is more to us, and that they could work with us
I agree that with regards to recruitment, underrepresented groups should be engaged, however the service should be employing the highest scoring potential recruits to the posts
… myself and many other firefighters are tired of the emphasis of inclusion, diversity etc. We find it very patronising being told how to behave, we do know how to behave and do challenge behaviour. I agree it may have been an issue historically but not now. The continuation and increase of being forced to attend courses is having a negative effect

Also supported in focus groups

  • Poll
    • 35 people agreed with the Service's approach, 27 strongly
    • Remaining 3 participants neither agreed nor disagreed
  • Discussion
    • Most pleased to see NFRS’ committing to promote Service as a career choice among a more diverse range of people
      • Especially important to offer role models to people from as many demographics as possible
    • A few said …
      • They had never considered a career within FRS due to their traditional perceptions of what a firefighter should be
      • Wider knowledge of what the role actually entails will encourage interest from a broader demographic
    • Some caution against positive action tipping into positive discrimination
      • Roles should be awarded to the ‘best person for the job’ rather than to ‘tick a box’
I really appreciate that approach. The key thing for me is seeing that representation; seeing people that look like you in that role. It’s especially important in the community outreach work, children in schools seeing someone like them and thinking ‘I could do that’ (South Notts)
… I think if everybody else knew a bit more about this then in terms of encouraging people from more diverse backgrounds to apply, it would greatly help because then you could see the different opportunities that there would be … if more people understood about the breadth of the role of the fire service it will encourage more people from different backgrounds and ethnicities to be interested … (Nottingham City)
I’m all for equality and diversity, which is absolutely the right thing to aim for. But I’ve experienced similar schemes where people have been hired to ‘tick a box’ and they were not right for the job. As long as the right people are in the role then I have no issue with any of that, but public services sometimes have to be seen to put people in these positions when it’s not the right thing to do (South Notts)

Strategic Goal 5

Strategic goal 5

We will continue our improvement journey to deliver an outstanding service

  • Questionnaire respondents supportive of Strategic Goal 5
    • 83% agreed with NFRS' community focus
    • 65% agreed with its approach to EDI
    • 83% agreed with its approach to maximising quality, efficiency, and effectiveness
    • 84% agreed with its approach to digital technology and innovation
    • 69% agreed with its approach to further collaborate with partners

Also supported in focus groups

  • Poll
    • All 38 agreed with the Service's approach (28 strongly)
  • Discussion
    • Explicit support for NFRS' aim to become an 'outstanding' FRS by 2032, and an anticipation that it will not actually take that long
    • Nottingham City group pleased to see NFRS’ commitment to updating its overall assessment of risk every year given the development being undertaken across the county and city
    • Engaging with service users to ensure the Service meets their needs
      • Mencap representative wrote to NFRS → strongly supportive of Service staff receiving regular training on how to interact with people with disabilities - learning disabilities in particular – so they know how to keep safe

It is really important that fire service personnel have training and gain practice on how to interact with people with learning disabilities and disabilities of all kinds. There are no second chances when there is a major incident and someone does not understand instructions on how to keep safe. The time to learn these skills is before the event, in a non-emergency learning environment. It is important to build in refresher training to ensure that the safety of all our citizens is considered, not just those who can communicate easily in English. All the technical skills in the world will not help an individual if they cannot understand what is being asked of them (Mencap representative)

Strategic Goal 6

Strategic goal 6

We will manage and invest in our service to ensure we are fit for the future

  • Questionnaire respondents supportive of Strategic Goal 6
    • 86% agreed with NFRS' approach to financial sustainability
    • 92% agreed with its approach to capital investment
    • 81% agreed with its approach to environmental sustainability

Also supported in focus groups

  • Poll
    • 36 people agreed, 31 strongly (remaining two neither agreed nor disagreed)
    • Several participants sought reassurance that NFRS’ budget is ringfenced → achievability of CRMP goals contingent on having sufficient funding
… all aspirations are to a degree contingent on funding so I was wondering is your funding

ringfenced and if so for how long? (North Notts)

Overall Comments

  • Significant/widespread support for NFRS' direction of travel as set out in CRMP 22-23
    • Some worry about over-ambition re budget and timetable
    • Disability organisation representatives keen to see Strategic Goals translated into tangible actions
      • Information on exactly how goals will be achieved
      • Not providing this → lack of understanding of rationale behind ‘non-traditional’ actions (e.g. OT, ‘public health’ activities)
    • Also true of NFRS’ approach to EDI
      • Least support from questionnaire respondents + some initial concerns in focus groups
      • Fuller explanations within CRMP around why it is a focus
    • One of main overarching themes from all focus groups → FRS remit is far wider than many people imagine
      • Need for education to enhance understanding / overcome traditional and outdated perception of what a FRS should be
The goals and objectives within the CRMP are on the whole absolutely commendable and exactly what we should be doing to enhance our service to the community and be more efficient and effective with public funding … (Questionnaire)
I strongly agree but my only concern is whether you’ll be able to do all of this (Nottingham City)
The only thing I was concerned about is it seems to be focusing on too many things … there seems to be too many different things that they are getting involved with that I don’t really … think the fire service need to be that involved in (North Notts)
I think the biggest thing I was thinking was around education to the public … most of the population don’t get … what the fire service does; it’s based on what people wrongly think, based on historic beliefs (Nottingham City)
  • Two questionnaire comments...
    • Photography in draft CRMP excludes support staff
    • CRMP too “large” and “glossy” and lacks accountability / community risk planning
Would really like to see some of the photography altered. The pictures are beautiful, but there are barely any that are non-ops. I know photos of desks don't make great pictures, but it is like our support staff don't exist. And please change the front cover. In my opinion, completely the wrong photo. We are working so hard to get our communities to realise the fire service is more than about men fighting fires. That photo does nothing to help this … (Questionnaire response)
Lack of an actual plan - the CRMP document is overly large in my opinion. There is a lot of repetition and an overuse of imagery creating a feel of a glossy brochure, rather than a plan. There is also a lack of public promises and commitments which the service could be held to account on. Also, a lack of actual community risk planning (Questionnaire response)