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Statement of Accounts 2020/21

Narrative Statement


The Narrative Statement introduces the Statement of Accounts 2020/21 for the Nottinghamshire and City of Nottingham Fire Authority, which was formed as an independent body on 1st April 1998 following local government reorganisation. I write it as the Treasurer to the Fire Authority and as the Officer designated under Section 112 of the Local Government Act 1972. My role is to act on behalf of the Authority in providing oversight and ensuring legal compliance and governance in respect of accounting and financial matters which affect the Authority.

The Narrative Statement is intended to give the reader of these accounts a clear overview of the Authority’s financial performance in the year and to put the Authority’s non-financial performance into the context of the financial results.

I recognise that the accounts of the Authority can be quite daunting for readers, especially those who are unfamiliar with accounts in general and local government accounts in particular, so I hope that in taking the time to read the narrative statement, readers will be able to better understand how these accounts are constructed and how best to read and interpret them. It also explains more about what the core financial statements mean and explains how the notes to the accounts provide the reader with the detailed information to support the core statements.

The accounts have been prepared in accordance with the Code of Practice on Local Authority Accounting in the United Kingdom 2020/21, which is published by CIPFA.


The County of Nottinghamshire covers 838 square miles with a mixture of urban and rural areas. It has a population 1.15m, of which around half live in and around the City.

The Fire Authority has 24 Fire Stations, 8 of which are wholetime. 12 stations are crewed by on call staff and the remaining 4 have a mixture of wholetime and on call crews.

The Authority has a number of key plans and strategies which together enable the organisation to deliver its overall objective of creating safer communities.

The Strategic Plan 2019-2022 sets out the key priorities for the Authority for the three years starting from 2019/20. Included in the Plan is the Year 2 Action Plan which relates to 2020/21.

Progress against the Plan and relevant performance data can be found in the Annual Statement of Assurance which was presented to Fire Authority in July 2021.

The Medium Term Financial Strategy includes budgets for the next four years which support the delivery of services but within the context of financial sustainability.

Performance during 2020/21

Covid-19 Response

2020-21 has been one of the most challenging years our Service has ever faced. While maintaining our focus on preventing incidents, protecting and responding to you, we have adapted to changed ways of working to react to the demands produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On top of responding to the 8,992 emergencies the service responded to in 2020/21, supporting the community became our primary goals during the Covid-19 pandemic. This included delivering 12,264 medicine and food parcels to vulnerable people and making 3,598 befriending and signposting calls. We proactively engaged with all requests that were made through the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and other collaborations – for example NFRS Staff administered 30,721 Covid vaccines and undertook 386 Urgent Care shifts for EMAS. Over 25% of our staff put themselves forward as volunteers to undertake work with our partner organisations. Numbers were such that it was not possible to deploy all of them, but their willingness to volunteer was much appreciated.


Restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic have made 2020/21 a challenging year for those within the Prevention Department and for the crews on our stations. We have had to significantly adapt the way we work by targeting face-to-face activities to those most at risk and using virtual interventions for others.

The service prioritised physical Safe & Well Visits to those at a high risk of fire and provided virtual support to those deemed to be at a lesser risk. This enabled us to complete close to 6,000 Safe & Well interventions despite the Covid-19 restrictions. This was a slight decrease from the 7,700 undertaken in 2019/20, but the service has employed additional staff to catch up during 2021/22 using Covid-19 grant received from the government.

The pandemic has also limited the other prevention activities that could be safely conducted by our crews. We prioritised those with the potential to have the biggest impact in reducing fire, road and water incidents. Despite the restrictions we were still able to complete 150 targeted prevention activities.

Whilst our physical prevention activity was limited, we were able to maximise the use of virtual safety education through various media outlets. In 2020/21 we supported 92 National Safety Campaigns, and numerous localised campaigns alongside our partners.


The Fire Protection team is responsible for auditing premises and enforcing fire safety legislation. The team work with local businesses, landlords and those responsible for public buildings and other nondomestic properties to ensure compliance with safety regulations. They carry out inspections, give advice, and where necessary, serve enforcement notices.

This year has seen a thorough review of our risk based inspection programme to better target our resources according to risk. Our protection team has continued to fulfil its statutory duties aligned to the building control process and those set out within the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO).

HMICFRS inspection

The service received a COVID-19 inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) during the year. The report was published in January provided a reassuring overview of the Service and stated that we had “adapted and responded” to the pandemic effectively. It also praised the additional humanitarian work the Service has undertaken.


We recognise the importance of learning from the tragedy that occurred at Grenfell Tower. Additional resources (both internal and from the Government) have been made available in 2020-21 to ensure that the learning from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry report and other national incidents is implemented in NFRS to make sure we are able to respond effectively and efficiently to fires in tall buildings. Additional training and equipment has been procured to make sure firefighters have the skills and equipment needed to ensure safety during complex incidents involving fires in tall buildings.

We continue to work with all UK fire and rescue services to develop working practices in response to Grenfell. We work particularly closely with regional partners to ensure interoperability and aligned practice, so we are prepared for significant incidents if they were to occur.

More details and performance statistics on all of the above can be found in the Annual Statement of Assurance.

Risk Management

Risk management processes are well embedded in the Authority. A comprehensive set of risk registers is monitored regularly by senior managers and elected members. These are brought together in the Corporate Risk Register which identifies the highest overall risks to the Service. The highest risks currently identified on the Corporate Risk Register are:

  • Covid-19 Response and Recovery – recognising the risk that Covid-19 has on the Services ability to deliver its core business of response to incidents, fire prevention and protection;
  • The use of vehicles on Authority business – risk of accidents or other events arising from driving related activity or a shortfall in driving standards;
  • Mobilising – the Service is unable to receive and act on emergency calls;
  • Firefighter’s Pension scheme – impact of McCloud remedy and other ongoing legal cases.

By its nature, risk will change over time and in response to both external and internal pressures. It is important, therefore, that the Authority’s managers remain alert to these developments and the emerging risks. In times of austerity and organisational restructuring, there is a possibility that control measures which had previously been seen as satisfactory may become eroded as resources reduce.

Value for Money

Reducing levels of government grant funding, uncertainty about future business rate income and restrictions on the level of council tax which can be raise, have resulted in an increased emphasis on seeking value for money in all that we do. The Service has had to find a balance between economy (spending less money), efficiency (working smarter), effectiveness (delivering relevant services).

The Authority set a balanced budget for both 2020/21 (£45.165m) and 2021/22 (£45.302m) – the 2021/22 increase in budget was just 0.3%. This was achievable after making £640k of savings which were used to offset other areas of growth within the service.

The 2020/21 Band D Council Tax level was set at £81.36 (£1.56 per week), which is slightly higher than the national average of £76. Council Tax levels for other property bands can be found in the table below.

Council tax 2020/21
Band Council Tax 2020/21 (£) Weekly Charge (£)
A 54.24 1.04
B 63.28 1.22
C 72.31 1.39
D 81.36 1.56
E 99.43 1.91
F 117.52 2.26
G 135.59 2.61
H 162.71 3.13

The Service is currently writing its Strategic Plan for 2021/22 to 2023/24 and is undertaking a Fire Cover risk review to assess current levels of risk across the county. These documents will be used to ensure that the Service’s resources are best matched to risk levels and the priorities identified in the Strategic Plan.

As part of the Strategic Plan development, some initial external consultation has been undertaken. From the 78 responses, 63% said that they thought that NFRS provided good value for money, whilst only 12% disagreed with the statement. Further consultation will be undertaken before the Strategic Plan is finalised.

One way of achieving value for money for Nottinghamshire residents is by collaborating with other emergency services and local councils. During 2020/21 the Service has been working closely with Nottinghamshire Police to build a new joint headquarters. This will enable the services to work more closely in the future which is expected to deliver some efficiencies.

A number of other examples of collaboration are the joint use of Hucknall, Highfields and West Bridgford fire stations with East Midlands Ambulance Service staff and Nottinghamshire Police.

Work continues to improve the use of technology across the organisation to enable improved efficiency. The work undertaken to date has enabled the almost seamless transition to home working where possible as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Core Statements

The Statement of Accounts contains several core statements. Details of these are included in the section below.

Movement in Reserves Statement

This statement shows the movement in the year on the different reserves held by the Authority analysed into usable reserves, which can be applied to fund expenditure or reduce local taxation, and other reserves. The Authority holds reserves for two reasons. There are always issues which may arise for which the Authority has no specific budget but in order that these “one off” type events do not unduly impact upon a single year's budget it is wise to maintain some money to deal with these events should they occur. These are what are known as General Fund Balances. The General Fund Balance was increased by £1k during the year to £4.990m.

Similarly, the Authority may wish to hold back sums of money because it knows that certain items of expenditure will occur but that these are of a “one off” nature and it is uncertain as to when they will occur. These are called earmarked reserves because they are for a specific purpose. A net figure of £0.949m was added to Earmarked Reserves during 2020/21, making a balance of £5.710m.

The increase was due to allocations of the underspend during the year (see the Revenue and Capital Outturn report reported to Finance and Resources Committee on 2 July 2021) less the use of Earmarked Reserves during the year.

The Treasurer is required to assess the adequacy of these reserves to meet future events and issue a statement annually to that effect.

It is important to note that some of the Authority's reserves which appear on the balance sheet cannot be used to fund expenditure. An example of an unusable reserve would be the Revaluation Reserve, which contains the gains made by the Authority arising from increases in the value of its Property, Plant and Equipment and Intangible Assets.

This puts the service in a strong financial position going forward. At its meeting on 27 November 2020, Fire Authority set a minimum level of general fund reserves of £4.5m. The service is not expected to require general fund reserves to meet expenditure in 2021/22.

Comprehensive Income and Expenditure Statement (CIES)

This statement brings together all the items of income and expenditure which constitute the accounting cost in the year of providing services in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices. This is not the same as the amount of expenditure to be charged to the General Fund as reported to Finance and Resources Committee. This is because the CIES includes accounting adjustments such as depreciation and changes in the valuation of assets, including pensions, in an attempt to show the full cost of service provision rather than just those costs which require funding from taxation.

The Total Comprehensive Income and Expenditure shows a deficit of £111.595m (compared to a surplus of £9.646m in 2019/20. The difference is largely due to £101m of actuarial adjustments to the pension fund to reflect changes in demographic and financial assumptions. Whilst this figure is very large it needs to be considered in the context of the total pension fund liability of £688.571m shown in the Balance Sheet.

Expenditure and Funding Analysis

The Expenditure and Funding Analysis reconciles the expenditure shown in the CIES (the accounting cost of services) with the expenditure to be funded from taxation (shown in the column entitled Net expenditure chargeable to the General Fund). Whilst the Expenditure and Funding Analysis is not a core statement it has been included in the core statement section as it provides a useful link between the CIES and the Movement in Reserves Statement.

Balance Sheet

The Balance Sheet shows the value of the assets and liabilities recognised by the Authority at 31st March. The net assets of the Authority (assets less liabilities) are matched by the reserves held by the Authority and thus the Balance Sheet is "in balance". The reader will notice that the total on the Balance Sheet is a negative figure of £620.129m, which means that the Authority's liabilities exceed its assets. This would usually be a cause for concern, however in this case the large liability in question relates to future pension liabilities (£668,571m) which at present are funded by Central Government. The underlying financial position of the Fire Authority is a strong one because when this pension liability is excluded, assets exceed liabilities by £48,442m.

Cash Flow Statement

This statement, as its name suggests, shows the changes in cash and cash equivalents of the Authority during the year. The starting point for this statement is the net surplus or deficit on the provision of services shown in the CIES, as this might suggest what the movement in cash balances has been. There are however a number of charges that are made to the revenue account that are not cash transactions and that merely result in a transfer of funds between the balance sheet and the revenue account.

The statement shows how the Authority generates and uses cash and cash equivalents by classifying cash flows as operating, investing and financing activities. The amount of net cash flows arising from operating activities is a key indicator of the extent to which the operations of the Authority are funded by way of taxation and grant income or from the recipients of services provided by the Authority. Investing activities represent the extent to which cash outflows have been made for resources which are intended to contribute to the Authority’s future service delivery. Cash flows arising from financing activities are useful in predicting claims on future cash flows by providers of capital (i.e. borrowing) to the Authority.

The resultant figure shows the real movement in cash during the year, which is a decrease in cash of £1.351m This is largely due to a high level of cash being held at the beginning of the year to ensure the Service had sufficient funds to operate in the uncertainty of the Covid-19 outbreak which was in its early stages at the time.

Pension Fund Account

This statement shows the income and expenditure for the year relating to the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes. The net amount payable for the year i.e. the extent to which pension benefits payable exceeded contributions, is £8.575m.

Pension Net Assets Statement

This statement shows the net current assets and liabilities arising from the operation of the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes. This statement does not take account of liabilities to pay future pensions and other benefits after the period end. Such liabilities are shown in the Authority’s Balance Sheet, as explained above.

Annual Governance Statement

This statement sets out the Authority’s responsibilities with regard to corporate governance and gives details of key elements of corporate governance in place during the year. It also summarises the Authority’s review of the effectiveness of its governance framework, measured against the CIPFA / SOLACE framework, and in which issues for action are highlighted.

Summary of the Year

A summary of the Fire Authority’s overall financial results is given in the following paragraphs:

Revenue Income and Expenditure

The 2020/21 revenue budget for of £45.165m was approved by the Fire Authority in February 2020. This included £274k of expenditure on activity to be funded from Earmarked Reserves, leaving a net budget of £44.892m.

Expenditure on budgeted activity for the year was 43.339m – an initial underspend of £1.553m.

The underspend was largely caused by 2 main factors:

Wholetime firefighter pay underspent by £944k. This was due to increased vacancy levels caused by the delay of a training course for new recruits during the first lockdown. Overtime was also substantially reduced as the mixing of crews was stopped due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Additional grant was received to help the Service deal with the impact of Covid-19 and to implement the recommendations coming out of the Grenfell Fire enquiries. Whilst much of this grant was spent during the year, some of it was received late in the year and some has been used to fund temporary staff whose contracts run into 2021/22. £480k has been transferred into Earmarked Reserves to cover expenditure in 2021/22.

At its meeting on 2 July 2021, Finance and Resources Committee approved to use an additional £0.5m to finance the capital programme (replacing borrowing) and to transfer £1.051m to Earmarked Reserves. £480k of this was unspent grant (see above). The rest was set aside to fund 2021/22 budget pressures. More information can be found in the Revenue and Capital Outturn report. The outturn position was updated at Fire Authority on 23 July 2021 to reflect an additional provision of £60k relating to additional costs falling to the Authority as a result of the McCloud pension age discrimination remedy and a £36k correction to the creditors figure.

A summary of expenditure following movements to Earmarked Reserves is shown below.

Summary of expenditure following movements of Earmarked Reserves
Annual Budget 2020/21 (£000's) Actual 2020/21 (£000's) Variance (£000's)
Employees 35,712 35,444 -268
Premises 2,799 2,562 -237
Transport 1,637 1,916 279
Supplies & Services 3,751 3,577 -174
Third Party Payments 783 1,037 254
Support Services 191 191 0
Capital Financing 2,494 3,194 -1,881
Income -2,099 -3,980 -1,881
Budgeted contributions from Earmarked Reserve -274 0 274
Contribution from Earmarked Reserve in-year -132 -132 0
Contribution to Earmarked Reserve 30 1,081 1,051
Net Expenditure 44,892 44,890 -2
Funded by:
General Fund Reserves 0 2 2
Pension Grant -2,340 -2,340
Revenue Support Grant -5,421 -5,421 0
Non-Domestic Rates -11,057 -11,057 0
Council Tax -26,074 -26,074 0
Total Funding -44,892 -44,890 2

Capital Expenditure

Capital expenditure describes the purchasing, upgrading and improvement of Fire Authority assets. These assets are known as “non current assets" and they provide a benefit to the Authority over a longer period of time than the current financial year. A summary of the Capital Programme and actual expenditure for the year is shown below.

Summary of the Capital Programme and actual expenditure for the year
Revised Budget 2020/21 (£000's) Actual 2020/21 (£000's) (Under) / Over spend 2020/21 (£000's) Slippage to 2021/22 (£000's)
Transport 634 173 -461 461
Operational Equipment 758 499 -259 259
Property 3,558 1,808 -1,750 1738
IT & Communications 1,052 769 -283 283
Total 6,002 3,249 -2,753 2,7412,741
Funded by:
Borrowing 2,322 2,741
Earmarked Reserves / Revenue 691 0
Capital Receipts 235 0
Total 691 3,249 2,741

The main areas of spend are detailed below:

  • The largest scheme in the 2020/21 capital programme related to the new Joint Head Quarters with Nottinghamshire Police - £1.5m expenditure during the year. Whilst £1.155m has been moved to 2021/22 the project remains on track to be completed by early 2022.
  • Preliminary work has commenced on the new station at Worksop (£196k). This project has been delayed as there were issues with the initial site identified for the station which meant another site had to be found.
  • £255k was spent on ICT equipment – some of this was to enable non-operational staff to work from home during the pandemic.
  • Expenditure on new firefighter protective equipment and helmets was £350k.

Total slippage for the capital programme was £2.741m. Again, more information can be found in the Revenue and Capital Outturn report.

Treasury Management Activity

During the year, £2.3m of capital expenditure was funded from borrowing. The Authority repaid PWLB debt of £1.553m and undertook no new borrowing during the year. The Authority’s level of borrowing at the year end was £26.969m. The capital financing requirement as at 31 March 2021 is £26.667m, which demonstrates that the current level of net borrowing is prudent. There was no temporary borrowing outstanding at year end to cover cashflow shortfalls, so total borrowing was £26.969m as at 31 March 2021. This remains within the Operational Boundary set by Fire Authority of £33.850m.


Earmarked reserves are held either for unspent grant or set aside to fund specific areas of expenditure, usually of a one off nature. Earmarked Reserves are reviewed annually in the Reserves Strategy which can be found appended to the Medium Term Financial Strategy. Earmarked reserves totalled £5.710m at 31 March 2021. A further breakdown can be found in note 11.

General Reserves of £4.990m were held at 31 March 2021, against a minimum level set in the Reserves Strategy of £4.5m. The use of general fund reserves is not expected to be required in 2021/22. The service has set a balanced budget for the year and Covid related expenditure should be contained within the grant received from Central Government for this purpose. Future years remain uncertain at this point in time as it is anticipated that Covid-19 will impact on council tax and business rate collection levels and the service will not know about future central government grant levels until the Autumn. This being said, the service is in a strong financial position and has sufficient reserve levels to enable it to plan for any reductions in funding in a measured way.

Pension Funds

Standard accounting practice requires the Authority to show the full future pensions liabilities at the time that these liabilities are earned by employees. An independent actuary has assessed the liabilities for pension schemes in which the Authority participates, namely the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes and the Local Government Pension Scheme. The schemes are currently in deficit, which shows as a total liability of £668.571m on the balance sheet. The largest element of this liability relates to the Firefighters’ Pension Schemes and stands at £634.122m.

The Firefighters’ Pension Schemes are unfunded and the annual cost of benefits is paid for by employee contributions and employer contributions. The Home Office meets any annual shortfall i.e. if the contributions into the fund do not meet the cost of pensions paid in the year. The Authority is required to continue to show the liability in respect of the Firefighter Pension Schemes in its Balance Sheet and notes to the core financial statements.

An employment tribunal case was brought against the Government in relation to possible discrimination in relation to the introduction of the 2015 Firefighters' Pension Scheme. The scheme included transitional protection arrangements between the old scheme and the new scheme. These transitional arrangements were found to be unlawful as they discriminated on the grounds of age. Fire Authorities are in a difficult position as they are required to implement the remedy in a timely manner whilst the discriminatory part of the pension legislation is not expected to be updated until at least October 2023. Following the ruling, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has commenced legal proceedings in the High Court for three test cases. Two of these cases are against Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Authority. A provision of £50k has been made towards the legal cost of the case and £128k towards additional ill health costs. There could be significant future costs involved with implementing the remedy which have been identified as a contingent liability in the Accounts.

The Home Office issued guidance in August 2020 (updated in June 2021) on how to implement remedy for those who are coming up to retirement. The Authority has made the decision:

  • not to transition any further employees into the 2015 scheme until everybody transitions in April 2022;
  • to apply the remedy to upcoming retirements where it is reasonable to do so.

Other Significant, Material and Unusual Items


Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the priority for the service has been to maintain its emergency response activity. From the outset, crews were formed into bubbles to prevent cross contamination between stations. Sickness levels have been very low and on-call availability actually improved due to staff being furloughed from their primary employment.

There was a 7% decrease in overall incidents during the year, largely caused by a reduced number of road traffic incidents due to lower traffic levels during the lockdown periods.

The service has attended several large incidents which required cross border support (both within Nottinghamshire and in other counties) but Covid secure practices have continued and the service has been able to utilise its standard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect staff at incidents. Over border support has been maintained throughout the pandemic.

Other face to face activity such as Safe and Well visits were constrained with only the most urgent visits being made and alternative methods of support being adopted, such as virtual or telephone advice. Additional temporary staff have been recruited in the Safe and Well team (using Covid-19 grant from the government) and as restrictions have been lifted, the Safe and Well team have increased the number of visits to 1,000 per month to reduce the backlog.

The training centre for staff was temporary closed in March and April. This impacted not only on the training of new recruits but also on maintenance of skills, for example in driver training and Breathing Apparatus training. These were given priority on the re-opening of the training centre and did not affect the operating capability of the service.

Recent investment by the organisation in technology enabled most support staff to move to home working in a seamless way with little impact on the service provided. Where working from home has not been a viable option it has been possible to either accommodate the reduced number of staff within the workplace or reallocate work where possible.

Recent investment by the organisation in technology enabled most support staff to move to home working in a seamless way with little impact on the service provided. Where working from home has not been a viable option it has been possible to either accommodate the reduced number of staff within the workplace or reallocate work where possible.

Ready, Willing, Able infographic detailing the service's response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Ready, Willing, Able infographic detailing the service's response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 386 Urgent Care shifts completed for EMAS
  • 1,276 Urgent Care patients transported
  • 12,264 Medical and Food parcels delivered
  • 642 COVID test administered
  • 30,721 Vaccinations given
  • 3,598 Signposting and befriending calls made
  • 14 COVID test centres built
  • 234 COVID testing volunteers trained
  • 36 Staff detached to support partner organisations

The financial impact of the pandemic has been borne out in the Summary of the Year part of this Narrative statement and in the figures in the Statement of Accounts. The service received a total of £1.210m Covid-19 grant from the government (£191k in 2019/20 and £1.020m in 2020/21). £743k has been spent during 2020/21 – a summary of this expenditure can be found in the table below. The balance of £276k being transferred to an Earmarked Reserve at year end. The revised balance on this reserve will stand at £453k. This has been allocated for ongoing expenditure in 2021/22.

Total 743
Expenditure 2020/21 Spend £'000
Non-Uniformed Pay 121
Operational Pay and Overtime 14
On Call firefighters Other Work 141
Cleaning Materials / Decontamination Supplies 66
Operational Equipment Uniforms and PPE 88
Other 108
ICT Infrastructure and Licencing 205

The uncertain economic climate has also had an impact on the ability to value the Service's assets with a level of certainty. A statement regarding the Covid 19 and Valuation Uncertainty can be found in Note 15.

HMICFRS Inspection

During January and February 2019, the Service underwent an inspection by (HMICFRS). The inspection report was published in June 2019. The Inspection delivered an overall rating of Requires Improvement. Whilst some areas of performance were awarded a rating of Good (protecting the public through fire regulation and responding to national risks) 24 areas were judged to be requiring improvement. An improvement plan covering the 24 areas has been developed along with an action tracking process to manage and record progress. 23 of the 24 areas have now been completed, with the final action programmed to be completed in 2021/22.

As detailed earlier, the service received a COVID-19 inspection HMICFRS during 2020. The report was published in January provided a reassuring overview of the Service and stated that we had “adapted and responded” to the pandemic effectively. It also praised the additional humanitarian work the Service has undertaken.

The Service is expecting its next full inspection to take place in September and October 2021.


The Business Case for a joint Head Quarters with Nottinghamshire Constabulary at the existing Police Head Quarters site was approved by Fire Authority in February 2019. Planning permission was received for the new building in December and building works are well underway, with an anticipated moving in date of early 2022. This will create an exciting opportunity for the two services to work more closely together as well delivering savings.

Nottinghamshire Fire Safety Limited

The Authority established an arm’s-length trading company, which began operating on 1 September 2010. The company was called “Nottinghamshire Fire Safety Limited”. Its main activities were to sell fire extinguisher maintenance services and fire safety training to external customers. The financial position of the company was not material in terms of the overall financial position of the Authority so separate accounts were not prepared for both the Authority and the trading company. The Trading Company was sold in August 2020 for £164,000.

Further detail about the company's trading results and overall financial position is shown in notes 35 and 42.

Plans for 2021/22

Elected Members of the Fire Authority approved a council tax increase of 1.95% for 2021/22 with a Band D council tax of £82.95 (£81.36 2020/21). The revenue budget for 2021/22 has been set at £45.3m (£45.2m 2020/21) with no planned use of general fund reserves. The budget includes £2.7m of government grant to cover Business Rate loss of income due to Covid reliefs and £2.4m to cover the expected increased costs of the firefighter pension employer contribution following the changes to the discount rates applied to the scheme.

Funding for 2022/23 to 2024/25 will be determined as part of the Government's spending review which will not be announced until Autumn 2021. It is expected that the ongoing impact of Covid-19 may have a negative impact on the collection of business rates for 2021/22 onwards, and a 5% decrease has been assumed in the 2022/23 budget.

There may be significant changes to the budget following the spending review and the service will have to deal with these when more information becomes available. It is still not known how the pension grant mentioned above will be treated and how the future financial impact of the McCloud age discrimination remedy will be dealt with moving forward.

The pay award for Firefighters has now been agreed at 1.5% and it is expected that support staff will get at least a 1.5% pay award. The budget included pay awards of 1% across the board. The additional cost for 2021/22 is expected to be £125k. This will also impact on future years budgets.

The monitoring position reported to Finance and Resources Committee up to the end of April 2021 was an underspend of £88k (0.2%). This was before the firefighter pay award was agreed. This demonstrates that early indications are that 2021/22 expenditure is expected to be in line with the budget.

Despite the uncertainty going forward, the service is confident that it is in a strong position to react should it find itself needing to reduce expenditure in order to balance the budget in future years. The service is currently spending in line with the 2021/22 approved budget and reserves are sufficient to allow a period of transition should changes in service delivery models be required (£10.7m).

The Service is currently carrying out a comprehensive fire risk assessment of Nottinghamshire. This data will help us ensure that we are allocating our resources to meet the foreseeable risks within our communities and identify any potential areas where efficiencies can be made should this be required moving forward. This will enable us to provide an efficient and effective response to help create safer communities. Any changes in risk will influence the strategic direction of the service and will impact on budget development in future years.