Hartlepool's 'very good' fire service not rewarded enough with Government funding, say chiefs

Calls have been made for the ‘very good service’ Cleveland Fire Brigade provides to be rewarded with increased Government funding going forward.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 8:22 am
Ian Hayton, chief fire officer
Ian Hayton, chief fire officer

Cleveland Fire Brigade chiefs explained how a board has been set up nationally to outline fire standards for brigades to follow, to help define and display what ‘Good’ looks like on an organisational level.

Ian Hayton, chief fire officer, told the Cleveland Fire Authority Executive Committee at its latest meeting they were rated ‘Good’ at its latest inspection, putting them in the ‘top six or seven nationally’.

Cllr Bill Woodhead, a Stockton-on-Tees representative on the authority, said Cleveland already performs to these high standards being outlined by the Fire Standards Board.

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He added he hopes the consistent high performance of the brigade and the introduction of the latest standards means Cleveland will see an increase in Government grant funding in the future.

He said: “These standards, I think we conform to them, it goes without saying that the people outside know they have a very competent fire authority and fire service because of the problems we’ve had in the past with certain fires.

“Unlike other fire authorities where they’ve been criticised, I’ve never heard any criticisms of the Cleveland fire service at all.

“It goes without saying that I think we have a very good service but it’s never reflected, and I keep saying this time and time again, it’s never reflected in our grant from the Government.

“I hope the setting up of this standards board does have some bearing on when the Government comes to handing out the grants.”

Mr Hayton noted how fire authorities are evaluated regularly by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

Therefore the new fire standards are becoming a ‘way of life’ and will be used as the brigade aims to be an ‘outstanding fire and rescue service’.

He said: “This authority in our last assessment got ‘Good’ across the board, and as that was the first time the fire service has been inspected for some time, that probably put us in the top six or even of the fire authorities in the country.

“The standards are becoming a way of life for us, we’ll use those in the development of various policies going forward.

“Equally any self assessments that we do, we’ll measure ourselves against that standard to ensure that we not only achieve the standard, but we surpass the standard in our aim to be an outstanding fire and rescue authority.”

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