London Fire Brigade

Agenda and minutes

London Fire & Emergency Planning Authority
Thursday, 26 January 2017 2.00 pm

Venue: City Hall, The Queen's Walk, London, SE1 2ALL

Contact: Peter Goss, Ground Floor, 169 Union Street, London, SE1 OLL; telephone: 020 8555 1200 ext 30084; e-mail:  peter.goss@london-fire.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Andrew Dismore AM, Councillor Susan Hall, Councillor Sarah Hayward, Councillor Jack Hopkins, Councillor Mehboob Khan, Caroline Russell AM and Councillor Amy Whitelock Gibbs.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Minutes of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority meeting held on 24 November 2016

Minutes:

The motion was made by the Chair – that the minutes of the Authority meeting held on 24 November 2016 be signed as a correct record.

 

The motion was seconded by the Vice Chair, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

 

The minutes were thereupon signed by the Chair.

3.

Special Announcements by the Chair and reports by the Chair or the Clerk to the Authority of any Communications

Minutes:

The Chair announced that on 2 December 2016 at the Excellence in Fire Service Awards, AC Peter Cowup was awarded the International Fire Professional of the year for being the Project Sponsor for Exercise Unified Response.  Innovation of the Year went to the Brigade’s Information Management Department for the Electronic Premises Information Plates, and Project of the Year went to the London Fire Brigade, also for Exercise Unified Response.

 

The Chair announced that on Christmas Day the Brigade joined forces with local Co-op food stores and the Healthy London Partnership to cook a Christmas dinner for the most vulnerable members of their community and their carers.  This was part of the festive celebrations at the five fire stations which took part, with the oldest guest at Dagenham being 99 years old.

 

The Chair reported that the 24 hour period over New Years Eve was particularly busy for the Brigade, with Brigade Control taking 640 calls and crews attending 365, which included two six pump fires, one eight pump fire and two ten pump fires.  One of these ten pump fires in Acton involved the road outside being completely blocked by 348 people that had been evacuated. Upon arrival crews witnessed people climbing out of a first floor window onto a flat roof. A ladder was pitched and eight people were assisted away from the scene. In total 10 appliances attended this incident.

 

The Chair reported that on 23 January 2017, the Brigade attended a fire in a block of industrial units in Wembley.  On arrival, crews gained access by forcing open a roller shutter door which revealed heavy smoke logging and once a sufficient water supply was established the initial fire in the original ground floor unit was extinguished.  However the fire had also spread to the roof void and crews experienced difficult conditions as the fire established itself.  Nevertheless, crews were ultimately successful in extinguishing the fire by using jets, ground monitors and aerial appliances.  In total 20 pumping appliances, 4 aerials and 2 hose layers attended the incident. The Chair added that she visited the fire ground the following day, and saw first-hand the truly impressive work from the Brigade’s firefighters on what was a busy night.

 

The Chair was pleased to announce that Peter Clarke and Simon Jakeman had been recognised in the New Year Honours list by being awarded the British Empire Medal. Peter’s award recognises his work creating “Crossfire”, a multi-agency community engagement project designed to reduce hoax calling, deliberate fires and anti-social behaviour. Simon’s award recognises his work on sustainability and energy-saving as the Brigade’s ‘Super Green’ champion over the past year.  Simon has been encouraging all staff to embrace environmentally friendly policies in the workplace. 

 

The Chair congratulated Councillor Amy Whitelock Gibbs, on the birth of her son, Felix, who was born on 7 December 2016.

4.

Disclosures of Interests and Dispensations

Clerk to the Authority – known details of membership of the GLA, other functional bodies and London Boroughs are attached as an Appendix to this Agenda.  The Appendix does not remove the need for a Member to declare at the meeting an interest (whether or not listed in the Appendix) in any relevant item on the agenda paper and to state also the nature of that interest 

Minutes:

Resolved – That the details of membership of the GLA, other functional bodies and London Boroughs, as attached as an appendix to the agenda, be noted.  No further disclosures were made.

5.

Budget Update - FEP 2685 pdf icon PDF 447 KB

Director of Finance and Contractual Services  – presenting the latest medium term financial position.

Minutes:

Report by Director of Finance and Contractual Services.

 

The Director of Finance and Contractual Services introduced the report.

 

Gareth Beeton (London Regional Chair, FBU) addressed the meeting and made reference to flooding requirements set out in paragraphs 32 – 36 of the report.  He sought the Authority’s support in lobbying the Government for flood response to be made a statutory duty for all Fire and Rescue services in the country with sufficient and appropriate additional funding.  The Chair thanked him for his contribution.

 

Gareth Bacon AM referred to the question he had asked under item 9 on the agenda (FEP 2697) and asked related questions arising from paragraph 72 of the report concerning the implementation cost of the Ultra Low Emission Zone.  In doing so, he clarified that the Vehicle Replacement report (FEP 2687) referred to in paragraph 72 had been submitted to the Resources Committee on 13 June and was not before the Authority.

 

After discussion, the Chair moved the motion – That the Authority:

 

(a)          Notes the report,

 

(b)                          Approves additional funding of £1.2m for the Community Safety Investment Fund in 2016/17, to be funded from the forecast underspend; and

 

(c)          Noting the likely level of savings over the alternative option, approves opting in to the Public Sector Audit Appointments Ltd arrangement for appointing the Authority’s auditor from 2018/19.

 

The motion was seconded by the Vice Chair, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

6.

Thomas Review - Update of Actions on Findings - FEP 2694 pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Commissioner – Setting out the key findings of the Thomas Review, and providing an update on actions underway or to be taken in response to those findings.

Minutes:

Report by the Commissioner.

 

The Commissioner introduced the report.

 

The Chair moved the motion – That the Authority:

 

Notes the actions set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

 

The motion was seconded by the Vice Chair, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

7.

Anthony Mayer Review of Resourcing of the London Fire Brigade and Lord Harris Review of London's Preparedness to Respond to a Major Terrorist Incident - Action Plan - FEP 2695 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Commissioner – Seeking approval for the action plan to deal with the implications for the London Fire Brigade of the two reviews.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report by the Commissioner.

 

The Commissioner introduced the report.

 

The Chair moved the motion – That the Authority:

 

Agrees the Action Plan at Appendix C to the report.

 

The motion was seconded by the Vice Chair, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

 

8.

Authority - Summary List of Actions Arising - FEP 2696 pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Clerk to the  Authority   setting out actions arising from a previous meeting of the Authority.

Minutes:

Report by the Clerk to the Authority.

 

The Chair moved that the report be noted.

 

The motion was seconded by the Vice Chair, put and agreed.

 

Resolved – accordingly.

9.

Questions from Members (in accordance with Standing Order 20) – 26 January 2017 – FEP 2697 pdf icon PDF 145 KB

Clerk to the Authority – presenting questions received from Members to be answered by the Chairman of the Authority and/or the Commissioner. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Questions from Members for the meeting on 26 January 2017, published in the order received in accordance with Standing Order 20, are set out below with supplementary questions and the Chair and Commissioner’s replies:

 

Questions received:

 

Question 471

From Councillor Emma Dent Coed

Vacant posts

Given the underspend on salaries, and cost of overtime paid to staff who are covering vacant posts, what are the Authority's short and long-term plans to fill vacancies?

Commissioner’s written response

Establishment shortfalls on the FRS side are met using agency and fixed-term contract staff.

 

The operational establishment shortfall at the end of December was 86 (1.8% of the establishment). In the short-term this is being covered using pre-arranged overtime on a trial basis to the end of March 2017, as agreed with the FBU. In addition we are currently recruiting Crew Managers, having recently undertaken a Watch Manager recruitment round, and this will fill gaps at officer level. We are also in advanced discussions with the FBU regarding new standby arrangements and watch-based structures, both of which will mitigate the effects of establishment shortfalls through more efficient deployment of staff.

 

In the medium to longer-term, Resources Committee on 13 January 2017 (FEP 2686) agreed new approaches to firefighter recruitment both to address establishment shortfalls, and to improve the quality and diversity of firefighter trainee recruits. We intend to commence advertising for firefighter trainees by the end of January 2017, and as part of the new approach agreed, we will be keeping recruitment open until we have sufficient recruits in the pipeline to meet our establishment needs.

Councillor Emma Dent Coad: This is very helpful and I’ve read the report which went to Resources Committee in great depth and I understand the process. It is more the pro-active approach because what came up was that recruitment most often came through people accessing the London Fire Brigade website; these are people who already know they want to be part of the Fire Brigade so I’m very interested to know what plan is to be brought forward to attract people who don’t know anything about it or have never even thought about it so I look forward to the plans for a kind of pro-active approach for people of all kinds with good upper body strength for operational staff, and back room staff as well.  Do we have a programme for this  we can look out for?

Commissioner:  We have recently undertaken and review of our recruitment process and as part of that review we recruited an external body to come and have a look, especially in relation to attracting women into the role and they undertook a piece of research for us; went out to market, talking to people about why they would consider the role, why they never would consider it and what their reservations were.  A very interesting piece of work and we have asked the people to come back and they have some video footage of research groups actually talking about the issues  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Urgent Business

Any other items the Chair considers urgent.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.