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Corporate Planning Process
Last year I commended the format of this Plan. It is a 'dynamic' document enabling us to continually update information about our plans and performance.
I am delighted that our external auditors have also praised the format – recognising that it supports, in a very practical way, our approach to strategic planning and performance management. If ever there was a need for a corporate planning process to be dynamic and flexible it is now. The fire service is facing an agenda of unprecedented change – being clear as to what we want to achieve is therefore critical.
Members of fire authorities will be expected to take an increasingly active role with officers in developing our Integrated Risk Management Plan. This alone will fundamentally change the way we assess and respond to risks in the community – not just those relating to fire.
We live in a changing world which requires new solutions to new challenges. This challenges us to be innovative, to work with others and focus on what is important. Nevertheless, members of the Authority will be particularly keen to ensure effective consultation with the public, staff, and other stakeholders on any major proposals for change in Hampshire.
This Plan, for the first time, incorporates a 3 year Integrated Risk Management Plan, designed to deliver consistency and clarity on what can be expected over the next 36 months. Inevitably, this will be refreshed on a regular basis. I would invite you to visit this site frequently to check on our progress.
Despite all the change one thing remains constant – our commitment to 'make Hampshire safer'.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service exists to keep the communities of Hampshire and those who visit us safe. The Service has a proud tradition of effectively and professionally achieving this aim. However, new challenges and a changing role for the whole of the Fire and Rescue Service, means we need to reconsider how we deliver our service in the future, whether there are more effective ways of achieving our goal, and if we, by working with others in partnership, can better serve the public. The Service of the future will be built of three key elements, these are:
We believe that fires, and other incidents, which threaten people’s safety are best avoided. Whilst we will always be ready and prepared to respond to incidents, preventing the situation in the first place is the best protection for our communities and emergency workers.
Through protection, we aim to work with the public, voluntary and private sectors to ensure standards of fire protection are in place which reflect the whole risk. That means whilst our primary concern is the threat to life, we will recognise and respond to the dangers posed to the environment, people’s livelihood, public services and even the county’s heritage. Whilst we will always seek to work in partnership, where the threat to safety is intolerable we will take swift enforcement action.
We believe that prevention is always better than cure and so, through education and engagement, aim to raise the safety awareness of the public so they can protect themselves. Advice, education and persuasion are for us key tools in influencing people’s behaviour so that they reduce the risk to themselves and others. Similarly, we are keen to highlight to communities the dangers of, and blight caused by arson and will work tirelessly to reduce the incidents of fire related crime.
The promotion of protection and prevention is not a backdoor way of getting a fire service on the cheap or shirking our commitment to respond to incidents. Rather, by integrating our protection and prevention activities, we stand the best chance of driving down risk. When we do respond to incidents, we will aim to do this more effectively by targeting our resources to the life risk rather than as previously, the property. We know the key is - when we are needed - we are needed quickly, and as such, have set new challenging targets to respond more rapidly.
The Service now has new responsibilities beyond fire to include road traffic incidents, environmental emergencies and notably, terrorist attacks. To deliver this expanded, more integrated service, we need to change how we organise ourselves and operate. It is because of this that we want to create more flexible, innovative ways of working to meet our aims. That change will be a challenge to how we have done things in the past. It will require careful explanation and dialogue along with sound judgement and co-operation. These are challenges not only for the organisation as a whole but also for us as individuals. However, without doubt, some challenges are a price worth paying to have Hampshire a safer place.