Assurance Statement 2017

Improving and reviewing
We believe in continual improvement and constantly look to develop what we do for the community as well as ensure that we provide value for money. To achieve this improvement we seek information from our community about their satisfaction and encourage feedback from staff, partner organisations, and other professionals.

We gather information from members of the public after incidents and undertake a range of audits and assessments, both internally and by external bodies. All of these are used to assist us to understand our strengths and weaknesses and inform our strategic assessment and Service plan.

This constant process of review helps us to improve our performance, making Hampshire a safer place to live. We are very proud of our past performance. However we will not stand still and are always developing new initiatives.

Assurance
To improve our services and ensure we are delivering the best service to the public we focus our attention in the three key areas, Financial, Governance and Operational. These areas help strengthen our organisation and give us a solid platform to grow.

Financial
It is important that public money is well used and appropriately managed. We do this by using proper accounting practice within our own set of regulations. This means that when we plan our budget or require additional funds, there are protocols to give appropriate scrutiny on how public money is to be used and to ensure there is clear justification to do so.

Proper and legal accounting practice                                                                 

We have robust systems for identifying and evaluating all significant financial and operational risks to the Authority on an integrated basis. This includes the active participation of all staff associated with planning and delivering services. We also have policies and procedures in place for the prevention of fraud & corruption and maintain a Register of Interest and a register of Gifts & Hospitality. For more details please see   Financial regulations.

Public money is used economically, efficiently and effectively

Financial Regulations are the regulatory framework within which the financial affairs of the Authority operate, and apply to all the Authority’s activities. The regulations identify responsibilities in full, but from a common sense point of view can be summarised as follows:

  • Major financial decisions, including setting the annual budget, must be taken by members as advised by the Treasurer.
  • The Authority encourages the Chief Officer and his staff to take as much day-to-day responsibility for financial management of the Service as possible within the agreed budget.
  • The Treasurer (for financial matters) and the Clerk (for legal matters) have statutory responsibilities and should be consulted on significant issues or where members or officers have any doubt about the correctness of a possible action.
  • Spending must be regularly monitored to ensure that it stays within approved budgets.
  • Members, as advised by the Treasurer, Clerk and Chief Officer, are responsible for identifying significant risks to the Authority and for putting in place a strategy to deal with them.
  • Payments, including to employees, can only be made through arrangements approved by the Treasurer and within detailed procedures laid down.
  • All partnership arrangements must take account of appropriate financial and legal matters.
  • For more details please see Budget accounts and regulations.

 

Governance
As well as having financial regulations and a financial management strategy it is important for us to follow appropriate business practice. How we do this is detailed in our ‘Annual Governance statement’, which can be found in our ‘Statement of accounts’. In addition to this, we provide the public with open access on our activity and spending. This gives us greater accountability to the public.

Measures taken by the authority to ensure appropriate business practice

The governance framework comprises the systems and processes, and cultures and values, by which Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is directed and controlled and its activities through which it accounts to, engages with, and leads the community. It enables the Fire Authority to monitor the achievement of its priorities and to consider whether they have led to the delivery of appropriate, cost effective and efficient services.

The system of internal control is a significant part of the framework and is designed to manage risk to a reasonable level. It cannot eliminate all risk of failure to achieve its aims and objectives and can therefore only provide reasonable and not absolute assurance of effectiveness. The system of internal control is based on an ongoing process designed to identify and prioritise the risk to the achievement of the Authority’s priorities. It evaluates the likelihood of those risks being realised and the impact should they be realised, in order to manage them efficiently, effectively and economically.

For more details please see Statement of accounts.

Transparency

The Local Government Transparency Code 2014 is designed to ensure greater transparency of local authority data.In compliance with this code, we publish the following public data:

  • Expenditure exceeding £500
  • Procurement card transactions
  • Procurement information:
  • Contracts register
  • Tenders
  • Local Authority Land
  • Grants to voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations
  • Organisation chart
  • Trade Union facility time
  • Senior salaries
  • Constitution
  • Pay multiple

We ensure that the publication of any data complies with the Data Protection Act 1998.

For more details please see Open data.

Operational
Our operational activities are supported by clearly defined policies, plans and procedures. An Operational Assurance team work hard to capture lessons of our effectiveness and look to make improvements where possible. 

As our understanding of risks and our local environments change we ensure that these are reviewed and revised in accordance with national policy frameworks. Information is integral to our continual service improvement. Using historical data we are able to learn from past events to make improvements for the future. Furthermore, we work closely with partner agencies to share crucial information and also deliver cost effective services to the public. 

Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP)

Our IRMP sets out our goals as a Service and how we plan to continue to make life safer for everyone in Hampshire. This involves:

  • Identifying existing and potential risks to the communities within Hampshire
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of current preventative and response arrangements
  • Identifying opportunities for improvements and determine policies and standards for prevention and intervention
  • Providing the resource requirements needed to meet these policies and standards

To produce the Service’s IRMP for the future, we have, over the last couple of years, reviewed every angle of our Service including how we respond to incidents, how we can create safer communities and how we can help build community resilience. This extensive piece of work was called the Risk Review project.

This began in February 2014, the Service set out to review all the risks in Hampshire, including population demographics, businesses and crime levels. By September 2014 we had scenarios for change, which were then put to a cross-section of our staff for feedback. After gathering this data we took this forward into the creation of our initial draft proposals. We looked to members of the Service, and their representative bodies, to give individual feedback and a view to the help shape the proposals going forward to the next phase. In 2015, we again put our proposals back to our staff so that they could understand how the process was developing. It allowed staff a further opportunity to have their say on the vision for the future of their local fire station.

The proposals were then reviewed by the Service Management Team and by our governing body the Hampshire and Fire Rescue Service Authority. Following the review we entered a 12 week consultation period, beginning in September 2015, which gathered input and opinions from all of our key stakeholder groups from across the county. The consultation closed on 4 December 2015 and the proposals were then amended and approved by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority on the 24 February 2016.

In March 2016, the Safer Hampshire consultation was awarded a certificate of best practice from The Consultation Institute (https://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/EasySiteWeb/GatewayLink.aspx?alId=12485)

                            

To view our IRMP please see: https://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/EasySiteWeb/GatewayLink.aspx?alId=13820

Service Plan

Our Service Plan clearly lays out our vision to work smarter, be more efficient, and to make life safer for everyone in Hampshire. Expanding on the areas covered in our IRMP we look to create safer communities through the strengthening of our Service. This is set out into 9 overarching priorities:

Safer

  • Building Community Resilience
  • Creating Safer Communities
  • Responding to Incidents

Stronger

  • Assets & Money
  • Communications & Engagement
  • Knowledge
  • Our People & Leadership
  • Technology
  • Working with Partners


For more details please see http://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/about-us/plan/


Performance 

As part of the governance arrangements within the Service Management Team (SMT), a number of committees have been established to effectively manage important areas of the organisation. One of these groups is the Performance Board. This Board has delegated authority from SMT to act in a monitoring capacity for managing and thereby improving the performance of all organisational activity that Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) undertakes.

The headings of the logic model are as follows: 

·          Activity – activities being under taken 

·          Input – resources available to deliver the activity 

·          Output – quantifiable metrics to show productivity of activity 

·          Outcome – immediate measurable change the activity hopes to deliver 

·          Impact – wider benefits the Service or public may realise 

Successful performance management relies on effective monitoring that drives informed decision making. Therefore, our Framework is there to ensure performance is appropriately reported and improvement actions are driven through transparent scrutiny. This starts at a local level with a common approach to the establishment of Station and Team Plans and agreement of ways of monitoring the delivery of these plans. This then feeds up through the monitoring of delivery of both business as usual and transformational change activities towards the achievement of the objectives in the Service Plan, to the provision of reports to the Fire Authority.

For more information on our performance reporting, please see our performance standards.

Peer Review

Our Peer Review took place from 24th to 27th November 2015.  This consisted of a range of on-site activities including interviews, focus groups and fire station visits. The peer team met with a broad cross-section of officers, staff, front-line firefighters, partners and elected members. The peer team undertook background reading provided to them in advance, including the HFRS Self- Assessment. The evidence and feedback gathered was assimilated into broad themes and was delivered to HFRS on the final day of the challenge. 

For more information, please see our peer review.

Civil Resilience

Emergency services are facing an increased variety of demanding situations. Major incidents caused by natural disasters, industrial accidents and the threat of terror attacks are challenges that we need to prepare for at a national level. These incidents could potentially have an impact on our daily lives. For this reason, there is a need for high levels of preparedness by the emergency services, including improved ability to operate effectively together. We hold several assets and deliver a response capability to National incidents that may arise in support of this initiative.

For more information, please see our civil resilience