HMICFRS Values and culture report

Progress update

Recommendations

1 Introduction

This page shows the progress we have made towards the recommendations set by the HMICFRS in their 'Values and culture in fire and rescue services’ report, published in March 2023. 

HMICFRS’s report made 20 recommendations for fire and rescue services, you will see here that London Fire Brigade has completed 17 of these already, with progress ongoing to complete the remaining three by December 2024. 

In their report HMICFRS directed 15 other recommendations at national bodies including the National Fire Chief’s Council and the Home Office, so are not detailed here.

 

2 Recommendation 1

By 1 October 2023, chief fire officers should make sure their services provide a confidential way for staff to raise concerns and that staff are aware of whistleblowing processes.

 

Complete
 
We have a specific Whistleblowing policy and line which is promoted and accessible via the Brigade’s intranet.
 
In addition, since November 2022 there has been an independent reporting line and external investigation service for staff who wish to raise complaints or concerns.
 
In January 2024 we formed a Professional Standards Unit to investigate complaints and concerns. This team ensures an independent and confidential process. We have maintained the use of an external service provider to investigate complex cases and those involving allegations against senior staff. We have also maintained the independent reporting line.

 

3 Recommendation 3

By 1 June 2023, chief fire officers should review the support available for those who have raised concerns and take any action needed to make sure these provisions are suitable. 

 

Complete
 
We have had processes in place that support staff who have raised complaints. In January 2024 we formed a Professional Standards Unit to investigate complaints and concerns. This team ensures an independent and confidential process. They are now responsible for ensuring that support is available to those who raise complaints or concerns.

 

4 Recommendation 4

By 1 June 2023, chief fire officers should assure themselves that updates on how concerns are being handled are shared with those who have raised them. The updates should be given in an accessible way that encourages trust and confidence in the service response. Consideration should be given to creating a professional standards function to handle conduct concerns in service (or from an external service) to have oversight of cases, to make sure they are conducted in a fair and transparent way and to act as a point of contact for all staff involved.

 

Complete

Following the independent Culture Review in November 2022 we appointed an external service provider to investigate all complaints and concerns. A process was in place to update those who raised complaints or concerns.
 
In January 2024 we formed a Professional Standards Unit to investigate complaints and concerns. This team ensures an independent and confidential process. They are responsible for keeping those who raise complaints or concerns updated. We have maintained the use of an external service provider to investigate complex cases and those involving allegations against senior staff.

 

5 Recommendation 5

By 1 June 2023, chief fire officers should make sure they provide accessible information for all staff and members of the public on how they can raise concerns and access confidential support (including through external agencies). Chief fire officers should also make sure accessible information is provided on how concerns and allegations will be investigated in a way that ensures confidentiality and is independent of the alleged perpetrator. 

 

Complete
 
Following the independent Culture Review in November 2022 we appointed an external service provider to investigate all complaints and concerns. Information about how this could be accessed was publicised both internally and externally. This service included an independent reporting line.
 
In January 2024 we formed a Professional Standards Unit to investigate complaints and concerns. This team ensures an independent and confidential process. We have maintained the use of an external service provider to investigate complex cases and those involving allegations against senior staff. We have also maintained the independent reporting line.

 

6 Recommendation 9

By 1 January 2024, chief fire officers should:

  • immediately review their current background checks arrangements, and make sure that suitable and sufficient background checks are in place to safeguard their staff and communities they serve; and

  • make sure that appropriate DBS check requests have been submitted for all existing, new staff, and volunteers, according to their roles as identified by the Fire Standards Board.

 

Complete
 
A review has been conducted into background checks arrangements within the Brigade.. Enhanced checks are being carried out on staff who are in a position of trust, enter people’s homes or work with vulnerable people. We have a comprehensive plan which ensures all employees will be vetted as part of a three-year programme and that those without current vetting will be prioritised.

 

7 Recommendation 12

By 1 March 2024, chief fire officers should provide assurances to HMICFRS that they have implemented the standard on staff disclosure, complaint and grievance handling. 

 

Complete
 
In January 2024 we formed a Professional Standards Unit (PSU) to investigate complaints and concerns. We have maintained the use of an external service provider to investigate complex cases and those involving allegations against senior staff. We have also maintained the independent reporting line.
 
In February 2024 we introduced new Discipline (Conduct) and Grievance policies and procedures.
 
The PSU and new Discipline and Grievance policies and procedures meet the Fire Standards Board requirements in relation to staff disclosure, complaint and grievance handling.
 
We are currently assessing recent changes to the standards and the Culture Transformation programme will oversee the implementation of these.

 

8 Recommendation 14

By 1 March 2024, chief fire officers should provide assurances to HMICFRS that they have implemented the standard on misconduct allegations and outcomes handling. 

Complete
 
In January 2024 we formed a Professional Standards Unit (PSU) to investigate complaints and concerns. We have maintained the use of an external service provider to investigate complex cases and those involving allegations against senior staff. We have also maintained the independent reporting line.
 
In February 2024 we introduced new Discipline (Conduct) policy and procedures.
 
The PSU and new Discipline policy and procedures meet the Fire Standards Board requirements in relation to misconduct allegations and outcomes handling.
 
We are currently assessing recent changes to the standards and the Culture Transformation programme will oversee the implementation of these.

 

9 Recommendation 17

With immediate effect, chief fire officers should  notify HMICFRS of any allegations that have the  potential to constitute staff gross misconduct

 

Complete

A process has been put in place to notify HMICFRS of any allegations that meet the criteria provided.

 

10 Recommendation 18

By 1 August 2023, chief fire officers should provide assurances to HMICFRS that all parties are supported in relation to ongoing investigations. 

 

Complete
 
We have processes in place that support staff who have raised complaints and those subject to investigation. In January 2024 we formed a Professional Standards Unit to investigate complaints and concerns. This team is responsible for ensuring that support is available to those who raise complaints or concerns, or who are subject to investigations.

 

11 Recommendation 20

By 1 June 2023, chief fire officers should have plans in place to ensure they meet the "Fire Standards Board’s leading the service standard" and its "leading and developing people standard". 

 

Complete
 
The relevant Fire Standards have been used in the design and provision of service delivery as set out in the Community Risk Management Plan – ‘Your London Fire Brigade: our plan for 2023 – 2029’.
 
Following the publication of the independent Culture Review in November 2022 a Culture Transformation Programme has been established with plans to oversee improvements. A specific project has been formed on Leadership which ensures the standards are core to improvements being made.

 

12 Recommendation 21

By 1 June 2023, chief fire officers should make sure there is a full, 360-degree feedback process in place for all senior leaders and managers (assistant chief fire officer equivalent and above) in service. 

Ongoing
 
Senior and middle leaders in LFB have used 360-degree feedback processes between 2019 and 2021. In June 2023 the Brigade launched a new appraisal process for all staff. As part of this process staff receive feedback against performance areas and the values.
 
We are currently evaluating and redesigning our Leadership learning and development programmes and the use of 360-degree feedback is included in this work.

 

13 Recommendation 22

By 1 September 2023, chief fire officers should make sure there is a full, 360-degree feedback process in place for all other leaders and managers in service. The process should include gathering feedback from a wide range of sources including colleagues and direct reports. 

 

Ongoing
 
Senior and middle leaders in LFB have used 360-degree feedback processes between 2019 and 2021. In June 2023 the Brigade launched a new appraisal process for all staff. As part of this process staff receive feedback against performance areas and the values.
 
We are currently evaluating and redesigning our Leadership learning and development programmes and the use of 360-degree feedback is included in this work.

 

14 Recommendation 23

By 1 June 2023, chief fire officers should seek regular feedback from staff about values, culture, fairness and diversity, with due regard to the leading and developing people standard. They should show how they act on this feedback.

 

Complete
 
In May 2023 we carried out a staff survey which had a 70% completion rate. This was used to identify areas for improvement with a particular focus on values and behaviours. The findings were broken down to different groups, ranks and grades, and protected characteristics providing the ability for detailed improvement plans to be developed.
 
Between January and June 2023 over 1700 leaders took part in Leading Culture Conversation events where their feedback on values and behaviours were collected.
 
Feedback from the survey and the above events were then used to design the LFB Values and Behavioural framework. The implementation plan of LFB Values involved senior staff briefing all staff.

 

15 Recommendation 24

By 1 October 2023, chief fire officers should put plans in place to monitor, including through the gathering and analysis of staff feedback, watch and team cultures and provide prompt remedial action for any issues they identify.  

Complete
 
In March 2023 we introduced a People Dashboard for managers to monitor key indicators relating to culture. These include sickness, resignations, requests for transfer, workforce composition and complaints and grievances.
 
In May 2023 we carried out a staff survey which had a 70% completion rate. This is used to identify areas for improvement with a particular focus on values and behaviours. The findings were broken down to station and team level providing the ability for detailed improvement plans to be developed.

 

16 Recommendation 26

By 1 October 2023, as a precursor to the development of the College of Fire and Rescue, chief fire officers and the National Fire Chiefs Council should work with the Home Office to consider how they can improve the training and support they offer to staff in management and leadership development. This should include authority members in respect of their assurance leadership roles and should ensure that opportunities are offered fairly across all staff groups.  

Complete
 
Since 2022 we have implemented a significant programme of leadership training for all levels of leaders within the Brigade.
 
Following the publication of the independent Culture Review in November 2022 a Culture Transformation Programme has been established with plans to oversee improvements. A specific project has been formed on Leadership which is reviewing what further

 

17 Recommendation 27

By 1 June 2023, chief fire officers should make sure their equality impact assessments are fit for purpose and, as a minimum, meet the requirements of the National Fire Chiefs Council equality impact assessment toolkit. 

 

Complete
 
We use Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) to make sure our decisions, practices and policies are fair and do not unintentionally discriminate against different groups of people with protected characteristics. Our EIAs are fully aligned to the Public Sector Equality Duty. We have put in place a process to train staff in their use.

 

18 Recommendation 28

By 1 June 2023, chief fire officers should review how they gather and use equality and diversity data to improve their understanding of their staff demographics, including applying and meeting the requirements of the National Fire Chiefs Council equality, diversity and inclusion data toolkit.

 

Complete
 
We gather equality and diversity data and use this in the formulation of policies and procedures.   A new HR Data strategy  will provide insights into organisational trends and issues to improve our understanding and support better decision making. For example, we are using equality and diversity data in the analysis of staff survey results, staff composition, pay gap, sickness, the outcomes of promotion processes, and misconduct and grievance processes.

 

19 Recommendation 32

By 1 June 2023, chief fire officers should, as a priority, specify in succession plans how they intend to improve diversity across all levels of the service. This should include offering increased direct-entry opportunities.

Complete

Both the Outreach and Community Engagement teams have plans to improve diversity through the recruitment of new staff. Our new recruitment and resourcing strategy includes equality, diversity and inclusion as core principles. We have decided to delay further consideration of the use of direct entry until late 2024 when the changes being made in our HR function are complete.

 

20 Recommendation 33

By 1 August 2023, chief fire officers should develop plans to promote progression paths for existing staff in non-operational roles and put plans in place to reduce any inequalities of opportunity. 

 

Ongoing
 
A recruitment and resourcing strategy is in the final stages of being approved. This includes the commitment to career pathways and talent management across all roles, including non-operational roles. This has equality, diversity and inclusion as core principles.
 
Following the publication of the independent Culture Review in November 2022 a Culture Transformation Programme has been established with plans to oversee improvements. A specific project has been formed on Leadership learning and development and this includes a specific work plan to provide improved provision for non-operational staff.
 
A new appraisal process was introduced in June 2023 and this is being expanded to enable more detailed analysis of development requirements for all staff and link this to career development pathways. Work is currently ongoing with staff networks to reduce inequalities of opportunity through leadership events.

 

21 Recommendation 34

With immediate effect, chief fire officers should  review their implementation of the Core Code of Ethics.

 

Complete

We formally adopted the NFCC Code of Ethics in October 2023. These were used in the development of the LFB Values and Behavioural framework which were launched in December 2023. There is a comprehensive implementation plan which involves all staff being briefed by senior leaders about the values and how they relate to the service provided. In addition, all staff are taking part in workshops to talk about their role as an individual in bringing the values to life. These briefings and workshops are taking place between December 2023 and June 2024