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Royal Berkshire Fire Authority’s Response to the State of Fire Assessment 2020

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority welcomes and supports the ongoing work of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which aims to lead improvement across the fire and rescue sector at a national level.

As part of this work, the Authority is pleased that Sir Tom Winsor, in the State of Fire and Rescue Annual Assessment in England 2020, has highlighted the outstanding work, which many fire and rescue services, including Royal Berkshire staff, have undertaken during the pandemic.

Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Colin Dudley, said: “We are thankful, as highlighted in the Service’s individual HMICFRS COVID Inspection, that through strong local collaborative working relationships, great community links and a dedicated and highly-motivated workforce, we have been able to respond positively to the needs of our community during the pandemic.

“Over the past 12 months, the team at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been driving ambulances, distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline healthcare workers, supporting the delivery of mass testing and helping to establish mass vaccination facilities. All of this has been achieved whilst continuing to deliver the Service’s critical core functions and looking after the health and wellbeing of the team.

“We are hopeful that this work, along with our welcoming culture, will help us to continue to attract staff from all sections of our community. We want Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service to be an employer of choice, who fully reflects the communities we serve and we are confident we are on the path to success in this journey.

“We are also pleased that Sir Tom Winsor continues to highlight the significant challenges that fire and rescue services face in helping to improve fire safety in the built environment. As a community, Authority and Service, we will be working hard for many years to rectify the well-documented legacy issues, associated with how buildings have been constructed, modernised and maintained over the past two decades. Through proactive action, in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, the Authority and Service is well placed to support residents and ensure that the communities of Royal Berkshire can live in safety and free from the fear of fire.

“Finally, I am pleased and encouraged to see that Sir Tom Winsor continues to highlight the need for a fair and sustainable funding model for fire and rescue services. The average band D householder in Berkshire is paying just £67.60 per year for their fire service which is remarkable value for money for the critical life-saving services that are being provided to our communities.”

The State of Fire and Rescue – The Annual Assessment of Fire and Rescue Services in England 2020 can be found on the HMICFRS website, along with the COVID Inspection outcome for RBFRS.