A new report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has praised the fire and rescue service for its role in Hertfordshire’s pandemic response.
In September 2020, HMICFRS undertook a COVID-19 Inspection to evaluate Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (HFRS) COVID response, and the effect of the pandemic on the service’s core roles.
On Friday 22 January, Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen and Cabinet Member for Community Safety at Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), Terry Hone, received a letter summarising the findings of the inspectorate.
Among the highlights, the fire and rescue service was praised for its leading role in the multi-agency response to the pandemic, established through the county’s Local Resilience Forum which is chaired by Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen.
The letter stated: “Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has worked constructively with partner organisations to support and protect the community during the first phase of the pandemic. The service is serving its community well during the pandemic … and has played a leading and well-respected role in the countywide response.”
Among its praise for HFRS’ role in collaboration, the Inspectorate acknowledged that the service benefited from being part of Hertfordshire County Council.
The letter continued, commending the service for continuing to deliver its core functions: “The service adapted and responded to the pandemic effectively, and managed to maintain its statutory functions of prevention, protection, and response. It was able to adapt quickly to new ways of working; responding to emergencies and taking on a greater role in the community by supporting other blue light services and partner agencies.”
Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Terry Hone, was interviewed as part of the inspection: “I am delighted to see the Inspectorate’s recognition of HFRS benefitting from being a part of the county council.
“The letter contains a great deal of positive feedback and provides strong recognition of the breadth and depth of our contribution to the multi-agency response to the pandemic as well as the professionalism, ingenuity and commitment of staff at all levels across HFRS.”
Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen, said: “We were delighted to receive an overwhelmingly positive review from HMICFRS, but as the pandemic continues we will be mindful to pick up on the suggestions made by the inspectorate to further improve our response.”