Agenda item

To consider Item 14


The Corporate Planning Manager advised Members, that as they would have seen from the cover paper and Appendix 1, the main purpose of the Corporate Plan was to shape and schedule the programme of work needed to develop and implement the proposals contained within the Authority’s Public Safety Plan (PSP). The most recent of these, covering the five-year period through to March 2025, was approved by the Authority at its meeting on 12 February 2020. This was following, and with regard to, the outcomes of an eight-week public consultation carried out in the last quarter of 2019. The draft plan at Appendix 1 also reflects the exercise of the discretion granted to the Chief Fire Officer by the Authority at the February meeting to determine the sequencing and timing of the work required to deliver on the strategic priorities set out in the PSP.


The Corporate Planning Manager advised Members that consolidated into the draft Corporate Plan were the ‘Areas for Improvement’ identified by the HMICFRS following their first inspection of the Service last year. The findings of which were reported to the Authority at the exceptional meeting held on 23 January 2020 and were also the subject of an action plan presented to the Authority on 12 February 2020. Furthermore, there had been a review of the draft Corporate Plan in light of the current Covid-19 pandemic and modifications made to try to anticipate the potential impact of it.


The Corporate Planning Manager advised Members that as they would have seen, it was structured around a framework of Strategic Objectives and Enablers. The first three objectives related to prevention, protection and response in managing risks in the community as required by the National Framework. The fourth was about ensuring that it was done in a way that ensured value for money and compliance with regulatory and good practice standards. There were also a range of Outcome Measures shown that were used to determine overall progress in relation to the objectives. These were reported annually to the Overview and Audit Committee, usually in November via the Annual Performance Monitor Report. There were also three strategic enablers that related to people, information systems, and assets and equipment in supporting delivery of the strategic objectives.


The Corporate Planning Manager also advised Members that the potential risks to the ability to deliver the plan were set out at page 45, together with how the Service proposed to control these. The Service was entering a period of great uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, not least in relation to the economic outlook, which would have potential implications for, amongst other things, the nature and level of risk in the community and also the Authority’s revenue funding base which was currently being considered, with a view to capturing it as part of the financial strategy that was proposed to be presented to the Authority in October. Given the degree of uncertainty that was likely to persist for some time to come, the plan would be under regular review and, in addition to reporting on progress via the Overview and Audit Committee, would be brought back to Members should any significant revisions be required. As Members would have also seen, a scheduled mid-term review of the 2020-25 PSP, was due to take place in 2022/23 although this could be brought forward if conditions required it.


A Member stated that some other fire and rescue authorities included a period of public consultation for their Corporate Plan, the Member presumed it was a discretionary process, but asked why the Authority had not done so, although with the current situation, finding a period of 8 or 12 weeks to consult would have been very challenging.


The Corporate Planning Manager responded that the Authority had been fortunate that it had managed to get its PSP finalised before the current situation. Some fire and rescue authorities were in a period of abeyance and discretion had been given by government to defer those plans because of the challenges around conducting a proper consultation. With regard to the issue of consulting on the Corporate Plan, the National Framework required that fire and rescue authorities consult on their Integrated Risk Management Plans (Public Safety Plan) but does not set out any requirements for documents such as the Corporate Plan. Although the draft Corporate Plan document itself had not been the subject of an external public consultation, many of the issues and proposals that it builds on, were included in the Public Safety Plan public consultation that was carried out towards the end of last year.


A Member asked if the Authority was satisfied that all the projected forecasts, against the risks, were accommodated for, and was the Authority satisfied that the responsibilities to meet all its financial obligations were accounted for, and the closing of Bletchley and Great Holm Fire Stations and moving to the Blue Light Hub would not increase risk; and, with the background of the pandemic, would anything have to be changed, modified, improved or altered.


The Chief Fire Officer advised that more work had been commissioned looking forward at the economic issues facing the Authority. That work would be undertaken in conjunction with the Local Resilience Forum and community impact assessments would be completed, to assess the broader position across the Thames Valley. The work would look at how changes in the economic circumstances would affect the community in terms of business, how that would affect the changes in risk within the community and how that would link into increased vulnerability within communities. Also being looked at, would be the increase in community tensions following the terrible death of George Floyd. An assessment would be undertaken in the coming weeks and months, which would then be compared to the current Corporate Plan, to see if they align. It may be that the priorities within the Corporate Plan would change in view of the current circumstances.


Members thanked the Corporate Planning Manager for the Corporate Plan and the update regarding Covid-19.




That the 2020-2025 Corporate Plan be approved by the Authority.

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