Last updated 17.27 31/07/2017
Web Design & Administration Jennie Cole
Why not have a go entering this year’s show on August Bank holiday
The advance schedule for photography, vegetables and handicrafts are now available on firstname.lastname@example.org. The full schedule will be available
in late June.
On the 6th September 2016 a new national phone number “105” was launched by electricity network operators for customers to call should they need to report or get information about a power cut in their area.
As one of our key stakeholders who work with members of the public who may be affected by power cuts, we wanted to share this information with you. This a nationwide service that may well be of benefit to them. Key points to note about this service are:
A consumer awareness campaign will run from September through to next spring and will include PR, media advertising, social media and coordinated messaging through partner channels.
If you have any questions or would like any further information, do let us know. Also, if you are able to support awareness raising of 105, please can you let us know when, where and how you can help by contacting us on 0800 096 3080 or email@example.com.
Thanks a lot for your help.
Corporate Communications Officer
Corporate Communications Team (Midlands)
Western Power Distribution
Herald Way, Pegasus Business Park, Castle Donington, Derbyshire, DE74 2TU
Circulated to Local Councils
Cc: SALC Exec
Requests for Fire Safety Inspections
In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has received numerous requests from Commerce, Housing Associations, NHS Trusts and members of the public for “fire safety visits.”
In many cases these requests have been encouraged at national level with deadlines for response and the requirement for fire officers to “sign off” the inspections tagged on. It appears the perception amongst partners is that the result of any such an inspection will be fed back to the appropriate head office or a government department as a proof of compliance or non-compliance.
This is not the case, any audit SFRS carry out under legislation is a snap shot in time. It is a reflection of that moment. As a result no such compliance “sign off” exists or would be possible, as it would be meaningless.
The high volume of requests the Service is receiving from our partners indicate a very limited awareness of what legislation supports Fire Service interventions and inspections.
With this in mind I have produced some basic guidance that I hope will help manage expectations and point you or the people you represent in the right direction for further help and support. This guidance is only an edited legal version and is by no means exhaustive, however it conveys the key points and responsibilities.
Fire Risk Assessments and Fire Service Audits
The very ethos of Risk Assessment described as the identification and acknowledgment of risk. This will be balanced between the likelihood and severity versus the control measures and mitigation measures employed.
It is the legislative duty of the Responsible Person (RP) to ensure that a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment (FRA), has been undertaken by a Competent Person and have correctly identified and detailed any Fire Risk.
The duty of care for the Relevant Persons will always lie with RP.
The Fire Service will, during an audit, examine the documentation provided, detailing all hazards and risks and assess the suitability of the mitigation measures (I hasten to add that the Inspecting Officers are highly skilled, qualified and experienced in identifying measures that are inappropriate).
At no time would the fire service then endorse or underwrite the measures, as they are purely theoretical and procedural at this stage. However, testing and servicing regimes will be examined, as well as training records for staff. This examination of documentation, along with a physical “sampled” inspection of the building, allows the Inspecting Officer to assess the suitability of the FRA and Fire Safety Management of the building. This as previously highlighted is a “snapshot” in time.
The statuary responsibility for the duty of care to all relevant persons from fire, will always lie with the RP, and as such the FRA will need to be reviewed regularly. It must also accurately reflect the current conditions within a building; especially if new information comes to light.
Installations and structural features such as External Cladding, will need to be identified (if not already). The RP, has the legislative duty to amend the documentation and FRA, as well as identify additional mitigating measures to control the newly identified risk.
This requirement is “Absolute” in law.
The Regulatory Reform Order (Fire Safety Order) 2005 (FSO), article 6 states that the FSO does not apply to domestic premises (with some minor exceptions). The Fire Service, however, does have a duty under the FSO in the below circumstances;
• The common parts of HMOs (House of multiple occupation) but not shared houses.
• The common parts of buildings containing flats and maisonettes.
• The common part of sheltered accommodation.
The FSO does not apply to individual flats, maisonettes, bedsits or residential units themselves. The FSO is enforced by the Fire and Rescue Authority but it must consult the Local Housing Authority (LHA) before taking action.
The FSO places a duty on the responsible person to take such general fire precautions as will ensure the safety of all relevant persons. Relevant persons are anybody who is lawfully on the site or in the vicinity, who would be affected by a fire.
The responsible person is the person having control of the premises. This will usually be the occupier, management or owner of a building.
So who has the lead role for enforcing fire safety?
• Single dwellings, including shared housing, (Fire Risk Assessment not required). Local Housing Authority;
• All house in multiple occupation (HMO) whether or not subject to mandatory, selective or additional licensing. Local Housing Authority;
• All self-contained flats. Local Housing Authority;
• Premises with mixed commercial and associated residential accommodation and sheltered housing. Fire Service;
• Hotels, B&B and Hostels. Fire Service;
• All multiple occupied accommodation that is owned by the local housing authority. Fire Service.
Local Housing Authority (LHA) will; (key areas but by no means exhaustive list)
• Inspect and monitor premises as detailed above;
• They will enforce Fire Safety standards in accordance with the Housing Act 2004.
The Fire Service will; (key areas but by no means exhaustive list)
• Inspect and monitor premises as detailed above;
• They will consult with LHA;
• They will provide LHA with information on issues such as overcrowding, poor management or unsafe practices by tenants;
• They will inform LHA of any significant fires within these type of premises.
Housing Association/Landlords will;
• Ensure a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) is carried out by a competent person(s) and the significant findings recorded;
• Ensure the FRA is up to date and the associated fire safety of the building reflects the significant findings of the FRA.
Summary for Housing.
The Fire Service can audit communal areas of certain residential buildings, but for the purpose of the requests currently being made, would not be able to legally provide the type of assurance being asked for.
Where during previous inspections SFRS have found issues of significant risk, the use of certain rooms and buildings have been prohibited by way of legal notice.
SFRS will investigate all complaints made in relation to fire safety matters. When this complaint doesn’t sit within SFRS jurisdiction we will pass the complaint to the relevant body. In this case the LHA.
SFRS will work closely with the LHA and other partners. SFRS are carrying out joint audits of the 3 High Rise buildings in Telford. During these audits SFRS will audit under the FSO as detailed above (Communal areas).
For Housing Associations seeking confirmation that housing stock is compliant SFRS advice is that each Organisation needs to assess their FRA and associated fire safety measures and if required seek competent advice. The Fire Service cannot provide this advice as the Fire Service are the enforcing body for much of the legislation. To do so would be a conflict of interest and an act of misconduct.
Building Cladding and Design.
If you have any queries about the design, composition and materials used in the construction of your organisations buildings then please contact your Local Authority Building Control and Planning departments as they are the appropriate and qualified point of contact.
The Fire Service are consultees during planning submissions and will audit under the FSO when commercial buildings basically become occupied. However the Fire Service are not qualified to comment on the flammability of cladding, insulation and other building components. The British Research Establishment (BRE) are currently carrying out cladding tests on a selection of buildings identified and requested by the government.
Sections of buildings brought into SFRS will not be accepted or tested. We do not have the competence, capacity or legislative power to do so.
NHS, Commerce, Hotels, Industry
All the above are audited by the Fire Service and the inspection is carried out under the Regulatory Reform Order (FSO) 2005.
The audit process in Shropshire is based on a risk assessment. SFRS audit building types that have been identified as being of high risk of fire. These buildings types are assessed as high risk based on fire data and also the results of previous fire inspection audits. Many high risk buildings will not have a Fire Risk Assessment and will pose significant risk to life.
To enable this risk based focus SFRS have a guideline inspection frequency for certain types of buildings. Hospitals are recognised and statistically amongst the safest buildings in the UK. They generally have excellent fire detection, robust Fire Risk Assessments produced by competent persons and reviewed regularly.
SFRS also visits Hospital and NHS estates regularly by way of operational response to automatic fire alarm activations. On each of these occasions the Fire Service are able to assess the implementation of fire safety at the site and report feedback accordingly. As a result SFRS have a 5-10 year inspection programme for NHS premises in Shropshire. This frequency is continually assessed against risk.
SFRS advise all NHS trusts to consult their Estate and/or Fire Risk Assessor in regards to the recent national NHS request for assurance. If the Trust has concerns regarding the FRA then SFRS would urge them to update and review as necessary.
Where a NHS Trust requires assurance regarding cladding or other building components then again SFRS advises you contact your local authority Building Control and Planning departments.
SFRS will audit under the FSO if the SFRS assessment deems that the building requires one. This assessment has a basic 5-10 year cycle however the audits can be more or less frequent. There is no legislative requirement for SFRS to audit a certain type of building every so many months or years. This audit process is a risk based inspection programme. This also applies to Housing.
SFRS will investigate any complaints made against a building/owners under the FSO legislation.
NHS Request - 25 June 2017.
Following the NHS request on Saturday, 25 June further guidance was issued on what NHS buildings required a Fire Safety Audit as an immediate matter of urgency and outside any risk based inspection programme. Approximately 35 sites across 9 local authority areas were identified and forwarded to the relevant Fire Service.
I am pleased to announce none were based in Shropshire. As such SFRS are not carrying out any additional audit or inspections to support the original NHS request. This should not be confused with Fire Crews carrying out familiarisation visits on certain premises.
• If you require further information and support please feel free to contact SFRS Prevention and Protection Team 01743 260200.
• Liaise with your local authority.
• Review your Fire Risk Assessment and the significant findings. (Regularly review/evaluate)
• You are responsible for ensuring your tenants or staff are familiar with the Fire Safety Plan in your buildings
• SFRS cannot provide you with written or verbal assurances that your buildings and practices are safe and legally compliant.
• SFRS will audit premises and where necessary take action to enforce the RRO (FSO) 2005.
• SFRS will liaise and work with partners to ensure the safety of the community.
I appreciate this is a very long communication however I felt it was necessary to address the current situation and hopefully provide some guidance as to how the Fire Service can support this national process of fire safety assurance. It is not a simple subject and incorporates various legislation. I hope that this communication at least points you in the right direction.
Group Manager Prevention and Protection
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
St Michaels Street
Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service