29 September, 2022

Following Public Consultation Commissioner Zoe makes her decisions on the new Risk and Resource Model for the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.  

Commissioner Zoe, outside, in front of her office
After three months of consultation with the public, Zoe Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s Police Fire and Crime Commissioner has made her decisions on how the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will continue in its transformation over the next three years.

Underpinning these final decisions is the drive to help the public to be safe and feel safe in North Yorkshire and York.

The changes were first proposed to the public earlier this year, detailing how the Fire and Rescue service would seek to deploy its people, equipment and resources based on an extensive risk assessment across North Yorkshire and York, which identified the likelihood and severity of fires, road traffic collisions, water related incidents, and other emergencies.

Consultation with the public consisted of 12 public events at which 1,400 people actively engaged, three resident focus groups and an online survey which received 1,300 responses. Throughout this period Commissioner Zoe put the questions asked by the public to leaders of the Fire and Rescue Service and interrogated their response, scrutinising the detail of the data and evidence set out.

Commissioner Zoe has made approvals, subject to stipulations on some of the proposals, after evaluating the evidence and considering the views and opinions of the public.

Importantly, the decisions made by Commissioner Zoe enable any savings to be re-invested into vital areas of the Service identified as key public priorities; increasing prevention and protection work across the service area, which includes permanent investment into prevention and protection teams at this point and concentrating on improving the availability of On-call fire engines in rural areas.

Amongst the approved proposals is to change Huntington to an On-call station with the requirement for the Chief Fire Officer to implement an ongoing assurance review of on-call response time data annually. The decision falls heavily on evidence that there is more emergency response resource in the York area than the risk or demand requires, and therefore changing Huntington station is safe, and will enable capacity for more prevention and protection work.

The proposal to replace the Tactical Response fire engine at Harrogate with a larger Emergency Rescue fire engine has been approved and will be crewed only during peak hours. The second Emergency Rescue fire engine at this site will remain full-time, therefore increasing capacity and capability to respond to an emergency when demand is at its greatest, as well as improving resilience across the service area. Harrogate will pilot this proposal and after a 3-year review, the Commissioner will look to adopt in Scarborough.

Commissioner Zoe said: 

“I have made these decisions to support the transformation of our Fire and Rescue Service based on extensive evidence and from listening to what is important to you, which you said was increasing and enhancing prevention and protection work to stop incidents from happening in the first place”

“During my consultation my office and I had many great conversations across communities, taking the opportunity to listen and discuss what the proposals would mean and how they were in the best interest of keeping people safe and feeling safe. I want to personally thank everyone who attended one of our consultation events and completed the online questionnaire – your views are always important.”

“Some areas of the Service will change, and I know change can be unsettling, but I remain confident that the right people, with be in the right place, with the right equipment at the right time, to support everyone in North Yorkshire and York.”

Jonathan Dyson, Chief Fire Officer said:

“The Commissioner’s endorsement of the proposals we have presented within our Risk & Resource Model, supports my professional opinion and strategic direction for resourcing to risk. Our strong focus on prevention and protection activities are the primary way for us to reduce risk in our communities. This provides a sustainable commitment to keep the communities of North Yorkshire and the City of York safe and feeling safe.

“The Service has committed to sustained engagement with our communities, to provide reassurance about the changes that your fire service will be putting in place.”

Other decisions which will be progressed are plans to reform, improve and enhance the On-call service in North Yorkshire and York, the introduction of a new specialist water rescue capability in Skipton and adopting principles which provide the public of North Yorkshire with meaningful, accurate and localised emergency response standards to help them understand what they should expect.

Full details on the Commissioner’s decisions can be found in the Decision Notice published on her website here: Decision Notices – Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner North Yorkshire (northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk)