NFCC Chair calls for sustained funding as Home Office releases latest Prevention and Protection statistics

Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council Roy Wilsher has called for sustained funding for England’s Fire and Rescue Services, following the release of the Home Office’s latest Prevention and Protection statistics 
The figures - which cover the year April 2019 to March 2020 - include statistics on Home Fire Safety Checks and Fire Safety Audits. 
In the last year, FRSs have carried out 581,917 Home Fire Safety Checks (HFSCs)including 489,922 to those who are disabled or aged 65 and over - testament to the focus FRS’s have placed on targeted interventions and advice to those who are most at risk of fire. This is one part of FRSs prevention work to manage community risk as part of their individual IRMPs and adopting a person-centred approach to identify and address the underlying cause of fire. 
The number of Fire Safety Audits carried out in 2019/20 was 48,414. Shops were the most common type of premises to be audited, followed by Care Homes, with 66 per cent of audits (31,978) deemed as satisfactory.  
The statistics also revealed that Fire and Rescue Services carried out 83,348 other fire safety activities in 2019/20, an increase of 11 per cent compared with 75,036 in 2018/19. 
Reflecting on the Home Office’s latest statistics, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Roy Wilsher, said: 
As the latest figures show, Fire and Rescue Services continue to work extremely hard, delivering excellent prevention and protection work and carrying out an additional 8,312 other fire safety activities during 2019/20 
Although these latest Home Office figures reveal an eight per cent reduction in HFSCs, Fire and Rescue Services are better at targeting the work and are committed to delivering an improved risk focus to ensure the most vulnerable in our communities receive the best possible fire safety advice and support 
This years stats have also highlighted a very small decline in Fire Safety Audits. Reduced protection capacity is an area which has been highlighted consistently by HMICFRS, which is directly related to austerity and the subsequent 23 per cent reduction in wholetime firefighters since 2010. 
“This year, Fire Protection in English Fire and Rescue Services received £16million investment from Government, plus another £4million to the NFCC Protection Hub to improve central co-ordination, guidance and input to issues like the new Fire Safety Bill. We welcome the extra Home Office and Ministry of Housing Community and Local Government (MHCLG) funding this year but would want to see that base lined through the spending review. 
We currently do not know what the economic impact of COVID-19 will be on the public sector, but it is essential people continue to receive an excellent level of service.  
“Resourcing to risk, maintaining the number of firefighters, better resilience, investing in people and vital prevention and protection work are all areas the government musconsider to ensure Fire and Rescue Services can continue to provide the services communities need and have come to expect. 

Key findings from the 2019/20 statistics show:

  • 581,917 Home Fire Safety Checks (HFSCs) carried out
  • 489,922 Home Fire Safety Checks for those who are disabled or aged 65 and over.
  • An 11% increase in the number of other fire safety activities.
  • 48,414 Fire Safety Audits carried out.
  • Most common type of premises audited was shops – 7,880/16% of total.
  • Issued 2,295 formal notices (less than in 2018/19), 347 enforcement notices, 788 prohibition notices, 108 alteration notices and 52 prosecutions.
  • The full statistics can be found on the Home Office Website.
Back to news