Agenda and minutes

Staffordshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel - Monday 15th February 2021 2:00pm

Venue: Meeting to be conducted using Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Mandy Pattinson  Email: mandy.pattinson@staffordshire.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

9.

Declarations of interest

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.

10.

Questions to the PFCC from Members of the Public

Questions to the Commissioner are invited from members of the public who live or work in Staffordshire.  Notice of questions must be received by no later than three clear working days before the Panel meeting.  More information on where and how to submit a question can be found at https://bit.ly/34arVDw

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No questions were submitted in time for this meeting.

11.

Proposed Fire and Rescue Budget and Precept 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 381 KB

a.    Budget Report 2021/22 including MTFS

b.    Treasury Management Strategy 2021/22

c.     Reserves Strategy Update

d.    Capital Strategy and Capital Programme

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Commissioner introduced his report which set out the proposed budget and precept proposals for the Fire and Rescue Authority for 2021/22.

 

The Panel received a presentation from the Chief Finance Officer, which was considered along with the Fire Revenue Budget Report (including the MTFS and Precept).

 

It was reported that the Settlement Funding for 2021/22 was £14.571million made up of; Revenue Support Grant (RSG) which had been set at £4.777million; Local Business Rates revenue of £3.735million andBusiness Top up of £6.059million.  It was noted that the RSG had reduced by £9million since 2012. 

 

The total budget requirement for the service was £42,404million.  The Commissioner was proposing to part fund the balance from Council Tax funding of £27.406 million and proposed an increase of 1.99% per annum (£1.54 pa per Band D property). The Commissioner informed the Panel that this figure was below the permitted limit of 2%.

 

Referring to Appendix 1 of the report, it was explained that the Pay costs had reduced, mainly due to the Joint Emergency Transport (JET) staff transferring from the Fire Service to Police employment which had reduced the budget by £600,000.   The Supplies and services cost had increased due to proposed investment into IT (Office 365 and ‘Fire watch’).

 

The Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) showed a gap of £1.7 million identified for 2022/23 which would increase to £2.9million by 2025/26.  The gap was based on the assumption that the level of RSG would continue to reduce beyond 2021/22 pre-empting the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review and the impact of the results of the Fair Funding Review.  The MTFS also assumed additional pension costs resulting from the Sargeant/McCloud pension remedy and the impact of the 2020 Firefighters Pension Scheme valuation.  A 5% increase in employment contributions had therefore been included in the MTFS form 2022/23.

 

The Panel also considered the following documents:

·               The Treasury Management Strategy for 2021/22 which set out proposals for the management of the Fire Authorities cash flows, borrowing and investments and the risks of a changing interest rate on borrowings and investments and the risks of a potential loss of invested funds.

·               The Reserves Strategy update paper considered the overall level of reserves held by the Authority at 31 March 2020.  The paper focused on two key areas of reserves that impacted on the future financial strategy.  These were the General Reserve balance forecast as at 31 March was £1.9million and Earmarked (specific) Reserves, to meet future or predicted requirements balance at 31 March 2021 was forecast to be £6.8million.  Overall, the level of Earmarked reserves had reduced by over £2million during the last four years and was forecast to reduce to approximately £4.1million by 2025/26.

·               The Fire Authorities Capital Strategy and Capital Programme 2021/22 to 2023/24 (Including Minimum Revenue Provision Policy.

 

Following a question on the collection funds and Appendix 4 and 5 of the main Budget and Precept report, it was explained that the Council Tax surplus /deficit Appendix would normally show a surplus but  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Fire and Rescue Service Safety Plan 2020-2024 Update Report pdf icon PDF 527 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report provided the Panel with an update on the delivery of the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Safety Plan (SP), Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP).

 

Following the transfer of governance from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority to the Staffordshire Commissioner, a new Safety Plan 2020-2024 was developed which was published in August 2020.

 

The Safety Plan was designed to underpin the Staffordshire Commissioners Fire and Rescue Plan and four priorities for the Service were determined following consultation across Staffordshire in 2020.

 

The four priorities that the Service was delivering against were:

·       Prevention and Early Intervention

·       Protecting Staffordshire and its people

·       Public Confidence

·       Service Reform

 

Detail on the priorities and the progress to date was contained in the report.

 

It was explained that the Princes Trust work had stopped during the pandemic but there were plans to start again when it was safe to do so.  Similarly, the Cadets scheme would also be reinstated.

 

The Safe and Well visits had been reduced during 2020 and the service was being provided through a revised approach using either telephone advice only; telephone advice and smoke alarms dropped off at the door for the occupier to fit; and for residents with an immediate threat to life telephone advice and a full safe and week physical visit. 

 

The Panel asked why Road Traffic Incidents was a key performance indicator.  It was explained that this was work mainly done through the Safer Roads Partnership and mainly involved making vehicles or the areas safe after accidents.

 

Along with the Safety Plan, the Commissioner presented an inspection letter from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS).  The Inspection was carried out between the 19 and 30 October 2020. 

 

In the report it was noted that staff absence had increased by 63% from April to June 2020.  Members asked for more information on staff absences during 2020 for both Fire and Police services and if the absence had been due to Covid-19.

 

The Panel asked how many high-rise blocks of flats were in Staffordshire and what the situation was regarding cladding. The Commissioner agreed to provide the information to the panel but confirmed that there was no ACM cladding in Staffordshire.  Sprinkler systems in flats were the priority and work was taking place with the relevant Local Authorities to address this.

 

The Panel and the Commissioner expressed their sincere thanks to the Fire and Rescue Service for all their work during the pandemic, particularly the work with the vaccination programme.

 

RESOLVED:

a)    That the delivery of the Safety Plan 2020 – 2024 and the Covid19 inspection report be noted.

b)    That information on staff absences during 2020 for both Fire and Police services and the reason absence be forwarded to the Panel.

c)    Information on the number of high-rise blocks of flats in Staffordshire and the situation regarding cladding be forwarded to the Panel.

d)    The Chairman, on behalf of the Panel write to the Fire and Rescue Service expressing their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Covid-19 Inspection: Staff Fire and Rescue Service pdf icon PDF 170 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The inspection report was considered under the previous item (Safety Pan).

 

14.

Questions to the PFCC by Panel Members

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no questions asked under this heading.

15.

Dates of Future Meetings and Work Programme pdf icon PDF 139 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The reserved date of 22 February was no longer need for a meeting and would be cancelled.

 

RESOLVED – That the dates future meetings be noted.