Assessments: checking how we run our service

Information about how Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service's performance is assessed.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service Operational Assessment and Fire Peer Challenge

In December 2013, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service participated in the Operational Assessment and Fire Peer Challenge process.

Peer Challenge is part of the fire and rescue services' commitment to sector-led improvement. It is supported by the Chief Fire Officers Association, the Local Government Association and the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser.

It is a voluntary process that has a strong operational focus and consists of self-assessment, on-site analysis and external peer challenge.

It is not a form of inspection, but expert external reviewers assess the following: 

  • delivery of prevention
  • delivery of protection
  • response activity

The aim of this is to provide Councillors and the Chief Fire Officer with information on the effectiveness and robustness of operational service delivery.

Delivery is compared with the fire service's understanding of community risk, allocation of resources and interaction with key partners. Regard is given to good practice in the health, safety and development of fire and rescue service staff.

A reflective self-assessment document was produced that focused on eight key areas and formed the basis for review of Service functions by the external team.

The on-site assessment was led by Dominic Harrison (former Chief Fire Officer of Cumbria), assisted by two senior officers and Kay Hammond, the Surrey County Council Cabinet Associate responsible for Fire and Police Services.

The outcomes of the review have been summarised in a report that identifies the strengths and areas for development. The information will be used to inform:

  • strategic plans
  • Integrated Risk Management planning
  • assessment of performance and identification
  • dissemination of notable practice

The Peer Challenge Team considered that Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service is delivering good and cost effective outcomes for the community, that staff display a real 'can do' culture, and that their commitment and enthusiasm is a considerable asset to the Service.

Download a copy of The Fire Peer Challenge Report (PDF, 339 KB)