Improvement journey steps up a gear at fire service

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (WSFRS) has taken the next step in its improvement journey, ensuring it continues to deliver an exemplary service to communities across the county.

WSFRS has launched a cultural development programme that will empower staff to embody the values of West Sussex County Council and those in the National Fire Chief’s Council Core code of Ethics.

The programme will:

help identify what staff feel is or is not working well
develop at pace the working culture within WSFRS to help support and deliver the service’s vision, strategic aims and objectives
propose how this work can continue beyond the programme as continuous service improvement
The fire and rescue service’s commitment to improvement is established in the Community Risk Management Plan, which set outs key development areas over four years.

Chief Fire Officer Sabrina Cohen-Hatton said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for everyone in WSFRS as we continue on our improvement journey together, with a focus on ensuring we continue to provide a fire and rescue service that meets the needs of everyone living and working within West Sussex.

“We are committed to embedding a culture of psychological safety across our service that ensures that everyone feels empowered and proud to deliver the high level of service our communities have come to expect of us.

“This new programme of work is a first for us as a service; by giving everyone in the room the equal opportunity to have their voice heard we are making a commitment to each other to create a workplace that is inclusive and allows everyone to be the best that they can be.”

Drawing on the fire service’s vision of Proud to Serve, the programme of work will be delivered by 31Ten Consulting.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire & Rescue Services previously highlighted a cause of concern around the service’s culture in autumn 2021.

Inspectors wanted to see further evidence of what the service was doing to improve how staff understand and display its expected values and behaviours.

An action plan was submitted to HMICFRS in the summer of 2022 setting out a programme of work under a cultural development programme to address this cause of concern.

Work to deliver this new programme will commence this summer.