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Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service

Fire & Rescue Inspection.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS)

Assessments by HMICFRS are designed for the public to see how each fire and rescue service is performing. The assessment looks at Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service’s performance in relation to other fire services across the UK. 

The inspection programme includes an assessment of:


including prevention, protection, resilience, and response


including how well the fire service provides value for money, allocates resources to match risk, and collaborates with the police and ambulance services


including how well it promotes its values and culture, trains its staff and ensures they have the necessary skills, ensures fairness and diversity in the workforce, and develops leadership and service capability

Our Inspection Results 

Here you will find the results of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service inspections. 


Northumberland Fire and Rescue improvements recognised

Northumberland Fire and Rescue (NFRS) have been recognised by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) for fully discharging all recommendations made within the Cause of Concern raised in a report published in 2021.  


The inspection which took place between June and August 2021 identified that “The management of dual contracts for staff working on-call and wholetime in the service must be improved” and made three recommendations which were to be actioned by March 31, 2022.  


The recommendations centred on: 

  • improving the management and recording of the working time of dual contract personnel,  

  • ensuring the meeting statutory requirements could be evidenced,  

  • and that appropriate rest breaks for operational staff welfare were always maintained.


NFRS submitted its evidence in response to the Cause of Concern ahead of the expected date in early January 2022 and the service was revisited by a team from HMICFRS in March to undertake reality testing of the revised arrangements.  


In publishing the revisit outcomes, HMCI Andy Cooke stated: ‘The robust plans that the service now has in place in response to this cause of concern reflect its determination and commitment to make the improvements that are needed. We recognise that the service has carried out considerable work to support these improvements. As a result, we now consider this cause of concern to be complete.’ 


NFRS Chief Fire Officer, Paul Hedley, said: “Northumberland Fire and Rescue have worked extremely hard since the report was published last year to address the concerns raised within the report. 


“When HMICFRS identified areas where we could improve the management of the health, safety and welfare of our dual contract staff we were determined to respond to those recommendations as quickly, and as fully, as we could.  


“We immediately looked at how we could make improvements following the HMICFRS Cause of Concern notification which we received in September 2021 and had all of the improved safeguarding arrangements in place by December 2021.  


“I'm very proud of our response to the cause of concern. It has been a fantastic team effort and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has played a part in ensuring we were able quickly implement new procedures and systems to meet all of the HMICFRS outcome requirements.”  


On Friday 22 April HMICFRS confirmed that NFRS had fully discharged all recommendations attached to the Cause for Concerns identified in the previous report.  


Councillor Colin Horncastle, Northumberland County Council Fire Authority Chair said: “This is excellent news, and the full discharge of the Cause of Concern recommendations reflects the seriousness that the service leadership team attached to addressing the HMICFRS requirements in full and the prioritisation of the recommendations by the service. 


The full revisit outcome letter can be found here  

HMICFRS Values and Culture in fire and rescue services report

In March 2023, HMICFRS produced the 'Values and culture in fire and rescue services’ report which contained 35 recommendations.​​


Twenty of these recommendations were directed at Fire and Rescue Services, and are the ones addressed and commented on in this progress report.​​


The remaining 15 recommendations were directed at external bodies such as the Local Government Association, the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council. As a result, we are unable to progress these locally.


​In our 2024 review, we have completed 18 of the recommendations assigned to us as Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, and continue to make progress against the 2 outstanding actions.


Progress can be viewed here

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