Fire Reform and improving Fire Safety
Government launches ambitious plans for fire reform and fire safety improvements
Robust reforms to fire safety across England introduced to strengthen fire and rescue services
New regulations puts the majority of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations into law
New measures will ensure people are safe in their homes and places of work
The most comprehensive plans for fire reform in decades have been set out today in the government’s Fire Reform White Paper, which will help strengthen the emergency services and seek to ensure people feel safer in their homes.
The package builds upon changes following the Grenfell Tower fire and findings from independent inspection reports.
The changes announced include the commencement of the Fire Safety Act 2021 which will make sure all blocks of flats are properly assessed for fire safety risks and the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 which will help ensure people feel safe in their homes.
The White Paper sets out proposals which aim to:
Increase public safety: by improving the professionalism of the fire and rescue service through modern workforce practices and potentially establishing a College of Fire and Rescue.
Improve accountability: through the proposals to transfer fire governance to a single elected individual, overseeing delivery by operationally independent Chief Fire Officers.
Listen to the public: through the 10-week consultation the government will listen to the views of the public and stakeholders, after which it will finalise its reform programme.
The full package of announcements are listed below:
Fire Reform White Paper and Consultation
The Fire Reform White Paper and consultation seeks to introduce system-wide reform to strengthen fire and rescue services across England. The proposals are set out under three key themes: people; professionalism; and governance. The consultation is launching today to seek views and will be open for 10 weeks.
Review of the National Joint Council
As set out in the White Paper the government will launch a review of the National Joint Council for Local Authority Fire and Rescue Services. The review, which will commence later this year, will consider whether the pay negotiation mechanism in England is fit for purpose.
The Fire Safety Act 2021
The Fire Safety Act 2021 was commenced in full on 16 May 2022. This will clarify that structure, external walls and flat entrance doors of blocks of flats are within scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Fire Safety Order) and ensure that they are included in that building’s fire risk assessment.
Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool
To support commencement of the Fire Safety Act 2021, the Home Office is publishing supporting guidance issued under article 50 of the Fire Safety Order and launching an online prioritisation tool. The new Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool has been developed to help Responsible Persons identify the priority for updating fire risk assessments.
Fire Safety (Regulations) 2022
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 will require Responsible Persons to send information on high-rise residential buildings which will help fire and rescue services better plan for and respond to a fire. They will also improve fire safety in high-rise buildings by setting a baseline on safety checks on lifts for firefighters and other key pieces of firefighting equipment and, in mid-rise buildings, on doors. They will also make residents in all multi-occupied residential buildings feel safer by providing them with fire safety instructions and information on the importance of fire doors.
Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) consultation response, and new consultation
We are publishing the government response to our PEEPs consultation which we ran from 8 June to 19 July 2021.
We have taken account of the substantial difficulties of mandating PEEPs in high rise residential buildings and have developed new proposals that we are confident deliver proportionality, practicality and improve safety for those vulnerable people living in the highest risk buildings. We will now consult and seek views on these proposals.
Fourth thematic update on Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 recommendations
We are publishing our latest update on progress against Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 recommendations. This shows progress made by Government departments, and relevant public authorities, including the London Fire Brigade and National Fire Chiefs Council. The update provides a digestible, transparent way for the public to hold those responsible for delivering recommendations to account. The update can be accessed on the Fire England website and on GOV.UK, where the previous updates are available.
Fires in high-rise residential buildings in England are rare, and thankfully deaths from fires in high-rise residential buildings are extremely rare. The Government, however, is committed to learning the lessons of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower.