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National overview

Inspection of fire and rescue services in England is carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

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HMICFRS’ independent fire inspection role is key to providing transparency for the public, enabling them to see clearly how their fire and rescue service is performing against a range of measures.  HMICFRS inspection reports – which grade services as outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate - give the public an independent view of the quality of their local service and are vital tools to hold services to account.  The inspection programme focuses on 3 main areas of questioning around effectiveness, efficiency and how services manage their people.  Further details of HMICFRS’ inspection programme can be found here.

HMICFRS inspected all fire and rescue services for the first time over 2018-2019.  The reports from these inspections were published in three groups or tranches - material from tranches 1, 2, and 3 reports provide further information.

In 2021 HMICFRS started a second round of inspections which are currently ongoing and will be completed in December 2022.  Information on tranche 1 second round inspections can be found here. With outcomes from the second tranche expected in Summer.

HMICFRS can carry out other thematic inspections when commissioned by the Home Secretary, such as how services performed in supporting their communities during the the first phase of the Covid 19 pandemic  (here) and the London Fire Brigade’s progress in implementing recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report (here).

Each year the Chief Inspector publishes an annual State of Fire and Rescue assessment of fire and rescue services in England in a State of Fire Report.  The latest report was published in December 2021 and can be found here.


Further information on HMICFRS’ fire inspections can be found on their website.