London Fire Brigade headquarters. Wikipedia Commons License. Photo by Tristan Forward.
19 Mar 2024

“We’ve got nothing to hide” - London Fire Brigade evaluates one year after the independant culture review


The London Fire Commissioner comments as he reports on progress to implement the recommendations set out in the independent review of culture of London Fire Brigade of 2022, which CTIF.org has report previously reported on. 

In a three-hour scrutiny meeting earlier this month, London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe discussed the extensive work undertaken by the London Fire Brigade since the release of the independent review of its culture last November, the Emergency Service Times reported on December 15, 2023. 

Regarding the implementation of a new independent complaints service, Roe confirmed that 13 staff members have left the organization, with six being dismissed and the remaining seven resigning, thereby forfeiting their pension rights before the complaints process was completed.

The Commissioner highlighted one of the most concerning findings of the review, which was the discovery of "terrible behaviors." He emphasized that the establishment of this new process resulted in over 300 contacts from LFB staff, compared to just 22 during a similar period under the previous system. Roe cautioned that there may be further dismissals as many hearings are yet to take place.

Investment in Cultural Transformation

The London Fire Brigade has received £1.4 million from the Mayor of London to establish a new complaints service following the review conducted by Nazir Afzal in 2022. This initiative is one of several comprehensive changes the Brigade is implementing to address the 23 recommendations outlined in the report. These changes include a significant investment in leadership training, the establishment of a 24-hour reporting line for complainants, and the introduction of vetting under enhanced DBS processes now applicable to all fire and rescue services.

Of the 23 recommendations, nine have been completed, and 14 are currently in progress. These recommendations are in addition to those from a previous internal review into the tragic suicide of firefighter Jaden Francois-Espirt.

During the scrutiny hearing, the Commissioner emphasized repeatedly that addressing the recommendations, along with those from HMI reports, does not signify the completion of cultural reform. He stressed the duty to continually review and acknowledge shortcomings.


Departure from Charitable Funding Dependency

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the Freemasons donated £2.5 million to the Brigade. However, during the cultural review hearing, a member of the scrutiny panel relayed concerns from female staff members who expressed reluctance to use equipment bearing the Freemasons' insignia.


Ongoing Scrutiny

 In February 2024, the inspectorate will return to review progress, having placed the Brigade under special measures. The Commissioner emphasized that while HMICFRS serves as a significant catalyst for change, reclassification does not mark the end of the change process.


Photo Credit: London Fire Brigade Headquarters, 2007

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Source From geograph.org.uk

Author tristan forward

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tristan forward / London Fire Brigade Headquarters / 

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