North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been rated as “inadequate” for efficiency and looking after its staff.
The service has also been found to “require improvement” for keeping people safe from fires.
The critical report was published today by the His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), which found that the service had “deteriorated in most areas” since its last similar inspection.
HMICFRS also said the service’s financial position was ‘precarious’ and its budget was ‘fragile’.
The inspection highlighted response times to fires which it said that at 11 minutes and 39 seconds was a minute slower than average for predominantly rural fire services.
The watchdog also said there was little evidence to show the benefits to the service of sharing some business services with police and the police, fire and crime commissioner’s office.
In response, Jonathan Dyson, North Yorkshire’s chief fire officer, admitting the report was disappointing.
However he added: “It is not a reflection of the hard work and dedication that our staff show, every day, to keeping our communities safe, and feeling safe.
“The inspectors have said that we are good at preventing fires and other risks and responding to major and multi-agency incidents.
“Much of what the inspectors have focused on relates to service-level policies and practices.
“We do need to acknowledge that the inspection came at a time of significant change for our service. We were just coming out of covid and transitioning to a new chief fire officer.”
Mr Dyson said he was “absolutely committed to making significant progress over the next two years”.
North Yorkshire police, fire and crime commissioner Zoe Metcalfe claimed that “significant progress” has been made since the inspection and she and the chief fire officer had “implemented a rigorous ongoing programme of improvement”.
She added: “It is extremely important for the public to understand that North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service keeps people safe as noted in the report where the service is recognised as being good at preventing fires and other emergencies and good in its response to major and multi-agency incidents.
“Although major areas for improvement have been identified, the report recognises the great work being done by firefighters and staff to keep our communities safe.
“And I want to pay tribute to our courageous and dedicated fire personnel, who have my full support as they go about their vital work – as well as playing their part in improving our service.”