Richmond Fire Station is not fit for purpose, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s new boss has declared.
The comments came in a report by Interim Chief Fire Officer Andrew Brodie on his first 100 days in office.
The fire chief, who took up the job in January, said he had found an effective fire and rescue service with people who were committed to delivering good internal and external services.
He said there were no obvious areas of concern about safety, service delivery or culture that needed immediate action and the
public could feel safe because the service made sure they were safe.
However, he also found that the service was suffering from chronic long-term under-investment and some long-standing cultural challenges.
He added: “Much of the estate is dilapidated, too many workplaces are uninspiring.
“Technological advancements in equipment, fleet and ICT have too often not been made.
“Mistrust exists between layers of the organisation and this stifles initiative. The means of introducing Tactical Response Vehicles has damaged trust, though it’s being rebuilt through sensible, pragmatic decisions and engagement with firefighters
and their representative bodies.
“Colleague’s default outlook is to focus on the past and on failures, and encouragement is needed to focus on the present, future and successes; once this happens the ideas are limitless and helpful.”
Interim Chief Fire Officer Brodie also noted concerns within the service about “inappropriate language and behaviour toward individuals and groups”.
“These must be challenged, addressed and eradicated; there is no place in the service for people who treat others disrespectfully or unkindly,” he added.
On the issue of North Yorkshire’s fire stations, the fire chief identified Richmond, Northallerton and Scarborough as “not fit for purpose or appropriate to share with other organisations”.
He added: “Too much of our estate is dilapidated.
“Buildings are crumbling, uncomfortable and uninspiring. They are not welcoming for public use and facilities are inappropriate for a diverse workforce or visitors.”
Commenting on the report, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: “I thank Andrew for his excellent leadership in his first 100 days, which I know frontline firefighters have appreciated too.
“More importantly, his findings are insightful and certainly give me food for thought moving forward.
“The report speaks for itself, but it is hard to disagree with his views on the chronic under-investment in the service, which hasn’t only affected the quality of buildings, kit and equipment in use, but in some instances, also a culture of distrust. We are making progress on these issues, but more time, money and hard work is needed to address them properly.”
Interim Chief Fire Officer Andrew Brodie said: “My first 100 days has been a fascinating and eye-opening time, and I have enjoyed every minute.
“I’m part of fantastic team and workforce, we all want the best for North Yorkshire.
“There are though things which need to change, and I have made that clear in my report. I have also set out a vision of what I know the dedicated and professional staff can achieve.”
The full report is available here www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/news/100dayreport