The Fire Standards Board has announced the launch of its ninth professional Fire Standard; Safeguarding

The Safeguarding Fire Standard aims to ensure that fire and rescue services are doing all that they can to support safeguarding. Its desired outcome is that services work proactively to promote the safeguarding of those within their communities as well as employees and volunteers, reducing the risk of abuse, harm and neglect.

The standard accompanies the NFCC Safeguarding Guidance for Children, Young People and Adults, and the Self-Assessment Toolkit.

Each of the nine Fire Standards aims to help drive continuous improvement across England’s fire and rescue services.

With development work led by NFCC Strategic Lead for Safeguarding, Donna Bentley MBE, the Safeguarding Fire Standard outlines what a fire and rescue service must and should do to achieve the standard. The standard states that a service must have a designated Safeguarding Lead, and that it should work collaboratively with partners to share learning and experiences in order to contribute to the continual improvement of safeguarding. Full details of what services need to do to achieve this standard are detailed in the How to Achieve section of the standard.

To support services with the implementation of the Safeguarding Fire Standard, there is a Fire Standards Implementation Tool. The tool was designed to support services in assessing how well they meet the Standard and will help them build an action plan to complete those areas where there are gaps.

In addition to the Fire Standards Implementation Tool, there is a corresponding NFCC Safeguarding Self-Assessment Toolkit. The Self-Assessment Toolkit can be used as a guide to enable fire and rescue services to carry out a snapshot review of their safeguarding practices. This should be completed in conjunction with the NFCC Safeguarding Guidance for children, young people and adults at risk.

FSB Chair, Suzanne McCarthy, said:

“The Board is delighted to launch the Safeguarding Fire Standard and recognises the contribution it will bring to fire and rescue services, employees, volunteers and the communities they serve.   Ensuring that services are proactively promoting the safeguarding of others makes for a safer place to live and work.  This standard is a welcome addition to those already published”

Fire Minister Lord Greenhalgh said:

’I’m delighted to see the launch of the Safeguarding Fire Standard which sets clear expectations on this important issue. Fire and rescue service staff play a vital part in protecting communities and it’s crucial that they use the tools at their disposal to do so.” 

Whilst it is not mandatory for services to comply with the Fire Standards, the National Fire Framework makes clear that services are expected to pay due regard to Fire Standards as will the HMICFRS in their inspections. The Fire Standards Board are confident that in many cases services are already achieving the outcomes which are the foundation of each Fire Standard. Where they are not, they accept services will need to implement any changes to enable them to achieve the standards in a way that fits with their strategic planning, improvement work and timetable.