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North Yorkshire fire and rescue

FireWatch helps North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service streamline operational and administrative functions, achieving cost savings of 40%.


Traditionally, Fire and Rescue Services were regarded as being focused on providing emergency response to fires and other incidents – but their remit has significantly changed and expanded over time.

It now not only involves a full spectrum of emergency services, but also a huge commitment to community safety and prevention work, including, for example, the enforcement of fire safety legislation.

FireWatch has and continues to make significant contributions to the efficiencies programme within NYFRS and is now an integral part of our day-to-day business.

These alterations to remit, working practices and the current economic climate have combined to result in fundamental changes in the way the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) operates.

North Yorkshire’s decision to invest in FireWatch illustrates that technology has become an important enabler in meeting, and exceeding, business objectives within this modern FRS environment.

The challenge

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) was seeking a solution that could assist in the efficient management of operational staff and availability planning.

The information the organisation held pertaining to staff was spread across a number of disconnected administrative IT systems, including HR, Training and Development, and other areas, making it difficult to manage in a co-ordinated way.

The Service had previously used multiple administrative ‘resource’ systems to provide a true view on crewing levels and appliance availability. In order to achieve a dynamic, automated vision of crewing availability, it became apparent that their FRS systems would need to have an in-built ‘understanding’ of the complexities and rules regarding contracts, roles and skills, which would be available within one central place.

Key requirements

FireWatch was selected as a suitable solution to meet these complex challenges. There were a number of key factors that helped NYFRS make this decision:

  • Its integrated and in-built awareness of posts, contracts, roles and skills due to offering purpose-designed modules for multiple areas – HR, IPDS and others – all of which dynamically accounted in real-time for impacts on crew availability information and future effective dates
  • Depth of system functionality and ‘intelligence’ to enable co-ordinated management of staff fulfilling multiple differing roles (both permanent and temporary) and to cope with the potential for varying qualifications that could be utilised and counted in crewing figures, at any given point during a day
  • Ability to not only model Stations but also Appliances and Base Crewing Counts at both planned and minimum levels based on qualifications, resource and appliance availability
  • Support for dynamic change, colour-coded availability displays and staff numbers based on real-time information. This real-time information is derived from changes to contracts, detachments, sickness, holidays, exceptions, booking on/off, skill assessments at incidents, drills, course attendances and many other scenarios
  • Complementary features and data with the capability to be used in conjunction with future mobilisation systems. To function efficiently and effectively, the mobilisation system would need real-time resource and skill data that FireWatch could provide

NYFRS’s intention is to seamlessly integrate FireWatch with a new mobilisation system, potentially delivering further efficiency savings and operational process gains.

The results

NYFRS is now using FireWatch to integrate and manage HR contracts, recording of personal details, availability management/duty planning, health and safety, occupational health, and training and development.

As a result of the successful implementation of these solutions, NYFRS has been able to streamline the management of core operational and administrative functions, improve collaboration across teams and departments, and assist senior and middle managers to strategically plan and manage organisation resources.

Jonathan Foster, Group Manager – Efficiencies, NYFRS, said:

“FireWatch has and continues to make significant contributions to the efficiencies programme within NYFRS and is now an integral part of our day-to-day business. Although the system has been a challenge to implement, we are now reaping the true benefits of a fully integrated system which is continually being improved to serve the individual needs of NYFRS and our partner services across the UK.”

Key benefits

  • A significant contribution to NYFRS’s efficiencies programme; by consolidating functional administrative support, a 40% administrative staff saving was achieved
  • Reductions of large amounts of spreadsheets and databases across all departments, leading to reduced system maintenance and duplication avoidance. In one department alone, it has resulted in the removal of 15 spreadsheets and 2 databases
  • Removal of paper records for Retained Crewing Availability, leading to reduced administration and improved automated reporting systems for management information
  • Removal of paper records for Retained Payment Claims, resulting in reduced administrative burden from stations through to the payroll department and more speedy, accurate payments which can be monitored by individual members of staff
  • Provision of a one-stop shop for operational crews from declaration of crewing availability, attendance at operational incidents, recording individual activity at incidents for skills maintenance, along with payment claims
  • Removal of paper timesheet and holiday records for support staff
  • Consolidated one-stop system for managers to gain timely and relevant information for the entire organisation, including support staff and managers
  • Integral to the Training and Development Strategy, FireWatch has led to a reduction in risk to staff through effective skills and qualification management and, ultimately, to a more accurate Training Needs Analysis year-on-year

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