Fire and Rescue

In 2019, at the request of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, Proving developed a value for money framework for the fire and rescue sector. Surrey Fire and Rescue had recently been rated ‘Inadequate’ following its first inspection under the new HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMCFRS) inspection regime. In later reflecting on the decision to commission Proving, the new Chief Fire Officer stated:

“Taking over a Service that was unsure of its future and with a poor national inspection report, it was important for me to be able to see through the fog to understand and have real evidence of our value.”

“I want to be able to be open to everyone and clear about our VFM and apply a sound, academic methodology that can withstand scrutiny and allows me to demonstrate our value, measure it, track improvements and focus on areas that either require improvement or I want to bring to the fore in the context of public value.”

Steve Owen-Hughes
Director of Community Protection and Emergencies (CFO)
Surrey Fire and Rescue Service

Proving worked with the Surrey Fire and Rescue senior leadership team to develop a detailed factor set and scoring guide specifically tailored to the sector. The Value Analyser™ toolkit was configured with this factor set and the inaugural assessment completed in April 2019.

Value for Money Assessments

The value for money framework developed with Surrey Fire and Rescue immediately proved popular with the sector and has been recognised as a highly effective tool by both HMCFRS and the NAO. Value for money assessments have now been conducted for nine fire and rescue services:

  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cleveland
  • East Sussex
  • Devon and Somerset
  • Hampshire
  • Northern Ireland
  • Oxfordshire
  • Surrey
  • Royal Berkshire

Each value for money assessment establishes the current value for money performance of the organisation under review, illustrates how this compares to peer authorities and generates a prioritised summary of opportunities for improvement.

The framework continues to attract attention from across the sector and several of the above services have now adopted the framework into business as usual activity, undertaking annual or biennial assessments.


Community of Best Practice

Moving forward, as further reviews are completed, Proving intends to consider the introduction of a Community of Best Practice for the fire and rescue sector, to replicate the benefits for members that are achieved with similar arrangements in other sectors. It is envisaged the Community of Best Practice would be a membership group that would:

  • Encompass biennial VFM assessment for members
    • Incorporating peer review
  • Oversee continuous evolution of the metrics and factor set
    • Integrating the outcomes of other groups such as the NFCC Productivity and Efficiency Group
  • Maintain links with HMCFRS, external audit and other stakeholders
  • Identify and disseminate best practice
  • Identify and collaborate to seek solutions for emerging sector challenges and issues

If you would like to know more about Proving’s work with the fire and rescue sector please contact Andy Perrin, Director, at