Annual Service Plan 2023-24

The contents of our annual service plan are split into the following sections:

  1. Welcome to our annual service plan.
  2. Making Lancashire safer.
  3. Valuing our people so they can focus on making Lancashire safer.
  4. Preventing fires and other emergencies from happening.
  5. Protecting people and properties when fires happen.
  6. Responding to fires and other emergencies quickly and competently.
  7. Delivering value for money in how we use our resources.
  8. Measuring progress.

Simply click on each section below to view the corresponding content.

A PDF version of this document is available to view here [opens in a new tab].

  • 1. Welcome to our Annual Service Plan

    Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is recognised nationally for excellent performance and outstanding values and culture. This welcome assurance that we serve our communities well only reinforces our determination to keep striving to be the best we can be.

    Our people are central to everything we set out to achieve. Motivated, professional and determined to make a difference, they serve Lancashire with pride. We are focussed on creating opportunities for people in all roles to thrive, and building a workplace where diversity is nurtured and valued.

    From our apprentices to our leaders, support staff to those on the frontline, everyone has valuable experience and ideas to contribute. Our employee voice groups are helping to create an increasingly inclusive Service, for both our workforce and our communities. We intend to keep listening to feedback and involving staff in shaping our plans for the future.

    Our firefighters deliver the highest levels of operational excellence to a wide range of emergencies, and we remain committed to providing the best equipment, training and development. A programme of significant, longterm investment in training facilities will continue this year following completion of our breathing apparatus training school. We intend to build new drill towers at four fire stations and review training props at our training centre.

    To support a resilient and healthy workforce, our staff wellbeing services will be complemented by the introduction of peer support ambassadors, who can offer extra support to those around them.

    This year we will start to implement improvements to how we respond to emergencies, following an emergency cover review and public consultation in 2022. The changes reflect the most effective and efficient use of resources for the whole of Lancashire and will lead to an increase in the number of wholetime firefighters employed. We are also creating opportunities for on-call firefighters to broaden their skills.

    Strengthening our response to climate change emergencies remains a priority, as we expand our wildfire and flood rescue capabilities. Work is underway to begin a trial of fire appliances suitable for off-road travel. These innovative vehicles will give better access to rural areas in the event of flooding and wildfires. We will also establish specialist flood water incident managers and tactical advisors to support management of large-scale flooding incidents.

    Investment in our fleet through additional water towers and our highest reach aerial ladder platform to-date, will enhance our firefighting and rescue capabilities in high-rise and commercial buildings.

    Digital innovation continues apace with new software on the way that will assist operators in deciding how best to deploy firefighters and fire engines to incidents, improving emergency cover and response times.

    With global economic, social, and environmental challenges affecting us all on a local level, and national reform of the fire and rescue service on the horizon, our people can be relied upon to respond positively, driven by an unwavering determination to keep the people of Lancashire safe.

    Justin Johnston
    Chief Fire Officer

    CFO Justin Johnston

    “We aspire to be outstanding in all that we do by being the best trained, best equipped, best accommodated, and most professional fire and rescue service in the country.” – CFO Justin Johnston


    Where Annual Service Plan Fits In

    Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is expected to meet standards of service set out in the Fire Standards and Fire and Rescue National Framework for England.

    The recommendations made following an inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) lead to programmes of improvement.

    These objectives ,and guidance and recommendations influence our Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP), which we update every five years, . This document, in turn, influences our Strategic Assessment of Risk, which looks at fire risk across the county and informs us on the best locations for our resources, and. our corporate programme boards.

    The recommendations set by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) after their inspection programme also influence our CRMP and our Strategic Assessment of Risk, as andwell as our corporate programme boards. These boards include projects to developing our business processes, service delivery, workforce development, and capital projectsschemes.

    The Strategic Assessment of Risk, oOur corporate programme, together with senior management team and advisory groups, including the Prevention, Protection, and Response Strategy Group and the Health, Safety and Environment Advisory Group, inform our six core strategies as a service.

    These core strategies feature are:

    • People
    • Prevention
    • Protection
    • Response
    • Financial
    • Digital

    Collectively, these strategies help inform our Annual Service Plan, as well as local delivery plans. This level of planning determines how we work to make Lancashire safer.

    We then assess the outcomes of this planning work via our annual service report and measuring progress reports to ensure our service is meeting the standards required. An appraisal process is also used to get feedback from staff and assess their individual performance as part of our service.

  • 2. Making Lancashire safer

    This plan forms part of our strategic planning activity which sets out the direction of the Service and how we will achieve our aim of making Lancashire safer.

    • Our community risk management plan (CRMP) is a five-year plan which identifies the greatest risks to the people and communities of Lancashire, and how we will prevent, protect and respond to emergencies. You can find the full plan on our website.
    • It is informed by our strategic assessment of risk, which is updated every year and is also available on our website.
    • The CRMP describes our aim, priorities, equality objectives and values. These are our fundamental beliefs and the foundations of all that we do as an organisation and as individuals.
    • Six core strategies set out how we will provide services in line with the priorities in our CRMP.
    • Our annual service plan is built around our priorities and details the specific activities we will undertake in the year to deliver our strategies.
    • Local delivery plans (departmental and district plans) detail activity led by local teams which further support the delivery of our strategies.
    • All staff have an appraisal conversation where objectives are set which support the delivery of our plans and help to make Lancashire safer.
    • We use a range of local and key performance indicators to evaluate success in meeting our objectives.
  • 3. Valuing our People so they can Focus on Making Lancashire Safer

    We recognise that our people are our most valuable asset and are crucial to providing communities with high quality services. Our aim is to recruit a workforce that is resilient, highly skilled, flexible, diverse and which can deliver the Service’s aim of making Lancashire safer. The training and development of our staff and the leaders within our organisation is guided by the principles set out in our STRIVE values and the national Core Code of Ethics.


    Create an organisational culture where diversity is encouraged and valued

    Our STRIVE values and the Core Code of Ethics guide the professional behaviours expected of all our staff to ensure our workplace is one where everyone feels valued, included, and able to reach their full potential.

    We will:

    • Complete a programme of engagement sessions with staff on the Core Code of Ethics and our expectations in relation to values and behaviours.
    • Assure ourselves that the Core Code of Ethics is fully understood and demonstrated throughout our organisation.
    • Identify any learning and good practice further to national culture reviews.
    • Expand our approach to coaching and mentoring to ensure our apprentice firefighters are appropriately supported in the next stages of their development.
    • Review and embed our approach to undertaking equality impact assessments.

    Introduce peer support ambassadors

    To embed wellbeing conversations and signposting within stations and departments, we want members of staff with an interest in mental health and wellbeing to become ambassadors to support those around them.

    We will:

    • Aim to introduce at least one peer support ambassador per station and department.
    • Tie this initiative into a review of the distress management and self-care MIND course to improve people’s resilience and ability to support themselves and others.

    Upgrade fire station facilities

    Investment in fire stations is part of our commitment to ensuring our people have the best facilities to support their health and wellbeing by providing a safe and positive working environment.

    We will:

    • Complete improvements to the rest and welfare facilities at Blackpool Fire Station.

    Improve learning and development systems

    We are committed to the continued development of our people through supported learning and access to a variety of training opportunities.

    We will:

    • Implement a new learning management system that offers better support for e-learning and maintenance of skills.
    • Reduce the administrative burden associated with completion of development handbooks for people at various levels in the Service.

    Explore the future of service headquarters

    Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters is the oldest building within our property portfolio having been built in 1891. Our medium-term financial strategy takes account of this, enabling us to assess options for the future of the building and potential relocation.

    We will:

    • Review options for a programme of improvement works, building replacement, or relocation.

    Deliver firefighter pension changes

    We have invested in additional resources to continue implementing the pension remedy in relation to legislative changes arising from recent legal judgments.

    We will:

    • Commence implementation of the Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022 relating to the age discrimination remedy.
    • Commence implementation of the special members second options exercise in relation to on-call firefighter pensions.
  • 4. Preventing Fires and Other Emergencies from Happening

    We constantly endeavour to prevent fires and other emergencies from happening. Prevention is always preferable to response and is by far the most effective way to make Lancashire safer. Our approach recognises life’s different stages: we focus our efforts on helping people start safe, live safe, age safe and be safe on our roads and around water, targeting those most vulnerable.


    Invest in digital improvements to our home fire safety check service

    Bringing about positive change in behaviours within people’s homes is central to improving community safety and our core offer is the Home Fire Safety Check service. We will continue to improve the service through digital solutions to ensure it is efficient, person-centred, and continues to target the highest risk households.

    We will:

    • Scope new software to improve the efficiency of our contact centre systems.
    • Improve our web and phone services for self-referrals to align with national principles and products.
    • Develop our Home Fire Safety Check software to reflect emerging trends and provide more tailored fire safety advice.

    Improve evaluation of fire prevention activity

    Fire prevention is delivered using a targeted approach to those most at risk through a variety of activities and interventions directly with communities, by working with partners, and through campaigns. Greater understanding of the impact of these activities will enable us to focus our resources on the most efficient and effective methods.

    We will:

    • Evaluate all our prevention activity at local and county-wide levels to improve the safety of our diverse communities.

    Strengthen operational risk information

    Fire and rescue services continuously gather and assess information about operational risks to help keep the public and firefighters safe when they respond to emergencies. We use the Provision of Operational Risk Information System (PORIS) to identify, gather, analyse, and review risk information. This system provides accurate risk information to operational crews responding to emergency incidents.

    We will:

    • Improve the PORIS process to give staff quick and easy access to risk information which is relevant, accurate, timely, and accessible, both en route and in attendance at operational incidents.
    • Continue to develop our knowledge of the built environment to better prepare and respond to operational incidents.
  • 5. Protecting People and Properties when Fires Happen

    Our fire protection services aim to reduce the number of fires that occur in commercial premises and the impact on life, property, and business disruption when fires do occur. We support businesses, employers, and landlords to meet their legal duties and keep people safe in their buildings with a county-wide inspection programme.


    Expand our business fire safety check service

    Fire safety inspectors will continue to focus their inspection and enforcement activity on complex high-risk premises while operational crews check lower risk premises such as schools, shops, offices, and hotels through Business Fire Safety Checks (BFSC). We aim to deepen our knowledge of the built environment in Lancashire so we can better understand risk, target the highest risk premises, and give residents bespoke advice on what to do in the event of a fire in their building.

    We will:

    • Improve how we deliver our Business Fire Safety Checks service to ensure we target interventions to the highest risk premises in the most efficient way.
    • Continue to develop understanding of the built environment and modern methods of construction among our operational and community safety staff.

    Strengthen our fire safety inspection programme to meet evolving standards

    We take a risk-based approach to inspecting businesses to make sure they are complying with fire safety laws. Targeting the highest risk premises where occupants are at significant risk of harm if a fire occurs, ensures an effective and efficient approach. The continuous development of our protection workforce towards the required levels of competence will strengthen delivery of our risk based inspection programme in line with fire safety changes.

    We will:

    • Review our inspection programme data set to further strengthen methodology, targeting and delivery, and ensure we provide the correct fire safety intervention for each premises type.
    • Restructure our fire safety department to meet the needs of the inspection programme.

    Introduce a revised automatic fire alarm attendance policy

    Due to historical levels of incidents which were found to be false alarms and following public consultation, last year we changed the way we respond to automatic fire alarms in certain premises during daytime hours. This year we intend to further reduce false alarms in some premises so that we are only called to genuine emergencies.

    We will:

    • Develop a domestic automatic fire alarm policy that ensures we share the right information with tele care providers and monitoring centres to reduce false alarms.
    • Review our response arrangements for fire alarms in non-sleeping risk commercial premises during night-time hours.

    Transform fire protection and business safety

    Significant changes to fire safety and building control standards continue to change the way fire and rescue services and our partners work. The new Fire Safety Act 2021 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 have resulted in additional responsibilities for fire and rescue services, along with the requirement to take on a key role in the newly created Building Safety Regulator. To ensure, as a regulator, we remain well-placed to support those responsible for fire safety in buildings to keep people safe, we will continue to invest in and develop our protection services.

    We will:

    • Continue to implement the recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and support fire safety improvements, primarily in high rise residential buildings.
    • Scope digital solutions to streamline the working practices of our fire safety inspectors, improve the flow of information with partners and make more efficient and effective use of resources.
  • 6. Responding to Fires and Other Emergencies Quickly and Competently

    Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service strives to deliver the highest standards of operational response to a wide range of incidents by continuously planning, preparing and training for incidents. Risks in communities are changing and the types of emergencies we attend are increasingly varied. We constantly review our approach to providing and deploying resources to ensure we respond with the right appliances, skills, and equipment to deal with any incident safely.


    Implement our emergency cover review

    Periodically we review the locations, numbers and types of fire stations and appliances against community risks and incident levels across the county. We then propose ways to improve how we respond to emergencies and ensure that we are well equipped to respond to future challenges. Following an emergency cover review in 2022, several improvements were approved by the Lancashire Combined Fire Authority and will be implemented during the period 2023-2026.


    Review emergency cover in Preston

    Preston Fire Station is an old and inefficient station in need of modernisation, and has been identified for redevelopment. We intend to create a new, modern station either in the same place or another location that serves both our staff and the local community well.

    We will:

    • Review emergency cover across the Preston area and explore options to replace or relocate Preston Fire Station.

    Introduce more resilient and flexible crewing arrangements

    The introduction of more flexible crewing arrangements and replacement of the day crewing plus system at some stations will provide greater resilience across the Service and more flexibility for individuals.

    We will:

    • Introduce more flexible crewing arrangements working with our staff and trade unions.
    • Replace the day crewing plus system at Skelmersdale, Morecambe and Fleetwood Fire Stations.

    Optimise emergency cover through dynamic cover software

    Dynamic cover software provides operators with visual data on community risks and emergency cover in real-time to inform decision-making on how best to deploy resources. This innovative software will assist us with positioning firefighters and appliances dynamically and with greater precision to improve emergency cover and response times, particularly during periods of high demand.

    We will:

    • Introduce dynamic cover software to deploy resources more effectively and efficiently across Lancashire.

    Strengthen our response to climate change emergencies

    Our climate change operational response plan aims to address the increasing threat of flooding and wildfires, lessen the impacts on communities and public services, and improve firefighter safety when dealing with these emergencies. Strengthening our response to these types of incidents was a key feature of our emergency cover review.

    We will:

    • Expand on existing research into all-wheel-drive appliances suitable for off-road travel to address the challenges posed by flooding and wildfires.
    • Trial these appliances over the course of the emergency cover review period in areas of the county at high risk of flooding and wildfires.
    • Introduce specialist flood water incident managers to support large-scale flooding incidents and two tactical advisors who will form part of national fire and rescue resilience arrangements.

    Strengthen firefighting and rescue capabilities in high-rise and commercial buildings

    In response to the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and the increasing numbers of high-rise buildings in Lancashire, we intend to strengthen our response to tall building risk. Current capability includes four aerial ladder platforms (ALPs) with hydraulic ladders capable of extending 32 metres in height from which water can be deployed onto a fire. We also have two 16 metre water towers which can penetrate slates, tiles, and other building materials at height to inject large volumes of water onto a fire within a building.

    We will:

    • Complete the procurement and introduction of a 45 metre ALP, our highest reach aerial capability to date, to replace the existing appliance at Preston.
    • Complete the procurement and introduction of two additional water towers, with increased reach of 20 metres, into our fleet.

    Broaden on-call firefighting capabilities to strengthen operational response

    Lancashire has 32 fire appliances crewed by on-call firefighters, who often have another job outside Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. They are trained to deal with a wide range of incidents and work alongside wholetime firefighters, responding to emergencies in their communities from home or work. Broadening the range of skills and knowledge among on-call crews will strengthen operational response and resilience.

    We will:

    • Invest in training on-call firefighters at Hyndburn and Morecambe fire stations to drive aerial ladder platforms.
    • Create a dedicated leadership role to support the on-call duty system and deliver improvements in recruitment, retention, and fire engine availability.

    Invest in our training centre

    We remain committed to ensuring that our people have the best equipment and training available to deliver quality services now and in the future. This year work continues on a programme of significant, long-term investment in improvements as we review training props. Training props allow firefighters to learn in a realistic and safe environment, giving them the opportunity to prepare for multiple scenarios.

    We will:

    • Invest in improvements to our working at height rope and rescue training prop.
    • Assess wider options to enhance existing training facilities at our training centre in Chorley including a review of estate and provision.

    Invest in our fleet

    Incident command units are critical to how we manage complex or large-scale emergencies. We are investing in new units with superior technology and systems that will lead to more effective incident management in the future.

    We will:

    • Continue work to replace two large incident command units, explore the use of a small unit to manage smaller incidents, and introduce new command software.

    Build four new drill towers

    As part of a service-wide programme to replace drill towers at fire stations, site investigations, construction design services, and planning consent have progressed for the next phase of replacement work.

    We will:

    • Begin construction and complete the replacement of four drill towers in line with our service-wide programme.

    Implement operational learning in response to national events

    Operational learning drives improvement and our ability to adapt to emerging risks in communities. Rigorous review of how we prepare for, respond to, and learn from incidents, including national events, is vital to ensure firefighter safety and an effective emergency response.

    We will:

    • Prepare to deliver training resulting from the Manchester Arena Inquiry.
  • 7. Delivering Value for Money in how we use our Resources

    We aim to use our resources efficiently to provide the best possible fire and rescue service for the people of Lancashire and to ensure the Service is affordable, now and in the future. Continuous learning and innovation, with a particular focus on digital transformation, drives efficiencies and wherever possible we re-invest savings into frontline activity.


    Replace performance and analysis software

    Using incident intelligence and data to drive prevention activities is at the core of our strategy to prevent fires and other emergencies, and it is a priority to ensure our workforce has easy access to information relevant to their role. We intend to replace the software we currently use for data analysis and performance reporting.

    We will:

    • Install a new software system which is fit for future needs and supports effective corporate intelligence.

    Review productivity and efficiency

    Through continuous learning, review, and innovation we seek to understand and deliver activities that increase efficiency and productivity. This enables the Service to invest savings and resources in frontline activity that delivers long-term improvements and value for money.

    We will:

    • Produce a productivity and efficiency plan, setting out our direction of travel towards delivering cashable and non-cashable efficiencies, focussing on innovation and digital transformation.
    • Review the structure and delivery of our training and operational review department to enable more agile working to meet the needs of multiple crewing models, in particular on-call.
    • Improve the monitoring of staff working hours including the implementation of a time recording tool within our employee self-service system, MiPlace.
    • Ensure value for money through collaboration with other fire and rescue services on procurement and the use of regional and national procurement frameworks wherever possible.

    Collaborate with other public services

    Effective partnerships with other organisations enable the Service to identify and support people who are at higher risk from fire, safeguard the most vulnerable people in society, and deliver improved services to the public. Through our Blue Light Collaboration Board with Lancashire Constabulary and North West Ambulance Service, we have identified a programme of collaboration opportunities.

    We will:

    • Review how we manage, train, and collaborate with Lancashire Constabulary in relation to missing person searches to improve the quality of service provided to communities.
    • Work with our partners to understand land and property across the board in terms of any potential for shared space.
    • Trial non-operational staff volunteering as community first responders from the workplace for life threatening emergencies until the arrival of ambulance crews.
    • Explore opportunities for shared leadership development with partners.
    • Establish potential collaborative use of planned new command support units.
    • Effectively monitor, review, and evaluate the benefits and outcomes of collaboration activity.

    Install CCTV on fire engines and other service vehicles

    The purpose of installing CCTV on fire engines and other service vehicles is to increase firefighter safety while they protect communities, and reduce costs associated with vehicle collisions.

    We will:

    • Expand the installation of CCTV on fire engines and other vehicles across the Service following a successful trial last year.
  • 8. Measuring Progress

    To ensure we are effective and provide value for money, we use a range of targets aligned to our priorities to measure performance. These are known as key performance indicators (KPIs) and are quantifiable measures used to evaluate success in meeting our objectives.

    Performance against our KPIs is scrutinised by the Lancashire Combined Fire Authority and published in Measuring Progress reports, which are available on our website. We also use local indicators to monitor trends and changes in activity and risk, which help us plan local activities and allocate resources accordingly. At the end of the year, an annual service report is produced.


    1. KPI 1: Valuing our people so they can focus on making Lancashire safer.
      • 1.1 Overall staff engagement
      • 1.2.1 Staff Absence – wholetime
      • 1.2.2 Staff Absence – on-call
      • 1.2.3 Staff absence – green book
      • 1.3.1 Workforce diversity
      • 1.3.2 Workforce diversity recruited
      • 1.4 Staff accidents
    2. KPI 2: Preventing fires and other emergencies from happening/Protecting people and property when fires happen.
      • 2.1 Critical fire risk map score
      • 2.2 Overall activity
      • 2.3 Accidental dwelling fires (ADF)
      • 2.3.1 ADF – harm to people – casualties
      • 2.3.2 ADF – harm to property – extent of damage
      • 2.4 Accidental building fires (ABF) – commercial premises
      • 2.4.1 ABF commercial premises – harm to property – extent of damage
      • 2.5 ABF (non-commercial premises)
      • 2.5.1 ABF (non-commercial premises: private garages and sheds) – harm to property – extent of damage
      • 2.6 Deliberate fires total
      • 2.6.1 Deliberate fires – dwellings
      • 2.6.2 Deliberate fires – commercial premises
      • 2.6.3 Deliberate fires – other
      • 2.7 Home fire safety checks
      • 2.8 Number of other prevention activities
      • 2.9 Fire safety enforcement
      • 2.10 Building regulation consultations
    3. KPI 3: Responding to fires and other emergencies quickly and competently.
      • 3.1 Critical fire response – 1st fire engine attendance
      • 3.2 Critical special service response – 1st fire engine attendance
      • 3.3 Total fire engine availability
      • 3.3.1 Fire engine availability – wholetime
      • 3.3.2 Fire engine availability – on-call
    4. KPI 4: Delivering value for money in how we use our resources.
      • 4.1 Progress against allocated budget
      • 4.2 Partnership collaboration
      • 4.3 Overall user satisfaction