Following a recent inspection of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), it has been reported that a 'good service' is being provided to the public despite recent recruitment challenges.

These are the findings by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) in a report published today (January 20).

It was confirmed that the RBFRS is performing to a high standard, receiving all ‘good’ ratings across the relevant criteria.

Fire deparetments are each judged against three categories; effectiveness, efficiency and people.

The Inspection focused on how effectively and efficiently the Service is at keeping people safe and secure from fire and other risks, as well as how well it looks after its people.

The report reads: "The Service understands the risk and demand in its area. It has evaluated the way it mitigates risk using its prevention, protection and response teams. It has revised its risk-based inspection programme and is now more focused on the highest risk. This makes sure it can keep the communities of Royal Berkshire safe from fire and other risks.

"The Service is facing challenges in recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce. The cost-of-living crisis and pressures raised through pension changes make workforce planning difficult for the service. It should continue to assess innovative ways to mitigate this risk.

"The Service has improved its work in equality, diversity and inclusion and its workforce demonstrates positive values and behaviours. The Service seeks feedback and challenge from its workforce and the community. This supports it to make decisions based on the needs of both."

It is the third round of inspections of fire and rescue services in England, after the Service was first inspected in 2019 and in autumn 2020, a second inspection considered how the Service was responding to the pandemic.

Chief Fire Officer Wayne Bowcock, said: “We are really happy with the verdict from HMICFRS. This rigorous inspection process has provided us with a clear and independent assessment of where we are as a Service.

“While we recognise that we will face challenges in the years ahead, this report recognises the fantastic public service that is being provided by our staff to the people of Royal Berkshire."

Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Paul Gittings, said: “As a Fire Authority, we are committed to creating safer and more resilient communities by preventing incidents, protecting homes and businesses and responding to emergencies.

"Our priority is to maintain a safe and efficient service, whilst balancing our budget in an increasingly challenging period for public finances.”