Business continuity and risk planning

Fire and Rescue Service Fleet Managers - Business Continuity Responsibilities 

The Principal Officers (“The Controlling Mind”) of an Fire & Rescue Service (FRS), have a Duty of Care being a combination of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the various Health & Safety Regulations which followed, Road Traffic Acts and Common Law which they cannot simply absolve themselves of.

This duty of care relating to Fleet Operations is discharged through a competent person, usually the Fleet Manager.  The Principal Officers assisted by the Fleet Manager are responsible even if the fleet is managed by an outside agency, such as a specialist service provider or if employees are using their own or rented vehicles in the delivery of FRS business.  It must be recognised therefore that any outsourcing of services will not transfer any Duty of Care.

The Fleet Managers, through their delegated powers and responsibilities, must, in as far as is reasonably practicable, discharge the Duty of Care on behalf of the FRS for the fleets that they manage.  As a result, significant responsibility rests with the Fleet Manager who is an integral part of corporate governance, the potential consequences for falling to ensure the appropriate levels of governance are maintained are significant following the passing of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

The role of the Fleet Manager is clear, their plans will detail a number of objectives, all of which will contribute to business continuity or plan.  Such a strategy, and subsequent objectives, may look like this:

Strategy

The provision of vehicles & equipment used by the FRS operationally and in the support of general business.  Managing that provision to the highest degree of effectiveness, in order to maximise operational response and all other aspects of vehicle operation and provision within the FRS.

Objectives
  • Providing front line and specialist fleet maintenance and management to the CFOA TOG Bsst Practice Principles.
  • Ensuring the latest advanced technological innovations are considered and used when considered beneficial to the FRS.
  • Design and develop advanced vehicle solutions to suit the user requirement ensuring full compliance with all current legislation.
  • Consider the impact of the fleet operation on the environment and embrace technologies to reduce the organisational carbon footprint where practical and beneficial to do so.
  • Ensuring that engineering skills are maintained to the highest standards to ensure speed and efficiency of application in relation to fleet operations.
  • Maintaining optimum training standards in inspection, repair, maintenance and testing of appliances and operational equipment in line with the CFOA TOG Best Practice Principles.
  • Maintaining a suitable and safe working environment for vehicle and equipment repairs and maintenance in order to promote an efficient, safe and economic fleet management.
  • Managing and maintaining an efficient fuel delivery service to stations with bunkered fuel facilities.
Business Continuity Activities
  • Identify the business risks to the FRS Fleet of vehicles and equipment together with likely triggers, inherent and residual risk scores, active risk controls and proposed mitigation actions, (budgeted where possible and appropriate).
  • Ensuring that Stations and Firefighters have the appropriate number of appliances, other vehicles and equipment quantities sufficient to meet the need as determined by the IRMP process.
  • Ensuring that all vehicles and equipment are safe and fit for purpose for all users and third parties.
  • The provision of a 24/7 capability in supporting any defect repair to both vehicles and equipment or supply of a reserve asset to minimise time off the run.
  • The provision of longer term care by having (outsourced but dedicated access to) a suitably equipped and managed workshop facility.
  • The provision of a regular maintenance programme, including a Management Information System in accordance with CFOA TOG Best Practice Principles
  • The provision of a suitable and sufficient level of engineering and administrative workforce to maintain appropriate throughput of vehicles under a maintenance regime.
  • Provide sound supply chain management with critical suppliers to ensure the optimum delivery times for critical items needed by the workshop.
Risk Planning

Prepare and maintain business continuity plans to include mitigations for all identified risks, and in particular:

  • The identification of alternative premises and partnership arrangements with Fleet Managers of other organisations/businesses with similar fleet management arrangements, (for example, the size of workshops), in the event of flood, fire or other major business interruption.
  • Supply chain management for spares provision of critical items from time to time.
  • Secondary and tertiary managers and management processes.
  • Workshop procedures, and protection and provision of vehicle history and other legally required data in accordance with vehicle operations.

In addition to the business continuity plans it is advisable to also prepare and comply with the following:

  • The Management of Occupational Road Risk Policy (MORR) - this policy should provide a single source reference document for all aspects of driving Red, White and Grey Fleet vehicles, the latter including private vehicles that may occasionally be used on Service business.
  • Vehicle and Equipment Asset Management Strategy – this policy document is intended to ensure Vehicle and Equipment Assets are procured, renewed and replaced to meet current and future operational needs, user requirements and the needs of the FRS.  It also ensures that the capability and effectiveness is aligned to risk reduction activities, which is encompassed within the Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP).