Talking Point
Fire: 58% Blue (little risk of material disruption), 42% Amber (some risk)

There are still some concerns about the UK's fire and rescue services.

HM Fire Service Inspectorate carried out the assessments in England and Wales. It found that in July, 32 of the 50 fire brigades were rated Blue according to the Action 2000 guidelines, with the remaining 18 being Amber.

Two of the eight Scottish services were Blue, with the remainder Amber. The Northern Ireland fire service was rated as Blue.

The Inspectorate said it expected all English and Welsh brigades to be Blue by September. The Scottish Office said it expected six services to be Blue by then but two still to be Amber until the middle of the month.

This was not good enough for the House of Commons Public Accounts, Committee, however, which expressed concern in August at the state of readiness of several public bodies, including the fire services.

The 'Amber' brigades

Although a substantial section of the service was still not compliant in July and therefore a cause for worry, the overall picture was much better than the previous assessment in April. The National Audit Office also expressed concern in May about the fact that one fire brigade was still rated Red and others had not then been properly assessed.

The Amber fire brigades in July were: Avon, Bedfordshire and Luton, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Central Scotland, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Durham and Darlington, Fife, Hampshire, Hereford and Worcester, Hertfordshire, Highlands and Islands, Isle of Wight, Lincolnshire, Lothian and Borders, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Strathclyde, Suffolk, West Midlands, West Sussex.

The Action 2000 traffic light codes:

Blue: The assessment has not identified any risks of material disruption to the infrastructure process.

Amber: The assessment indicates that there is some risk of material disruption to infrastructure processes, but that there is an agreed containment plan to rectify shortcomings.

Red: The assessment indicates that there is a severe risk of material disruption to infrastructure processes and that timely rectification might not be possible.

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