Digital transformation – North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service


Joel Rosen,
Government Fast Streamer
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

Joel is on the government Fast Steam service and is currently spending six-month placements at various government departments. He spent his last six months at the Centre, focusing primarily on the role of 'digital'. For his last hurrah, Joel spoke to five different local places to understand more about their digital transformation journeys with the aim of being able to share their experiences to help others in a similar situation. There will be a blog published every day this week so keep reading to find out more.

It was a great pleasure to visit North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service a few months ago, where my colleague Imogen and I were warmly greeted by Sarah Dale, the service’s central administration office manager and information governance officer.

Sarah, clearly an experienced information governance professional, saw her role as being an enabler of information sharing and giving her colleagues the confidence to share. She made a point of the Fire & Rescue Service being the most trusted of the blue light services (something we have heard repeated in our Braunstone Blues work in Leicestershire), and hence being in a prime position to take the lead on coordinating information sharing between multiple agencies.

There were a number of digital changes they had already brought in, such as signing up to a location-based community messaging service, and they had introduced secure e-mails to staff. A key area of innovation for them as explained by Bob Hoskins (station manager prevention), was their Safe & Well visits initiative. The role of Fire & Rescue Services has begun to change from fighting fires to prevention. They had begun to digitise their process, and were putting the questionnaire forms on tablets. Notably, they had introduced a consent checkpoint around halfway through the process where more personal and sensitive data was being requested (health for example).

They have a Safe & Well visit booklet (see photo below) based on the one produced by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, and have developed it further. For example, in the back of the booklet they have a section where service personnel can record for the occupant what information is being shared with whom if they agree to be referred to them. This is, in my view, an example of excellent practice in terms of its clarity, accessibility, and respect for personal information rights.

The service is looking at opportunities to do more work with healthcare providers and develop information sharing agreements further, and this would be an area they could seek help from us in. We were also delighted to hear from Stuart Simpson, a group manager present at our meeting, that he had attended a seminar we had presented at, which had significantly changed his approach towards information sharing.

To read more from Joel's week of digital transformation blogs, visit our main blogs page.

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