"SIGNIFICANT improvements" have led to a much better outlook for the two counties' fire brigade in a national watchdog's report.

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service's (HWFRS) third inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) saw all 11 of the overall judgement areas graded as ‘good’ or ‘adequate’.

None were seen as ‘requiring improvement’ from July's assessment compared to nine of the 11 in the last report in 2021.

Jon Pryce, the service's chief fire officer, said: “The inspectors were pleased with the performance of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and this is reflected in the report, alongside the significant improvements we have made since their last inspection.

“This report truly reflects a high-quality and high-performing fire and rescue service and how much hard work all our professional staff put into protecting our communities every day.”

A service statement added there is some learning to be taken from the report and HWFRS will form an action plan with the aim of improving further.

The inspection rated HWFRS as good in public safety through fire regulation, having the right people with the right skills, promoting fairness and diversity and managing performance and developing leaders.

The service was seen as adequate in understanding fire and risk, preventing fire and risk, responding to fires and emergencies, responding to major incidents, making best use of its resources, future affordability and promoting values and culture.

In its 2021 inspection HMICFRS identified one cause of concern, saying prevention activity was not a sufficiently high priority for the service and it was not adequately identifying those most at risk from fire.

After an action plan was provided and a revisit done by the watchdog in November 2022, the cause of concern was discharged.

The latest inspection found the service had produced clearly-defined prevention, protection and response strategies that link to its community risk management plan.

HMICFRS said it had made additional improvements in prevention since last year, including more home fire safety visits and a reduced backlog of referrals, but further progress was necessary.

The report stated the service had improved across all the four people-related areas but more could still be done.

It added the service had improved its staff appraisal process and actively sought staff feedback on how the organisation could be better but could improve how it gathers up-to-date risk information to help protect firefighters, the public and property during an emergency and how it learns from incidents.