Defining Scope - DEFS


Defining the scope of its CRMP process requires an FRS to develop a detailed profile of its community and maintain a thorough understanding of factors that can influence it. In conjunction with understanding the community profile, the FRS also must consider other key external and internal factors that can shape and influence the process and in doing so, it enables the FRS to clearly articulate its operating context and strategic objectives linked to community risk management.

This is also vital in providing the foundation for the next stage of the CRMP process, which involves determining the relevant hazards, hazardous events, and the risk groups impacted by them.

Defining Scope Guidance

Developing and maintaining a Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP)* enables a UK Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) to assess all foreseeable fire-and-rescue-related risks, while ensuring it is fulfilling the legislative requirements placed upon it. The objective of the CRMP is to ensure allocation of available resources aligned to Prevention, Protection, and that these are utilised in the most efficient manner to mitigate risk and improve community safety.

*Note: The term CRMP has been developed by the NFCC Community Risk Programme as it aligns more closely to its overall objectives. The National Framework uses the term Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP): it is important to note that these are the same process, and only differ by title.

This guidance seeks to support an FRS with defining the scope of its CRMP, which is the first component of the CRMP Strategic Framework, and focuses on the key factors that can influence its content and direction.

It is important to note that the whole CRMP is underpinned by three key themes that should support, influence, and inform each individual component throughout the whole process:

  • Data and Business Intelligence.
  • Equality / People Impact Assessment (EqIA).
  • Stakeholder and Public Engagement.

These themes should be utilised to ensure each component within the process has been developed using a broad range of community and organisational intelligence. This is a vital factor that provides assurance to the FRS governing body responsible for overall decision-making and ownership of the CRMP, that the scope, analysis, evaluated options, and overall professional judgement presented to them, is evidence based and credible.

Defining the scope of the CRMP process involves two key elements:

  • Defining the operating context which influences and governs the CRMP process.
  • Establishing the strategic objectives linked to mitigating community risk, the CRMP   needs to consider and seeks to achieve.

These are described in more detail below and propose the key factors for an FRS to consider, analyse, and apply when developing their own CRMP process.

Defining the ‘Operating Context’

This stage of the process involves establishing what is driving the need and content of the CRMP. This helps to highlight the influences, expectations, issues, and areas of risk encountered by the FRS, and what needs to be considered within the CRMP. To support this process, it is essential that the external and internal operating environments are considered, as these will influence the direction and content of the CRMP and the strategic objectives that support the process. The approaches taken to achieve this will vary between FRSs, but all will need to consider a range of similar factors that will influence the CRMP process. This requires comprehensive analysis and key questions to be asked, which include:

What governs and drives the requirements placed on the FRS when developing and managing its CRMP process?

Government policy, legislative and framework requirements, and governance arrangements, including the expectations set out in Fire and Rescue, Safety and Local risk plans?   

What enables the FRS to meet its strategic objectives and activities in relation to managing community risk?

Evidenced-based decision-making, alignment of organisational strategies and plans linked to Protection, Prevention and Response activity?   

What are the factors the FRS relies on to effectively manage risk?

Horizon scanning, national and local intelligence such as National and Local Risk Registers, assessing cross border risk, the need to continually monitor and react to emerging risk, community data, robust risk analysis, inclusion and engagement of communities and staff, consistent use of technology, the availability and effective deployment of resources, partnership working and collaborative opportunities?    

What factors are encountered that can influence community risk management?

Societal change, new and emerging risks (such as COVID-19), political landscape, workforce capabilities, community demographics, enquiry outcomes, thematic reviews, legislative and regulatory change?  

What are the factors that can change or create uncertainty for the CRMP process?

Changes in Government objectives and political direction, local governance arrangements, availability of resource, finance and budgetary requirements, relationship with Representative Bodies? 

PESTLEO analysis

To assist this process, and as an example, a PESTLEO Analysis has been used to provide a structure and methodology for assessing and understanding the factors that can influence the FRS operating context:


The national and local political environment will influence the CRMP and identify areas of community risk that require focus and prioritisation. In addition, government policy decisions and relationships with stakeholders (such as National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Representative Bodies, etc) may also have an impact on decision-making. At a local level, the governance model within which the FRS operates will also influence the CRMP, as there will be political objectives and aspirations that the process should consider and support as part of a wider community strategy.


The Defining Scope, Hazard Identification, and Risk Analysis components of the CRMP process should not be influenced or driven by the financial environment of the individual FRS. However, the organisational influence of budget availability becomes a key consideration when resourcing decisions need to be made later within the CRMP process. Only at this stage does the FRS need to fully understand the financial environment it is operating within, budget availability and the potential impact this could have on the deployment of resources linked to Prevention, Protection, and Response activity.


To be able to understand where risk exists within its communities, it is vital the FRS has an in-depth knowledge of the community it serves. Although services provided by FRS will be very similar, differences in communities exist and these present different levels of risk that need to be mitigated. To effectively build and understand the community profile, the use of data, inclusion, and engagement will be essential and should consider a range of social factors including:

Socio-demographics – Age, sex, gender, ethnicity, employment status, homeownership, population distribution and density, households with children.  Health related data and trends: Smoking habits, alcohol consumption, drug use, mental or physical impairment, frailty, mobility, oxygen usage, use of assistive technology.  

Socio-economic status – Levels of deprivation, potential for fuel poverty.

Crime trends and analysis Areas of antisocial behaviour, vandalism, arson, and associated prosecution rates.

Assessing factors such as these not only assists with building intelligence regarding the levels of community vulnerability, resilience, and risk, but also supports the process of identifying potential hazards and the risk groups that could be impacted by them.

This process needs to involve more than just using quantitative data analysis to build a community profile, and should also be based on the feedback gathered by engaging directly with communities and stakeholders (including FRS staff), such as using the intelligence gained from stakeholder and public engagement processes, or from conducting equality impact assessments linked to the various components of the CRMP process.

To ensure the entire process of developing a community profile remains as inclusive as possible, another key point of consideration is Equality of Access, details of which are outlined on the NFCC website.

Equality of Access involves actively seeking engagement with groups who, although may not be deemed at high risk, may be unaware of, or choosing not to engage with the public services available to them.

Considering societal factors such as these will fundamentally assist with understanding the needs, wants, and expectations of all community groups, and how the FRS should design and provide inclusive services linked to Prevention, Protection and Response activity.


The risk levels presented by technology can increase or decrease depending on how technology has been applied, what it is being used for, and the way it is encountered by an FRS.  Understanding the availability and impact of technology can not only assist with activities such as hazard identification and determining risk levels, but also provide solutions to help mitigate community risk. Examples include:

  • Vehicle manufacture, for example the increased use of electric vehicles and battery technology.
  • Infrastructure developments such as solar, wind and hydrogen-based systems.
  •  Software tools to help with sophisticated data and trend analysis.
  • Digital solutions to support resource mobilisation and command and control.
  • Using social media to communicate remotely with community groups and stakeholders.


There is a range of legislation and frameworks that directly influences the approaches FRSs take to delivering Prevention, Protection, and Response activity. It would not be feasible to list each legislative variable within this guidance. However, detailed in Appendix One is a range of examples that could influence a FRS when determining and understanding its operating context and strategic objectives linked to community risk.


Having a detailed knowledge of the geographical and built environment and borders within which the FRS serves is essential to understanding risk and the resourcing requirements that may exist.

Climate change presents various challenges for all FRS, who need to consider the current and future likelihood and consequences of events such as:

  • Coastal and inland flooding due to rising sea levels, coastal erosion, and increased rainfall.
  • Increased risk of wildfires due to sustained higher temperatures.
  • Extreme weather conditions.
  • Potential for water shortages and drought conditions.

Events such as these need to be considered, not only to assess the impact on the community, but also the decision-making linked to the deployment of resources, both currently, and in the future.

Consideration to the environment not only applies to resourcing Prevention, Protection, and Response activity, but also the impact on the CRMP by introducing environmentally friendly solutions within FRS buildings, fleet, and technology. For example, electric powered vehicles and the impact these could have on response activity due to their battery life and range.

Other considerations linked to the environment should also feature as part of the CRMP process and include factors such as:

Identifying locations or receptors where there is, or may be, contamination or pollution that could have a damaging or long-lasting impact, such as in areas of scientific interest, river networks, or other such areas.

  • Infrastructure development and major engineering projects that could present increased risks during both the construction and normal use phases, for example the scale of the HS2 project and the potential operational challenges presented.
  • Compiling information regarding commercial, industrial, and public buildings, particularly those which are critical to communities or present increased risk, such as hospitals, care homes, heritage sites, prisons, and COMAH sites.
  • Modern methods of construction and materials used within the built environment, such as cladding systems and timber construction.
  • Local and critical infrastructure including major transport hubs, road networks, critical water supplies, and pipelines.
  • Current or proposed housing, commercial, industrial, and other major developments.


In addition to having a comprehensive understanding of its external influences, an FRS also needs to understand how its internal influences and operating structure can shape the CRMP process. This should include assessing factors such as:

Overall strategic objectives and performance.

Current resource configuration, availability, response times, and planning assumptions.

The alignment and integration of resources linked to Prevention, Protection, and Response activity.

Timescales associated with the continual update of the CRMP process and the need to effectively plan for key activities, such as allowing sufficient time for Stakeholder and Public engagement.

  • Geographical makeup of the FRS area: Urban, Rural, or a blend of both.
  • Working with other FRSs to understand cross-border risks.
  • Local and national incident statistics, trends, and causes.
  • Workforce demographics, skills, and competencies.
  • Established partnerships and collaborations with other FRSs, other Emergency Services, Local Authorities, community groups, and other relevant parties.
  • The outcomes, learning, and good practice identified from inspections (both internally and externally).
  • Learning from conducting Equality Impact Assessments and ensuring
  • Equality of Access.
  • Content of Fire Standards and the requirements placed on FRS.
  • Organisational policy.
  • National Operational, Protection, and Prevention Guidance.
  • Industrial relations and engagement with Representative Bodies and
  • Stakeholder and public engagement feedback, including understanding the views of all staff to inform the design and provision of services and activity.

To assist with determining and understanding the internal influences and operating structure within the FRS, it may be useful to conduct a strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis. This will help provide a framework for analysing the FRS and the evidence base which supports the ongoing development and maintenance of the CRMP process.

Establishing Strategic Objectives to mitigate community risk

A full understanding of what governs and influences the FRS operating context enables strategic objectives linked to mitigating community risk to be developed. These objectives can originate from and be formed based on a range of sources, including:

  • Legislation, frameworks, and governance requirements
  • Political expectations and aspirations – including the requirements set out in Fire and Rescue, Safety and Local Risk Plans
  • Fire Standards, national guidance and policy
  • Collaborative and partnership agreements
  • Professional judgement and expertise.

Developing these objectives assists with the process of determining, prioritising, and structuring the delivery of activities to mitigate community risk in line with the organisation’s overall risk appetite. As a result of review of the detail contained in legislation and frameworks, it is likely several similar strategic objectives will feature within various FRS CRMPs. Examples could include:

  • Reducing the impact on risk groups from fire and other incidents.
  • Mitigating the social, economic, and environmental impact of fires and other incidents through Prevention, Protection, and Response activity.
  • Seeking to reduce vulnerability by improving the health and wellbeing within communities.

In addition to these, other more locally focused objectives that will need to feature within the CRMP process may also exist. These could be based on local factors, such as community profiles, political need, and partnerships or collaborative arrangements with other organisations.

Appendix One – Examples of CRMP linked legislation

National Risk Register 2020

The 2020 National Risk Register highlights a range of risks that have the potential to cause significant disruption to the UK. Although not all the risks described are relevant to each FRS and its geographical area, they need to be considered within the CRMP because the risks described within this document may have an impact on decision making or resource availability: things such as requirement to support or require National Resilience in the event of large-scale incidents.

Socio-economic duty (Wales) (2020)

This duty extends to direct specified public bodies so that when making strategic decisions such as ‘deciding priorities and setting objectives’ they consider how their decisions might help to reduce the inequalities associated with socio-economic disadvantage.

National Frameworks

National Frameworks for England, Scotland and Wales provide detail on the priorities and objectives government has set for the FRS and the areas of expected activity. The content of these requires in-depth analysis to ensure CRMP processes consider the relevant factors.

This Act supports the CRMP by informing the legalities of accessing and using data to inform different components of the process. Therefore, it is vital that consideration is given to how data is being used and ensuring compliance with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) to ensure lawful and appropriate use.

This Act provides for a National Islands Plan to be developed, and explains duties placed upon authorities to have regard to islands when carrying out their functions. It also requires the preparation of Island Impact Assessments. SFRS is required to comply with carrying out assessments.

A crucial element within this legislation provides the scope for FRS governance arrangements to be assumed by Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners (PFCC). This places an additional responsibility for political objectives and aspirations to be considered, as these can have a major influence on strategic objectives and decision-making. In the interest of increasing efficiency and effectiveness, the Act also created a duty for the FRS to identify and seek collaborative opportunities.

The Fire and Rescue National Framework sets out the Welsh Government’s vision and priorities for FRAs in Wales. It describes what the Welsh Government expects of the FRAs and creates the foundation on which to build and promote improvement, efficiency and innovation.

This Act makes provisions about human trafficking and slavery, servitude, and forced or compulsory labour, including provision about offences and sentencing, provision for victim support, and provision to reduce activity related to offences. Named bodies have a duty to notify and provide information about victims.

The Well-being of Future Generations Act gives the ambition, permission, and legal obligation to improve social, cultural, environmental, and economic well-being.

As some FRSs issue licences and regulate under this legislation, this may need consideration regarding the allocation and utilisation of resources linked to Protection.

The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 places a collective risk assessment duty on all Category One responders. This process is further detailed in Chapter 4 of the Guidance, which details key requirements that can be aligned to the CRMP process. Summarised as follows, these require:

  • An accurate and shared understanding of risk so plans are proportionate to risk.
  • A rationale for the prioritisation of objectives and the allocation of resources.
  • That responders assess their capabilities to identify existing appropriate control measures and any gaps in provision.
  • Promoting multiagency planning and consistent understanding of planning assumptions.
  • Provision of access to the context of emergency planning and business continuity arrangements.
  • Consideration of national risk assessments to support emergency planning and developing capability.

Effective 1st January 2012, this Order places extra statutory responsibility on the NIFRS Board to make provision to protect people from harm in relation to the following:

  • Chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents
  • A landslide
  • Collapse of a building, tunnel, or other structure
  • A serious transport incident
  • Serious flooding.


Although not solely aimed at the FRS, this Act provides local authorities with more power to make local decisions. This is an important consideration for the CRMP process, as the decisions taken at a local level regarding the allocation and provision of local services could influence the strategic objectives and prioritisation of activity defined within the CRMP.

The requirements set out in this Act not only influence and govern the way in which a local FRS should manage and support its employees, but also for how they provide protection for the wider public served. This is a key consideration in developing a CRMP so that, as well as the services delivered to mitigate risk are Equality Impact Assessed , so too are the processes of developing the CRMP, ensuring both support equality, are inclusive, and non-discriminatory.

This legislation covers the fire safety responsibilities of premises owners within Northern Ireland.

This measure makes provision about arrangements by local authorities and other authorities in Wales to secure continuous improvement in the exercise of their functions; to make provision for community strategies; and to establish connected purposes.

This legislation focuses on specific activities a FRS needs to consider and make provision for, including CBRNE, specialist rescue, call handling, information gathering, training, and responding to incidents outside of its geographical area. These will influence the response considerations within the CRMP, including the impact on resourcing decisions, planning assumptions, and how the FRS supports and utilises National Resilience.

This Order consolidates the law relating to fire services in Northern Ireland, and establishes and confers functions on the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Services (NIFRS) Board.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 Part 3, along with the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006, sets out fire safety duties for most non-domestic premises in Scotland. The legislation requires the provision of fire safety measures including risk reduction, means of fire warning, firefighting, escape, staff training and instruction, and emergency procedures. It sets out fire safety responsibilities and seeks to ensure the safety of persons from harm caused by fire.

This Act aims to help empower community bodies through the ownership or control of land and buildings by strengthening their voices in decisions about public services. SFRS must comply with provisions to include community body participation in SFRS outcomes.

The Order provides additional and specific operational functions relating to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents, search and rescue, serious flooding, and serious transport incidents.

(as amended by the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012).

This is the primary piece of legislation that lays out the SFRS fire and rescue functions, duties, and powers.

Although the requirements of this legislation place a duty on the responsible person to comply with the responsibilities in the order, there is still a requirement for the FRS to act as an enforcing authority. This needs consideration within the CRMP process to ensure the resourcing demands to meet the requirements in the order are managed and Protection activities aligned accordingly.

The Children Act 1989 and 2004 provide a comprehensive framework for the care and protection of children. It centres on the welfare of children up to their 18th birthday. The Children Act 2004 supplemented the 1989 version and reinforced the message that all organisations working with children have a duty to help safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

This Act establishes clear roles and responsibilities for responders involved in a multi-agency response to civil emergencies. Under the act, the role of the FRS is to save life and to protect property and the environment. The CRMP needs to consider these requirements to ensure an appropriate response to incidents through a multiagency, collaborative, and cooperative approach.

This Act sets out provisions for local government elections and expenses, and new requirements for the membership of local authorities (including pay and pensions).

Fire and Rescue Service Acts

Fire and Rescue Service Acts cover England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland detail the key responsibilities of the FRS and the provisions required to meet their statutory duties. These will form major considerations within the CRMP, the strategic objectives defined, resource identified, and strategies developed to mitigate community risk.

This Act introduced a range of new duties for local authorities, including requirements to secure best value, engage in community planning, and gave additional enforcement and financial functions.

This Act broadened the ability of Local Authorities to make key local decisions in respect of promoting economic, social and environmental well-being. This is a key consideration when assessing influences on the FRS and the need to develop strategies in partnership with local bodies in support of achieving community objectives.

Health and Safety Legislation

Legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974  and

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 apply to all aspects of workplace activity. In relation to the CRMP process, the health, safety and wellbeing of employees needs to be at the forefront of all decisions to ensure the strategies implemented to mitigate community risk do not put FRS employees at unnecessary or excessive risk.

This legislation defines the fundamental rights and freedoms everyone in the UK is entitled to. A key consideration linked to the CRMP process relates to Article 2 of the act. This places a responsibility on public bodies to consider an individual’s right to life when making decisions that might put them in danger or affect their life expectancy. Therefore, key risk management and resourcing decision will need to be carefully considered to ensure they have not neglected this aspect of the act.

This Act provides a comprehensive framework for the care and protection of children. It provides for the promotion of child welfare and the safeguarding of children.

This Act sets the current structure of local government in Scotland.


Welsh Government. (2015), Fire and Rescue National Framework 2016