- S = Social (e.g. changes in social behaviour that might impact product / service selection);
- T = Technological (e.g. rapid development in cheaper components that will affect product prices or performance);
- E = Economic (e.g. non-Euro exchange rates affecting key imported supplies);
- E = Environmental (e.g. waste re-cycling legislation and penalties on producers);
- P = Political (e.g. government directives on certification or subcontracting);
- L = Legal (e.g. changes in employment laws)
- E = Ethical (or International) (e.g. World Trade Organisation agreements affecting market dynamics and competitors)
A summary of the STEEPLE Analysis can be used to check the reasonableness and validity of your overriding Business Strategy and Targets. Any resultant issues should then be turned into an action plan that will describe how and when you are going to resolve such matters or mitigate the anticipated risks. For example, this might provide the rationale for why and on what basis you need additional credit from your funding providers. This analysis of the external environment, should be considered and applied when compiling, monitoring and reporting your Business & Financial Plan.
Analysis of the external environment: identification of issues and risks 'STEEPLE' analysis
This analysis examines the context in which the Authority operates. It identifies some of the key issues that exist (or are emerging) in the external environment and suggests how these will or might impact on future strategy and resources. These are listed under seven main headings (factors):
|STEEPLE analysis - social|
|Ref No||Issue/Risk||Strategic Level Action|
|SO1||Major demographic changes in local communities can impact on Hampshire’s risk profile and therefore the effectiveness of our IRMP and actions.||Continually assess the impact on of both strategic and local plans (especially designated major development areas MDAs) and identify the scale and timing of any implications for our IRMP and associated actions.|
Review our internal processes to ensure that all local planning consultation documents are reviewed (at both SMT and Group Management levels) and that our comments are fed back to the relevant stakeholders.
|SO2||Increases in the number of older and other vulnerable people living alone in the community (including those under ‘care in the community’ arrangements) will continue to pose a specific risk to our plans to reduce fire deaths and injuries.||Ensure, by working in close collaboration with partner organisations and other agencies, that our information on these ‘at risk’ groups is up to date and that our priorities for action (including the targeting of home safety visits) are regularly reviewed.|
|SO3||National increase in the incidence of arson particularly in relation to vehicles and schools. Both pose a considerable risk to our plans to reduce arson. In the case of vehicles, the increase is likely to be attributable, at least partly, to the impact of EU environmental regulations and the cost of disposal of scrap vehicles.||Through careful analysis we will target those segments of the population most likely to start such fires; and, working with partner agencies, remove or reduce the opportunity for such incidents.|
|STEEPLE analysis - technological|
|Ref No||Issue/Risk||Strategic Action Level|
|TE1||Transition from local control rooms to the new regional control centres should realise a significant improvement in the information and communications technologies (ICT) available for mobilising resources effectively. The net cost to the Authority of the new centres is currently not known. Additionally, we need to maintain the capacity and resilience of the Authority’s existing and increasingly redundant control room systems. To date a fully-costed national business case has not be produced by ODPM.||Ensure, by active participation in the project planning and specification processes for the new control centres, that the Authority’s own mobilising policies and management information needs are capable of being satisfied by the new control centres; that indications of future net costs / savings are made available as soon as possible for financial planning purposes.|
Ensure, so far as is possible and practicable, that arrangements remain robust for the continued maintenance and support of the existing control room’s ICT– particularly that support provided by third-party suppliers and contractors.
|TE2||Reliance on ICT for the day?to?day delivery and management of services is at an unprecedented level – and likely to increase with further technological innovation and implementation. Major and/or prolonged failures in our ICT infrastructure and critical applications could have serious and potentially costly implications.||As the Authority seeks to exploit opportunities and tangible benefits for the improved delivery of services through ICT application development (including meeting expectations/targets for e-government), ensure that increased investment is made in improving both the resilience and performance of the Service’s ICT infrastructure.|
Ensure that sound maintenance and support agreements are in place with all third-party suppliers and contractors of our ICT services so that our business continuity plans remain robust and can be regularly tested.
|STEEPLE analysis - environmental|
|Ref No||Issue/Risk||Strategic Level Action|
|EN1||Weather-related incidents (eg flooding, storms) and major chemical/biological incidents can have a sudden and dramatic impact on our resources - both in terms of our ability to respond to them and the resultant financial cost.||Regularly review and test plans for dealing with such incidents - including, where appropriate, participation in realistic exercises with all other relevant civil protection agencies.
|EN2||Given the Authority’s role in helping to protect the environment, it would be highly embarrassing, damaging to our reputation, and potentially costly in financial terms, if our own operational and management practices contravened environmental legislation and expected good practice.||Conduct an environmental/sustainability audit of our day-to-day operational and management arrangements (particularly those relating to policies and procedures on our own sites) so to ensure that we eliminate any poor practices and that the Authority can be regarded as one that actively promotes environmentally sustainable activities wherever possible. Repeat these audits at three-yearly intervals.|
|STEEPLE analysis - economic|
|Ref No||Issue Risk||Strategic Level Action|
|EC1||Now that the Authority is a ‘precepting authority’ it has to ensure that it makes adequate provision (ie reserves and balances) in its budget for the financial consequences of the strategic and volatile risks highlighted in this analysis, those identified in other business plans, and for any areas of uninsured risks. Failure to do so, could result in the Authority having to resort to: major cuts in its budget and/or unplanned borrowing and/or subsequent and unacceptably high increases in Council Tax levels. In turn, this would increase the risk of Government intervention and ‘capping’ (leading to further unplanned cuts in expenditure).||Each year the Authority will assess the adequacy of its reserves and balances based on information contained in the risk register, other business plans and specific reports (including, in particular, the forecast provision required for the firefighters’ pension scheme).Insurance arrangements (cover and premiums) will continue to be formally re-tendered every three years and selectively market-tested annually.|
|EC2||The Authority, in common with all local authorities, is expected to demonstrate that it strives for Best Value in delivering its services to the public and there are clear expectations (targets) to achieve year-on-year efficiency savings. Failure to respond positively to this expectation could result in Government intervention.||As part of its budget planning and monitoring processes, the value of any efficiency savings - both “cashable” and “non-cashable” will be logged in reports and a record of the cumulative impact on resources will be maintained.|
|EC3||As with all public sector bodies we are required to ensure that public funds are managed with probity and to guard against fraud and misuse and to ensure best value is achieved.||We will continue to ensure that sound Internal (and workplace) audits processes are in place and that all budget holders and managers are fully aware of the Authority’s financial regulations and codes of practice relating to contracts.|
|STEEPLE analysis - political|
|Ref No||Issue/Risk||Strategic Level Action|
|PO1||The Government’s expectations for greater collaboration between fire and rescue authorities at the regional level - through the Regional Management Boards (RMBs) - will have an impact on both the approach to and way we manage and deliver some key services (including regional control centres mentioned above). Failure to fully embrace and influence the development of the ‘regional agenda’ could lead to the Authority becoming politically isolated and vulnerable to decisions made that are not in its best interests.||The Authority is already leading on developing a regional approach to human resource management, and is actively involved in key aspects of the planning processes for the new regional control centres.
|PO2||Members of the Authority are also members of one of the three constituent authorities (Hampshire County Council; Portsmouth City Council; Southampton City Council); some are also members of district councils and other public bodies (eg the Police Authority). As local councillors they will also be representing the interests of the electorate in their Division/Ward. It is important to recognise that this will, on occasion, cause inevitable tensions for Members who may need to satisfy or respond to different and sometimes opposing views/priorities when considering their stance on policy decisions – particularly those affecting their local area. These tensions could, understandably, inhibit progress on some aspects of the modernisation agenda.||Proposals for change (arising from the IRMP) that directly impact on the delivery of services in local communities need to be well presented and the benefits of change (and its implications) communicated effectively during periods of consultation. Members will need to be satisfied that local concerns have been properly anticipated and taken into account in presenting business cases for any proposals for change so that they can have confidence in the thoroughness of the consultation process when decisions need to be made.|
|PO3||Failure to fully engage in local Crime and Disorder Panels and Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) could result in the Authority missing out on opportunities (and sources of additional funding) that could directly contribute to the achievement of its corporate aims – particularly those relating to prevention and protection actions. There is a clear expectation on all local authorities to exploit the potential benefits and economies of scale of taking cross-cutting initiatives and partnership working to improve the delivery of services to the public. The Authority would receive understandable criticism (particularly through the CPA process) if there is little evidence of collaborative activity.||The Authority is becoming a more active member of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities Association and in local strategic partnerships and panels. There is scope however to increase the level of engagement and contribution made by Members of the Authority and officers (particularly the new Group Managers). Specific IRMP actions (such as the proposed pilot of deploying a vehicle and crew at the Popley Fields Community Centre, Basingstoke) will increasingly emerge as tangible examples of the benefits of collaborative working.|
|STEEPLE analysis - legal|
|Ref No||Risk/Issue||Strategic Level Action|
|LE1||The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 places on a statutory footing ‘other activities’ the Service has taken on over the last 50 years since the previous legislation was put in place. These go beyond firefighting and include rescue from road traffic accidents, responding to serious environmental disasters and the new terrorist threat. The scope for litigation being taken against the Authority has therefore widened.||Direct experience gained from the much publicised case of ‘Capital & Counties v Hampshire County Council, 1990’ serves as a constant reminder of the potential and significant impact of litigation – and the consequences of authorities standing their own insurable risks.
|LE2||New legislation – notably with the enactment of the Regulatory Reform Order (RRO) - will change the emphasis of the fire and rescue service’s role in respect of fire safety inspection and enforcement. The Authority needs to ensure that it has taken the necessary action to change its organisational and management arrangements to satisfy the requirements of the RRO. Failure to do so, will mean that our policies, plans and actions aim at ‘Protecting’ Hampshire will fail to deliver measurable results.||In anticipation of the RRO, organisational and managerial structures (and roles) have already been reviewed and implemented.
|LE3||The Freedom of Information Act 2000 has significant implications for the way all public authorities manage information – both in hard copy and electronic formats. From January 2005, members of the public have the right to request access to any information held by the Authority on any subject provided it is not restricted on the grounds of security or the Data Protection Act. There are financial penalties as well as public embarrassment for non-compliance.||The Authority has made good progress in preparing to meet the requirements of the Act and had it Publication Scheme in place well before the relevant deadline. A policy commitment to comply with the requirements of the Act has been approved by the Authority.
|STEEPLE analysis - ethical|
|ET1||As a public body we are expected to embrace excellent ethical and moral standards in all that we do. We are not only expected to follow the letter of the law, but also uphold the spirit of the law by having in place policies and practices that are beyond reproach. Not to do so would leave the Authority exposed to criticism on a number of fronts.||Our employment policies and practices are continually being updated and enhanced to ensure that we do all we can to improve fairness and dignity in the workplace; and, so that we will be better placed to achieve the ambitious equality targets, set by the Government, for fire and rescue authorities.