Fire safety enforcement

Enforcing the law

Inspectors may take enforcement action in several ways to deal with a breach of the legislation.

In most cases these will be:

Informal action

Notification of Fire Safety Deficiencies Form

Where the Authority are of the opinion that you have failed to comply with any requirements imposed on you by the Fire Safety Order but the breach is considered not to warrant the service of an Enforcement Notice the above notification will be served on you by the Inspector. The notification will identify the matters to address and the steps considered necessary to remedy them.

The Notification of Fire Safety Deficiencies document is not an Enforcement Notice. It identifies deficiencies which are required to be addressed to meet your legal obligations under the Order and is issued by the Authority before any formal enforcement action is taken.

Action Plan

In considering a fire risk assessment the Authority may liaise with the responsible person before commenting on the findings of the risk assessment, the projected time scale for the completion/ implementation of any necessary preventive and protective measures and any other measures considered appropriate. This procedure may be in the form of an ‘Action Plan’.
Where an Action Plan is proposed by the inspector, the relationship between the inspector and the responsible person must be viewed as a partnership. As part of this partnership both sides agree to accept the findings of the fire risk assessment and the projected time scale for completion/implementation of the measures identified in the action plan. These will need to be placed in order of priority for completion (and may include interim measures prior to long term or permanent measures being implemented). Failure to comply with an Action Plan may lead to formal action (see below).

Formal action

Enforcement Notices 

Where the Authority are of the opinion that, as a person being under an obligation to do so, you have failed to comply with the requirements placed upon you by the Fire Safety Order you will be served with an Enforcement Notice.

Attached to the Notice will be a schedule specifying the matters that, in the opinion of the Authority, constitute failure(s) to comply with the Fire Safety Order.

The schedule will also identify the steps that must be taken to remedy the specified failure(s), to ensure that you comply with the Fire Safety Order.

As the responsible person you may be given a period of up to 28 days in which to make satisfactory progress towards achieving a remedy to the deficiencies.

Unless the steps identified in the schedule to the notice are taken by the specified date, it will be considered that you have not complied with the Notice and the Authority may consider a prosecution against you. You may however apply for an extension of time which will be considered by the Fire Authority and will be dependant upon the particular circumstances of the case.

Prohibition Notice

Where the inspector considers that the use of the premises involves or will involve a risk to persons on the premises in the event of fire so serious that use of the premises ought to be prohibited or restricted, then the Cheshire Fire Authority may serve a Prohibition Notice. The notice may prohibit use immediately or after a specified time and not allow it to be used until remedial action has been taken. The notice will explain why the action is necessary.

Alterations Notice

Where the Authority considers premises constitute a serious risk to persons, whether due to the features of the premises, their use, any hazard present, or any other circumstances; it may serve on you, as the responsible person, an Alterations Notice. Where an Alterations Notice has been served, you must notify the Authority of any proposed changes before making:

  • a change to the premises;

  • a change to the services, fittings or equipment in or on the premises;

  • an increase in the quantities of dangerous substances which are in or on the premises;

  • a change to the use of the premises which may result in a significant increase in risk.

Notice under Article 37 (Fire-Fighters’ Switches For Luminous Tube Signs)

Where apparatus to which this article applies has been installed or an installation is proposed in or on the premises, the Authority may serve a Notice of requirements relating to the position, colour and marking of the cut-off switch, on the responsible person.

Failure to comply

Failure to comply with the fire safety duties imposed by the Fire Safety Order or with any requirement or restriction imposed by a notice issued under the Fire Safety Order, is a criminal offence under Article 32 of the Order. A person guilty of such an offence shall be liable:

a) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum; or

b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.
Any person found guilty of an offence under any requirement imposed by Article 37 in respect of luminous tube signs is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

Public availability of information

Under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information the Authority is committed to make available on written request, information about its actions and decisions, which includes information about notices it has issued. In general the information that the Authority will make available about a notice is the information on the front page.

Information on a notice will not be made available until the right of appeal against the content of a notice has expired with no appeal having been lodged or the appeal has been disposed of. Where an inspector is satisfied that a notice has been complied with, this information will be made available at the same time as the information on the left side of the schedule (location and details of failures). If you think that the information in the notice would disclose commercially confidential information you should contact the Authority within 14 days who in turn will redraft the information in a way it believes will not reveal the confidential matter. In the meantime the only information to be made available will be your name, address, any place involved and the relevant legal provisions. If you are not satisfied with the redrafted information there is no further appeal. However, the Authority will make every effort to agree a form of words that is acceptable to you.

For the avoidance of doubt, where the publicising of a notice is appropriate to further the safety of persons, the details in the previous paragraph, about making available information regarding a notice will not apply. An example of circumstances where information may be given out directly the notice is served, is where the notice prohibits the use of sleeping accommodation. Tenants, or other persons, who use this prohibited accommodation may be informed immediately by the Authority.

The National Enforcement Register

The National Enforcement Register is the national register detailing enforcement, prohibition and alterations notices issued to 'Responsible Persons' by Fire & Rescue Authorities under the Fire Safety Order. 

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service utilises the National Enforcement Register which is operated by the National Fire Chiefs Council.The Enforcement register has moved to a new location and can be found here National Enforcement Register. At present historic records have not yet been moved to the new register and cant be viewed via this link. It is also not currently possible to update the historic records, and therefore if you have an enquiry about enforcement action taken by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service please contact us by email  

Entries to the register will be made within 14 days of the expiry of the right of appeal or the disposal of an appeal against the content of a notice. If a notice is cancelled on appeal no entry will be made. Where an inspector is satisfied that a notice has been complied with, withdrawn or amended a further entry will be made in the register within 7 days to show this.
If you think that the entry for this notice would disclose commercially sensitive information you should give written notice to the Authority within 14 days, they in turn will draft an entry which is considered not to disclose the information and serve this on you. In the meantime the entry will specify only your name, address, the place involved and the relevant legal provisions. If you are not satisfied with the redrafted entry you have a further right of appeal to the Secretary of State within 14 days.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service enforces the statutory duties imposed by the Fire Safety Order on behalf of the Cheshire Fire Authority. In discharging these duties, the Service adheres to the principles of best practice recommended by government for regulatory bodies.

View our Enforcement Policy Statement

View our Enforcement Procedures

Our pledge

We are the Enforcing Authority for the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in Cheshire.

We regularly conduct audits of business premises to assess compliance with this legislation to help you reduce the risks from fire. We also have a dedicated Business Safety team actively working with businesses to ensure that they are compliant with the above legislation and ensuring that they stay safe from the risk of fire. We regularly work with the business community, signposting the Responsible Person to free templates and guidance documents.

For further information please contact the Business Safety team.

The Fire Safety Order

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 or "the Fire Safety Order" came into force on 1 October 2006.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (opens in new window)

What does this mean for my business?

The legislation fundamentally changed the way in which fire safety for businesses is carried out and enforced.

It provides for a risk-based approach to fire safety in non-domestic premises.

This allows more efficient and effective enforcement by the fire and rescue service.

Who does it apply to?

The Fire Safety Order applies to most non-domestic premises. It includes many businesses such as:

  • Guesthouses.

  • Small day nurseries.

  • Self-employed people.

  • Parts of the voluntary sector.

What do I have to do?

The Responsible Person at the premises is responsible for carrying out a risk assessment to identify the risks and hazards, with fire safety officers enforcing the Fire Safety Order through audits.

Fire safety certificates are no longer issued.

If you are:

  • Responsible for your business premises.

  • An employer.

  • Self-employed with business premises.

  • A charity or voluntary organisation.

  • A contractor with a degree of control over any premises.

YOU WILL be required to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment

It is your responsibility to make sure your workplace reaches the required standard and employees are provided with adequate fire safety training.

What am I responsible for?

The Responsible Person is responsible for:

  • Reducing the risk from fire as far as reasonably practicable.

  • Providing general fire precautions.

  • Taking additional measures where flammable or explosive materials are involved.

  • Creating a plan to deal with emergencies.

Our inspection programme

We have a database of over 32,000 non-domestic premises in Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington.

We adopt a risk based inspection programme targeting those premises that present the highest risk.

Preparing for an audit

If your business is audited you will be visited by a qualified fire safety officer who will follow a set procedure which is designed to establish your compliance with the requirements of the Fire Safety Order.

Find out how you can prepare for your audit - link to be added soon

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive:

  • Where does the Fire Safety Order apply?

  • Do I need a fire risk assessment?

  • What are my main requirements/duties of the Fire Safety Order?

  • Do you run training courses on fire safety - for example use of extinguishers or how to complete a fire risk assessment?

  • Do I need to test my fire alarm/emergency lighting?

  • Do I need fire extinguishers?

To find out the answers and read more frequently asked questions please visit - Frequently asked questions


Last updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2024