Herts Fire and Rescue Service was given a disappointing rating in its first-ever inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
The service was rated in three areas and was graded ‘Requires Improvement’ across the board.
Unlike most areas of the country, Herts Fire Service is run by the county council.
Cllr Terry Hone, cabinet member for community safety, welcomed the news.
He said: “There are no surprises for us in this report.
“We know that the front-line emergency service Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service provides is good, and we’re already aware that some of the back-office systems and plans need updating.
“We’ve been honest and transparent with the inspectorate about where we think our strengths and weaknesses are, and the inspectorate has broadly agreed with us.”
He added: “Since the inspection team visited us in the summer we’ve already started work to improve in the areas where we know we need to.”
There are 45 fire services across the country, and 14 had been assessed at the time of going to press.
Of these, only Avon and Surrey had a lower rating than Hertfordshire.
Inspectors praised the force for protecting the public through fire regulation; responding to fires and emergencies; and responding to national risks.
They wrote: “We are satisfied with some aspects of the performance of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service in keeping people safe and secure. But there are several areas where it needs to make improvements.”