Definition of Risk Project FAQs


1. Who is leading the project? 

The Project is being led by Ian Hayton, Chief Fire Officer of Cleveland Fire Brigade. 

Ian has over 45 years’ experience in the Fire and Rescue Service and has been a Principal Officer for over twenty years. Since joining Cleveland County Fire Brigade in 1975, he has performed a diverse number of roles including Strategic and Operational Incident Command, Crisis Management, Fire Safety Engineering, Human Resources and Organisational Development, Performance and Risk Management, and Strategic Management. 

On the UK national stage, Ian is the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) executive lead on the Definition of Community Risk Project, the Health & Wellbeing Board, Emergency Services Liaison Group, and has recently represented the NFCC on the Pensions Remedy Committee. 

In addition, Ian is the founder, Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of Cleveland Fire Brigade Risk Management Services CIC. The company was established as a new social enterprise offering reliable risk management, environmental and asset protection solutions to all companies in the Oil & Gas, Nuclear, Petrochemical and Energy sectors looking for a professional ‘best in class’ approach to all of their risk, safety and crisis management requirements while utilising all profits to support local charities and employment opportunities that contribute to the social aims of public safety. 

2. What is the governance structure for the project?

The project is led by the Project Executive supported by the Project Board. The Project Executive reports to the NFCC CRP Programme Board. 

3. Why was this project commissioned by the CRP Board and NFCC?

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has taken a leadership role in reviewing the state of risk management planning across the UK FRS. The NFCC CRP Board commissioned Nottingham Trent University (NTU) to undertake independent research and determine how community risk assessment is carried out by the UK FRS. 

NTU reviewed each stage of the community risk management process and was able to identify current good practice, thematic gaps and put forward recommendations of areas to strengthen and improve.  43 out of 50 UK FRSs responded to the research survey, as well as 30 international organisations. For the first time, this provided an evidenced baseline and national view as to how CRMPs* are produced, what data they rely on and what engagement has shaped them. 

In relation to this project, the research concluded that 

  • there are many, differing, explicit references of ‘risk’ across FRSs, resulting in numerous labels and descriptions. 
  • there is no accepted national definition of risk. In part this is due to national frameworks that place government expectations on UK FRSs, but which are not explicit in what fire and rescue related risk is. 
  • there is a need to model both risk and demand based on evidence and data. 
  • that the sector should challenge the term ‘risk’ and bring the concept back to hazards, frequency and consequence. 

Based on its research and analysis, the report made several recommendations to improve risk management planning in the UK FRS.  The report recommended the NFCC CRP Board establish a workstream to provide a national definition of risk that supports the development of risk assessment methodologies and allows a consistent risk-based approach to risk management planning.  This enables FRSs to focus their resources on activities where they will have the greatest impact on reducing risk and vulnerability within their communities.  

4. What is the project trying to achieve?

Project purpose relates back to the NFCC strategic commitment ocommunity risk management and the CRP vision statement, these can be found here: 

The defined purpose of the Definition of Risk project is: 

To develop, from a UK Fire and Rescue (FRS) perspective, a glossary of risk-related terms and definitions; and a consistent conceptualisation of risk (‘the Strategic Risk Framework’); and the guidance of application of these definitions which can be applied to every FRS. 

5. What are the envisaged benefits of the project for the UKFRS? 

The outcomes of the project will enable 

  • strategic alignment with national priorities 
  • assurance that decision making at a local level is informed by strong evidence-based and research led digital guidance which is aligned to a national definition and conceptualisation of risk 
  • standardisation of the guidance used by UK FRSs to inform their CRMP processes – this will ensure consistent methodology and criteria for identifying and assessing risk & consistent CRMP structure 
  • promotes the use of consistent terminology within CRMP processes. 
  • promotes consistency in risk management planning communication/language 
  • enhance FRS collaborative opportunities

6. Are there any dependencies with other CRP projects?

The product of this project will feed directly into the CRMP Guidance project. This project also has links to the Data project. 

7. What is the project scope?

The scope of the project includes the following:

  1. Review definitions of risk in other fields and sectors 
  2. Develop a national definition of risk for the UK FRS 
  3. Develop a national ‘conceptualisation of risk’ (a strategic ‘Risk Framework’) demonstrating its relationship to other linked concepts and its application with different assessment methodologies 
  4. Define a glossary of risk-related terms and definitions including terminologies which cover all aspects of the community risk management process and recognise relevant statutory and legislative frameworks 
  5. Develop a comprehensive definition of risk document which encompasses the above points 
  6. Consider the end users of the definition of risk project.

End users of the definition of risk project includes

  • those responsible for implementing risk management within FRSs e.g. Community Risk Managers; 
  • those who need to ensure that an organisation manages risk e.g. Fire Authorities, Councils, Police and Crime Commissioners; 
  • those who need to manage risk for the FRS e.g. Community Fire Officers 
  • those needing to evaluate the FRSs practices in managing risk e.g. HMICFRS, HSE;
  • developers of national or sector-specific standards, guides, procedures and codes of practice relating to the management of risk e.g.Home Office, Fire Standards Board. 

8. How will the products be developed? 

The project team will commission thproducts to be developed by independent subject matter experts and informed by FRS engagement (via User Stories survey).  

The project will also consult a range of other stakeholders, such as: 

  • NFCC Prevention and Protection committees
  • Subject Matter Experts – such as academics from the Nottingham Trent University 
  • CRP Technical Working Group – made up of UK FRS risk practitioners 

On a Programme level, the CRP Programme Executive and Programme Manager provide regular programme and project updates at NFCC Committee meetings and stakeholder meetings such as the Strategic Engagement Forum. The Programme Executive also meets quarterly with our formal stakeholders at the Home Office, HMICFRS, FBU and FSMC. 

The team will consult the UK FRS on the draft products, the outcomes of the consultation will shape the final products.   

The final products will then follow the NFCC approval process before launching in November 2020. It is envisaged that the products will become national standards, the CRMP Guidance project is working with the Fire Standards Board to achieve this. 

9. What will the products look like?

The definition of risk and associated documents will be presented digitally and form part the digital toolkit which will be comprised of the products of each the CRP’s projects.  

10. When can we expect products to be available for FRSs to utilise?

The Definition of Risk suite of products i.e. national risk definition; conceptual risk framework; glossary of terms; and associated documentation will launch in November 2020, the CRP will then work with FRSs to help implement the tools in their respective risk management processes. 

An indicative timeline can be found on the main project page here. 

11. How can I get involved?

If you feel you have something to offer the project and would like to be involved in our work, please contact us by emailing: 

*The CRP will refer to integrated risk management plans as Community Risk Management Plans (CRMPs) to be inclusive of all UK FRSs.