About the NFCC

What is the NFCC?

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is the professional voice of the UK fire and rescue service.

NFCC drives improvement and development throughout the UK FRS, while supporting strong leadership – including for the devolved administrations. All details of the NFCC meetings will be detailed on the NFCC Meetings page, where agendas, agenda items and minutes will be documented. 

NFCC aims to: 

  • Strengthen the professional / operational leadership of the Fire and Rescue Service
  • Improve national co-ordination
  • Reduce duplication; increase efficiency
  • Support local service delivery
  • Provide increased influence for Fire and Rescue Authorities and their Services.

You can read our Operating Principles, deorgation provisions  and our Operating Model structure

Since fire and rescue moved back to the Home Office, there have been many changes and reforms. The Policing and Crime Act 2017 introduced new governance models into an already diverse governance environment for fire and rescue services, alongside a new Duty to Collaborate. 

NFCC delivers an approach where everyone works together and offers up sector-led solutions.

What is the role of the NFCC Chair?

The Chair is a single point of contact for the Home Office, fire professionals and partners such as the Local Government Association (LGA) or the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC). The Chair represents fire and rescue in a range of government and sector forums, and is the first line of advice to Ministers during major incidents.

The Chair of the NFCC is a paid, full-time role and is held for an initial two year term with the possibility of a further extension of up to two further years, both periods subject to satisfactory performance. 

The Chair is independent from any particular fire and rescue service. If the Chair is employed by a service and seconded to CFOA, the Chair will have no operational or line management responsibility within the loca service for the period of the secondment. Depending on circumstances, there may be a need to discharge specific employment responsibilities via the seconding service and possibly meet competency expectations of the service.

A Performance Committee manages the performance of the NFCC Chair and holds the NFCC Chair to account for the delivery of NFCC's annual plan. This committee consists of four people representing NFCC, and an independent member.

NFCC Vice Chairs

The NFCC Chair is supported by two Vice Chairs. These are unpaid roles to support and advise the Chair. The roles are complementary to the NFCC Chair role and, as such, the precise allocation of responsibilities may change over time depending on the individuals holding the roles.

How NFCC works

  • The Council – through Co-ordination Committees – leads national work, including driving the pillars of Fire Reform
  • The NFCC provides clear professional leadership on operational fire matters
  • The Council represents the whole of the UK FRS
  • NFCC Strategy drives its Annual Plan, meeting the prioritised needs of the sector

The NFCC works with the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and the Welsh Assembly. There are a number of difference governance structures and it is essential to create a cohesive approach across the whole of the UK.

NFCC Meetings and voting

The NFCC meets quarterly and is led by the NFCC Chair. Every fire and rescue service is entitled to be represented on the NFCC. 

The representative will normally be the Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive but if they are unable to attend, they will be expected to nominate a representative to attend for their service. The NFCC may agree to invite other people to attend NFCC meetings as observers or presenters.

In the event of a vote at an NFCC meeting, each service has one vote. The NFCC Chair does not have a vote at this stage. Attendees must have a clear mandate to commit that service to a course of action. In the event of a tied vote, the NFCC Chair has the casting vote.

The work of the NFCC is directed by an Annual Plan, underpinned by eight Coordination Committees, which report progress to the NFCC, delivering the plan and in turn, helping to deliver fire reform.

The committees are:

  • Finance (Phil Hales – West Midlands)
  • International (Paul Walker – Cornwall)
  • Operations (Chris Lowther – Tyne & Wear)
  • Prevention (Vacant)
  • Protection and Business Safety (Mark Hardingham – Suffolk)
  • Sector Improvement and Assurance (Geoff Howsego – Hants)
  • Sector resource (Chris Strickland – Cambridge)
  • Workforce (Ann Millington – Kent