New National Fire Chiefs Council launches on April 1st

The new National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) came into effect on April 1, 2017 and will provide fire services across the UK a prime opportunity to deliver and develop the Fire Reform agenda

Since the move back to the Home Office, there have been many changes across the fire sector. Not only was Fire Reform announced by the then Home Secretary Theresa May, the Policing and Crime Bill receiving Royal Assent which increases the duty to collaborate across Blue Light Services.

 Changes have brought many opportunities, but there are also a lot of challenges for the sector, meant introducing an approach where everyone works together and offers up sector-led solutions.

 Since the move to the Home Office, CFOA has been working more closely than ever before with key stakeholders, government departments and the Minister to help shape the professional offering of the UK Fire and Rescue Service. However the CFOA Board was acutely aware that if CFOA were to represent and support the sector as it would like to, we needed to create a full time role.

The role of Chair brings a single point of contact for the Home Office, fire professionals and partners such as the LGA, while working with the sector to make evidenced-based change. This, in turn, will have a positive impact on the Fire Reform agenda while demonstrating to the Home Office, fire professionals are best placed to lead and transform fire.

As a result of this, an ambitious programme of work was set; the creation of the NFCC – a powerful body made up of all fire chiefs across the UK and the introduction of full time Chair. The latter would lead and drive this work forward, while serving for at least a two year period, bringing continuity and ensuring we build these national relationships even further.  This move will bring all the activities into a single business plan, endorsed by the National fire Chiefs council, led by the Chair and supported by the sector.

What is the role of the NFCC Chair?

  • It replaces the role of the CFOA President (currently an one-year voluntary role, carried out in addition to running a fire service)
  • Elected by CFOA Membership
  • Represents the NFCC to government, partner and stakeholders

What is the NFCC and its role?

  • The Council – through Coordinating Committees - will lead key national pieces of work including driving the pillars of Fire Reform forward
  • The NFCC will provide clear professional leadership on operational fire matters
  • The Council will support the whole of the UK FIRS, recognising the different arrangements that exist
  • NFCC will work to an deliverable Annual Plan, meeting the prioritised needs of the sector

The NFCC Chair is Roy Wilsher, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service 

The NFCC is working hard to strengthen links 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.

The work of the NFCC will be directed by a single Annual Business Plan, which will be underpinned by nine Coordinating Committees, which will report progress to the NFCC, delivering the annual business plan and in turn, helping to deliver fire reform and placing the NFCC as the leading authority on fire related matters across the sector. These committees will have a number of work streams operating beneath the strategic level to deliver key pieces of work.

Outgoing CFOA President Dave Etheridge said at the CFOA AGM: "I am clear that this is the right direction for CFOA, the right direction for the sector and most importantly, the right direction to ensure we help deliver fire reform and also to influence the future direction of fire.

 We have seen a number of changes in recent times and it essential Fire and Rescue Services have confidence in this new way of working to produce results and to be the professional voice of the UK Fire and Rescue Service. I have every confidence in this new model not only working, but being a much more effective way of working, and ensuring everyone is involved in driving change across our sector.

 NFCC Committees are as follows:

 Workforce (Ann Millington – Kent); Operations (Dan Stephens -  Merseyside); Prevention (Stewart Edgar – Gloucestershire); Protection and Enforcement (Mark Hardingham - Suffolk); Sector Improvement and Assurance (Geoff Howsego – Hants);  Sector resource (Chris Strickland – Cambridge); Finance (Phil Hales – West Midlands), International (Paul Walker – Cornwall); Health (Peter O’Rilley – Manchester);


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