Latest news from the Board

Forming a key plank of the reform programme, the Fire Standards Board (FSB or Board) has now been established and has met twice. The Board has a Chair and Vice Chair both independent from fire and rescue services and Government. They each bring a wealth of experience from their extensive and varied executive and non-executive careers.

Suzanne McCarthy (pictured left) is the Chair of the Board

Alison Sansome (pictured right) is the Vice Chair of the Board.

Together they provide independent thought and challenge to the task of setting professional Standards for the fire and rescue service.

Other Board members  include representatives from:

  • Home Office – Fire Strategy & Reform Unit
  • National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC)
  • Local Government Association (LGA)
  • Police, Fire & Crime Commissioners representative (via the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners – APCC)
  • NFCC Central Programme Office

The Board is supported by the NFCC Central Programme Office which acts as secretariat to the Board.

Role & responsibilities

The role of the Board is to oversee the identification, organisation, development and maintenance of professional Standards for fire and rescue services in England.

The Board has responsibility for agreeing priorities and the work-plan for the development of the suite of Standards; oversight of Standards development; final approval of the Standards; and keeping Standards under review to ensure they remain current.

In doing its work, the Board will reference the work of other Standards bodies and organisations and will adapt equivalent existing Standards as appropriate.

The Board’s activities

The Board has concentrated at this initial stage on agreeing the process for producing Standards. They have begun scoping the work programme for the full complement of Standards to be produced together with identification of the prioritisation criteria needed to help determine when work should start on particular Standards.

Priorities will be influenced by where good practice and guidance already exists alongside a number of other factors including fire reform and the improvement themes coming out the initial HMICFRS inspection reports.

The development process adopted by the Board follows that used in many sectors and applied in the production of the National Operational Guidance Programme.  It is underpinned by the BSI process for setting standards.

The Board also agreed the elements of a standard and a standard prototype.

Pilot Standards development

The Board has agreed for the CPO to trial the Standards development process. A draft Standard for operational response derived from National Operational Guidance, and a draft Standard for Emergency Response Driver Training derived from work already developed and in use in the majority of services, are being used to test the process.  We’ll share more information as the trials begin.

Communication and engagement

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Policing and Fire, expressed an interest in having an early meeting with the Independent Chair and Vice-Chair.  During their constructive discussion in March, the Minister set out his initial expectations for the Board which include:

  • Priorities for professional Standards – he saw the findings of the first HMICFRS reports as providing themes which could be used as a foundation for the Board’s work and be key to informing its early priorities.
  • Addressing consistency issues by understanding and clarifying what ‘good’ looks like through the professional Standards
  • Business change – ensuring that Standards produced by the Board are implemented consistently across the services and the need for strong change management.
  • Lessons learned – ensuring lessons from other relevant sectors are learnt through developing meaningful consultative mechanisms, information sharing and strong communications channels

The Chairs are also embarking on a series of service visits in the summer months and have already presented at several sector events including the LGA Fire Conference and the NFCC Spring Conference They will be speaking at the Institute of Fire Engineers conference in the summer.

The Board recognises the great importance of the sector being closely involved in the development of the Standards. The CPO will be coordinating a series of regional roadshows to start the engagement with fire and rescue services, and regular updates will be shared with the wider stakeholder group who come together in the new Strategic Engagement Forum.

A new website www.firestandards.org is being developed to host information about the Board, including Board minutes and papers and the professional Standards themselves. In addition, a dedicated email address will open up a channel of communication alongside use of social media to share progress and updates.

The next meeting of the Board is in June 2019. Look out for more updates from us here.

Other Board members  include representatives from:

  • Home Office – Fire Strategy & Reform Unit
  • National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC)
  • Local Government Association (LGA)
  • Police, Fire & Crime Commissioners representative (via the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners – APCC)
  • NFCC Central Programme Office

The Board is supported by the NFCC Central Programme Office which acts as secretariat to the Board.

Role & responsibilities

The role of the Board is to oversee the identification, organisation, development and maintenance of professional standards for fire and rescue services in England.

The Board has responsibility for agreeing priorities and the workplan for the development of the suite of standards; oversight of standards development; final approval of the standards; and keeping standards under review to ensure they remain current.

In doing its work, the Board will reference the work of other standards bodies and organisations and will adapt equivalent existing standards as appropriate.

The Board’s activities

The Board has concentrated at this initial stage on agreeing the process for producing standards. They have begun scoping the work programme for the full complement of standards to be produced together with identification of the prioritisation criteria needed to help determine when work should start on particular standards.

Priorities will be influenced by where good practice and guidance already exists alongside a number of other factors including fire reform and the improvement themes coming out the initial HMICFRS inspection reports.

The development process adopted by the Board follows that used in many sectors and applied in the production of the National Operational Guidance Programme.  It is underpinned by the BSI process for setting standards.

The Board also agreed the elements of a standard and a standard prototype.  Figure 1 shows the component parts of a standard as envisaged by the Board.

 Pilot standards development

The Board has agreed for the CPO to trial the standards development process. A draft standard for operational response derived from National Operational Guidance, and a draft standard for Emergency Response Driver Training derived from work already developed and in use in the majority of services, are being used to test the process.  We’ll share more information as the trials begin.

Communication and engagement

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Policing and Fire, expressed an interest in having an early meeting with the Independent Chair and Vice-Chair.  During their constructive discussion in March, the Minister set out his initial expectations for the Board which include:

  • Priorities for professional standards – he saw the findings of the first HMICFRS reports as providing themes which could be used as a foundation for the Board’s work and be key to informing its early priorities.
  • Addressing consistency issues by understanding and clarifying what ‘good’ looks like through the professional standards
  • Business change – ensuring that standards produced by the Board are implemented consistently across the services and the need for strong change management.
  • Lessons learned – ensuring lessons from other relevant sectors are learnt through developing meaningful consultative mechanisms, information sharing and strong communications channels

The Chairs are also embarking on a series of service visits in the summer months and have already presented at several sector events including the LGA Fire Conference and the NFCC Spring Conference They will be speaking at the Institute of Fire Engineers conference in the summer.

The Board recognises the great importance of the sector being closely involved in the development of the standards. The CPO will be coordinating a series of regional roadshows to start the engagement with fire and rescue services, and regular updates will be shared with the wider stakeholder group who come together in the new Strategic Engagement Forum.

A new website www.firestandards.org is being developed to host information about the Board, including Board minutes and papers and the professional standards themselves. In addition, a dedicated email address will open up a channel of communication alongside use of social media to share progress and updates.

The next meeting of the Board is in June 2019. Look out for more updates from us here.