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Leading and Developing People

Desired outcome

A fire and rescue service that through its leadership establishes, maintains, and deploys a competent and motivated workforce to deliver excellence to the public. Leaders ensure that the service has the capabilities and capacity to respond to emergencies and incidents, both locally and nationally. This is because of its effective workforce planning and fair, transparent and trusted people management practices. Leaders explore opportunities to resource activities within the service through partnership working, collaboration and outsourcing. They do this to achieve efficiencies, increase resilience and ensure the best outcome for the community it serves. The service is seen as an employer of choice.

Its leaders ensure it has innovative recruitment activities to promote the range of careers and opportunities available to attract, recruit and retain people from a variety of backgrounds. It draws on the different skills and experiences of its people to build an agile, professional, competent and diverse workforce, which can adapt to changing risk and add value to community outcomes. Its diverse workforce enables it to better understand how to effectively engage with its community and tailor its delivery to meet their differing needs.

The service plans for, invests in, develops, and nurtures people at all levels, from when they join to when they leave. It values developing talent, potential and leadership from within, while also attracting it from outside. The service has a culture where learning is embraced and leaders manage their teams in a receptive way. They seek to improve and innovate how they lead and manage, taking every opportunity to listen, learn and build trust.

Its people are motivated and engaged and collectively contribute to an inclusive and positive working environment. They understand their contribution in relation to delivering the vision and purpose of the service and they behave ethically as they do so. They are empowered to operate with agility and foresight so that the service can identify and act on new challenges, emerging risks and changing community needs.

People know they can safely raise concerns and challenge behaviour, especially where the behaviour is not aligned to the Core Code of Ethics, its own service values or codes of conduct. The service prioritises the health, safety and wellbeing of its people, who know where they can get help and support, if needed. It actively promotes the safeguarding of those in its community and its employees, volunteers and stakeholders.


Strategic, Cultural and Enabling

Business Area(s)


Date approved
Date issued
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What is required to meet the fire standard

A fire and rescue service must:

  1. carry out robust workforce planning to:
    1. deliver its strategic planning objectives to manage risks and respond to incidents within its community and regional and national emergencies;
    2. develop, nurture and manage talent at all levels in line with its strategic objectives and current and future needs;
    3. understand and build its capabilities, considering internal and external options in order to utilise its resources effectively and flexibly; and
    4. have in place necessary succession plans and processes to maintain a sustainable, competent workforce.
  2. have in place systems, policies and processes in regard to:
    1. employment legislation;
    2. effective recruitment, induction, ongoing development and training of their employees and volunteers;
    3. the monitoring and management of employee and volunteer performance and competence;
    4. open and regular communications between leaders, employees, partners and stakeholders;
    5. fair, transparent and inclusive people and performance management practices;
    6. employees or volunteers exiting the organisation;
    7. the evaluation of workforce delivery; and
    8. positive employment relations.
  3. attract and maintain a competent and diverse workforce that can meet community and organisational needs
  4. develop and implement a variety of entry routes into the service to attract and recruit a diverse and professional workforce to meet its identified workforce requirements
  5. have in place:
    1. transparent, consistent and agreed selection processes and criteria for recruitment, promotion and transfers;
    2. standardised job descriptions and competencies;
    3. standardised contracts and terms of employment; and
    4. induction programmes for all those entering the service.
  6. train and develop employees, including leaders, so they are competent in their respective roles.
  7. provide continual professional development to employees, including leaders, so competency is maintained and developed.
  8. monitor and manage employee performance and competency.
  9. identify, encourage and nurture talent, providing career pathways for all.
  10. nurture, develop and prepare leaders as they progress within the organisation.
  11. identify support in an inclusive way to meet the diverse needs of individuals, including coaching and mentoring, employee assistance programs and occupational health.
  12. have a defined approach to organisational learning so that the service continually evaluates its own performance to improve its internal ways of working and the service it provides to the public.
  13.  have performance management processes in place to effectively manage and learn from:
    1. appraisals, grievances and disciplinary procedures; and
    2. competence achievement and maintenance
  14. embed the principles of inclusivity, belonging and equality of access within all formal and informal people processes.
  15. ensure all those who work for and on behalf of the service embody and actively promote the behaviours set out in the Core Code of Ethics, ensuring the principles are embedded into its decision-making processes, local policies, and procedures.
  16.  have leaders that:
    1. role model behaviours set out in the NFCC Leadership Framework and other professional behavioural frameworks;
    2. challenge and act upon inappropriate behaviour;
    3. consistently use a communication style that is inclusive and meets the needs of their differing audiences;
    4. are able to adapt their leadership style; are authentic and recognise and value the differences in people and circumstances in order to build trust;
    5. invest in their own development, and that of others, to keep up with changing horizons and priorities;
    6. recognise the impact of change and support employees through the change process, managing those people to achieve the required outcome;
    7. demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence, particularly self-awareness;
    8. value contributions made by their people; and
    9. empower employees to operate flexibly within their role, to make decisions and deliver objectives in their own leadership styles.
  17. have in place or access to mechanisms which enable feedback from employees to be captured and responded to.
  18. review continuous improvement processes to ensure objectives are being achieved.
  19.  have in place:
    1. health and wellbeing policies and support which are inclusive, actively and widely promoted and embedded;
    2. health and safety policies and processes to ensure a safe working environment, in line with relevant legislation;
    3. provide clear support and advice for employees in relation to employment, leaving the service and welfare matters;
    4. employee engagement policies and procedures, providing a clear and transparent route in highlighting organisational concerns, improvements and ideas in an open and inclusive environment. Leaders will then act appropriately and proportionately with the items raised and share any learning, changes or actions back into the service; and
    5. recognition scheme that motivates, engages and encourages positive behaviours amongst employees.

A fire and rescue service should:

  1. deliver training and provide peer support through working collaboratively with others, where appropriate.
  2. utilise centrally developed tools to support local workforce management and development.
  3. contribute to NFCC networks and support national campaigns and initiatives, where appropriate and where resources are available.

Expected benefits of achieving the fire standard

  1. improved safety and wellbeing of the public, employees, and volunteers
  2. continuously improves the quality of service provided to the public
  3. a positive working culture which is inclusive, has the trust and confidence of its people and community
  4. improved retention and more successful recruitment campaigns because it is an employer of choice
  5. a sustainable and diverse workforce that is engaged, motivated, well trained and competent

Guidance and supporting information

Download Implementation Tool View Consultation

Note Please contact the Fire Standards team within the NFCC CPO for any queries or support with regards to this Fire Standard [email protected]

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