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NFCC chair reflects on the start of 2019

29 January 2019

One of the key messages from NFCC chair, Roy Wilsher is that 2019 will be 'Another year of change'.

In his first blog of 2019, he discusses how this year looks set to be another year of change for UK Fire and Rescue Services.

According to the Chair: "I am not sure any of the challenges will come as a surprise to you but as I sat down to write this blog I came to realise that I had been involved in meetings and discussions on every one of the major topics for 2019 already. Grenfell, Hackitt, the Comprehensive Spending Review, Fire Standards Board, the future of the Fire and Rescue Service and continued development of the role of NFCC are at the forefront as this year gets well into its stride and the festive season fades into memory."

Key areas covered within the blog include:

  • Grenfell Tower inquiry
  • Comprehensive spending review
  • Fire Standards Board
  • The future of fire and rescue services 
  • Expert panel
  • Inspectorate

He adds, "The future of the Fire and Rescue Service is aligned to all the points so far but I have also had important discussions, along with others, on the proposed Comprehensive Spending Review. Our challenge is to show the Treasury how Fire adds value and is worth future investment whilst we are struggling with standard data sets and evidence that go beyond professional judgement.  What we cannot afford to do is to be seen retracting to what some see as core business and removes innovation.

"NFCC supports a pay rise for firefighters, but believe this can be achieved by building a sound case, not pulling back and allowing others to fill the space whilst Fire & Rescue becomes less relevant.  NFCC is working hard with the LGA and Home Office to develop the case built on excellence in core function, training for that core function but also supporting issues like the NHS Prevention strategy and embracing digital and data innovation to provide a flexible workforce that adjusts to challenging vulnerability and risk.  Work that can also inform national pay negotiations.

"Another significant factor of change over the coming year is the turnover of Chief Fire Officers with somewhere between 10 and 15% of CFOs changing in 2019.  Making sure NFCC continues to build on our first two years is imperative during this change and I wish all past and future colleagues the very best for the future.

"Looking back over the first two weeks of the year, it has been a good start, but it will need commitment, discussion and a pragmatic approach to build and maintain momentum to see our Service in its rightful place, adding value to the communities we serve."