13 August 2018 by David Smith, FIA, FIRESA Secretary

It remains a time of change not just across the sector but within Council itself. The FIA AGM last November saw the FIRESA Council Chairman of several years, Derek Gotts, become the Chairman of the entire Association while James Jones and Lesley Routh-Jones were elected to Chair and Vice respectively of FIRESA Council.  

The National Fire Chiefs Council, the FRS Inspectorate, PCC/Mayoral control of FRAs and greater collaboration within the FRSs and with other ‘blue light’ services are now more firmly embedded as part of the new Fire and Rescue landscape although continuing to evolve. It’s especially important for us and our members that FIRESA Council has further strengthened its position and influence within these spheres as well as a number of newer developments.

2018 began with a consultation to which FIRESA Council responded on a new Fire and Rescue National Framework for England which sets priorities and objectives for FRAs in alignment with recent changes in the sector. This was preceded by an LGA publication ‘Fire Vision 2024’ which outlined a longer-term view on the role of FRAs in delivering community protection, resilience, workforce changes and improved accountability.                    

FIRESA Council’s key objectives over this period remain that of active representation of the Fire and Rescue supply industry across a range of sectoral issues. Among these is our presence on the NFCC’s Customer and Supplier Engagement Group as part of its Fire and Commercial Transformation Programme which enables us to assist in developing the FRS R&D and National Collaborative Procurement projects. Greater collaboration in procurement is vital in bringing an end to duplicate Frameworks and offering instead multi-supplier National Frameworks that are used by all FRSs.

As well as engaging with the wider NFCC, we work also with central and local government, HM Inspectorate, exhibition organisers and bodies such as the IFE where we are active on their Rescue Engineering Special Interest Group. Not least, we are key members of the Joint International Fire Board and its Strategic Steering Group, a DIT-supported body whose aim is to promote exports from the UK of fire safety products and services. Other FIRESA Council activities include representation on many BS, EN and ISO Standards Committees, creation of a Technology Workstream led by Council Members Bernie Higgins and Matt Wroughton and the inauguration of an Evacuation Equipment Group within the FIA.