The Fire Standards Board has introduced its latest Fire Standard aimed at bolstering internal governance and assurance within Fire and Rescue Services. This initiative promises enhanced oversight, transparency, and alignment with strategic goals across the sector.

18 June 2024

The Fire Standards Board has announced the release of its seventeenth professional Fire Standard, focusing on Internal Governance and Assurance. This new standard is designed to ensure that Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) have robust governance frameworks and business planning procedures in place. These frameworks allow senior leaders to maintain comprehensive oversight of internal operations, guaranteeing that their activities are effective and transparent.

One of the primary goals of this new Fire Standard is to ensure that internal change and improvement initiatives within FRS are managed through rigorous development, approval, and initiation processes. This approach aims to align these projects with the strategic objectives and vision of each service. It also ensures that everyone involved understands the delivery and organisational development plans, facilitating clearer communication and execution.

The creation of this Fire Standard has been spearheaded by Chief Fire Officer Sabrina Cohen-Hatton of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. She also chairs the National Fire Chiefs Council’s Improvement Committee. Cohen-Hatton collaborated with subject matter experts from FRS audit teams, governance leaders, Home Office specialists, and other key stakeholders to develop this comprehensive standard.

Adhering to the Internal Governance and Assurance Fire Standard is expected to enhance governance practices, improve organisational culture, and increase transparency within FRS. To support the implementation, the Fire Standards Board provides a corresponding Fire Standards implementation tool. This tool helps FRS evaluate their compliance with the standard and incorporate it into both existing and new action plans, addressing any identified gaps.

Suzanne McCarthy, chair of the Fire Standards Board, expressed her enthusiasm: “The Board welcomes the launch of the new Internal Governance and Assurance Fire Standard and recognises the contribution it will bring to Fire and Rescue Services and the communities they serve.”

She added, “This Fire Standard builds on our portfolio of comprehensive and professional Fire Standards, which ultimately help to support the safety, health, and well-being of the public via English Fire and Rescue Services.”

Chief Fire Officer Sabrina Cohen-Hatton shared her pride in leading the development of the new standard: “I’m proud to have led the development of this new Fire Standard, which will support all Fire and Rescue Services to follow a consistent and robust process when developing internal governance and assurance procedures.”

She also expressed her hopes for the impact of the standard: “I also hope that working towards achieving this standard will create internal cultures and a positive working environments that are open to learning, self-evaluation and receiving feedback, creating a more productive, motivated and efficient workforce.” 

For more details on the Internal Governance and Assurance Fire Standard, please visit the Fire Standards Board website at

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