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Assistant Editor, IFSEC Insider & SHP

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Rhianna Sexton is IFSEC Insider's Assistant Editor. Rhianna manages and uploads content, carries out interviews with leading figures in the fire and security sector, and reports on the latest news and events from the industry. Rhianna is also Assistant Editor of IFSEC Insider's sister title, SHP.
December 18, 2023

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Responses to Government’s Fire Reform Whitepaper released

The government has released details from its whitepaper consultation to introduce “system-wide reform” in England for fire safety led by the Home Office.

Launched last year, the fire reform whitepaper collected responses from those in the industry on a range of proposals including improvements to public safety, accountability and better engagement with the public. The details from the report was released on 12 December 2023.

Training for fire professionals and more control for chiefs

A total of 290 responses were collected for the analysis, and insights included people working in the services wanting:

  • Support for services to meet national standards
  • Focused efforts on services struggling to meet the standards
  • To seek ways to enforce standards, for example, legislation
  • Engagement with the sector on what the priorities are for reviewing and developing standards
  • To ensure standards are developed using robust research data and evidence
  • Measures to evaluate the impact of new standards

Th Minister of Crime, Policing and Fire, Chris Philp said: “Although our plan was already strongly focussed on making sure that fire and rescue is a great profession which values its people, we have refined our approach to take recent changes and reports into account.

“We have focussed our efforts on the reform steps that will have the most impact for the public and for fire professionals: supporting dedicated fire staff to develop a profession to be proud of and ensuring that fire services do more to put the public first.”

The Minister also mentioned setting up a professional body to ‘continue to raise standards’ through better training for fire professionals. There was a focus on providing chiefs with operational control of their service to ‘make decisions on practical and management issues’.

Welcomed decisions 

Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Mark Hardingham, said in response to the release: “We welcome the response to the white paper consultation which sets out the headline plans for long-awaited investment and reform to support continued improvement of fire and rescue services.

“We welcome the announcement that there will be a statutory code of ethics – something that builds upon the work of NFCC and fire and rescue services to improve organisational culture and workforce diversity, in part through the existing national Core Code of Ethics for Fire and Rescue Services.

“We also welcome the decision to give operational independence for Chief Fire Officers, clarifying the responsibilities of Fire and Rescue Authorities with those of Chief Fire Officers.

“We are clear that reform in the areas of the white paper, alongside other areas of improvement in fire and rescue services, requires long-term investment. We will continue to work with government and other national functions to make sure that fire and rescue services, and their supporting national functions, are properly resourced to respond to the areas of reform.

“Fire and rescue services must be prepared and equipped to deal with current and future challenges, in all their forms. Our aim will always be to meet the continued expectations and high levels of trust and confidence that the public has in their fire and rescue service.”

Read more the full responses to the white paper here >> 

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