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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
June 15, 2018


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

IFSEC Global influencers 2018: Fire safety

After consultation with a panel of highly respected judges, we’re delighted to reveal the IFSEC Global influencers 2018 – fire safety category.

The roll call of influencers across the security and fire industries is broken down into seven categories – which you can click on below to reveal the final rankings.

We defined ‘influence’ in the following ways:

  • Someone who has played a key role in driving technological innovation
  • Someone who has been a driving force in changing regulationstandards/guidance or best practice
  • Someone whose insights/opinions are widely respected and which are influential in shaping debate around industry issues
  • Someone who has been instrumental in the success of the organisation or business they lead or are employed by
  • Someone who has helped to raise the industry’s profile or been an influential voice in the national media

The process

The process consisted of two stages. First, we invited nominations from the IFSEC Global audience and beyond. Then, a panel of judges, drawn from across the industries and barred from featuring in the list themselves, assigned points to each nomination based on the persuasiveness of the nomination, their research into the nominee and their own knowledge of the nominee’s contributions to their field. The judges were also permitted to submit nominations themselves, which were then scored by the other judges.

Ultimately, ‘influence’ cannot be measured objectively, but each year we believe we’re making the process a bit more exhaustive – and we’ll do so again next year. Doubtless, there are industry figures whose absence from the list you might find baffling. But if you feel someone deserves recognition then we suggest that you nominate them next year!

We’d like to thank Grant Lecky, co-founder of the Security Partners Forum, for his tireless efforts as lead judge. Lecky, who himself featured in IFSEC Global’s list of top influencers in 2014 and 2017, appointed the panel of judges (which you can also view below) and coordinated the nominations and judging process. Thanks also to Bonnie Butlin, also co-founder of the Security Partners Forum and number one in last year’s international thought leader rankings, for helping to coordinate the process.

You can network with some of the influencers during a meet-and-greet session during IFSEC & FIREX International, 19-21 June 2018, ExCeL London – between 4-5pm on Wednesday 20 June in the ASIS Lounge.



Scroll down for the top 10 influencers in the fire safety category and find out results of the other categories below.

IFSEC Global security & fire influencers 2018 – the other categories

Security manufacturers/service providers

Security management

Security thought leadership

Security executives


System design, installation & integration

Fire safety

Tom Brookes -Lindum Fire

10. Tom Brookes, owner and managing director, Lindum Fire

Tom is owner and managing director of Lincolnshire-based Lindum Fire Services, which has clients from Inverness to Cornwall.

Other roles include Chairman of the Fire and Security Association, Director of British Fire Consortium, Council member of BAFE council and BSI committee member of six fire alarm standards. He sits on no fewer than nine British Standard Institute Technical committees  and was heavily involved with the writing of the BS5839 series.Tom is a member of Working Group 5 at the Fire Industry Association.

“A fantastic mentor for the industry, who goes the extra mile for the sector.  He is professional on every level and helps with anything needed in the fire sector.  Working on the trailblazer with him, has shown me the level of expertise he has.”

At the forefront of the push for training competent fire alarm engineers. Not just within our company but also the wider industry. One of the UK’s leading fire alarms systems experts.  He has had a profound influence serving on key voluntary bodies working to improve fire safety standards. He has also had an impact on training changes, not only through his work on teaching manuals, but also through designing innovative training tools. He is widely acknowledged amongst his peers as a “fire industry guru”* and the right person to promote changes in regulations.”

“Managing Director Tom Brookes has been at the forefront of the push for training competent fire alarm engineers. Not just within our company but also the wider industry.”

“Tom represents members of the fire industry at national level. Having met Tom at a BFC training course I found his professional but relaxing approach to training commendable as he kept the attention of all trainees so as they could become the best they could be. I found his knowledge and experience within the industry to be informative and educational his encouragement and passion for seeing others within the industry become professional and regulated.”


9. Brian Robinson, chair, Fire Sector Federation

As chair of the organisation Robinson has been an influential voice in fire-safety debate. Established as a forum to foster the discussion of fire-related issues of interest to its membership the FSF brings together representatives from across the UK fire sector.

Originally formed in 2011 as the Fire Sector Partnership, the Fire Sector Federation was established in June 2012 following a merger with the Federation of British Fire Organisations (FOBFO) in response to the Fire Futures review. Launched in 2010 by then Fire and Rescue Minister Bob Neill MP this strategic review of fire and rescue provision was designed to enable sector partners to shape the future direction of fire and rescue services in England.

The FSF’s mission can be encapsulated as promoting horizontal integration, and challenging a prevailing ‘silo’ mentality in working practices by addressing both the built and natural environment, as well as fire and rescue service issues.

Notable nominations:

“Ex London Fire Commsioner and still highly influential in running the top level trade association.”

“Good thinker and motivator who chairs a disparate group of fire sector people with skill and knowledge.”


8. Hannah Mansell, Fire Door Safety Week

Hannah Mansell is Technical Manager for the British Woodworking Federation, Manager of BWF-CERTIFIRE, and chair of the Passive Fire Protection Forum. She has been a Trustee with the Children’s Burns Trust since 2015.

But it’s as spokesperson for the Fire Door Safety Week campaign where she’s really made an impact on the media and therefore the general public beyond the fire industry – speaking on the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2, among other prominent platforms.

Hannah is involved in many different areas associated with fire safety and training, liaising between different groups that are critical to the overall improvement of fire safety education. Hannah is also involved with a number of industry associations and workgroups, with a particular emphasis on safety campaigns and construction regulation and legislation.

IFSEC Global interviewed Hannah shortly before Fire Door Safety Week 2017. Of the campaign’s driving purpose she said: “Fire doors are technically complex products and people overlook them for that fact; they’re simply not on people’s radar. So our job is to get out there and keep the message simple: your fire doors need to be properly tested and made, maintained, and of course, not left open.

Fire Door Safety Week achieved 350 pieces of media coverage, including in the Daily Telegraph and the Mirror newspapers, and 16 broadcast items including on Radio 5 Live, LBC, BBC Radio Leeds and talkRADIO.

“Fire Door Safety Week! A huge PR success and a fantastic way of promoting best practice in fire safety.

Campaigned tirelessly once again to raise public awareness on fire safety issues, getting London Fire Brigade and the Govt’s Chief Fire Officer involved in the campaign, and working with them to conduct TV and radio interviews that reached more than 4.6 million viewers on just one day.

Through her advice and support of local residents concerned about fire safety in their blocks of flats, Hannah has helped to persuade the relevant landlords and fire authorities to get those homes improved.”

#1 colin todd CS Todd Associates

7. Colin Todd, MD, CS Todd and Associates

Colin Todd formed C.S. Todd & Associates Ltd in 1982 after years of experience in risk management and fire protection engineering. His team includes both chartered engineers and fire safety professionals with local authority fire and rescue service experience. Consultants undertaking fire risk assessments are all listed on the IFE’s register of fire risk assessors.

The practice offers consultancy services in all aspects of fire safety, including fire risk assessments, surveys and audits, fire safety design and management, fire engineering/fire safety strategies, specifications for fire protections systems such as sprinklers, fire detection and alarms and gaseous extinguishing systems, and fire training. The practice also conducts investigations into the suitability of existing fire protection systems and fire safety designs and acts as expert witnesses for contract disputes and litigation cases.

Under Todd’s stewardship C.S. Todd & Associates Ltd has also been instrumental in educating responsible persons on their new-found legal role since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which placed the burden of responsibility for fire safety squarely on the shoulders of building owners or managers, was introduced. The practice is certificated by the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) under the recent UKAS accreditated scheme for companies that carry out fire risk assessments, BAFE SP 205.

It was also the first consultancy practice to be registered with BAFE for the design and verification of fire detection and alarm systems under the SP203 scheme.

Notable nominations:

“Worked on recent standards and commercially on a new sheltered housing guide. His expert witness work does help with setting of industry-accepted norms […] Found him to be the most knowledgeable, approachable and – most importantly – jargon-free specialist who I have ever worked with  […] Knowledge spans every corner of fire safety regulation and has undoubtedly improved the safety of the British workplace  […] massively influential with the BSI and codes of practice over a number of years.”

tom gilbert

6. Tom Gilbert, Associate Director, Fire Risk Management, Frankhams RMS

Tom took over as Associate Director for the fire risk management division at Frankham Risk Management in 2016 after years of experience managing fire safety in corporate banking, social housing and a fire consultancy. Tom has extensive experience across a number of sectors including manufacturing, hospitality, universities, museums and residential housing for both private and social landlords. Tom sits on the FIA fire risk assessment council, is the residential lead on the Tall Buildings Fire Safety Network (TBFSN) and is previous chair of the technical committee of the National Social Housing Fire Safety Group (NSHFSG). He has worked on a number of specialist interest groups including evacuation protocol in sheltered and specialised housing and the “temporary change to simultaneous evacuation strategy in purpose built blocks of flats” guidance.

Tom is passionate about the implementation of strategic fire risk management in complex organisations with large diverse portfolios such as social housing, he actively participates as a speaker the AMIP, CAMIP, NHMF, TBFSN and CIH. Tom has been engaged by a number of the current G15 of housing associations to direct strategic fire risk management change and consultancy services around assurance. His team of leading fire safety consultants have recently worked to identify a pragmatic way to deliver higher levels of assurance in existing buildings and has been instrumental in delivering a pragmatic type 4 fire risk assessment programme in many of the country’s tallest residential blocks.

Tom’s desire to improve competency and quality in contractors delivering fire safety work has seen a joint venture with Frankham risk management, Echelon, Pretium and Hyde Housing to create a procurement framework where quality, certification and competency is prioritised over cost. Under Tom’s direction Frankham Risk Management has achieved BAFE SP 205 certification for companies that carry out fire risk assessments and has established Frankham Risk Management as an industry leader in the provision of fire safety consultancy.

“Tom has been a voice of reason following the Grenfell Fire he has offered logical structured and proportionate advice to those with high rise portfolios, always coming back to the soundest of fire risk management principals and best practice; the advice he gave was very measured and sensible, when others offered ‘Knee Jerk’ responses he set the context of fire in high rise and returned the debate to practicalities, logic and statistics.”

“Contribution to fire risk management post-Grenfell has been exemplary. Tom has offered sound advice to organisations on sensible and practical measures to meet the requirements of the client. I have seen Tom present at a number of different events over the past year with insightful thoughts and advice on how social housing organisations can meet their obligations within tight budgets.”

“Echelon facilitates a contractors group (CAMIP) and client (AMIP) group that comprises over 60 of the leading contractors and affordable housing providers in the UK. We convened a meeting of the group specifically to discuss the reaction to Grenfell and Tom chaired the panel discussion with an emphasis on a pragmatic response and practical ideas and approaches for our client organisations to take in all aspects. Tom has become our ‘go to’ point for all areas of fire rsik management and I have no hesitation in nominating him.”

“Fire risk management strategic advice in the wake of Grenfell Tower disaster – providing sensible, pragmatic advice to assist our management of 108 very tall towers.”

“Tom with his wealth of sector experience, his strength of character and his expertise in situation management was a real voice of reason and common sense in the wake of Grenfell. From his personal advice to large sector organisations to his media appearances he showed clarity and pragmatic fire safety answers and allowed organisations to better understand what their response should be in relation to the Grenfell fire when they had hundreds of high rise property and a media baying for answers. He was firm , clear and resolute on his position of “stay calm”, “evaluate” and “plan” before reacting.”

Paul Bryant Fire Cubed LLP

5. Paul Bryant, Fire Cubed LLP

Describing himself as an engineer, fire strategist and writer Paul Bryant has set high standards in fire safety engineering including writing a number of British Standards covering many aspects of fire safety engineering as well as technical standards for the UK and insurance industry. He wrote British Standard Specification PAS 911 – Fire Strategies, which is now used for some of the most complex building designs around the world. This was followed up by his first book on Fire Strategies and two Kingfell guidance documents (KF912 and KF913).

In 1995 he formed Kingfell, which has grown to a £5m ($8m) company, evolving concentrate on specialist and complex buildings. Kingfell has offices in London, Plovdiv, Bulgaria and Florida USA. Bryant is also developing the Key West Fire Academy.

Before that he was Head of Fire Engineering for London Underground. Prior to LU, he worked for many years with the Loss Prevention Council.

Paul has embarked on a PhD of holistic fire engineering.

“Paul has been extremely influential in bringing to the fore strategic thinking and fire strategies.  He wrote PAS 911 and the book ‘Fire Strategies-Strategic Thinking’.  He has been extremely active in these areas of fire protection and fire safety and he is now embarking on his new theme which he titles ‘Holistic Fire Engineering’.  This is in its conceptual stage at the moment but has a very practical and common sense approach and application and I believe this will dovetail into future directions in regulation in the UK.  However, the concept is transferrable to any country or regulatory scheme in the world.”

Dennis Davies CBE - Fire Sector Federation

4. Dennis Davis CBE, vice chairman, Fire Sector Federation

Dennis Davis is former HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Scotland, Chief Fire Officer for Cheshire and President of both the Institution of Fire Engineers and UK Chief Fire Officers Association. Currently he serves as Vice Chairman of the Fire Sector Federation and Vice President of the International Association of Fire and Rescue Services – CTIF.

A qualified fire engineer, visiting professor and experienced operational commander in firefighting and rescue service delivery in the UK Dennis operates internationally, including participation in EU research, sharing and advising using his specialist knowledge.

“Heads the most relevant and important work stream in the FSF – that being defining competency in the fire safety world.”

Sir ken knight

3. Sir Ken Knight

Sir Ken began his career as a firefighter in 1966 and served in a number of UK fire brigades. He was Chief Fire Officer of Dorset and later West Midlands Fire Service before becoming London’s Fire Commissioner in 2003, a role that ended when he was appointed the Government’s Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser for England based at the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2007. As Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, a post he occupied until 2013, he was responsible for advising Ministers and senior officials on fire policy and providing advice during major emergencies, as well as around the 2012 London Olympics. In May 2013 Sir Ken published an efficiencies review of the 46 Fire and Rescue Authorities; Facing the Future, which was commissioned by the Government.He was also responsible for the enforcement of fire safety regulations in Crown Premises in England.

He produced an independent report for the UK Government on fire and rescue services response to the widespread flooding in 2007 entitled Facing the Challenge. He was also tasked by the Secretary of State to undertake a review in the immediate aftermath of the fire in high rise flats at Lakanal House, London, 2009 in which 6 people died. He was appointed to sit on the independent expert advisory panel set up in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

Sir Ken Knight also provides independent consultancy advice to public and private sector organisations.

Sir Ken has also completed reviews of the fire and rescue services in Southern Ireland, Bermuda and Gibraltar and undertook a review of the national fire safety and civil defence arrangements in the Kurdish Region of Iraq at the request of the Kurdish Regional Government.

Sir Ken is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers. He was a founder Trustee of the UK Firefighters Memorial Trust and a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Firefighters, 1998. Her Majesty the Queen awarded Sir Ken the Queens’ Fire Service Medal in 1991 and he was Knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2006 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the fire and rescue service.

Notable nominations:

“Ex London Fire Commissioner, Government advisor and still involved in nearly all committees and is the Government’s ‘go-to’ person.”

4 - Jonathan ONeil

2. Jonathan O’Neill, MD, Fire Protection Association

Managing director of the FPA Jonathan O’Neill sits on a number of government and ministerial advisory bodies, including the Business and Community Safety Board, the Arson Control Forum, the Integrated Risk Management Advisory Board and the Operational Guidance Strategy Board.

During 17 years in the role O’Neill has overseen the opening of a fire test facility to keep the organisation at the forefront of fire protection innovation and represented UK insurers on the Prevention Forum of Insurance Europe, sat on the Executive of the Fire Sector Federation and sat on the boards of BASEC, SSIAB and BAFE. He has also guided the FPA through two relocations and managed the RISC Authority research budget.

He received his OBE on Tuesday 31 October at Buckingham Palace from Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. “I am very humbled,” he said of the honour. “It is a recognition of all of the FPA’s work to keep people safe. It must be said that whilst I am the one who picked up the award, I am only too aware that I am just the front man for what is an excellent team. On behalf of the sector, I truly hope that we never have to respond to an incident on the scale of Grenfell Tower again. It has to be a wake up call. We have been campaigning for years – we hope this will lead to the best fire safety regulations in Europe.”

“Jonathan is dedicated to fire safety and is extremely dedicated to his role within the FPA.  He goes above and beyond and should be recognised for all he has done within the fire safety sector.”

He has been the leading influence to Insurance professionals during 2017/2018 and a leading spokesperson on Fire Protection post Grenfell. He actively lobbies government and relevant bodies to promote both passive and active fire protection. He shares his knowledge with fellow organisations around the globe and recently received an OBE for services to fire safety. A true expert who has personally briefed and greatly influenced Dame Judith Hackett in her review.”

“I’ve been employed with the FPA for two years since leaving the Retained Fire service and for the past two years I have been massively impressed by Jon O’neill, CEO of the FPA. His drive and commitment to the fire industry in general has been one of passion, patience and resilience. Jon is a hard task master who wants and expects good results from those from within the FPA and those external associates completing work for the FPA. Recent events in London has yet driven Jon to ensure standards across the fire and the building industry improves ensuring to protect those residing or working in buildings which should be safe. I see Jon going above and beyond in an attempt to challenge, question and argue what is Financially V Morally V Legally right. I only see a small part of what Jon does on a day to day basis but know how much he is involved in the world of Fire Protection and how visible he is to the industry as he has been campaigning for over 20 years to gain improvements and also sits on government and ministerial advisory bodies. On a personal level Jon has been inspiring, open and honest and has always time for me to discuss, advise and guide me in this vast industry.”     

“Jonathan has not ceased to campaign for changes in legislation to ensure millions of people’s safety and furthermore protecting the economic value of businesses.”

Warren Spencer -Blackhurst Budd Solicitors

1. Warren Spencer Blackhurst Budd Solicitors

Warren has been a leading authority on Fire Safety Law for the last 12 years. He has prosecuted for many of the Fire and Rescue Services under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Fire Safety Order) and defended a number of high profile cases. Spencer, who does criminal and civil litigation as well as fire safety, is an accredited Higher Courts Advocate in the Crown Court. He has been involved in more than 160 cases related to the Fire Safety Order, the key piece of legislation governing fire safety responsibilities, and has overseen prosecutions for eight fire and rescue services.

In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Private Practice -Solicitor of the Year category of the annual Law Society Excellence Awards. Warren sits as a part-time Tribunal Judge and in 2015 was appointed as a Legally Qualified Chair in relation to Police Disciplinary Proceedings.  He is also a former Assistant Coroner for Blackpool and Fylde. Warren runs a blog called ‘Fire Safety Law in the UK’ aimed at experts in the field of fire safety, sharing detailed information on prosecuting cases concerning fire safety legislation. He also runs a group on LinkedIn and has a Twitter account dedicated to fire safety law.  In February 2017 Warren launched an online portal to bring together all of the documents, guidance and commentary relating to fire safety law. This includes case law, thought leadership articles and interpretation of the Fire Safety Order. The website provides free legal insight and commentary on fire safety legislation to all fire professionals. As part of the launch of the website Warren produced a three part article reviewing the last ten years of the Fire Safety Order and considering what the future may hold.

He is currently developing a training course for fire risk assessors in relation to protecting their liability and improving their terms of retainer.

Notable nominations:

“Gives back generously in his experience to both fire and rescue services and fire risk assessors/consultants with free seminars, presentations and frequent articles.

“In a niche market Warren has become the first choice lawyer nationally for advice and representation relating to fire safety law. The first month [after launching Fire Safety Law in the UK’] saw nearly 2000 visits to the website, a great achievement in a very specialist field and received a high volume of positive feedback from other industry professionals. Warren continues to provide training to fire services in relation to fire safety law, the preparation of enforcement files and investigative and Court procedures. He runs a basic and an advanced legal course and has helped to raise the standards of fire safety enforcement through the complex legal process.”

2023 Fire Safety eBook – Grab your free copy!

Download the Fire Safety in 2023 eBook, keeping you up to date with the biggest news and prosecution stories from around the industry. Chapters include important updates such as the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and an overview of the new British Standard for the digital management of fire safety information.

Plus, we explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.


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