CFOA, FIA and Fire Service College energise R&D collaboration to boost Fire and Rescue Service operations

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and the Fire Service College (FSC) have come together to form a new R&D partnership. A joint Memorandum of Understanding clearly demonstrates each organisation’s commitment towards collaboration around the future evaluation of the Fire and Rescue Service’s operational equipment.

The partnership will see joint research and evaluation, in turn making it easier for Fire and Rescue Services to share information and choose the most effective equipment.

Many of the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services currently need to undertake separate evaluation of their operational equipment. This results in the replication of costs for the public sector, manufacturers and suppliers alike.

The recently-created Research, Development, Technology and Innovation (RDTI) Hub situated at the Fire Service College at Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire will provide the venue for this unified activity going forward.

The RDTI Hub is part of the wider Fire and Rescue Service R&D function which is led by CFOA and supported by Fire and Rescue Services across the UK. This national collaborative approach will enable Fire and Rescue Services to access evaluations and information about operational equipment they may wish to use, share knowledge and learning more effectively, conduct academic research and reduce replication across the sector. This will result in financial savings and increased co-ordination across the Fire and Rescue Services.

Network of contacts

Building and maintaining collaborative relationships across the wider Emergency Services sector is a critical success factor in this initiative. CFOA has a network of contacts in the academic research field, as well as the National Operational Guidance Programme and the recently established Procurement Hub, all of which will be key relationships when it comes to UK Fire and Rescue Service R&D.

Mike Penning MP

Mike Penning MP

This new collaboration will also help manufacturers and suppliers to engage with Fire and Rescue Services at a much earlier stage, meaning that fire safety sector professionals will have more input into how products are designed. That will help to reduce development times, minimise costs and duly result in equipment being produced and put into use more quickly.

Mike Penning, the Minister for Policing, Fire, Criminal Justice and Victims at the Home Office, stated: “I’m delighted to see this R&D partnership come together. Initiatives such as this demonstrate the kind of collaborative working the Government wants to see embedded across the Fire and Rescue Service, sharing expertise and knowledge and supporting services so that they can be more efficient and effective. I hope this initiative is embraced by all Fire and Rescue Services, and I look forward to seeing the results of their work.”

Geoff Howsego, CFOA’s director for corporate services and sector improvement, said: “The UK R&D function will help us to understand how we make a difference and improve how we currently evaluate, research and test equipment, while also identifying new ways of working. It will incorporate all areas of R&D, including academic research, product development and testing and implementation along with procurement and evaluation of impacts.”

More effective and efficient R&D

Ian Moore

Ian Moore

The FIA’s CEO Ian Moore told Risk UK: “Having supported and been involved in the development of this initiative, we’re delighted that the CFOA, the FIA and the FSC triumvirate is to deliver more effective and efficient R&D and related processes across our Fire and Rescue Services. We’re fully confident that this collaborative approach will be of immense benefit both to the Fire and Rescue Services themselves as well as suppliers to the sector and result in further improvements in responses to fire and other emergency incidents.”

Martin Thomas, managing director of the FSC, explained: “The announcement of better joint working coincides with the Home Secretary’s speech about fire reform wherein Theresa May outlined her agenda for bringing ‘radical transformation to the service’, including prioritising accountability and greater transparency.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

Related Posts