Fire Accountability Board Minutes 9 November 2021



Welcome and introductions

PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)
Paul Fell (PF)
Helen King (HK)
Louise Sheridan (LS)
CFO Darren Dovey (DD)
ACO Paul Bullen (PB)
ACFO Shaun Hallam (SH)
ACFO Robin Porter (RP)
Area Manager Phil Pells (PP)
Area Manager Kerry Blair (KB)

Apologies were accepted from: Nicci Marzec



Minutes and Actions from previous meeting


SM welcomed everyone to the meeting


  • The minutes from the previous meeting were approved.
  • Relevant updates on any outstanding actions were provided and the Action Log updated.


National Operational Guidance and Fire Standards


The Commissioner requires a report relating to National Operational Guidance for the Fire Service and the new emerging Fire Standards for the service.


The report should explain what National Operational Guidance is, what Fire Standards are, and how they differ.

It should seek to reassure the Commissioner that NFRS has processes in place to effectively comply with both and how progress is being made to do so. Where appropriate it should outline risks or issues associated with compliance, either in terms of not being able to reach those standards or where resources to do so are of concern

This agenda item was presented via two linked but separate papers.

National Operational Guidance (NOG)

  • Area Manager Phil Pells provided an overview of National Operational Guidance and the initial implementation within NFRS.
  • The NOG programme involved looking at over 8000 separate documents covering every part of the fire service and operation response criteria.
  • NOG does not provide a suite of final operational guidance documents or training packages.
  • Each FRS applies the guidance and training specifications to develop local adoption, training and learning material.
  • There was a discussion about the NOG Framework which whilst useful is not a defined product.
  • NFRS have adopted the principals of NOG and introduced a new operational guidance documentation framework removing previous operational procedures.
  • Strategic Gap analysis reports covering 1,800+ strategic actions have been developed and published on Fireplace, in line with the NFCC/CPO operational response implementation guidance.
  • To maximise efficiency NFRS are working with partners in the East Midlands region to develop and share NOG compliant resources.
  • NFRS has also taken the opportunity to work in collaboration with Kent FRS who are acknowledged as a national lead in the implementation of NOG and have invested in significant resources to facilitate its delivery.
  • As a result of the collaboration with Kent, NFRS have acquired around 300 e- learning training packages. These just need minor tweaks and a software licence to make the changes.
  • The e-learning packages will be used to provide operational staff with knowledge on the hazards and control measures found in NOG.
  • There was a discussion about the need for a consistent joined up training programme for on-call, whole-time firefighters and station managers.
  • Whilst staff will still be competent against the current NOC framework, it will take around 2 years to complete the training cycle that will make them NOG compliant.
  • Training and retention for On-call firefighters could become an issue.
  • The Grey book prescribes 2-3 hours training per month but NOG requirement is likely to be closer to 6 hours per month therefore asking them to do more training than is in their T&Cs.
  • There was a discussion about the financial implications of becoming compliant, noting that there has been no increase in resources to complete the initial implementation of NOG.
  • Whilst additional training has been built into the base budget for next year, a number of associated costs such as software changes, platforms, e-learning systems and the competence training for both whole-time and on-call personnel will need costing as part of the 2022/23 budget setting process.

Action – PP to run through the financial costings for NOG implementation and training arrangements with Nick Alexander to ensure everything is forecast correctly.


  • There was a discussion about HMICFRS who will want to be assured that NFRS are working towards NOG compliance.
  • The Chief Fire Officer confirmed he is satisfied with the Governance Framework and the audit trail of the measures being adopted.
    • He believes Services will be rated against progress with those progressing in line with their plans more likely to get a good grading than those making insufficient progress.
    • There was a discussion about the benefits that NOG will deliver.
    • It was felt that NOG would provide an improved and consistent service to the public who would be safer as a consequence.
    • The Commissioner was assured that whilst it seemed like the training plan would take a long time to complete, it was better to have an agreed training cycle that ensured compliance rather than a load of packages placed on a training system that claimed compliance.
    • In addition, the collaboration with Kent FRS demonstrated that NFRS had been both clever and innovative
    • It was agreed that progress of NOG would be reviewed next year. PF will schedule at the appropriate time.


    Fire Standards

    • Area Manager Kerry Blair provided an overview of Fire Standards Board, Approved Standards and the initial implementation within NFRS.
    • In addition to developing and maintaining the professional standards for fire and rescue services in England, the Board also monitor the effectiveness of professional standards in the sector.
    • The Board and HMICFRS are collectively engaged in continuously improving performance.
    • There are currently eight published standards.
    • These are allocated to a service lead and a gap analysis is conducted using recently published ‘implementation tools’ to identify and measure existing arrangements.
    • Where any gaps are identified, the responsible service use the ‘implementation tool’ to progress and report on the improvement actions.
    • It has been agreed that HMICFRS will use the implementation tools to enable them to consistently assess the progress each English fire and rescue service has made against the broad areas of NOG.
    • Gap analysis is current being carried out within NFRS.
    • It was noted that it is a significant amount of work with no additional resource.
    • Capacity and any financial implications will be identified once the gap analysis is complete towards the end of the year.
    • There is no extra resource within the current budget envelope to do any work identified in the gap analysis or any additional work required for HMICFRS.
    • The Commissioner suggested that this was an area where the Enabling Services team could offer support and create capacity.
    • There was a discussion about the Code of Ethics and whether it should be referenced in the Fire and Rescue Plan.
    • It was agreed that Paul Fell it was explicitly referenced within the CRMP

    Action – PF to consider draft Police, Fire and Crime Plan to assess if Code of Ethics statement requires adding


    Assurance Statement

  • The Commissioner received two papers on the National Operational Standards and Fire Standards, which were to be considered together. 

    He recognised that a national self-assessment was now in place and was assured by the Chief Fire Officer that the local assessment against this will be completed by the end of 2021.


    The Commissioner was pleased and assured that NFRS had understood the National Operational Guidance and commenced implementation of the elements that related to the local service. He was pleased that some of this was being worked on in collaboration with other services in the East Midlands.


    The Commissioner was assured that effective progress was currently in place for a service of the size of NFRS but stated that this was a subject he would wish to remain briefed on and would ask for a further update and reassurance in mid 2022.




  • No further business was raised.