The first presentation of the afternoon at the CFOA PPRS Conference saw Chris Blacksell, from Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, introduce the work of the Fire Investigation (FI) group. Again, Chris identified that information sharing plays a key part – both between fire and rescue services and with partners. Amongst other things, the workgroup has been looking at the Competency Framework, which is currently in the consultation process; and at producing centralised guidance mostly based around the FI protocol. Work is also ongoing on protocol development – understanding knowledge and competencies, the key areas of interest, and including the scope of the protocol.
Billy Myers, Head of Protection at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service then gave an overview of the competency framework. He explored where we are with the framework, how to establish it, and how to maintain it. The many benefits that the framework offers include a single approach to competency, greater consistency for business, CPD for regulators, and a baseline for quality assurance. The framework will also cover Fire Engineering and Fire Investigation.
Kathryn Aylett, also from GMFRS, talked about the Apprenticeship Trailblazer, developed by the Trailblazing Working Group – the standard for which was approved by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in March. Kathryn next gave an update on the Community Safety Competency Framework: the research behind it, the intended approach and the next steps to be taken. The Framework proposes creating a wide career lattice, offering paths within and across organisations, and the development of competency-based training and certification. The development process is ongoing, with current documentation intended to inform discussion, but cross-cutting competencies have been identified. The next step is to establish task and finish groups for each stage, and for wider consultation with each fire and rescue service.
Next, Jim Bywater and John Berrisford gave details of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Business Support Activity. They talked about developing a number of ways to support local businesses, including tools to help businesses help themselves. Their activity provides active services when they are really needed, with an ethos of Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and an ultimate aim of zero prosecutions and minimum enforcement.
Neil Gibbins detailed the work of the Structural Timber Working Group, of which he is Chair. He first outlined the recent history relating to timber frame buildings and the creation of the working group, aiming to ensure that timber frame construction buildings are no more at risk than buildings constructed using other methods. Working together with all sectors, they jointly coordinated activities to improve outcomes, including the SiteSafe web-based notification system.
Thanks were extended to all the presenters for their useful and informative presentations, and to the delegates for their valuable input and participation.