CFOA is delighted to be leading on the creation of a unified UK Research and Development (UK R&D) Function which will support the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) by reducing duplication and increasing efficiencies through a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to innovation.
As well as building on CFOA’s established relationships with the Fire Service College (FSC), Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) and the Fire Industry Association (FIA), the Function will develop partnerships with the Home Office’s Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST), UK FRS Research and Development Departments, BluelightWorks, Universities and other research establishments in order to align priorities where appropriate.
A small team, led by Garry Brown and supported by Delivery Team Leader Alex Rhodes, will be working to the strategic direction set by the Implementation Board, Chaired by Tom Capeling, CFOA Technical Response Lead. The team has been established to take responsibility for the day to day delivery of the Function, delivery of a proof of concept and to establish appropriate governance and processes to support the future operation of the function.
In line with work currently underway in CFOA to create the governance processes through which future projects and work streams are identified and prioritised, the Function has committed to working to Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) methodology; a Cabinet Office approved method and acknowledges the support from key players in the National Operational Guidance programme.
The team are currently identifying and developing a suitable platform to regularly communicate and share existing and future projects that support all UK FRSs in evaluating, developing, and procuring new solutions, products and services.
The UK R&D team have recently been commissioned by the CFOA Health and Safety and the Respiratory Protection Equipment (RPE) groups and work is underway to establish the required deliverables and project plans.
To build on the existing support from FRSs, stakeholders and partners, a series of workshops will be held in the near future to give fire services and selected partners the opportunity to inform the direction of the Function in line with FRS R&D priorities.