Following the Chief Fire Officers Association’s (CFOA) announcement that Roy Wilsher, Chief Fire Officer of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, will be the first Chair of CFOA’s newly formed National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), we explore the role of both the Chair and the new Council in more detail.
The NFCC and the role of Chair will commence in April 2017. The NFCC will be made up of senior representatives from all fire and rescue services across the UK.
Roy Wilsher has been an active member of CFOA for a number of years and currently serves as a director on the CFOA Board with responsibility for the Operations Directorate, consisting of eight strategic lead areas.
CFO Wilsher has served in the fire service for 35 years and has also been Chief Executive of Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s office. He will step down from his current role in April.
He joined the fire service in 1981 and during that time has had a number of roles; including Senior Divisional Officer of Fire Safety in 1998, with responsibility for more than ten boroughs across London.
Roy later went on to become Assistant Commissioner for Community Fire Safety in London before becoming Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Hertfordshire in 2004, then promoted to Chief Fire Officer in 2005. He is also Director of Community Protection for Hertfordshire County Council He was awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medial in 2013 and the OBE in 2007.
The new Council will provide clear, professional advice to government (including devolved administrations).
The Council will also represent the wider sector on matters such as professional standards, operational guidance, research and sharing best practice, while supporting the whole of the UK FRS.
Once the role commences, the Chair will be a dedicated, full-time position with a term of office between two and four years. He will speak on behalf of the NFCC and lead it at a national level. He will also oversee the delivery of the annual plan, which will be set by the Council.
Part of the Chair’s remit is to build strong relationships and improve communications with UK governments, fire and rescue authorities and other partners. The role will be supported by two vice-chairs, who will be selected in the coming weeks.
The new role and national Council will allow the NFCC and CFOA to have a positive impact on driving the future development of the UK fire and rescue services
The Chair will replace CFOA’s current annual Presidential system. In addition, the current directorates run by CFOA will be replaced by NFCC co-ordination committees which will deliver the annual plan and look to work more closely with the police and other partners where appropriate.
Incidents and projects CFO Wilsher has been involved in include:
- Leading his service (as Fire Gold Command) through the Buncefield Oil Terminal fire in 2005
- Working on the 2012 Olympics
- Strategic lead for the UK rescue response for the Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011
- Chair of Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme (JESIP), a programme which aims to ensure all Blue Light Services work effectively together to build on joint emergency service national resilience and response capability
- Acting as Operational Commander for the Paddington rail crash
- Major incidents including the Putney gas explosion, the mortar bomb attack on Downing Street and the fire bomb attacks on Oxford Street
Commenting on the role, Roy Wilsher said: “I am immensely proud to be the first Chair of the new National Fire Chiefs Council. It is a huge honour and comes at a very important time for the fire sector as we continue on our transformation journey. The NFCC will play a pivotal role nationally in ensuring fire and rescue services drive the sector forward.
“I have been committed to CFOA for a number of years and this new position will allow me to continue to develop and lead on national work, benefiting the sector as a whole. I will be responsible for overseeing the new NFCC annual plan, ensuring it is well-managed and delivers against the priorities for reform.
“I look forward to working with colleagues and ensuring fire services across the UK are at the heart of driving the change agenda, while developing closer working relationships with governments and other partners.”
In addition, Roy represents CFOA at the following:
- JESIP Interoperability Board (Chair)
- National Operational Guidance Strategic Board (Chair)
- Strategic Resilience Board
- National Security Council Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingencies sub Committee
- National Resilience Capabilities Committee