Internal governance and assurance standard launched by Fire Standards Board

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“The Board welcomes the launch of the new Internal Governance and Assurance Fire Standard,” said Suzanne McCarthy

The Fire Standards Board (FSB) has published the seventeenth professional Fire Standard: Internal Governance and Assurance.

As reported by The NFCC, this new standard aims to ensure that fire and rescue services have robust internal governance structures and business planning processes.

These measures enable senior leaders to maintain comprehensive oversight of internal activities, ensuring effective operation.

The Fire Standard also outlines desired outcomes for internal change and improvement projects.

These projects should be managed through robust development, approval, and initiation processes to align with the service’s vision and strategic objectives.

Additionally, delivery and organisational development plans must be clear and understood by all within the service.

Development and leadership

The development of this standard was led by Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Sabrina Cohen-Hatton of West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and Chair of NFCC’s Improvement Committee.

She collaborated with subject matter experts from the network of fire and rescue service audit teams and governance leads, Home Office specialists, and other key stakeholders.

Cohen-Hatton stated: “I’m proud to have led the development of this new Fire Standard which will support all fire and rescue services to follow a consistent and robust process when developing internal governance and assurance procedures.”

She added that achieving this standard will foster internal cultures and positive working environments open to learning, self-evaluation, and feedback, leading to a more productive, motivated, and efficient workforce.

Expected benefits and tools

One of the expected benefits of achieving the Internal Governance and Assurance Fire Standard is the improvement of governance, internal culture, and increased transparency within fire and rescue services.

To support services in implementing the standard, a corresponding Fire Standards Implementation Tool has been provided.

This tool helps services understand how well they meet the standard, embed it into existing and new action plans, and address any gaps.

Suzanne McCarthy, Chair of the Fire Standards Board, expressed her support: “The Board welcomes the launch of the new Internal Governance and Assurance Fire Standard and recognises the contribution it will bring to fire and rescue services and the communities they serve.

“The standard builds on our portfolio of comprehensive and professional Fire Standards which ultimately help support the safety, health and well-being of the public via English fire and rescue services.”

The role of the FSB and future outlook

The Fire Standards Board continues to develop and implement standards aimed at enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of fire and rescue services.

This new standard adds to the existing suite, further promoting a culture of continuous improvement and accountability.

As fire and rescue services work towards implementing this standard, the focus will be on improving internal processes and fostering a transparent and accountable culture.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that these services can effectively serve and protect their communities.

IFSJ Comment

The introduction of the Internal Governance and Assurance Fire Standard marks a strategic move by the Fire Standards Board to enhance the governance frameworks within fire and rescue services.

This new standard addresses critical aspects of internal operations, ensuring that services are aligned with their strategic objectives and fostering a culture of transparency and accountability.

By providing a structured approach to internal governance, the standard aims to improve the overall efficiency of fire and rescue services.

The involvement of subject matter experts and key stakeholders in developing the standard underscores its comprehensive nature and relevance to current operational needs.

The accompanying Implementation Tool is a practical resource that will aid services in evaluating their compliance with the standard and integrating it into their action plans.

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