NFCC Chair's speech from this year's NFCC Autumn conference

 At this year's NFCC Autumn Conference Roy Wilsher made his keynote address, where he looked at the challenges the sector currently faces while addressing the successes of the last year. 

NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher said: 'Every month NFCC is developing, growing and meeting the increasing demands and challenges that face us as an organisation and as a fire and rescue service. At the same time I am always impressed by the amount of work and commitment that is shown throughout the committees and working groups, all trying to improve and develop the fire and rescue service with the ultimate aim of making our communities safer."

He highlighted NFCC work such as the inspectorate, standards, finance and the comprehensive spending review, post-Hackitt work, the Grenfell Inquiry, climate change, Kerslake and resilience and the pay dispute. 

The chair proceeded to discuss austerity and the ever-growing demands to transform fire and rescue services, new governance models including Police and Crime Commissioners. However despite these pressures, fire and rescue services are continuing to deliver. The extensive grass, heathland and wildfires were referenced, along with the coordinated response organised by National Coordination and Advisory framework and the NFCC National Resilience hub. 

A key theme of Mr Wilsher's speech centred on fire risk, and being resourced to risk as well as demand.  Recent data shows a plateau of fire and related statistics, but the indications of a worrying reversal as austerity has seen even bigger reduction in prevention and protection staff. However he added he was pleased that the Home Office is working with fire and rescue services to analyse risk and demand, helping to inform the submission to next year's Comprehensive Spending Review. 

He stated: "One thing that has become clear through this work and other projects is the importance of good data; its analysis and application to an evidence-based plan for moving forward."

Discussion also took place around the new English-based Fire Standards Board, the Inspectorate, Central Programme Office and its approach to programme management, post-Grenfell and post-Hackitt work.

He finished by saying: "I know with the excellent people in all our committees and working groups working so hard to push forward and develop the Fire and Rescue Services, we can meet those challenges and continue to move forward.  I certainly won’t let the UK Fire and Rescue Services become a backwater without a fight."

the conference was held in Cardiff this year to coincide with this year's national UKRO challenges, which saw fire and rescue services from across the UK competing and NFCC delegates attended the opening ceremony.  

Chair's Autumn Conference speech

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