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01-04-21

NFCC welcomes new Chair, Mark Hardingham, to the role

The new Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has said it is a “huge honour’ to be taking up the role, which begins today (April 1st) for an initial two-year period.

Mark Hardingham, formerly the Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service – and Chair of the NFCC’s Protection and Business Safety Committee – brings a wealth of experience to the position.

Mark succeeds the first NFCC Chair, Roy Wilsher. Mr Wilsher had been in the role since NFCC was formed in April 2017.

Mark Hardingham commented: “It is a huge honour to take on the role of Chair and I am looking forward to further embedding NFCC as the professional voice of the UK Fire and Rescue Service (FRS).

"I will work tirelessly with my Chief Fire Officer colleagues, the wider NFCC membership and our key stakeholders - including governments. We will strive to make improvements that support FRS and enable them to, first and foremost, put the interests of the public, the community, and service users first.

"I will lead this work with enthusiasm to ensure the FRS is the very best it can be, and is one that we, and the public, can continue to hold in high regard."

Mark Hardingham, NFCC Chair

“So much has been achieved since the NFCC was established in 2017. This progress being in the midst of the monumental challenges FRS have faced throughout. The Grenfell Tower tragedy, terrorist attacks, emerging challenges of fire safety in the built environment and the on-going pandemic, and the Ready, Willing and Able response from the FRS, to name just a few.

“We have a very strong NFCC membership; I want to build on this so every member sees the benefits of the NFCC in terms of what it can bring to your FRS and it’s service to local communities; what it can bring to the collective body of the UK FRS; and equally importantly, what it can bring to the individual personal and professional development for every member in their leadership role.

“The next few years will be a pivotal time for FRS – future funding of FRS and the NFCC; the Reform White Paper in England alongside reform and change also being considered in other parts of the UK; improvements in leadership, culture, equality, diversity and inclusion; and the organisational learning that needs to be implemented across FRS from the Grenfell Tower and MEN Arena inquiries are just some of the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

"I will lead this work with enthusiasm and in partnership with our key stakeholders to ensure the FRS is the very best it can be, and is one that we, and the public, can continue to hold in high regard."

Mark began his FRS career 30 years ago in Essex. He was appointed as the Deputy Chief Fire Officer in Suffolk in 2010, before taking up the role of Chief Fire Officer and County Council Executive Director in 2013. Mark has also led peer challenges across five FRS.

Chairing NFCC’s Protection & Business Safety Committee between 2017 and 2020, Mark ensured NFCC took a national leadership role with government, working closely with ministers, civil servants, devolved administrations, the inspectorate and many other partners in the wider Building Safety Programme.

Mr Hardingham added: “I would like to thank my colleagues for their help and guidance during the last few months, especially to Roy.  I have seen first-hand his commitment and dedication to establishing NFCC as the trusted and respected professional voice of the UK FRS and one of my aims is to see this continue to grow.”

At the time of successfully being appointed to the role, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Teresa Budworth, paid tribute to Roy, while congratulating Mark on his appointment.

“I would like to welcome Mark to the role of NFCC Chair. He brings with him a wealth of experience as a long standing and respected Chief Fire Officer alongside his NFCC protection role and tireless work with his NFCC team towards the new building safety framework. I am sure NFCC will continue to go from strength-to-strength under his leadership.”

Teresa also thanked Roy for his dedication and hard work for NFCC, saying it is “testament to Roy that NFCC has established a pivotal role in advising government and supporting FRS across the UK, while implementing national policy and delivering critical national workstreams

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