roywilsherCFOA Director of Operations Roy Wilsher previews our exclusive focus on strategic operational response for the February issue of FIRE Magazine:

It might sound a bit of a cliché but it is a real privilege to be the Director of Operations for the Chief Fire Officers Association. The Operations Directorate covers such a wide area of activity there is always an important issue to deal with, a partner to have discussions with or a policy to be signed off.

From animal rescue to operational guidance, from extinguishing media to national coordination and advice for national resilience incidents, the remit is extensive. As will become apparent over the next few pages all this work could not be coordinated and achieved without a dedicated and committed team of strategic leads who along with representatives from the devolved administrations, the English regions and some partner bodies make up the National Operations Committee.

The CFOA Operations Directorate Strategic leads are supported in their work by many workstream leads, the strategic leads are:
• CFO Simon Pilling – Operational Effectiveness (Command and Control)
• CFO Dan Stephens – Technical Response
• DCFO John Mills – Operational Guidance
• CFO Mark Yates – Health and Safety
• CFO Dave Webb – Operations Communications
• DCFO Steve Beckley – Interoperability
• CFO Jon Hall – Resilience
• ACFO Trevor Stratford – Regions

The Operations Directorate is one of four directorates with CFOA and the four Directors, along with the CFOA business Director and Presidential team make up the CFOA Board. Over many years and particularly in recent years CFOA has taken on more work, influence and national functions within the fire sector which has seen the association’s workload increase. As well as being the Operations Director I am also a Director on two of CFOA’s companies: CFOA national Resilience Ltd and CFOA Publications Ltd.

My job as Director is to represent the association and its membership, to coordinate the work of the Directorate, ensure this links into the work of the other CFOA Directors and to support the strategic leads. I also have specific roles that go along with the job. I chair a number of boards in addition to the National Operations Committee.

Joint Emergency Services Interoperability

The most recent of these is the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability (JESIP) Strategic Board which has oversight of the work described by Steve Beckley and then reports into the Ministerial Oversight Board chaired by the Home Secretary. The JESIP work is supported by ministers from across government but is also scrutinised by them as an important area of national work. With this government support there has never been a better time to introduce this programme.

I also chair the CFOA and LGA led Operation Guidance Strategic Board that is currently supported financially and with project management by London Fire Brigade and London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. John Mills writes further about operational guidance but this is a real example of where government have encouraged a sector led approach to national issues.

Fire Service College

There has been a bit of a lull in the production of this guidance but I am confident that we will see some real progress in 2013. The Fire Service College is always part of our thinking and since becoming Director I have chaired the FSC stakeholder board to look at quality of training, provision of training and customer feedback.

This extended to me leading for CFOA on discussions with any companies who might want to bid for the college and wanted to work with CFOA. Now a preferred bidder has been announced I continue to work in this area along with the chair of CFOA NR Ltd, John Bonney and CFOA Director of People and Organisational Development, Des Prichard. In addition I represent CFOA at the Fire Service Strategic Resilience Board which has a remit to discuss and consider Fire Service capabilities for national resilience and other partner-led board like the National Security Council Sub Group.

It is a demanding and challenging role, but one I enjoy immensely and I hope makes a worthwhile contribution to the Fire and Rescue Service. But I could not do this alone and want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who works with and for CFOA Operations.

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