Business moved forward in a purposeful way at the Fire Sector Federation’s (FSF) recent annual general meeting, which took place on 22nd May 2019 in the offices of the Association of British Insurers at One America Square, London EC3.
The FSF’s objectives are to establish efficiency in the running of its business as mandated by members and within budget, inform communities internally and externally of FSF aims, review and revitalise external relationships, create transparent and effective working structures and achieve clear focused representation on behalf of its members.
The Board of Directors were elected and agreed as Michael Harper (Chairman), Dennis Davis (Executive Officer and Competency), Jonathan O’Neill (Policy and Strategy), Tom Roche (Active Protection), Niall Rowan (Passive Protection) and Andrew Lynch (Communications).
Ronnie King announced he was standing down as Treasurer due to the additional demands now arising from greater Parliamentary engagement linked to the Grenfell public inquiry. He was warmly thanked by members and a welcome was extended to Dave Russell the interim Treasurer.
Over the past year the FSF has re-established discussions with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Home Office, Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and other strategic influencers. Chairman Michael Harper announced a legislative change for the FSF, “having considered, with advice from the Auditor, the benefits and disadvantages of incorporating the Federation, the interim Board had decided to form a company limited by guarantee”.
Jonathan O’Neill, Managing Director of the Fire Protection Association, introduced a discussion on the advice received from David Stotesbury QC concerning Third Party Certification and the role this might play as statutory defence, accepting always that it is the courts that determined any ultimate outcome. The advice appeared to support the FSF strategy that Third Party Certification is an important part of demonstrating responsible industry and achieving a more secure and safe environment.
This advice has been shared with NFCC, MHCLG and Home Office and discussion meetings are to be scheduled. Federation members were supportive of the Third Party Certification policy and await further briefings.
In summary, Michael Harper said that “progress has been made” by the Fire Sector Federation but “much remains to be done”.
After the AGM the FSF was addressed by Chandru Dissanayeke from MHCLG. He explained the logic and approach adopted to take forward the government’s Building Safety Programme. He also talked about the progress that had been made with groups looking at competency, regulations, conformity assessment and early adoption – and reminded FSF members that over £600 million of public funds had been allocated to remedial improvements related to ACM cladding. Chandru answered multiple questions and was thanked for his openness, participation and mutual support for continued dialogue.
The next FSF event will be a lunchtime Forum at FIREX at ExCel London 18-20 June 2019.