ntuAn innovative partnership which has contributed to a reduction in the number of incidents attended by firefighters across Nottinghamshire has earned a national award at the Knowledge Transfer Partnership’s Best of the Best Ceremony.

Representatives from Nottingham Trent University and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service attended the ceremony in London last month [30 Oct] to receive the Research Council UK Societal Benefit Award.

Vivienne Brunsden, head of NTU’s Emergency Services Research Unit said: "Although we set our standards very high for this project, these have been exceeded beyond all expectation. This partnership has significantly and sustainably changed the fire service’s operations with regard to community safety.

"With reduced call-outs also come lowered staff health risks and a safer community. The Service’s new evaluation procedure allows it to use public funds more effectively, using evidence-based decisions to maximise performance for the public’s safety and leading to major societal benefit at minimum cost."

The Best of the Best Awards aim to celebrate KTP projects that improve competitiveness and productivity through collaboration with technology and skills found in academic institutions.

The project ran from 2010 to 2012 and has included gathering and analysing information from partners and NFRS itself, resulting in a more targeted approach by the Service to the way it delivers community safety awareness initiatives and interventions.

The partnership aimed to develop and apply research and evaluation methods, which could be used to guide and measure the impact of the Service’s community safety work and a new Evaluation Officer post was created at the end of the project to ensure that progress in this area continues.

Areas of best practice are now also being shared with other UK fire and rescue services and their partners.

Notts FRS Engagement and Partnerships Manager Chris Hooper added: “By engaging with the KTP, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service was able to develop an evidence-led and evaluated approach to Community Safety. The process helped the Service to target those most at risk in a more efficient manner, whilst measuring the effectiveness of our interventions in order to produce the best outcomes for our community.”

A range of wider benefits have also developed via the partnership, which involved other academic schools within the university. These included opportunities around collaborative research, fire service staff assisting with teaching on specialist modules, and students being given the chance to visit fire service headquarters.

Other finalists in the Best of the Best Awards came from the commercial world and publicly funded organisations, and were engaged in fields ranging from pharmaceuticals and healthcare to high-value manufacturing and environmental technologies.

For more on the Awards visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/best-of-the-best-awards-recognise-outstanding-partnerships