It has today been announced that a new Chair for the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has been appointed, with effect from 1 April 2021.
Mark Hardingham, currently Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service - and Chair of NFCC's Protection and Business Safety Committee - will take up the role in April 2021 for an initial two-year period.
Mark will succeed NFCC Chair Roy Wilsher, who has been in the role since NFCC was formed in April 2017.
Chair of the Board of Trustees, Teresa Budworth, paid tribute to Roy as the Council's inaugural Chair, while welcoming Mark to the role.
"Firstly, I would like to thank Roy for his dedication and hard work for NFCC. Under his leadership, NFCC has achieved so much in a relatively short period of time. It is testament to Roy that NFCC has established a pivotal role in advising government and supporting fire and rescue services across the UK, while implementing national policy and delivering critical national workstreams.
"NFCC was formed only two-and-a-half months before the tragic Grenfell Tower fire. Roy offered the sector and government outstanding help and guidance, during a very demanding period. His membership on the government's expert panel and now as Chair of the Protection Board has been pivotal in making change for the better.
"It is a credit to to his leadership that the NFCC is in the strong position it is today ensuring fire is on the front foot and able to continue to protect our communities with excellence. I would like to give him my sincere thanks.
"I would also like to welcome Mark to the role of NFCC Chair. He brings with him a wealth of experience, especially with his Protection role and his tireless work on a new building safety framework. I am sure NFCC will continue to go from strength-to-strength under his leadership."
Chair of the NFCC, Roy Wilsher, said: "It has been an honour to serve as NFCC's inaugural Chair since 2017 and I will continue to do my best for the council over the coming months. I have always said a key success factor for my tenure would be the appointment of a second NFCC Chair.
"NFCC is now an influential organisation, based on our technical expertise, professional knowledge and relationships. It is well-established and respected, and I have set sound policy and financial foundations for the future. I will continue to move NFCC forward on its journey until Mark takes on the role in April 2021.
"We have seen big changes since NFCC was introduced and I am proud of these achievements. To lead the fire sector through - at times - a profoundly difficult time and to be instrumental in implementing changes for the better, has been a privilege.
"I would like to wish Mark the very best for when he takes on the role of NFCC Chair. I am in no doubt he will build on what is already in place and NFCC will continue on its journey and achieve many more successes."
Mark Hardingham commented: "I am delighted and excited to be taking on the role of NFCC Chair in 2021. I have worked closely with Roy throughout his tenure and seen first-hand his commitment and dedication to establishing the NFCC as the trusted and respected professional voice of UK fire and rescue services.
"I look forward to working with my Chief Fire Officer colleagues and the wider NFCC membership and staff as we approach the challenges and opportunities throughout my term."