Chair's Blog - lots of exciting things to share
It’s been a while since our last newsletter, which is testament to the scale of workloads as we’ve battled through the twists and turns of the pandemic.
Despite the challenges of the last 18 months, myself and the rest of the national committee have been determined to deliver on some key areas to support learning and development across the sector.
Some of this you will have seen through the training programmes Dan Slee and Hel Reynolds carried out before last Christmas and the FirePRO Unconference, which took place in March. All of which gained positive feedback and we will be looking to do some similar activities in the new year.
Behind the scenes, we have been working on the communications and engagement standards for the sector. Having standards in place will be a major step forward for the sector. They will provide you with clarity about what to aim for and come with support to help you to keep improving your craft. They will also signal to leaders across the sector what they should be focusing on and adequately resourcing to achieve better outcomes.
We’ve been clear from that start of the project that these standards have to be realistic and scalable so that they support the varying sizes, needs and governance models of our Services. They need to help communications teams, not overwhelm or hinder. Over the summer, we have been testing the draft standards with a selection fire and rescue communicators, leaders of national communications bodies, and chief fire officers.
Through this early engagement, we have received overwhelming support for the standards and some great feedback to improve them further. Our next step is to consult wider across the sector. We really want to hear what you think of the standards and where we can improve them, so look out for the consultation activity when it’s launched in November. There will also be a consultation session the FirePRO Conference, so please do attend that if you are heading to Birmingham.
It is fantastic to be in a place where we can have a physical conference again. I certainly missed not having a full conference last year, particularly being able to meet with people from different services and find out what teams are working on, how people are tackling sector-specific issues, and to be able to share experiences, ideas and learning. Judging by how fast the tickets are flying off the shelf, I’m clearly not alone! If you haven’t bagged yours yet, get in there quick.
Another big development you will see very soon is support for setting up regional FirePRO networks. These used to be a key part of the FirePRO set up, but have fizzled out in recent years, although I know there is still strong relationships between neighbouring comms teams.
We now have two national committee members dedicated to supporting the setup of regional groups. Our plans are to work with you to build the network further and see where the national committee can help with regional and local initiatives that support our aims. More on this later in the newsletter.
Look out for future developments too with a revamped FirePRO website and better guidance and resources to support your work all on the horizon.
Hope you find the rest of the content of the newsletter useful. And I hope to see you on 24 and 25 November in Birmingham.
Chair of FirePRO
Head of Communications and Engagement at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service