The National Fire Chiefs Council held its International Improvement and Innovation Conference at the Fire Service College over 11th-12th October. A collaborative approach to innovation within the sector is seen by FIRESA Council as an essential part of the process of evolution of the Fire and Rescue Services and the provision of new equipment and methodologies a vital contribution to more effective fire-fighting and greater fire-fighter safety.
We were delighted that FIRESA Council was offered the chance to present and that Co-opted Council Member Bernie Higgins was able to speak on our behalf.
Introducing the FIA, he emphasised that ‘the FIA has always passionately believed that collaboration between UKFRS and the wider fire sector can deliver significant improvements in outcomes for UKFRS, the public and for suppliers.’ He went on to note that ‘In 2015, the FIA commissioned Kingston University to undertake some research into FRS R&D activity in England and Wales which found that every FRS undertakes its own R&D, between £9m and £13m is spent on this each year and that much of this R&D is unstructured and independent of other services and agencies which leads to significant duplication.’
Bernie noted that ‘some good collaboration is taking place via the Fire Commercial Transformation Programme and we sincerely hope that that work can be built upon’ and that ‘the FIA has access to R&D expertise both from within the companies that are FIA members and from links with various organisations and individuals outside the fire sector: our members also have experience of working in collaboration to achieve a common goal.’
He concluded by saying ‘we have started out on a new approach to research, development and innovation and although some progress has been made, much more is needed, the pace of change needs to be increased and collaboration put on a more formal footing. The FIA is proud to work with UK Fire and Rescue Services and stand ready, willing and able to work with you in the spirit of true collaboration with the aim of delivering a service that continues to be the envy of the rest of the world.’