Stuart Millington is the new interim Chief Fire Officer for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, joining the service on secondment from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service where he is currently Assistant Chief Fire Officer.
Last week, the Welsh Government announced that four independent Commissioners would replace the fire and rescue authority. This follows Fenella Morris’s damning review into the culture of the service published in January.
Mr Millington was appointed by the Commissioners to ensure business continuity and progression against the terms of reference for the Commissioners set out by Welsh Ministers as part of the announcement made on 6 February.
“I am conscious that this has been an unsettling time for everyone here at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and therefore I approach this opportunity with a deep sense of responsibility but also a great sense of great optimism.
“I am looking forward to working with the many professional and dedicated staff who work at stations and departments across the area and I know from my previous connections with the Service that there is a great deal we can be proud of.”Chief Fire Officer Stuart Millington.
The review into the culture of SWFRS identified a wide range of problems in the service that showed widespread discriminatory behaviour and failures of management at all levels. The review was published on 3 January and led the Chief Fire Officer, Huw Jakeway to say that he was ‘profoundly sorry’ before confirming he would retire from the service.
“While I don’t underestimate the challenge that lies ahead for all of us, I am confident that together we will be able to rise to this challenge and respond to the recommendations contained within the recent Independent Cultural Review in order to make the Service an inclusive and welcoming workplace, where everyone feels valued.
“I hope we can embrace this opportunity together, that we can strive to ensure we are an employer of choice where diversity is celebrated, where everyone can thrive and that we can shape a positive future for the Service as a beacon of excellence and respect going forward.”Chief Fire Officer Stuart Millington
Mr Millington had been Assistant Chief Fire Officer for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service since 2021. He began his career at Clwyd Fire Service, later becoming North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, where he held numerous roles before moving to work at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service for six years. He returned to North Wales as Area Manager in 2014.
On Thursday 15 February, ITVX reported that Mr Millington was subject to bullying allegations from his time in North Wales. He has denied the allegations.
The FBU is questioning whether ‘due diligence’ was done and is calling into question whether the process was ‘open and transparent.’