NFCC highlights priorities for 2022

NFCC’s Data and Digital Programme team (from L to R): Apollo Gerolymbos, Andy Hopkinson, Steve Beakhust.

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) highlights two of its latest programmes: the NFCC Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) project is soon to launch a new way of delivering best practice examples and shared learning; and the council’s Data and Digital Programme is commencing the final stage of delivering a national data analytics capability to support current and emerging needs of the UK fire and rescue service (UKFRS).

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) has never been as important as it is right now to the future of the fire and rescue sector and to society as a whole. Working towards inclusive practice is everyone’s responsibility.

The NFCC EDI project and its culminating products exist to support UK fire and rescue services on their journey to becoming inclusive workplaces by ensuring that diversity and inclusion is a part of everything they do.

Due to launch in Spring 2022, the NFCC EDI Hub has been established to look at ways of working across the sector, delivering best practice examples and shared learning.

Making a positive difference

Equality of Access documents, which form part of the EDI Hub, are the first of their kind for the fire and rescue sector. Designed in consultation with EDI professionals, they provide a range of information about different groups of people and ideas around the actions which services could take to make a positive difference.

The following Equality of Access (to Services and Employment) documents have so far launched: Vulnerable Rehoused Homeless; Gypsy and Traveller Communities; People from Asian Communities; Roma Community; Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans People; Neurodiversity; and the Black Community.

The following Equality of Access (to Services and Employment) document is now open for consultation: People Living in Rural Communities.

To have your say and to shape the future of the sector and the positive difference services could make to people living in rural communities, visit: and click the Consultations page.

The following Equality of Access documents are due to launch: People living with Dementia; and Emerging Migrant Communities.

EDI Toolkits sometimes complement a corresponding Equality of Access document, and they provide further advice to fire and rescue services around particular subjects. The following toolkits are due to launch: Data; Neurodiversity; Gender Diversity; and Equality Impact Assessment (revisited). Further toolkits, currently in the development phase, include Religion and Belief as well as Staff Networks.

Lunch and Learn sessions

Another area of work within the NFCC EDI Project are Lunch and Learn sessions. Guest speakers join these sessions to talk of often personal experiences to an array of EDI related topics, including: neurodiversity; trans visibility; being part of the LGBT+ community; racial equality; and bitesize techniques to avoid burnout.

These sessions are now available online as podcasts so they can be listened to at a time and a place that suits. Most recently, Lunch and Learn topics have included: International Men’s Day; Menopause; Disability History Month; as well as Holocaust Memorial Day. Podcasts for these sessions will be available in the coming weeks.

Aidan Bartley, NFCC EDI Project Manager, said, “We’re really proud of the work produced so far and wish to thank those who have supported with the development of it. Collaborative learning with fire and rescue services will enable the NFCC to deliver quality, sector-endorsed tools and guidance, which it is hoped will provide a starting point to drive forward real change within the sector.

“There will be a continuation of the project and providing EDI support to our sector, and Phase 2 is already in the planning stages. One of the focuses will be on helping services to embed the available NFCC EDI products, with the EDI Maturity Model as one of the drivers.”

Data and Digital Programme

The NFCC’s Data and Digital Programme is commencing the final stage of delivering a national data analytics capability that will make efficient and effective use of data to support current and emerging needs of the UK fire and rescue service (UKFRS), as well as ongoing decision-making and policy development.

Once fully implemented, the resource will be a central function of the NFCC, comprising skilled people, standardised processes and technology, providing national data analytics and data governance to the NFCC and UKFRS to solve problems and support decision-making.

Andy Hopkinson, Programme Executive and Chief Fire Officer of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said, “I’m really proud to be leading the team on this project with NFCC’s Data and Digital Programme Manager Steve Beakhust. Its successful implementation will be a game-changer for the UK fire and rescue service. However, customers of the planned National Data Analytics resource could also include partner agencies, such as the NHS, as well as external change programmes and committees associated with NFCC’s Portfolio.

“We also want to attract the best in digital and data talent to join us on this journey. This is a fantastic opportunity to play a leading part in the development of a project that will be rolled out on a national level, changing the way data is collected and analysed for the fire and rescue sector and beyond.”

Core services

The core services provided by the analytics resource will include problem solving (through descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics), data sourcing (from internal and external sources, including data cleansing), and data consulting (such as methodology and subject research).

Initially there will be limited capacity and service provision for proving the approach, with a focus on processing the highest value data questions to support areas of the NFCC change portfolio. This pilot approach will launch in early 2022. Over time the capability will scale up to the target state, providing the full suite of business services and a capacity to match demand.

Additional functions of the national data analytics capability will include: a controlled, governed processes to identify, assess and prioritise issues where data could provide insight; support to local data teams for analysis at a national level; support to local data teams to supply data that shares insight to national trends and analytics; establishment of standards, agreements and processes that enable services and partners to share data in a controlled, secure, legal and ethical manner; capabilities to source, catalogue, enrich and manage data in support of developing insight to prioritised national issues; data sourcing, visualisation, analytics and modelling; a data analysis capability, which creates actionable insight in support of prioritised national issues; establishing arrangements with local FRSs, partner agencies, academia and industry to collaborate and share best practice; and driving a culture of standardisation, consistency and efficiency.

For more information about the NFCC’s Data and Digital Programme, contact the team at:

For more information about the NFCC EDI Project, contact Project Manager Aidan Bartley, at