Headlines: October 2nd, 2007

The head of a new advisory team for the Fire and Rescue Service, who has started work this week, says the unit will help the service to meet the challenges of delivering safer and sustainable communities. Sir Ken Knight, who has worked in Devon, Dorset, Surrey and the West Midlands as well as being Commissioner for the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, is
heading the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser’s Unit, which has been set up to provide independent, professional advice to ministers and civil servants.

The unit has been set up by the Department for Communities and Local Government and Sir Ken said, “This is an exciting time for the Fire and Rescue Service, already effectively delivering its traditional firefighting response, and now significantly engaged in regulatory fire safety and community safety work, as well as training for and responding to a wide range of incidents from widespread flooding to terrorist attacks.”

He said his unit would play an active role in moving forward the Government’s agenda, where the modern service could add value and make a positive difference in local communities. He was looking forward, he said, to establishing the new unit, in partnership with the wider fire community.

As well as advising ministers and senior civil servants on structure, organisation and performance, the unit will disseminate good practice to local fire and rescue services, local government and partner organisations and will also advise the Cabinet, government departments and local authorities during major emergencies. It will continue to carry out some of the risk critical work formerly done by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Fire Services.