Fire Knowledge

A message from Chief Fire Officer, Mark Preece

On behalf of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and myself, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) and the wider Community Safety Directorate that forms part of Gloucestershire County Council (GCC).

Gloucestershire CFO Mark Preece
The selection of our next Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) is a key appointment both for myself as the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) and the Service as we continue our ongoing improvement journey. Depending on your previous experience, you may have already worked within a FRS that is part of the County Council and be familiar with the Principal Officers having a broader set of responsibilities than purely just fire and rescue. Within GCC, I am both the CFO and the Director for Community Safety which incorporates Trading Standards and the Coroners Services.

You will, I am sure, whilst considering making your application for the ACFO role, have reviewed our two previous HMICFRS reports. These reports make clear the size of the challenge ahead for the Strategic Leadership Team if you were successfully appointed. There is no escaping the fact GFRS has, over the last few years been in the spotlight for a variety of reasons. However, I feel this doesn’t represent a true reflection of the commitment and pride our staff have towards being part of GFRS and the Community Safety Directorate. Therefore, it was particularly pleasing in our recent feedback from the HMICFRS that they have recognised we have made progress in prioritising our culture, increasing our visibility and approachability, whilst managing staff workloads more effectively.

Like many FRS’s we are also a service going through a transition period with managers at all levels of the organisation reaching the point of retirement. You would be joining at a time when we are rebuilding our officer cadre and have a key role to play in selecting and developing our future leaders. I believe there has never been a more important time for Principal Officers to role model the right behaviours and values to create the right culture and trust between us and our staff.

You would be joining a Strategic Leadership Team that places great emphasis on developing a values driven leadership culture to bring about change, with this approach being integrated into every aspect of how we deliver leadership and management across the organisation. Whilst we have a significant improvement journey over the next 3-5 years, we equally have a County Council and Fire Authority that recognises the investment required to achieve the ambition of making GFRS a ‘good’ FRS. This additional investment has supported the creation of 38 new posts within the Service over the last two years, both Grey and Green Book. It has also supported investment in external consultants to assist with developing a co-designed vision of our future culture, demonstrating the Council’s continued commitment to retaining the governance of GFRS.

I recognise your application for the role is an important decision for you personally and professionally, not least potentially for your family, regardless of whether you decide to move into the county. Understandably you may have a number of questions about the Service, the management team and want to get to know me, as our working relationship will be a key factor in your decision. I would therefore encourage you to visit the Service to meet our staff, members of our Senior Leadership Team and the Principal Officer Team consisting of DCFO Nathaniel Hooton and myself.

Mark Preece
Chief Fire Officer & Director of Community Safety