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by the NFCC

Where we are now

IO10: Meaningful collaboration


Working with others

Fire and rescue services do not work in isolation. The relationship between fire, police and ambulance on the incident ground is well established and was significantly boosted by the creation of the programme in 2012 to develop the Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Principles (JESIP). The publication of the Joint Doctrine: the interoperability framework provides a standard approach to multi-agency working, along with training and awareness products for responding agencies to train their staff. 

There is considerable commentary on the implementation of the Joint Doctrine in the Kerslake Report into the Manchester Arena bombings and in Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s report into the Grenfell Tower Fire. These tragic incidents in 2017 demonstrated concerns about how the Joint Doctrine works in practice. It is important that learning is managed and reflected in the process of reviewing guidance. Changes in training and policy will need to be reflected in the continuing evolution of the Joint Doctrine as a tool used at a local level.  

Working with others is not exclusive to the incident ground and there is a long history of fire and rescue services working with partners from the wider public sector, the third sector and the commercial world where they share the same goals. Evaluation of such interventions needs to evidence the benefits of such work. A rigorous evaluation approach needs to be applied consistently across all fire and rescue services. 

The 2017 Policing and Crime Act includes provisions for fire, police and ambulance services to keep opportunities to collaborate under review. It goes on to set out where collaboration agreements may be created in the interests of efficiency or effectiveness. 

Prior to this, fire and rescue services worked on more informal partnership arrangements based on local needs. This is particularly strong in the area of fire prevention where historically fire and rescue services have worked with local organisations to focus on, fire setting behaviour. This has involved working with vulnerable children and young people, including schools and local youth offending teams. This type of activity can bring great reputational rewards. 

Community Safety Partnerships are an example of where older legislation compelled closer joint working in certain areas. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 also provides for joint working in the context of local resilience forums and in responding to major incidents. Fire and rescue services are now able to use National Operational Guidance on Major Incidents to help them plan for and respond appropriately within a multi-agency setting.