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I am delighted to share the first NFCC Digital and Data Strategy. As one of the NFCC’s strategic commitments, digital and data sits alongside community risk and people to form our ambitious improvement programme. It is right to recognise digital and data in this way as it underpins all areas of fire and rescue service business from front-line response to the targeting of our interventions; from how we manage risk to how we look after our most important asset, our people.

Our strategy is here to guide our work so that we can support fire and rescue services as they develop local solutions that help with day to day activity. Covid-19 represents a huge challenge to fire and rescue services to maintain existing services while helping the health sector respond in ways that we have not done so before. Making sense of the data generated by such experiences helps to inform our learning so that we improve our preparedness for future events. 

The need for fire and rescue services to learn is not new. The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report provided the NFCC, along with the rest of the fire and rescue sector, a clear indication of what needs to change to ensure that a fire of such a magnitude cannot happen again. There are many digital and data facets underlying the recommendations and these are a considerable driver for change, strongly influencing the NFCC’s Digital and Data Programme.

All fire and rescue services have been inspected by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue (HMICFRS). One of the broad conclusions is that we don’t make the most of our data. I am a strong believer in the power of data to build our evidence, to inform our decisions and to help us reflect on those as we learn from our experience. The Digital and Data Programme puts data up front and central as an enabler for service improvements; I am keen for the NFCC to work closely with fire and rescue services to ensure that we can develop national approaches for the benefit of all.

While our influences come from our immediate fire-related world, we have much to learn from other sectors about how digital and data can transform how we deliver our services. We have formed an expert panel to help guide us in our thinking; our experts come from other emergency services, from universities and from industry. We are privileged to benefit from their experience.

Our aspiration is for the NFCC to be the data hub for fire and rescue services. This will be informed by a data strategy; have effective data governance; have clear data architecture; and facilitate effective data analysis. We will enable fire and rescue services to work in a digitally effective way to support communities and better identify and reduce risk and vulnerability.

This strategy sets out how the NFCC will direct its efforts to support members in the continually evolving world of digital and data. I hope you will read it with interest and join us in helping to deliver the Digital and Data Programme as we begin our work.


Lee Howell

Programme Executive, Digital and Data Programme

June 2020