Protection and Business Safety Overview

Chair, Gavin Tomlinson

Chief Fire Officer Gavin Tomlinson commenced his career with Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service in 1993 as a Recruit Firefighter.

Over the last 20 years Gavin has served in many areas including operational station command, fire safety, learning and development and prevention.

In 2010, he was promoted to Area Manager responsible for Community Safety and the Tri Service Control project. In November 2015 Gavin was promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer. Gavin was promoted to his current role as Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive in September 2019 and was also NFCC’s lead on Automatic Water Suppression Systems/Sprinklers.

Gavin Tomlinson

The work of the committee

The Protection and Business Safety Committee has a very broad remit of work. Alongside many associated functions like Fire Investigation and Automatic Fire Alarms and Unwanted Fire Signals, it seeks to improve the provision of a standardised approach to Protection policy, training and development to support fire and rescue services and businesses.

By providing additional support and guidance to businesses and continuing to improve engagement, regulation and enforcement, the Committee aims to improve safety and support economic development and growth.

The Committee is playing a key role in all the work associated with the Building Safety Programme and Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety by Dame Judith Hackitt since the fire at Grenfell Tower. This work will now include providing a national fire service response to the Protection related recommendations from Phase 1 of the Grenfell Public Inquiry and a look forward to Phase 2.

The Committee meets four times a year in London and West Midlands FRS. The committee consists of the chairs of each regional FRS Protection group, representatives from the FRS in the devolved assemblies, Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation, Home Office, Crown Premises Fire Inspection Group. The committee has an annual NFCC conference for Protection, Prevention and Health committees



The Committee will:

  • Support the national response to the Grenfell Tower Fire, including the outcomes of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. This work is supported by the NFCC’s Protection Policy and Reform Unit. Find out more about the Protection and Building Safety work of the PRRU here
  • Improve the provision of a standardised approach to Protection policy, training and development to increase capacity and competence to deliver protection work.
  • Promote further reform of safety legislation and contribute to the revision of specific Building Regulations as appropriate and other national technical standards.
  • Provide additional support and guidance to business and continue to improve engagement, regulation and enforcement to improve safety and support economic development and growth. This includes a particular focus area within this work that supports Black and Minority Ethnic Businesses.
  • Maximise business partnerships and external funding opportunities.
  • Focus upon improving core fire and safety outcomes and commit to reducing operational demand across key indicators.
  • Work with businesses, the fire detection industry and alarm receiving centres to reduce unwanted fire alarm signals, making use of electronic data transfer and new fire alarm technology
  • Continue to work with Government departments, Devolved Administrations, Regulatory Delivery, Fire Sector Federation, Fire Protection Association, Association of British Insurers, Health and Safety Executive, businesses and others to promote improved fire safety outcomes, and minimise the cost of fire.
  • Work with the design, construction and building standards sectors to improve the safety, sustainability and fire performance of buildings and building materials, and improve modern methods of construction.
  • Improve inter-service and inter-agency fire investigation policy, procedures and the sharing of information and intelligence.
  • Develop improved communication links, information exchange and intelligence sharing with other enforcing authorities at local and national level.

Work streams

  • Building Safety Programme: NFCC Protection Policy and Reform Unit, Nick Coombe (NFCC)
  • Fire Engineering and Technical Standards: Richard Clark (NFCC) and Gareth Steele (London Fire Brigade)
  • Competency of Protection and Business Safety Staff: Adreena Parkin-Coates and Ian Leigh (NFCC)
  • Automatic Fire Alarms/Unwanted Fire Signals: Paul McCourt (Humberside)
  • HMICFRS and Inspection Outcomes (Protection): Mark Hardingham, Stephen Norman (London)
  • Fire Investigation: Charlie Pugsley (LFB)
  • Business Engagement and engaging with diverse business: Mark Andrews (East Sussex)
  • Higher Risk Accommodation: Chris Callow (NFCC)
  • Sprinklers/Automatic Fire Suppression Systems: Jonathan Dyson (North Yorkshire)
  • Organisational Learning – Protection: Sandy Thompson (NFCC)
  • RBIP and High-Risk Premises: Chris Callow and Steve Norman (LFB)
  • Enforcement Working Group: Brian Harvey and Michelle Purchase (NFCC)
  • Comprehensive Spending Review – Protection: Mark Hardingham
  • SiteSafe and Timber Frame Group and Modern Methods of Construction: Lynsey Seal (London Fire Brigade)
  • Event Safety: Mark Cottell (Devon and Somerset)
  • Petroleum & Explosives: Chris Kemp (West Yorkshire)
  • Heritage: VACANT
  • Waste fires: Mark Andrews (East Sussex)