The Operational Response implementation guide
The Fire Standards provide an opportunity to bring clarity to the sector, and this online guide has been created to provide fire and rescue services with extensive implementation support. By implementing National Operational Guidance (NOG) and National Operational Learning (NOL), which underpin the Operational Response Fire Standards, services should be able to achieve, or in some cases exceed, the aspirational Fire Standards.
The overall expectation of the new Operational Response Fire Standards is that an ‘all hazards’ approach is used for incident management. The primary focus of fire and rescue services should be to ensure that attending officers understand how to identify the hazards that are present. They need to use the policies, procedures, equipment and other resources that their services provide to deal with those hazards (preparedness). The Fire Standards make specific reference to the Corporate guidance for operational activity, which is critical for achieving the preparedness required for fire and rescue services.
Those officers should understand how to assess the situation and risks throughout the course of the incident. They should then identify and apply the appropriate controls to manage those risks, through decision-making that responds to changes in the hazards and risks presented by the situation (competence).
Lastly, officers should ensure that learning is identified that could improve their own performance, the preparedness of their service, the risk controls identified in their service, or the support and development of NOG itself (learning).
To adhere to the Operational Response Fire Standards, services need to fully implement NOG and NOL, this guide lays out step by step methodology on how to achieve that.
There are many benefits to the organisation from implementing National Operational Guidance (NOG) and National Operational Learning (NOL) and striving to achieve the Operational Response Fire Standards. Uniformity and currency of guidance across the sector will deliver a more consistent operational response. Service policy departments will be more efficient in the long term and spend less time on reviewing large amounts of information and more time on positive, productive and creative work streams. The organisation will also have increased moral, legal, financial and health and safety protection, resulting in decreased organisational risk.
The aim is for firefighters to be extremely well-trained and outstanding risk assessors and decision makers, which will evidence positive changes in behaviour. The service culture will improve and there will be greater clarity in the information they provide. There will be confidence that maintenance of competence schedules is based on the most current guidance, which has been consulted upon nationally. The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) operations syllabus is based on the NOG framework, providing an opportunity for firefighters to gain professional qualifications.
Communities will be better served by an evidenced, competent and current operational response. This will be assessed and reported on by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).
Internal and external standards
HMICFRS will inspect a service against implementation of NOG and NOL. The robust implementation of NOG and NOL will provide an evidenced narrative of how a service has achieved this, which will be reflected in inspection reports.
Implementation also provides internal assurance and provides the service with an opportunity to dedicate resources to properly assess the breadth of hazards the service may encounter and the control measures required to deliver an appropriate risk-based response to those hazards.
The NOG framework and its ongoing development is more accountable to services in a way that GRAs or manuals of firemanship were not. Services can identify areas that they are unhappy with and directly request improvements in a way that has not been done before. Requests for improvements are consulted upon, pass through appropriate governance and responded to, and can result in change to guidance and continuous improvement.
The accountable model that the NOG framework gives allows services to measure themselves against the framework and gives the sector opportunity to present a true picture that nationally consulted upon guidance has been implemented and embedded in training, evidenced by the inspectorate.
The expected benefits of achieving the Fire Standards are detailed in the individual standards:
Strategic sponsorship and urgency
Strategic sponsorship and understanding of National Operational Guidance (NOG) implementation and impact is essential for successful implementation and embedding of the guidance to achieve the stated benefits.
The presence of strategic sponsorship urgency provides an excellent driver for all the departments impacted by NOG implementation. This gives accountability and ensures the project runs on time with robust governance.
Strategic understanding of the size of the task to implement NOG means the project can be resourced accordingly. It also empowers and enables employees to effectively complete the large project.
Run as a project with a dedicated resource
The project is a high-level strategic objective. Implementation should be mapped out as a dedicated project utilising an accepted project management approach, ideally with a set resource to deliver the project in a specified timeframe. If this is not possible, services should make succession provision to account for any turnover in the project resources. Resource and employee turnover has been identified as one of the most fundamental issues that impacts National Operational Guidance (NOG) implementation.
A clear plan of what will be implemented when, and which stakeholders will be impacted, is hugely beneficial. The order of the implementation delivery should be prioritised with a robust rationale agreed by all stakeholders (for example, this may be implementing from the left to right of the NOG framework or based on a perceived risk-based approach). The dedicated resource will stop knowledge being lost midway through the project and avoid countless changes in direction. An agreed best approach should be put in place and written down at the beginning of the project, with strategic leads and impacted stakeholders.
Timings of the project with stretch milestones should be written down and agreed with accountable stakeholders.
The team allocated to do this work would ordinarily be allocated to reviewing policies in service and assurance work. The implementation provides an opportunity to have a dedicated resource to perform a root and branch review of service policy and procedures. It will allow a service to properly assess the breadth of hazards personnel may encounter and the appropriate control measures to be applied.
Terms of reference agreed with robust governance
The terms of reference should be signed and agreed by the impacted stakeholders and essential project leads in order to attain delivery of the project. There should be senior managers on the project board.
Below is an example of regional governance and single service governance that both proved to be effective.
The models above can be scaled up or down dependent on the size of the organisation and whether a regional implementation model is in use. Governance is essential for the project to stand up to internal and external scrutiny.
Identify all relevant stakeholders
Early engagement and consultation with all the relevant stakeholders who have been identified as essential for successful implementation.
The link established between the policy team and the training department is extremely important to be able to implement and embed National Operational Guidance (NOG). It ensures that the service policy and procedure is translated to the front-line operational personnel.
Actual changes of behaviour and good policy and procedure come when behaviour is embedded by good quality training, where the material delivered matches what the policy and procedure states.
The ability to house procedural information in training material is also beneficial. The service will then end up with short, concise and digestible front – facing information that is purely procedural and can be used effectively by firefighters attending incidents. The training material can be mapped and delivery tracked, and understanding evidenced via a maintenance of competency schedule.
This synergy is vital and ensures services move away from large documents with an amalgamation of policy, procedure, training and equipment information in them. Policy and training departments should be intrinsically linked with early engagement of training departments.
Ongoing engagement with the rest of the stakeholders listed is vital throughout the project, so each department is not just affected when impacted, but they have foresight and ability to contribute positively to any changes that may result from NOG implementation
Another major stakeholder is the front-line personnel, it is important to consult and engage with the front line as ultimately, they will be the people using the material that is produced. Early explanation of the concept and the benefits of the project will help to get the front line engaged, consulted with and feel as if they are a part of the journey. A good way of doing this is to have ‘NOG champions’ on each station. Volunteers from every station that are an integral part of the process and act as a communication conduit to create a positive and consistent message.
Strategic gap analysis
The strategic gap analysis (SGA) tool is an excellent starting point for National Operational Guidance (NOG) implementation, it enables a service to perform a root and branch review of its policy and procedure and to highlight any areas where it is not compliant or aligned to NOG. It also enables a service to complete a thorough documented narrative of compliance and actions for areas of non-compliance. Highlighting gaps, improvement opportunities and areas of exposed risk.
The SGA tool is designed to highlight the decisions that fire and rescue services need to take as an organisation to support the adoption of the NOG in service. The tool is based on the strategic actions contained in NOG, which identify the policy, procedure and training provisions that services should have in place. The digital tool has been designed to make it easy to perform gap analyses against the NOG. A gap analysis template exists for each NOG section, and hazards and control measures can be searched for.
When a service aligns to NOG using the SGA they have a single easily accessible source of service information which can be used to demonstrate how they are meeting their legislative requirements for use by the HMICFRS, during investigation internally and externally, and can be used as part of service audits either through internal or peer review.
The SGA can also be used as an assurance tool post NOG implementation to evidence the fact that guidance has been embedded and gaps no longer exist.
Consideration has to be given to the service’s on-call contingent. The on-call personnel have less or limited time to train yet still are presented with the same hazards and level of risk as wholetime personnel.
Retained duty system (RDS) personnel should be actively consulted from the outset and continually through the delivery of the project. They may help with early identification of hidden or previously overlooked issues and barriers.
Training implications may need to include a flexible approach, and the volume and integration of new packages should be considered.
Services have built virtual training packages that the RDS contingent of the service can complete at home as part of their contract. Formerly, the availability allowance has been adjusted to competency allowance, allocating time to home training. The theory input is then integrated into a training schedule and reinforced on practical drill nights.
Clear vision and a platform for the end product
A clear vision of what the finished product will look like is will stop project drift, create consistent messaging and provide a framework for anyone coming in mid-project. This includes document format, content and layout and the platform it will be housed on (examples can be found below in the product pack and document layout section of the guide). It enables the setting of stretch targets and milestones and creates momentum on deliverables.
To achieve this vision, a baseline assessment of where a service is now and what is required to get to where they want to be in the future. This enables the service to identify what they need to do to get where they need to be and to identify the markers for success. A service can identify the measurable benefits the project would like to achieve at its completion such as; time efficiency for policy departments in the long term as less time will be required to review documents enabling them to use their time more productively and creatively, confidence in the currency of training materials and confidence in the currency and relevance of risk assessments. Evidenced improved behaviours, consistency of language used and a move toward an all-hazard approach to incident management where personnel are outstanding risk assessors and decision makers. Another measurable metric could be the decreased application of operational discretion, as procedures will not be as rigid and firefighters will identify hazards and act accordingly. These metrics should form part of the clear vision for the project.
A suitable framework and landing site is required for everything to be accessible to all the people who need to access it and to bring the vision to life.
National Operational Learning (NOL) is an integral part of National Operational Guidance (NOG), which exists to facilitate continuous improvement in the sector. It provides a vehicle to identify new or emerging risks, monitor trends within the sector, recommends remedial actions, promotes best practice and shares learning across all UK fire and rescue services. NOL forms part of the maintenance process for the NOG products. NOL outcomes will be one of the factors considered when changes are made to guidance and will ensure the review of NOG is as effective as possible.
The aim is to capture operational learning from UK fire and rescue services, the wider international fire and rescue sector and from partner agencies. This will support proactive and reactive learning.
Service engagement in the process is vitally important to ensure that guidance remains as current and appropriate as possible.
The process has been designed to capture learning and check it against the guidance framework of hazards, control measures, strategic and tactical actions. The identification of gaps in guidance will be addressed and, where necessary, content will be consulted upon and amended using the existing NOG governance structures.
Learning events will be collated and analysed by a central team within NOG, known as the NOL secretariat, in partnership with internal and external experts from across the fire sector and academia. The secretariat will propose recommendations to the National Operational Learning User Group (NOLUG) who will decide on the required actions.
NOLUG is a national group formed by strategic leads from across the UK fire services, multi-agency partners and representative bodies. NOLUG is the decision-making body of national learning and sits within the NFCC structure of National Preparedness, Response, and Resilience Committee.
Operational learning should be intrinsically linked to NOG. An understanding of NOG and the hazard and control measure approach is required to submit good quality operational learning cases. It is also important when identifying internal learning that may only require local action. However, this may indicate a need to review policies or procedures that may have caused the learning case.
A service must plan for how the operational learning and assurance elements of the organisation will feed into NOG, the continuous improvement cycle and service policy and procedure. It has been identified in service and by the NFCC that the issue of high turnover of Single Point of Contacts (SPoCs) and high turnover in operational assurance departments in service affects the quality of learning submissions. Handovers are often not detailed enough, and experience is lost due to the volume of turnover. Services and the NFCC can mitigate this by ensuring consistent, detailed and good quality handover from the outgoing SPoC to the incoming SPoC.
New SPoCs are encouraged to engage with the NOL secretariat at the earliest opportunity.
The NOL Good practice guide provides a step-by-step guide for how learning within a service should be processed.
Strategic gap analysis
The completion of the strategic gap analysis (SGA) is a large task and should not be underestimated. It requires appropriate resource and a consistent approach to highlight and action the gaps in compliance. There are different ways to achieve completion of the gap analysis. It is typically resource heavy.
Examples of successful implementation have included a programme approach where each SGA and section of National Operational Guidance (NOG) has been treated as an individual project through to completion, adhering to the same structures and consistent approach but each with a designated owner. On completion, they all go through the same governance and assurance process to ensure agreed consistency.
Governance needs to be established for this process to be effective. To ensure a consistent approach, some services have appointed a moderator for the SGA.
It is important not to ask people to complete an analysis outside of their competence. If work is delegated, it needs to be allocated to the correct departments with the appropriate levels of competence and accountability. Actions arising from the SGA and non-compliance also have to be delegated to personnel with the appropriate accountability and decision-making capacity within the relevant areas. Strategic sponsorship and urgency referenced in the plan phase makes this process more achievable.
Product packs, content and document layout
Guidance in services has become an amalgamation of policy, procedure, training, equipment and legislation. The formation of product packs provides an opportunity to present this information in clear sections in a centralised location. It is an opportunity to provide clarity to operational and fire control personnel. It is also an opportunity to provide far more digestible and user-friendly information. This will ultimately result in better trained and safer personnel.
This process requires agreement on what information sits where and what is relevant to each section.
See below for example product packs and templates:
|OIN/OPG/OPN – Operational Information Note (various different names in the sector) – purely procedural guidance, concise, front facing used to cover gaps for localism and local risk, information for incidents firefighters rarely attend, perceived high importance procedural reminder, where gaps have been highlighted between NOG and scenario or local guidance
|Example 1: OIN – Acid attack
|Example 2: OIN – Fire water runoff
|Example 3: OIN – Public disorder
|Durham and Darlington
|Example 4: OIN – Automated mechanical ventilation fans
|Example 5: OPG – Tactical ventilation
|Example 6: Action Card – High-rise buildings over 18m
|Example 7: Flash card – High-rise buildings over 18m
|Training packages and material – blended learning training packages, a good opportunity to house procedural information in a digestible, useable way with a tracking system for where and when operational personnel have received the information.
|Example 1: Buildings over 18m – Drill card
|Example 2: Evacuation alert systems eLearn package
|NFCC Learning materials team
|Example 1: Equipment Manual Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher
|Risk assessments – A risk-based approach to implementation is required to fit with each service’s individual risk models. Some services have task-based risk assessed against NOG scenarios and some have produced strategic risk assessments whilst completing the SGA, or an amalgamation of the two approaches.
|Example 1: Fires and firefighting
|Example 2: Fires in commercial or residential buildings
|Example 3: All incident TBRA
|Example 4: High-rise fires over 18m Risk assessment
|Example 5: Rescues from height TBRA
|Example 6: Wildfire Risk Assessment
|Example 7: Ventilation HS6 Risk assessment
|Example 8: Incident Command Risk assessment
|Durham and Darlington
|EQIA/BIA – Policies require Equality impact assessments and Business impact assessments
|External links and case studies
|NOG documentation and training specifications
A service should aim to train its operational and fire control personnel to use the hazard and control measure approach provided in National Operational Guidance (NOG), applying risk assessment, decision-making and risk management skills. This should include locally tailored guidance, where a risk-based approach to policy should drive the training approach.
It is important for training material to align with service policy and procedure so a hazard and control measure approach can manifest in firefighter behaviour. It closes the loop and enables the achievement of operational competence where personnel consistently achieve the outcome of workplace performance. It is how services produce the best trained, professional firefighters, equipped with the most current and up-to-date guidance, if the service policy and procedure is aligned to NOG.
An analysis of training programmes and material is required to ascertain that the training delivered does reflect what is written in policy and procedure. This will create a narrative and evidence base for an all-hazards approach that can be measured by HMICFRS.
New guidance and procedural material can then be easily aligned with training packages and potentially new material to help embed the implementation of NOG.
The most successful examples of implementation have been evidenced when the training teams work directly with the policy teams and are engaged from the outset of the project. The size of the workload should not be underestimated, as there is a large volume of practical applications and knowledge and understanding criteria within the training specifications on ukfrs.com. It is possible to group these together into manageable packages that can be integrated into a manageable maintenance of competency schedule.
Collaboration – Shared workload
National Operational Guidance (NOG) implementation is a huge opportunity to collaborate with other services, especially neighbouring and regional services. Not limited to bordering services though, as services with a similar workforce profile, risk profile or platforms provide an excellent opportunity to collaborate and reduce workloads.
The collaboration opportunities enable services to truly get into the detail of where they can and cannot collaborate. Highlighting commonalities across the borders and enabling a consistent approach to cross border working. This is especially prevalent with the increase in regional control rooms. The benefits of common language, equipment, procurement and procedures are substantial.
Collaborative working is especially useful for services where the resources for implementation are limited. It can also lead to collaboration across various departments such as policy, training (e-learning packages) and procurement
Collaboration internally is also essential between departments, especially between strategic leads, the goal is for NOG to become business as usual.
The NFCC has developed a policy and training collaboration dashboard for NOG implementation, which is an excellent tool to see what services are working on and to see what they have implemented so far. It shows both policy and training progress and provides detail on documents and packages created (platform and format) and expected work streams in the next 6 months.
A clear communication plan is vital throughout the project because it is an opportunity to inform and educate all the relevant stakeholders and personnel that are impacted.
It means that headline changes can be simplified and packaged so that groups do not have to trawl through large amounts of information when searching for the change or perceived change.
It presents a huge opportunity to bring the changes to life for the front line and to highlight change in a way that is real and memorable for personnel using it every day; this results in an embedded culture change.
The communication plan should target the various stakeholders in different ways, in recognition that the impact on each will vary. This will require tailoring of communication plans.
Communication should focus on continuous two-way engagement, learning and improvement.
A great technique to filter the information to the front line is to have a ‘NOG champion’ on all stations, the front line feels involved and can help to deliver a positive message.
The goal is to not contain all the high-quality work in a policy department silo, the project success is often dependant on the quality of the communication throughout.
Multiple ways to communicate it to the relevant stakeholders, including:
- Operations bulletins.
- Awareness days (especially for on call).
- Face-to-face engagement on station.
- E-learning packages.
- NOG champions.
Old legacy procedural documents
Have a rationalised plan for the removal of legacy documents and to minimise organisational exposure to risk. Some services are choosing to run the documents alongside one another and phase out the legacy docs. Others are doing a gradual phased approach, so once a section of guidance is complete and ready, that package is introduced and immediately replaces the legacy material alongside a robust communication strategy.
Common barriers and solutions
|Engagement has shown that the level of employee turnover within implementation teams has severely hindered implementation progress. Changes in project direction, understanding or insufficient handover have hindered projects
|Employee turnover is inevitable unless a resource is allocated for a set amount of time, which is a good solution. Failing a dedicated resource, a detailed project plan, vision and extensive handover (crossover period for the handover) to incoming employees can alleviate the impact of employee turnover
|Rate of change (National Operational Guidance (NOG) review schedule)
|The volume of change has been fed back to the content team as an issue, even well-resourced teams are struggling to keep pace
|The NFCC committed to a review schedule of guidance, so this is a balancing act. In order for guidance to maintain current, changes are inevitable. Once a cycle of reviews has been performed, it would be expected that the changes would become less frequent
|Strategic urgency and understanding of the size of the task
|The project is large and the workload very high, a strategic understanding of this would result in the project being resourced appropriately
|The online guide outlines the size of the task of implementing NOG and NOL. Early communication and common understanding from strategic leads should alleviate this barrier
|It is a reality that some services do not have significant resource for the project
|Strategic awareness and collaboration opportunities are solutions to limited resource
|A workable platform is required and sometimes difficult to achieve, training packages are on various platforms
|Services have come up with various IT solutions, collaboration is an excellent solution to this barrier. The launch of the SIT will also provide a solution should a service choose to adopt it
|Material produced is heavily badged
|Collaboration can be inhibited if the material produced is heavily branded as this inhibits other services using the material
|A request to services to include as little branding as possible to newly produced packages and documents
|National Operational Learning (NOL)
|It has been identified in service and by the NFCC that the high turnover of Single Point of Contacts (SPoCs) in service affects the quality of learning submissions. Handovers are often not detailed enough, and experience is lost due to the volume of turnover
|High SPoC turnover can be mitigated by a consistent and detailed handover process from the outgoing SPoC. Greater engagement from the NOL secretariat with incoming SPoCs would also lessen the impact of the high turnover (dependent on available resource)
National Operational Guidance (NOG) and National Operational Learning (NOL) implementation needs time to embed, resulting in evidenced continuous improvement, constant learning and continuous engagement.
The change in culture must be established and sustained long after the project has been accomplished
To achieve this a service must first align: by completing an SGA, checking training specifications against training needs analysis, aligning training and policy, and doing a gap analysis and making sure the outcomes are contained in policy and training and are compliant with NOG.
Implement and adopt – Start to change documents, so they do not repeat what NOG says, but instead point to where NOG says it. Products form part of the documents available to all employees via product packs, for example. Implement via a robust model that stands up to scrutiny, engaging various stakeholders, especially training departments.
Embed – Have identified benefits and measures checking against them, validation and assessment of employees against those benefits. Embed training validation and assurance resulting in changes in behaviour. Firefighters acting in a new way, exhibiting improved behaviours evidenced by operational assurance.
Service Integration Tool (SIT)
Traditionally, fire and rescue services maintain vast amounts of paper and digital documentation for all policy, procedure, training packs, equipment notes and other supplementary material. Updating and adapting this content to support the national guidance may be no small feat, and several services doing it several times in several different ways will inevitably produce a great deal of duplicated work and effort, requiring a large amount of resource.
The Service Integration Tool (SIT) aims to help services implement a more digital-first approach to National Operational Guidance, allowing full integration of local policy, procedure and other supporting materials into a standardised digital platform, all with minimal time, effort and resource required from the organisation. Any updates made to NOG are sent directly to the SIT for assessment and triage to enable management and amendment of any local content in light of changes prior to local publication. The SIT also allows local content to be shared across services. This enables greater national collaboration and reduced duplication of effort; for example, one service could develop a great standardised example of a particular document and share it to others for download into their local system – from here it could be used as-is or adjusted to accommodate any local variance.
The SIT has been trialled across five services, received positive feedback and will be progressed in 2021.
Each FRS is free to choose how they implement, the SIT is just one option to help do this in a standardised, collaborative and digital-first way.
Training and maintenance of competence
Delivery of a risk-based maintenance of competency schedule allows a service to focus on what a successful implementation project looks like. It is a way of evidencing measurable benefits that were stated in the ‘clear vision’ section of the project. It enables a service to review, realise and identify actual gains such as decreased instances of operational discretion and improved firefighter behaviour.
The stated goal is to train operational and fire control personnel to a level of competence that enables them to carry out operational activities safely and effectively; this includes the ability to recognise hazards and put effective control measures in place to mitigate those hazards.
There are many challenges to be considered to align, implement and embed National Operational Guidance (NOG) compliant training packages. Ranging from the number of retained duty system (RDS) personnel, differences in experience, existing training material and its quality or relevance. Consideration should be given to different learning styles such as visual, aural, kinaesthetic, independent or group learning and practical learning styles.
There are high volume of hazards and control measures and therefore practical applications and knowledge and understanding across the suite of guidance. It is possible to reduce this down into manageable packages and services have demonstrated how this can be done. For example, ‘Gaining access’ appears in multiple areas across the guidance framework (Fires in buildings, Utilities and fuel, Operations, Industry). This can all be condensed into one ‘Gaining access’ package and integrated into a maintenance of competency schedule. Another method is to break training packages down to align with incident types or scenarios.
A phased approach to introducing the training packages could be considered.
A NOG-aligned approach ensures standardisation in training across the service and reduces the potential for informal or unapproved training; it is a consistent way of introducing and delivering training. Essential to this process is the need to promote understanding of NOG and how subject matter expertise applies to NOG in training departments.
There is an opportunity for firefighters to gain an Institute of Fire Engineers (IFE) qualification as the operations syllabus aligns to the NOG framework; some services have built this into their development of firefighters as an added benefit.
An assurance loop can be built into a maintenance of competency framework enabling services to evidence understanding of the material delivered, as well as decide on the frequency of delivery based on factors such as complexity, perceived risk and frequency of encounter for example.
NOG is linked to training specifications, so services can state with confidence that what they say in policy is what they teach in service, and competency trackers are linked to SGA, so when policy changes services know where training is updated, saving time and creating an auditable trail.
A service should be confident that personnel are receiving training and assessment based on the most current guidance, which has been consulted on nationally.
Collaboration and learning materials team
Several NOG aligned training packages (blended learning) are being produced across the sector, collaboration to stop duplication and ease workloads is advised. With that in mind, the sector requests that new training packages are not heavily branded or badged.
The learning materials team are building NOG aligned training packages and have published the digital learning module: Evacuation Alert Systems. The Learning Materials Team are now busy working on some more high – profile and risk critical interactive e-learning packages.
The team combine creative e-learning design skills and teaching expertise with the subject matter expertise of operational fire personnel to produce interactive and engaging learning materials using top of the range software and state-of-the-art hardware.
It is vital to have a succession plan; services often have a few personnel with extensive knowledge of National Operational Guidance (NOG), but there is a risk that knowledge will be lost with them should they leave service or be promoted to another role. Succession planning is essential until NOG becomes business as usual, and even following that milestone it would be beneficial as NOG will never be a static product. Scheduled reviews, interim or safety critical guidance may result in changes and a business as usual function needs to be established to facilitate the changes.
A continued communication strategy is important for the transition of the project to become business as usual.
The NFCC recommends aligning policy and procedure review to the National Operational Guidance (NOG) review schedule (link to review schedule) to avoid unnecessary duplication of work. The review schedule is subject to occasional change, dependent on resource availability and unforeseeable events.
Linking to the strategic gap analysis (SGA) means a service can remove the requirement for time-driven reviews, the work is now centralised, so the service only needs to change content when NOG changes. Added benefits associated with this are:
- Alerts are received and linked directly to the SGA so if done properly a service will know exactly what content to change
- If a service uses the SIT it will be an automated process
- Assurance that a policy is never out of date
- A centralised approach to review means services can adopt a review approach based on local learning and use policy officers to drive improvement
Centralising review and linking it to NOL, means services can be sure that changes to documents are managed effectively and can be sure that they are linked and updated based on lessons from incidents and improvements remain in line with the latest information, hazards and technological developments. At this stage, it is outsourced to the 50 FRS, so we are pooling and crowdsourcing development without an undue local burden for research and investigation into every safety flash received, in future, this will be linked to wider learning from other countries
A dynamic review process to incorporate national learning from National Operational Learning (NOL) and local learning is also recommended to facilitate continuous improvement.
Services that have fully implemented National Operational Guidance have reported the following evidenced or expected benefits
- Policy teams have time to ultimately dedicate to something else positive and productive. Reduced time spent on reviewing large documents and increased time to be innovative and creative.
- Consistency of approach and collaborative cross border working and consistency of language
- His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) reports evidencing improved firefighter behaviour, improved training outcomes and evidence of culture change
- Reduced instances of operational discretion
- Safer firefighters and a safer community
The benefits of a regional implementation:
- Greater breadth and wealth of expertise and resources.
- Consistent agreed best practice.
- Reduced workload.
- Greater consistency of information, language and collaborative cross border working.