Health and Wellbeing Framework

The Health and Wellbeing Framework has been produced to support everyone across the fire and rescue community to take the necessary steps to develop and deliver health and wellbeing for themselves and their organisations.

It sets the scene and direction for individuals, services and the wider fire and rescue community to build from. This includes commitment from leadership at all levels and across all organisations within the fire and rescue community. This framework document is based on the following positions:

  • Health and wellbeing are the responsibility of everyone in the fire and rescue community, across all organisations and levels of influence and all roles.
  • The Framework prioritises health and wellbeing, ensuring that people have as healthy and flourishing a life as they can, at all times of their life. A healthy life course will offer productivity at work, but the driver for this Framework is to enhance the health and wellness of people in the fire and rescue community.
  • Investing resources (energy, time, money, structures) in maintaining good health and wellbeing, and preventing ill health, is significantly preferable (in terms of quality of life, ethics and values, as well as financial spend) to resourcing reactive responses and processes to aid recovery from health and wellbeing events and needs.


This Framework has been built from robust research and engagement across the fire and rescue community, led by researchers at Nottingham Trent University, who undertook a series of evidence reviews and a community-wide wellbeing survey and engagement process. An assessment of the health and wellbeing gaps at service level was undertaken in the winter of 2023/24 as part of the development process for the Framework. This project was supported by the NFCC People Programme and Health and Wellbeing Board. It was made possible by the engagement of staff and volunteers across the fire and rescue community and beyond to inform its development.

The Framework sets out five key principles, which are developed from key concepts identified through the research and engagement work in 2022 (available here). The principles are:

  • Supporting your own health and wellbeing
  • Taking a holistic career approach
    • from new starter to retirement,
    • acknowledging that both life and work domains influence a person’s wellbeing,
    • that a person’s psychological, physical and social health all impact on their wellbeing
  • Applying our prevention approaches and skills to ourselves
  • Creating shared language across the sector
  • Making it part of everything we do

These principles highlight the need for a whole-person and system-wide approach to health and wellbeing. They shift the focus to an opt-out health promotion and resilience model, which moves away from reactive and deficit models that focus on ill health. They reinforce the idea that health and wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility, and that we all should lead this work forward for ourselves and our teams. Finally, the principles highlight that all support provided for the fire and rescue community needs to be quality assured and based on strong evidence.

A model of the Framework has been developed to provide a reference to help colleagues understand that the key principles reach across the fire and rescue community (including our services and individuals), that leadership from us all is crucial, and that there is a set of required deliverables to ensure the Framework is successful. This framework document focuses on psychological, physical and social health and wellbeing.

Having developed this Framework, the NFCC undertook a formal consultation in the spring/summer of 2024. This is being supported by an ongoing programme of work to identify and assess health and wellbeing systems, processes and interventions to provide individuals, services and the wider community with the tools to support implementation of this Framework. This includes work on data and governance as key delivery outcomes of the Framework.

Following on from this Framework, a strategic needs assessment, delivery plan and performance management plan will be developed.

health and wellbeing framework visual model image

Fire hose in use

The Framework

Vision and Mission


Staff and volunteers across the fire and rescue community will work together to ensure we can all experience positive physical, psychological and social health and wellbeing in all aspects and times of our lives.



The Health and Wellbeing Framework provides a way forward for all health and wellbeing work across the UK fire and rescue community. It ensures that health and wellbeing systems and decisions are:

  • Inclusive
  • Based on a health promotion perspective that focuses on the whole person and the whole system
  • Based on principles of supporting good social connections and kindness

All these important aspects should be understood, but also ‘lived’ and actioned, by everyone in the fire and rescue community. For the vision to be achieved, we recognise that some people will need to adapt their mindset.

The Framework promotes the importance of caring for your own wellbeing and that of others. To ensure the mission is successful, all wellbeing resource decisions will be:

  • Evidence based
  • Quality assured
  • Provide good value for money by prioritising prevention over cure (to tackle issues before they occur)

The Framework will improve health and wellbeing to maximise talent and productivity and aid retention. This will improve the return on training investment and deliver an engaged workforce that can increase public safety.


Aim and Objectives

The aim of the Framework is to create a fire and rescue community that both pre-empts and manages health and wellbeing issues for everyone. The objectives are:

  • To enable all organisations and staff (and their families) to effectively address health and wellbeing issues that occur in and around the workplace and in home life
  • To produce demonstrable increases in good health and decreases in ill health of staff
  • To enable all fire and rescue services, the National Fire Chiefs Council, relevant charities (such as the Fire Fighters Charity) representative bodies, and other organisations within the fire and rescue community to be confident in their responsibilities and use of resources to achieve the vision (this will require support to change the way staff engage with health and wellbeing)