Change of leadership for National Fire Chiefs Council

Roy Wilsher steps down as NFCC Chair after four years, handing over to his successor, Mark Hardingham.

Created in 2017, the NFCC is the professional voice of the fire and rescue service and builds on the legacy of the Chief Fire Officers Association.

Prior to taking on the role of Chair, Roy was Chief Fire Officer of Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. He was in charge when the Buncefield oil depot exploded in 2005, this was one of the largest fires in Europe since the second world war.

He started his career in London Fire Brigade in 1981 eventually rising the rank of Assistant Chief Fire Officer before leaving London in 2004.

Looking back on his tenure at the NFCC, Roy wrote in his farewell blog:

Our aim in the first year was to establish the NFCC, work on its internal structures, complete the strategy and put into place a fit for purpose planning, budget and performance structure. We wanted to complete the National Operational Guidance Programme and create a Central Programme Office that would oversee the programmes developed from our new strategy: Community Risk, People and Digital and Data.

In his role as adviser to the government, Roy provided advice to the new Fire Minister and new Housing Minister on the day of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 and subsequently attended 12 COBR(A) meetings.

He was also appointed to the expert panel, advising the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on immediate building safety measures following the fire.

More recently, Roy led the NFCC response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The creation of the Tripartite Agreement between the NFCC, the Fire Brigades Union and the National employers of fire and rescue services led to firefighters taking on new roles to assist communities.

That agreement no longer exists, but last week, the NFCC celebrated the role that fire and rescue services are playing in the vaccination roll out. Over 100,000 vaccinations have now been administered by fire and rescue staff.

Roy said there are many challenges to come, including: “The spending review, pensions remediation, pay negotiations, a white paper in England, diversity and inclusion, further rounds of inspections and dealing with their recommendations, Grenfell Inquiry Phase 2, the Manchester Inquiry, climate change, devolution and the building safety programme.”

Roy is succeeded by Mark Hardingham, who was until recently Chief Fire Officer of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service. Mark was NFCC lead on Fire Protection and established the NFCC’s Protection Policy Reform Unit, based in London Fire Brigade’s Headquarters.


Jonathan O’Neill, Managing Director of the FPA said:

Roy has skilfully steered NFCC exceptionally through a difficult 3 years for UK Fire and Rescue Service. He has shown a deep understanding of issues in the sector, providing invaluable advice and insight to government though this turbulent post Grenfell period. We wish him all the very best for the future.