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Chris Philp questioned on fire and rescue service culture

19 March 2024

The Home Affairs Committee will question Home Office Minister, Chris Philp MP, and senior leaders in the fire and rescue service in an evidence session on Wednesday 20 March.


Wednesday 20 March in Room 8, Palace of Westminster

Panel 1 - at 10am

  • Justin Johnston QFSM, Chief Fire Officer of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Vice Chair, National Fire Chiefs Council
  • Kath Billing, Chief Fire Officer of Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, National Fire Chiefs Council
  • Rob MacDougall, Chief Fire Officer of Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and People Programme Executive, National Fire Chiefs Council
  • Councillor Rebecca Knox, Chair of the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority

Panel 2 - at 10.45am

  • The Rt Hon Chris Philp MP – Minister of State (Minister for Crime, Policing and Fire)
  • Sarah Gawley – Director Fire and Major Events

In 2022, the Values and Culture reports highlighted serious concerns over the workplace culture in at least 26 out 44 fire and rescue services in England, including claims of bullying, harassment and discrimination. There are concerns over reporting mechanisms for misconduct with the national staff survey revealing many incidents go unreported. Fire and rescue services still underrepresent the communities they serve, with 94.4% of staff being white compared to 80.7% of the working age population.   

The National Fire Chiefs Council has launched a Culture Action Plan to address wrongdoing and provide cultural change. Its aims include developing effective leadership, improving diversity and inclusion, and supporting health and wellbeing.  

The session will examine how senior leaders have responded to incidents of wrongdoing in the fire and rescue service, as well as efforts to transform the culture in the service. It will look at how the Home Office have reacted to these concerns and what measures it has in place to hold leadership to account. The session will also investigate what has been done to improve the recruitment and retention for under-represented groups. 

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright