Central Programme Office

About the Central Programme Office

The Central Programme Office (CPO) provides programme, project and benefits management services to the fire and rescue sector. It forms one of the three hubs supporting the delivery of the NFCC's strategy.

The CPO coordinates the multiple improvement programmes on behalf of the NFCC, and this overarching coordination helps the NFCC avoid duplication; prioritise work more effectively and develop solutions and tools more effectively which support fire and rescue services where a national approach would be beneficial.

The work of the CPO is focused on key areas of NFCC’s strategy:

The Community Risk Programme – which is focused on developing guidance, tools and a Fire Standard relating to risk management planning. It will produce  a clear definition of risk that would allow communities to hold the performance of their fire and rescue service to account. It has a number of projects underway, including: Definition of Risk; Value of the UK fire and rescue service; (I)RMP Guidance; Competencies for Risk Management. This programme is led by Phil Loach of West Midlands Fire Service and NFCC’s Vice-Chair

The People Programme – which is the most well-established NFCC Programme with multiple projects already completed and more underway. The live projects include: Leadership; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; Apprenticeships; establishing an End Point Assessment Partnership; Recruitment. This programme is led by Ann Millington of Kent Fire and Rescue Service

The Digital and Data Programme – which is currently scoping several projects which aim to: drive national consistency in the identification, implementation and use of digital capability; make our workforce digitally literate; shift demand for services to online channels where feasible; and to maximise the use of data to drive operational excellence. This programme is led by Lee Howell.

The Protection and Prevention programmes are new programmes which are currently in the scoping phase but seek to address aspects of these activity areas where national change is required.

National Operational Guidance

CPO provides a home for the continued maintenance of National Operational Guidance, with regular reviews taking place to consider whether the guidance needs to be updated. This team also oversee the continued development of National Operational Learning.


Fire Standards

The CPO supports the new Fire Standards Board for fire services in England. The Board consists of:

The CPO is also coordinating Fire Standards development work which will be aligned to the NFCC improvement programmes.  The NFCC are the main body of people providing subject matter expertise to inform the Fire Standards.


The NFCC full Council provides strategic direction to CPO via the Chair and the NFCC Steering Group, ensuring that the development and delivery of products from the CPO are in line with the NFCC strategy.

Each agreed programme and project has a programme or project executive who chairs the respective Programme or project board. A programme or project manager provides the project management expertise whilst drawing on subject matter experts and relevant stakeholders to contribute to project work.

Each programme or project Board oversees work of the programme or project. The progamme manager is responsible for the budget allocated to them from the NFCC funding.

Stakeholder engagement

CPO work includes continued engagement and consultation - as appropriate - with stakeholders from across the sector for each project within the proposed programmes.

In addition, the sector-wide Strategic Engagement Forum (SEF), chaired by the NFCC, supports the CPO by providing a wide-range of views about the programmes. Representative bodies, fire sector organisations and appropriate private sector organisations are represented.

Contact Details: firecpo@nationalfirechiefs.org.uk