An inside view of Fire Service consultation and its roots.(Consultation)

Fire consultation is not as progressed as it should be, argues the author. However, a long process of stakeholder consultation, starting with Best Value legislation through Fire Investigation Research and Evaluation Services, to the formation of the Fire Service Consultation Association has, he claims, led to a major success in terms of procurement good practice.


AS A BEWILDERED BEST VALUE officer and someone who has been around 'customer focus' since 1997, I soon realised that stakeholder engagement was here to stay.

I could see the benefits of asking people what they think about public services and engaging them in the decision-making process when deciding how services will be developed and delivered.

At that time, consultation in the Fire Service was something of an alien concept and a distinct cultural change would be needed if we were to rise to the challenges being set. But where does one start?

Help on the Way!

By 1998 Best Value legislation was looming and, thankfully, Mid and West Wales Fire Brigade got together with the District Audit and Opinion Research Services (ORS)--a local social research company--to consider how customer focus might be approached. …

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