Here’s where you can find out about who runs West Midlands Fire Service, how we are governed and who the most senior members of our service are.
GOVERNANCE AND LEADERSHIP
West Midlands Fire Service is primarily governed by a fire authority made up of 15 councillors representing the local authorities. They are also joined by a West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner representative and two co-opted Members.
There are 4 decision-making committees and two advisory panels/forums, in addition to the full Fire Authority that aid in either decision making or advisory capacities to aid our governance – the full list of the committees and their terms of reference can be found here: Committees and their terms of reference
A full list of the councillors, as well as the public meetings and documents relating to fire authority governance, can be found on our Committee Management Information Service system.
Our leadership team
Our Chief Fire Officer, Phil Loach, leads what we call, our Strategic Enabling Team (SET). These ‘directors’ of our service oversee the shape and direction of the brigade, and that we’re meeting our legal responsibilities.
SET consists of managers from across the organisation ranging in areas from Emergency Response to Communications and Finance.
Hailing from the Black Country in the West Midlands, Phil was educated locally before gaining a degree in Management Studies from University of Worcester in 2004. He continues his management and leadership studies through Coventry University. Phil was awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal (QFSM) in the New Year Honours list announced in December 2017, for his distinguished service. He has a relaxed and approachable style and is a champion of work-based learning and values-based leadership and management, he believes passionately that in professional life there are only two dynamic modes of existence: either we influence, or are influenced by others. In September 2013, Phil received the AFSA Award for Leadership in Equality and Diversity at the organisation’s fifth international annual conference. The award is presented every year and recognises exceptional fire and rescue service leadership in equality, diversity and inclusion. It also acknowledges the recipient’s personal influence as a leader in enabling others to recognise and fulfil their own potential. Phil is an appointed member of the Board of Governors of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, a patron of ‘Burn-Aid’, a charity that aims to support Burn Survivors and their families across the West Midlands region and is President of the West Midlands Branch of the National Association of Retired Firefighters (NARF).
Assistant Chief Fire Officer
Assistant Chief Fire Officer (Temporary)
People describes the ‘Who’, ensuring our workforce are the right people with the right skills/capabilities and behaviours and are in the right places to deliver the strategic aims of WMFS through process and culture.
In support of this approach Sarah is responsible for;
Employee Relations Framework
Health, Safety and Wellbeing
Organisational Learning and People Development
Recruitment and Progression
She continues to be committed to the delivery of diversity, inclusion, cohesion and equality in support of the delivery of excellent services to the diverse population within the West Midlands and is an influential role model. This has been recognised at a national level through the Asian Fire Service Association and Women in the Fire Service.
Sarah is also playing an influential role within the National Fire Chiefs Council and currently sits on the People and Leadership boards. Current areas of focus from these boards are the Leadership Framework, core learning pathways, recruitment and toolkit 360-degree feedback.
Sarah started her career in 1994 with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service where she served for 10 years before moving to the West Midlands in 2004. Sarah has served in various roles within WMFS including Station and Operations Commander and has worked with teams and external partners in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Sandwell.
Sarah believes in personal development and leadership at all levels and in 2014 completed an MA in Leading and Managing People from the local Coventry University.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer (Temporary)
• within training and development
• in fire safety as a business support officer and a fire safety officer
• as a station commander
• as a group commander
• as the lead for Integrated Risk Management
• as the Strategic Enabler for Response
• as the Strategic Enabler for the Portfolio
• and is currently the Assistant Chief Fire Officer for the cultural programme
Ben is passionate about cultural change and taking an evidence-based approach to providing the best services possible for the communities of the West Midlands.
Ben has extensive knowledge and understanding of risk management, protection and fire safety and assertive, safe and effective actions that reduce vulnerability. Ben has the strategic responsibility of our cultural programme of work, and for working cohesively working as a member of the Strategic Enabling team and as a strategic incident commander.
Ben supports our engagement with the National Fire Chiefs Council and the Fire Sector Federation. Ben led our research into the importance of delivering a risk-based 5-minute attendance standard in order to improve survivability, reduce property damage and reduce the financial burden upon our communities. This is achieved through a blended fleet of response vehicles, crewing levels and equipment provision which is matched against risk; this ensures that when our crews arrive at incidents they provide assertive safe and effective action.
Through an integrated approach to serving our communities, prevention, protection and response come together to control, reduce and remove risk in order to make vulnerable people, places and businesses Safer, Stronger and Healthier.
My career prior to this has spanned both the public and private sector in roles which have predominantly specialised in the performance and the inspection of legal practices for the Legal Services Commission, NHS organisations working for the NHS Counter Fraud and Terrorism Agency; as well as assessing organisations using the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM).
Since beginning in 2005 I have progressed from a Service Support Officer within the Fire Service to Strategic Enabler for Strategy and Org Intel.
My role as Strategic Enabler for these functions involves working with both teams to provide a leadership focus for organisational governance, risk-based intelligence, planning performance and risk.
As Strategic Enabler I constantly aim to provide a professional voice within the Strategic Enabling Team through supporting, challenging and informing decision making for the Service, in implementing sustainable outcomes for our communities.
The fire service currently provides commissioned services to the National Fire Chiefs Council which delivers support services to this organisation and CFOA through the NFCC Support Hub. Another part of my role provides a 'lead' for our hub, overseeing the effective performance of these services.
Last but by no means least, my role as Clerk to the Fire Authority involves supporting the Authority in delivering their role in providing assurance of services received to local communities. A key element to the success of my role is the development of responsive, supportive and effective working relationships across the organisation, the Authority and externally
Steve’s current role is Strategic Enabler for Protection with responsibility for leading approaches to reduce risk within the community through integrated Prevention, Protection and Response activities. The role includes ensuring compliance and enforcement of Fire Safety legislation and effective deployment of Fire Safety Business Support Officer resources to effectively target the highest areas of risk to life and property from fire. Steve is also responsible for leading proactive engagement and supporting the businesses community in raising awareness of fire safety legislative requirements and provision of advice and education in reducing the risks of fire and disruption from automatic false fire alarm activations to support business prosperity.
A key role is the development of Primary Authority Schemes and collaborative working with business groups, partner agencies and other regulators including Chambers of Commerce, Local Enterprise Partnerships and the West Midlands Combined Authority to improve community safety and support the local economy to thrive through enabling businesses to stay in business.
Steve also has leadership responsibility for Organisational Assurance, Policy, implementation of National Operational Guidance, Hydrants and Water Supplies to enable continuous improvement in the delivery of the prioritises and reduce risk and vulnerability within our communities. Organisational Assurance incorporates providing assurance that the organisation's policies, structures, systems, processes and people enable legislative compliance and excellence in the delivery of the prioritises within the Plan across all aspects of the organisational functionality. Policy and operational guidance include the co-ordination and maintenance of accurate and legislative compliant policy and operational guidance through intelligence-led approaches of monitoring, reviewing, auditing and evaluating.
Hydrants and Water Supplies includes coordinating the provision and maintenance of adequate hydrants and water supplies including new developments across the West Midlands conurbation for use in the event of a fire to enable assertive and effective firefighting.