Fire and Rescue Service Quality Assurance (FRS QA)

What is the FRS QA?

The FRS QA audits fire and rescue service development programmes, in line with criteria set out by the National Joint Council. This allows services to pay development rates of pay to fire fighters on development programmes, until they are assessed as being competent in their new role. Without this audit, which must be delivered by an Ofqual approved organisation, a fire and rescue service is obliged to pay a higher rate as soon as a learner starts a development programme.

Why is it important?

When fire and rescue service personnel are identified as candidates for promotion, they are placed on a specific development programme that is written in accordance with the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and IPDS development modules. This ensures the employee can operate at the right level for the role in question. The employee remains at his or her current level until they successfully pass their development programme and become operational in their new role.

How can SFJ Awards help?

In order to link these development programmes to a development rate of pay (in accordance with NJC circular 09/05), the development programme and the assessment of competence has to be externally quality assured against the Code of Practice for Assessment of Competence in Relation to Pay. This quality assurance process must be carried out by an awarding organisation recognised by Ofqual, such as SFJ Awards (this being the replacement for the organisation that complies with DFES specifications as noted in the NJC circular 09/05 and 09/11). 

Our extensive experience of working with the fire and rescue sector means we can provide an external quality assurance service in accordance with the Code of Practice for Assessment of Competence in Relation to Pay.

Our quality assurance framework has been developed in consultation with the Fire and Rescue Services and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

How does the FRS QA work?

It comprises of the following stages, which are all managed by the SFJ Awards team:

  • Stage 1: Self-assessment
  • Stage 2: Desktop review
  • Stage 3: On-site visit
  • Stage 4: Summary report
  • Stage 5: Annual review

Benefits to fire and rescue services of operating an SFJ Awards FRS QA

Investing in an FRS QA framework reaps many rewards for fire services across the UK. It is of particular interest to services in light of the “Facing the Future” report from Sir Ken Knight, and the need to reduce costs across forces in the UK. Click here for the report.

Other benefits include:

  • Independent verification that is recognised by trade unions
  • Extremely competitive pricing
  • Enables huge cost-savings across a service
  • Provides a stepped approach to promotion
  • Helps services with progression planning
  • SFJ Awards has expert knowledge of the sector

Want to know more?

If you are a fire service looking for a reputable and fit-for-purpose FRS QA framework, then get in touch with us today. For more information or a call back to discuss your requirements please contact us.

Why not learn from some that are already using our FRS QA? See how Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue have made it a huge success.