Fire and Rescue service Quality Assurance framework

About the qualification

What is the FRS QA?

The scheme audits FRS Development Programmes in line with criteria set out by the National Joint Council (NJC), allowing services to pay development rates of pay to fire fighters until they are assessed as being competent in role. Without an audit from an Ofqual approved organisation, the Fire & Rescue Service is obliged to pay the rate for the role from the moment the learner commences onto the programme.

Download the FRS Quality Assurance framework

Why is it important?

As part of a national approach within the Fire & Rescue Service, when personnel are earmarked for promotion to a role above, they are placed on a development programme that is written in accordance with the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and IPDS Development Modules for that role, to ensure they’re competent to operate at that level. They remain at their current level until they successfully pass their development programme and become operational at the role above.

Why are SFJ Awards so important in all this?

In order to link these development programmes to paying 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 by an awarding organisation recognised by Ofqual (this being the replacement for the organisation that complies with DFES specifications as noted in the NJC circular 09/05 and 09/11).

SFJ Awards is recognised by Ofqual as an awarding organisation, it has experience of working with the Fire & Rescue sector and SFJ Awards will provide an external quality assurance service to the Fire & Rescue sector in accordance with the Code of Practice for Assessment of Competence in Relation to Pay.

The 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 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

Once the service has been given approval the SFJ Awards Team will provide a certificate that recognises their station or centre as one that delivers a rigorous and externally verified training and development framework.

Stages of the FRS QA

Benefits to the Fire Service 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 within 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 the service
  • Provides stepped approach to promotion
  • Helps services in better progression planning
  • Expert knowledge of the sector
  • Only provide services within the sector

Want to know more?

If you are a Fire Service looking to make the step towards a reputable and fit-for-purpose FRS QA framework, then please get in touch with us today.

Call 0114 284 1970 or email:

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