What is the Fire Professional Framework?

The Fire Professional Framework (FPF) is a tailored and accessible electronic portal for use by Fire and Rescue Services.  The FPF is being developed by the sector (in partnership with Skills for Fire and Rescue) to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the previous National Learning and Development Strategy.  The FPF is in its early stage of development and will evolve over the next 12 months to provide guidance in the following areas:

  • Operational Competence
  • Outstanding Leadership
  • Professional Workforce
  • Organisational Excellence
  • Sustainable Workforce


In addition to easy access to occupational standards, qualifications and associated areas associated to assessment, the FPF will also provide a range of guidance, news and case studies in relation to the areas above.

Who is the Fire Professional Framework designed for?

The Fire Professional framework is designed for Fire Sector professionals only. It is designed for professional staff from across the sector including public sector, private sector and the Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation. It is designed to be accessible for both grey and green book staff, from Brigade Managers to Fire-fighters and Fire-fighters in Control. The primary users are most likely to be staff involved in training, development and human resources areas but all sections of the industry may use the framework on occasions.

The Fire Professional Framework is not designed for the general public or people interested in a career in the Fire & Rescue Sector. It does incorporate a section regarding career pathways but this is geared for existing fire professionals interested in progression or promotion. The fire professional framework does sign-post users to individual FRSs websites for information relevant for those considering a career in the Fire & Rescue Service.

Who are Skills for Fire & Rescue

Skills for Fire & Rescue are the sector arm of Skills for Justice, formally branded for the sector in August 2012. If you are you responsible for developing the skills of your staff in the Fire & Rescue sector, Skills for Fire & Rescue can help you to plan and implement the training programmes you need. Skills for Fire & Rescue support Fire & Rescue people in both the public and private sectors – from the UK’s 51 local authority Fire & Rescue Authorities (FRAs) and the Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation, to private and specialist brigades working at airports and in the nuclear and petroleum industries.

Skills for Justice are a Sector Skills Council (SSC) licensed by Government and part of the JSSC group, a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. Skills for Justice are an impartial, employer-led organisation which takes its lead from the needs of employers from the sectors in which we work. Skills for Justice began working for the fire sector in April 2009. In February 2010 the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) proposed the development of a future national Learning & Development Strategy. They maintained that it should be sector-led and developed for the whole fire and rescue sector. They insisted that, as the natural partner to coordinate the revision, Skills for Justice should be the formally agreed partner to the sector.

Will the Fire Professional Framework help explain a career in the Fire Service?

The Fire Professional Framework is a web tool for fire professionals already aware of the role structures, promotion and progression and career pathways in the Fire Service. Individual organisations have their own requirements and promotion/careers processes in place.

However, the website will give some basic detail and description of national career pathways and will have links to separate Fire & Rescue Services’ websites, regarding local recruitment. It will also help sign post individuals towards the type of learning and development requirements they may need for promotion to the next role within their organisation.

What are the core fire and rescue functions?

The Core & Fire & Rescue functions are:

  • Breathing Apparatus
  • Casualty Care
  • Command & Control
  • Driving
  • Extrication
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Water and Water Safety
  • Working at Height

These are represented by the fire appliance diagram. To work safely and effectively in challenging operational environments, firefighters and commanders should be able to use their skills, knowledge and understanding of the core functions. They should be able to meet changing demands by solving problems and providing reassurance and leadership.

What is the purpose of the core NOS?

The core NOS are designed to be easily read and to provide the technical detail required by operational personnel. They describe how the core operational functions should be performed. They will not replace OIC NOS (FF1-FF9) which will continue to be the benchmark against which competence will be assessed. They will, however, provide assessors with evidence that they can use to judge competence against the FF NOS. For further information on this topic view link - Core operational skills

What are National Occupational Standards and what are the benefits of using them?

National Occupational Standards (NOS) are statements of performance individuals are expected to demonstrate to be confirmed as competent when carrying out activities in the workplace.

NOS describe what an individual needs to be able to do, as well as what they need to know and understand. They provide a means for FRS to develop their workforce and to assess their competence in the workplace or in realistic simulation to a national standard. They provide a practical route for assessing competence against nationally agreed standards of performance, across all operational roles.

For operational competence NOS ensure a consistent approach to planning, delivering, measuring and assessing performance.

What are National Occupational Standards used for?

While NOS have been used primarily in the development of National and Scottish Vocational Qualifications (S/NVQs), it has always been recognised that occupational standards are a valuable resource that can be used in an integrated way by organisations and individuals to improve their performance.

Organisations can use NOS to:

Identify and plan personnel requirements
Develop job descriptions and person specifications for staff
Design and implement recruitment and selection processes
Design, deliver and evaluate training
Quality assure staff performance across the organisation
Meet the indicators for external accreditation
Use common standards of performance and quality in partnerships with other organisations and agencies
Demonstrate the competence of the organisation when applying for funding, or tendering for projects
Provide links to the requirements of professional bodies.

Managers can use NOS to:

Provide induction of staff
Identify an individual's development needs
Plan appropriate development and training
Provide individuals with necessary coaching and mentoring support
Delegate responsibilities to staff
Ensure that individuals and teams achieve their objectives
Use nationally agreed criteria to carry out performance reviews fairly and consistently.

What are the key features of National Occupational Standards?

There are many different National Occupational Standards (NOS) in existence, with new ones being developed and older ones being revised all the time. Whatever the occupational area covered by a set of Standards, they must all conform to the criteria set by the Regulatory Bodies. All NOS must:

Identify the main roles and responsibilities within a defined occupational area
Reflect best employment practice - describing both existing and emerging practice
Describe what is essential for successful performance
Specify what an individual needs to know and understand to do their job
Describe what an individual should achieve, not how they should do it
Include relevant technical, planning and problem solving skills, the ability to work with others and use information technology
Include any statutory or legal obligations
Include any health and safety requirements
Include any relevant environmental aspects which are critical to the competence
Capture defining occupational characteristics such as ethics, values and creativity
Be written in plain language and in a format that makes sense to the people who will use them
Be free from any overt or covert discrimination against any sector of the community
Provide a satisfactory basis for the design of assessment
Meet the needs and have the support of all significant groups of employers and potential users
Distinguish clearly between occupational standards and qualifications.

Why don’t the role-maps detail exactly what staff has to do?

The reason why the role maps do not identify exactly what skills, knowledge and understanding are required is simply because all organisations are different.

For instance, what would be the use of the role maps insisting that everyone should be trained to use a large ladder and to know everything about its limitations and use if there are no buildings higher than two floors in a particular FRS area? There might, however, be numerous road and motorway incidents that would require a good working knowledge of cutting equipment and the skills to use it safely and effectively.

Identification of the salient skills and knowledge that are required to enable someone to be safe and effective in role is actually a local responsibility; this will derive from the organisational Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP).

The IRMP enables organisational managers to be aware of the risks presented by their local environment. Once they have this awareness it follows that they are best placed to determine how those risks should best be met.

Frequently asked questions

Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the Fire Professional Framework.
Skills For Fire & Rescue