DN 11/2022 – Deputy Chief Fire Officer Appointment

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has decided to appoint Mathew Walker as Interim Deputy Chief Fire Officer of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service on a temporary secondment basis for a period of up to six months.

DN 11/2022       Date 10/06/2022

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has decided to appoint Mathew Walker as Interim Deputy Chief Fire Officer of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service on a temporary secondment basis for a period of up to six months. This decision is made to ensure that strategic leadership and command resilience is in place in North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, for the period between now and the making of an appointment of a permanent Deputy Chief Fire Officer.

Background

On 25 May 2022, the Commissioner proposed Jonathan Dyson to the Police, Fire and Crime Panel as her preferred candidate for Chief Fire Officer. The Panel gave their support.

The Commissioner duly appointed Jonathan Dyson as Chief Fire Officer for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service as detailed in Decision Notice 10/22.

Following the successful appointment of Jonathan Dyson – and the necessity of him taking up the role upon the commencement of pre-retirement leave on the part of CFO Foster – the role of Deputy Chief Fire Officer became vacant in North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. This role therefore needed to be filled on an immediate interim basis prior to a full recruitment process being carried out.  This temporary appointment is to ensure that strategic leadership and command resilience is in place in North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The Chief Fire Officer for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service formally contacted all regional Chief Fire Officers requesting expressions of interest to the post of Interim Deputy Chief Fire Officer.  All interested applicants were provided with the Deputy Chief Fire Officer role profile and needed to be suitably qualified to cover the Gold Command rota, have relevant strategic experience and confidence at working at a senior level and have the ability to be released immediately of a period of up to six months.  This opportunity was also provided internally within North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and open to aspiring candidates.

Three applicants met the requirements, each offering over three years’ strategic role experience in a challenging environment along with experience of working with Trade Unions and partner agencies.

The Chief Fire Officer for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Interim Assistant Chief Executive & Deputy Monitoring Officer from the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire invited all three applicants for a focussed, rigorous interview on 31 May 2022, where they explored and assessed each candidate’s suitability for the role against the following themes and criteria:

  • Overview of career history and suitability for the role
  • Understanding of the governance model in North Yorkshire
  • Experience of working collaboratively with partners
  • Leadership style through transformational change
  • Experience of driving forwards diversity, equality and inclusion.

Mathew Walker of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service was rated highest from the structured assessment and scoring mechanism having provided (amongst other matters) the most clear and direct examples of driving forward diversity, equality and inclusion and the strategic benefit for the Service along with setting out his strategic experience working in collaborative partnerships.

He was therefore selected and the Commissioner adopts and endorses that selection.

Mathew Walker joined the Fire and Rescue Service in 2003, serving 13 years in South Yorkshire, performing various roles across the service, before being seconded to National Resilience. There he led the Command-and-Control capability on behalf of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service as lead authority.  Mathew was involved in several significant national incidents during this time as National Resilience Duty Officer, including the east coast flooding and the Salisbury Novichock attacks.  Mathew then transferred to West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service as Area Manager responsible for Service Assurance and Improvement in 2019.

The assessment process and outcome were considered by both the Commissioner and the Chief Executive & Monitoring Officer of the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire which recommended Mathew Walker, as the highest scoring candidate, be appointed into the role of Interim Deputy Chief Fire Officer for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.  The Commissioner approved this recommendation and Mathew Walker has accepted the role.

The secondment of Mathew Walker takes effect at 00:01 on 13 June 2022 of a period of up to six months, subject to the terms of a secondment agreement (including terms under which the secondment can be abridged or extended).

Both the Secondment Agreement and Heads of Terms for this arrangement to cover the role of Interim Deputy Chief Fire Officer are published along with this decision record.

The process to select a permanent Deputy Chief Fire Officer will commence as soon as reasonably practicable.

Decision Record

The Commissioner has decided to appoint Mathew Walker as Interim Deputy Chief Fire Officer of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service on a secondment basis for a period of up to six months and subject to the terms of the secondment agreement.

Zoë Metcalfe

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire

 

Statutory Officer Advice

Legal, Management and Equality Implications

The Commissioner’s Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer, having read this report and having considered such information as has been provided at the time of being asked to express this view, is satisfied that this report does not ask the Commissioner to make a decision which would (or would be likely to) give rise to a contravention of the law.

The Commissioner’s Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer has advised that the recruitment process was compliant with the applicable law and confirmed to the Commissioner that he was so satisfied.

Financial and Commercial

The Commissioner’s Chief Finance Officer and S151 Officer has advised that the terms of the proposed appointment are affordable within the PFCC FRA budget.

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