Assistant Chief Fire Officer - Director of Service Delivery

Location: Lewes, East Sussex
Salary: Up to £116,000 plus benefits
Reference: A000032
Deadline: Closed

About the Role

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is seeking to appoint an Assistant Chief Fire Officer – Director of Service Delivery, with the skills, energy and innovative approach to deliver a high quality, affordable, modern and sustainable service to the people of East Sussex and the City of Brighton and Hove.

Operating as a member of our Senior Leadership Team, the successful candidate will ensure the delivery of an effective and efficient Fire and Rescue Service to all of the diverse communities of East Sussex and the City of Brighton & Hove, making the region a safer place to live, work and visit.  You will contribute to the development, planning and delivery of organisational objectives and strategy and provide strategic leadership to resolve emergency operations and incidents.

Our ACFO will:

  • assist the CFO in discharging their executive responsibilities, including both representing them and deputising for them when appropriate
  • provide strategic leadership, command, advice, guidance, mentoring and support to resolve emergency fire and rescue service operations
  • provide professional advice and assistance to the Chairman and Members of East Sussex Fire Authority, deputising for the CFO at meetings and panels when required
  • lead the allocated Principal Officer portfolio, including the strategic lead for service delivery on behalf of the Senior Leadership Team
  • act as the strategic lead for:
    • matters related to the Civil Contingencies Act, Local Resilience Forum, Emergency Planning and Business Continuity
    • the Joint Control Centre partnership with West Sussex and Surrey (post-September 2021), and
    • the operational alignment programme with West Sussex FRS, Surrey FRS and Kent FRS
  • act as the ESFRS Project Sponsor for the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Project
  • be an effective member of the Senior Leadership Team, assisting it corporately to
    • support the delivery of the Fire Authority’s Purpose and Commitments
    • develop, and subsequently implement, the Fire Authority’s agreed Strategies
    • influence and shape the general management and direction of the organisation
    • manage corporate service planning, resource prioritisation, and performance management issues effectively
    • manage corporate risk effectively
    • advise on appropriate corporate initiatives/issues for consideration and implement effectively
    • ensure that the organisation adheres to the legal, financial and procedural requirements of the Fire Authority
  • chair committees/boards, as appropriate, and
  • manage budgets effectively, achieving outturn targets, and delivering any agreed savings in accordance with the Delegated Financial Management Manual.

About You

We are keen to work with exceptional individuals who have the experience, energy, ideas and ambition to make our communities safer and is able to maximise their impact through working collaboratively with a wide range of partners. 

We know that outstanding leadership and incident command experience can be developed in different settings.  That is why we think our next ACFO might be working in a forward-thinking Fire & Rescue Service, or in another emergency setting or a public service setting such as defence or perhaps in industry.  A resourceful individual who demonstrates drive and ambition, you will possess excellent communication skills, strong political awareness, an authentic style, a commitment to equalities and inclusion and with a proven track record of leading transformational change, at pace.  You will have the ability to balance conflicting demands, the confidence to innovate and be creative and the resilience and character to deal with the pressures that come with an executive role.   Your ability to demonstrate inspirational leadership, motivating and developing others and making effective decisions with successful outcomes is essential.  We are an inclusive organisation and expect candidates to have highly developed interpersonal skills and key qualities such as openness, honesty and integrity to build positive relationships both within and outside the organisation.

Our ACFO will have:

  1. substantial knowledge and understanding of critical incident / event operations necessary to undertake the role of strategic commander in critical and ambiguous situations of potentially regional, national and international significance; knowledge of corporate governance, financial planning strategic planning, risk and programme management principles and practice during change programmes; a track record of actively promoting diversity and a genuine commitment to equality; ability to demonstrate inspirational leadership, motivating and developing other to reach their full potential; ability to demonstrate a willingness to work openly and constructively with the Fire Authority in a political setting; a demonstrably high level of communications skills focusing on the ability to communicate clearly and effectively in interpersonal relations, industrial relations and with the media, both orally and in writing; and high levels of self-awareness and emotional intelligence;
  2. substantial and proven relevant experience in the Fire and Rescue service at Area Manager or Brigade Manager level (or equivalent experience at Strategic Manager level in a large emergency service, public sector body or military organisation); experience of leading delivering strategic change and improvement in a large, complex organisation within an industrial relations framework; excellent political skills and a proven ability to work effectively with elected Members and other Politicians in a politically sensitive environment on a range of operational and strategic issues; excellent proven leadership skills with evidence of having taken effective decisions with have resulted in tangible improvements; and broad experience of building and developing effective relationships with a wide range of partners and stakeholders, with a proven ability to influence and lead ensuring tangible outcomes to the benefits of partners and the FRS; and
  3. possession of a relevant degree (undergraduate or postgraduate) or equivalent professional qualification appropriate to the post; successfully completed a strategic incident command course and/or the Fire Service Level 4 Incident Command Course; and evidence of continuous professional development.

In addition, they will be willing to travel locally, nationally and internationally as required; live in the County whilst on call, or within an acceptable distance, and be available for recall to meet demands of continuous duty commitments; hold (and continue to hold) a full driving licence; be able to work on an agreed duty rota system and to attend events and functions, etc. outside normal working hours; be able successfully to complete the Non-Police Personal Vetting (NPPV) Level 2 clearance and Security Clearance (SC) vetting, be able to satisfy applicable medical standards (a medical examination will be required for external candidates); and able to converse at ease with customers and provide technical and/or professional advice in accurate spoken English.

If this sounds like you, then East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service would love to hear from you.  Please call contacts at our recruitment partner, Faerfield, for a confidential discussion and/or apply, as per the below. 

Indicative Timetable

Closing date for applications:  26 March 2021

Shortlist Meeting: 01 April 2021

Candidates invited to interview will be asked to undertake assessments/psychometrics. 

Assessment Centre and Final Interview: 21/22 April 2021

Candidates invited for interview will interact with several key stakeholder groups and interview with an Appointments Panel, as part of this process.  It is hoped that these interviews will be conducted in person however, it is subject to Covid-19 restrictions and details will be confirmed with successful candidates accordingly. 


For a confidential discussion about the role, please contact:

Dawn Faulkner
T: 0121 312 3755

Martin Tucker
T: 0113 532 5900


To apply for this job please submit your CV, a Supporting Statement (no more than four sides of A4) and a completed ESFRS Application Form to quoting: ‘Vacancy: Assistant Chief Fire Officer - Director of Service Delivery, Reference: A000032’.

Download ESFRS Application Form

Your Supporting Statement should set out how you think you meet the recruitment selection criteria outlined in the Job Description using examples to demonstrate how you meet as many of the essential requirements as possible. Please note the indicative timetable above and let us know if there are any dates when you are not available. Please also provide the names and contact details of two referees, one of whom should be your current or most recent employer. If you do not wish us to approach your referees without your prior permission, then you should state this clearly.