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Our Executive Board

The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service Executive Board, led by Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell set the direction and strategy for the Service, define its values and ensure it is delivering an effective and efficient service for the communities they serve.

The Board have pledged to make Devon and Somerset safe places to live, work and visit and are working towards making it one of the best performing fire and rescue services. Led by Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell, the Board meet weekly to discuss and make decisions on key service issues. The Board also, through Lee Howell, report to the Fire & Rescue Authority.

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Lee Howell - Chief Fire Officer

Lee was appointed as the Chief Fire Officer of Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, one of the largest fire services in the United Kingdom, in January 2009. He also acted as The Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor to the Welsh Government between 2013-15. He is the Deputy Chairman and Trustee of the Firefighters Memorial Trust and Independent Chairman of the Arson Prevention Forum. He was formerly a Corporate Director (Public Protection) for Suffolk County Council and Chief Fire Officer of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (appointed as the youngest Chief Fire Officer within the United Kingdom aged 35).

He previously served in Royal Berkshire and Essex Fire and Rescue Services as well as working as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Fire Services advising Ministers, primarily regarding the modernisation change agenda and the development of the Fire & Rescue Service Act 2004. He was the President of the United Kingdom Chief Fire Officers Association (elected by peers) in 2011-12 and was awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service in the 2014 New Year's Honours list. He holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Safety Engineering. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and also the Institution of Fire Engineers. He is married, has two children and lives in Devon.

Mike Pearson - Director of Corporate Services (and Clerk to the Fire & Rescue Authority)

Mike has worked in Local Government for over 30 years. He started working in the fire service in Somerset in 2004 when it was still part of Somerset County Council and has been a senior manager with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service since its inception in April 2007.

Mike is responsible for a range of key support functions including ICT, Procurement, Estates, Fleet Maintenance and Democratic Services. This important role ensures that these key support functions help to effectively deliver an efficient front line operational service.

Mike is also the Authority's Senior Information Risk Owner and as such he is responsible for developing and leading a culture of good information management and has ownership of the overall information risk policy and procedures and advises the Executive Board on information risk.

As Clerk to the Authority Mike is jointly responsible with the Chief Fire Officer and the Treasurer for ensuring that the Authority makes decisions on a sound legal basis.

Mike also has a lead role in national procurement, working with HM Government and other partner agencies to deliver savings opportunities for all English fire and rescue authorities through collaborative frameworks and other initiatives.

Mike has previously been a qualified EFQM Business Excellence Model assessor and an MSP Practitioner. He also has experience of lean systems practices and is a programme board member of a tri service technology enabled change programme.

Glenn Askew - Assistant Chief Fire Officer - Director of Service Improvement

Glenn oversees Organisational Assurance as well as Strategy and Business Change.


Alex Hanson - Assistant Chief Fire Officer (temporary) - Director of Service Delivery

Alex’s directorate develops the policy and provides the appropriate support in meeting the needs of the delivery of the Service. Alex ’s directorate has a wide range of responsibilities, and provides most of the research for key initiatives and developing policy, guidance and advice for staff working in prevention, protection, partnerships, response and resilience, estates, fleet and equipment. The directorate works closely with their front line colleagues to ensure they are supporting their requirements as well as working closely with other agencies and the Local Resilience Forums. The directorate works hard to ensure they understand the needs of the community and works to develop a sustainable community safety strategy.

Kevin Woodward - Treasurer

As Treasurer to the Fire and Rescue Authority Kevin fulfils a statutory requirement for the Service to have a ‘Chief Finance Officer’ who is responsible for ‘the proper administration of the Authority and financial affairs’. This will include the determination of the annual budget and council tax, and providing financial advice to Members of the Authority and the Chief Fire Officer.

Whilst the Treasurer is a contractor appointed following a procurement exercise instigated by the Members Appointment Committee, and not an employee of the Authority,  to satisfy the requirements of legislation it was necessary to appoint the successful candidate as an officer and to designate them as the officer with responsibility for the proper administration of the financial affairs of the authority. The Treasurer role is a member of the Executive Board with specific reference to advise the Board on financial affairs and to ensure that financial strategies of the Authority are aligned to corporate strategies.

Most financial services are provided in-house by the Service Finance Team. Only the pay roll function, pensions administration, internal audit and taxation advice are provided externally. The finance team provide budget preparation, monitoring of spend, help and support to budget holders, treasury management and maintenance of bank accounts, preparation of the year end accounts and weekly payments to suppliers.

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