Fire chief wins top award after rescuing county's 'failing service'
One of the Westcountry's most senior fire officers has won a top award for turning around a "failing service."
Cornwall's chief fire officer Des Tidbury was named Outstanding Leader of the Year at a national management awards ceremony.
The former deputy chief at Wiltshire joined Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) in 2009, after it had been dubbed a failure by the Audit Commission in January and placed into Government intervention later that spring. But within 18 months the service had transformed and was taken out of Government measures.
Mr Tidbury focused on building a strong senior management team, developing a more transparent culture and better partnership working with the wider Cornwall Council team.
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Improvements included a five per cent reduction in calls to the fire service last year, doubling the number of home fire safety checks since 2004, and reducing staff injuries by 35 per cent – the lowest figure since records began. The CFRS also made a budget saving of over £900,000 during 2011/12.
Mr Tidbury said: "I'm exceptionally proud of my team and what we have achieved at the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service. Coming into a struggling organisation was daunting in the current climate, but I was confident that with effective management and leadership, there would be an opportunity to transform the service into something special.
"Being in the fire service is a rewarding position from the outset, but to be able to make a real difference for the team I work with and the community we operate in feels very exciting. I'm committed to making sure we can further grow the success of the Service in the future."
The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) national management and leadership awards dinner took place in London last week to celebrate the achievements and expertise of the UK's best managers and management teams.
Ann Francke, CEO of the CMI, said: "It has been an inspiration to meet these management trail blazers. All those shortlisted should be extremely proud and continue to demonstrate the levels of professionalism, dedication and excellence that they have been commended for."
The awards judge organisations, teams and individual managers by looking at issues including financial success, ethical conduct, people management, effective communications and a sustainable approach to leadership. The 12 winners were chosen from a shortlist of over 50 finalists from sectors, nations and regions in the UK.