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Organisation structure

Our Executive Board

The Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service Executive Board, led by the Chief Fire Officer 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 the Chief Fire Officer, the Board meet weekly to discuss and make decisions on key service issues. The Board also report to the Fire and Rescue Authority.

Lee Howell - Chief Fire Officer

Lee Howell has been Chief Fire Officer (CFO) for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service since 2009. Prior to this Lee was CFO and Director of Public Protection in Suffolk (2004).

Lee said: "It is an immense privilege to be the Chief Fire Officer for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. What we do makes a real difference to the lives of so many people and we don't take that responsibility lightly. I am very proud of our achievements but I also know that we have more that we need to do. We strive to continuously improve our prevention, protection and response services and in doing so aim to become more effective and efficient in the process working through our people who are our greatest asset".

Lee has held roles as the President of the Chief Fire Officers Association (2011-12) and Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor and Inspector for Wales (2013-15). In the latter role, he reviewed business continuity arrangements for the three fire services in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government. He presented an efficiency review and managed the Government's preparedness and response to a national industrial relations dispute.

For over 10 years Lee has been a trustee of the UK Firefighters Memorial Trust and is currently the Deputy Chairman for the Trust. Until 2019 Lee chaired the UK Arson Prevention Forum bringing agencies together who were interested in or had a responsibility for arson. He also drafted arson related ‘State of the Nation’ reports to Ministers and other key stakeholders. This raised awareness of deliberate fire setting and assisted agencies in reducing its effects. He established and chaired the Joint International Fire Board, working with the Department for International Trade to develop an International Fire Export 'Offer', supporting UK business to trade overseas.

In April 2019 Lee returned to Devon and Somerset after a 14-month secondment to Avon and Somerset Police. Here he led a Home Office police transformation scheme bid to use data and analytics thus reducing demand, threat and harm within a multi-agency model.

In 2019, Lee was the first fire service officer to complete the strategic command course run by the College of Policing.

Lee is married with two children and lives in Devon. He enjoys rugby union and surfing.

Joe Hassell - Deputy Chief Fire Officer

Joe began his fire service career in 1991 with Essex Fire and Rescue Service. In 2013 he was promoted to Station Manager and transferred to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. Working within the area of learning and development, Joe led the Incident Command team in devising a new training and assessment framework that ensured commanders were safe and effective during incidents.

Joe’s next role involved the managing of 15 fire stations in the Plymouth area, before being selected for strategic development. This involving working directly with the Chief Fire Officer as Executive Support Officer, this was followed by a promotion to Area Manager.

Next as Head of Transformation, Joe and his team over a period of two years delivered highly complex and substantial change initiatives through the Service’s, Safer Together programme.

After a short period as Head of Service Delivery, Joe had temporary promotions to Assistant Chief before being appointed in July 2020 to the Deputy Chief Fire Officer’s position.

Joe completed his MBA in 2019 and is the NFCC lead for ‘On-Call.’ He is married with three children.

Pete Bond - Assistant Chief Fire Officer - Director of Service Delivery

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Pete Bond joined Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service in 1997. Prior to the fire service, he worked in financial services and studied as a mature student at Exeter University.

Pete served as a firefighter and supervisory manager at Ilfracombe, Barnstaple and Danes Castle stations before being promoted to Station Manager with a focus on Fire Safety. In 2009, Pete was promoted to Group Manager in charge of Fire Control, before transferring back to North Devon as Group Commander.

Pete then moved to headquarters as part of the Service Development Team working on change projects and was subsequently promoted to Area Manager in charge of strategy and business change and now Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

Throughout Pete's career he has been determined to ensure that the safety of communities and that of the fire and rescue staff that serve them in Devon and Somerset is paramount both in delivering and improving the Service.

In his spare time Pete enjoys watching rugby and undertaking DIY projects.

Gavin Ellis - Assistant Chief Fire Officer - Director of Service Improvement

Gavin began his career at the age of 19 joining Northamptonshire Fire Service in 2000 where he had many roles from Firefighter to Station Manager.

Gavin transferred to Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service in 2010 as Station Manager within the Exeter Group. Between 2011 and 2017 he was promoted to a variety of Group Manager roles across the organisation.

In 2016, Gavin was seconded to lead a team that reviewed and produced an external report on the Royal Clarence Hotel fire in Exeter.

Next Gavin was promoted to Area Manager, and in 2018 was seconded as the Chief of Staff to the newly formed Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS). He successfully led dedicated teams in delivering the first round of these independent inspections.

Gavin returned to Devon and Somerset in early 2020 and in July, was promoted to Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Director of Service Improvement.

Gavin is committed to leading the organisation through future challenges and driving professional standards forward to ensure the best service is delivered to the communities of Devon and Somerset.

Gavin lives in Devon with Karen, between them they have four daughters. Gavin enjoys spending time with his family walking their dog.

Mike Pearson - Director of Governance and Digital Services (and Clerk to the Fire and Rescue Authority)

Mike has worked in local government for over 35 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, Organisational Assurance and Democratic Services. This important role ensures that these key support functions help to effectively deliver an efficient front line operational service.

As Clerk to the Authority and Monitoring Officer, 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 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.
Until recently, Mike also held the 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 is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and has previously been a qualified EFQM Business Excellence Model assessor and an MSP Practitioner. He has a keen interest in lean systems practices and is passionate about continuous improvement.

Shayne Scott - Director of Finance and Resourcing (Section 112 Officer)

Shayne Scott has been Director of Finance and Resourcing (Section 112 Officer) to the Fire Authority since July 2021. Shayne ensures financial rigour for the Service providing the Fire Authority and the Executive Board with accurate, timely, and detailed financial information. He has strategic overview of the authority’s communications and engagement, procurement, fleet and equipment, and estates departments.

Shayne joins the authority from the Department for Education (DfE) where he spent eight years in various finance roles. Most recently he was the Deputy Finance Director with responsibility for financial management covering the schools’ rebuilding programmes across England and the department’s corporate services functions. Prior to the DfE, Shayne worked for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Arts Council England and the Cayman Islands Government.

Shayne adopts a people-centred approach to his leadership and firmly believes that efficient and effective public services are best delivered through a highly engaged and diverse workforce. Underpinning this is his drive to secure value for money for our taxpayers and further build on the existing financial and commercial rigour which exists within the Authority.

Shayne is a Chartered Public Finance Accountant and holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Business Administration and Management respectively.


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