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ESSEX

PFCC says thanks to Fire Chief Jo Turton as she announces retirement

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer / Chief Executive has announced her retirement after three and a half years in the role.  

 Jo Turton joined the Service in April 2018, immediately setting to work to prioritise the delivery of an organisational and cultural change in a challenging financial environment.   

 A key theme during Jo’s time at the Service has been supporting Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspections, which have taken place twice during her time as Chief Fire Officer / Chief Executive.  

 The first took place in 2019, when after nationwide inspections, HMICFRS rated the Service good at responding to emergencies and national risks, making the fire and rescue service affordable now and in the future and managing performance and developing leaders. 

 The second was in 2020 when HMICFRS ran nationwide inspections into how fire and rescue services were responding to Covid-19, as they continued to face challenges during a difficult period. It praised the way the Service continued to keep its public and residents safe while supporting partners through the pandemic.   

 Before Jo leaves at the end of the year she will see the Service take part in another HMICFRS inspection – this time a revisit from 2019 – and expects the final report will recognise the improvements the Service has made and reflecting on improvements in the initial assessment. 

Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Jo Turton

 Speaking about her announcement, Jo said: 

 “This has absolutely been one of the most difficult decisions of my career. But I am planning my retirement safe in the knowledge that ECFRS now has an outstanding leadership team able to build on the fantastic progress we have made.  

 “We have developed and recruited truly outstanding talent across the organisation, people that understand our Service and where we have come from who share our determination to deliver further improvements, transforming ECFRS into an exemplar fire and rescue service across the UK and beyond.” 

 Jo will work closely with her successor to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. 

 Jo added: “I am entirely confident that we will attract a very high calibre of applicants and believe that the sooner we begin the recruitment process the better.” 

 Thanking Jo on behalf of the people of Essex, Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: 

“Since becoming Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive three years ago, Jo has made a significant contribution to making Essex a safer place of which she should be proud. Her energy, dedication and commitment has driven her work as she has reshaped the service, empowering significant positive cultural change. 

“Over the past 12 months she has led ECFRS as it rose to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, with that response praised by the HMICFRS. Jo will leave a service that is stronger, more resilient and offers a better service to the public and has set the service on a track to continued improvement. She really has made a difference and I wish her all the best for her future plans.”

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