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Senior Leadership Team

Dawn Whittaker, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive

Dawn joined the John Lewis Partnership as a graduate and after 14 years moved to the public sector.

She joined Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2004 as a senior manager with a background in business and performance management. She went on to undertake operational incident command training and completed a Masters in Business Administration in 2011.

In April 2015, she began a secondment to central Government as a professional adviser to the Minister for Fire and Rescue, as part of the CFRA team.

In June 2016, Dawn was appointed Deputy Chief Fire Officer in East Sussex and took on the Chief Fire Officer role from April 2017.

A member of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Dawn has led the development of the association’s approach to drowning prevention and water safety since 2013 for all UK based Fire Services, and also represents NFCC on the National Water Safety Forum and was actively involved in the development of the UK National Drowning Prevention Strategy, launched at Westminster in February 2016. She is also the Deputy Chair of the NFCC Prevention Committee and sits on the NFCC Leadership Board.

An active volunteer for over 35 years, Dawn has been a Trustee and Chair of the Board of a Northamptonshire Volunteer Bureau and Royal Life Saving Society UK.

Her passion, both through her professional and voluntary work is improving community safety, helping to educate and ensure the public understand risk and stay safe.

Dawn was a recipient of the King’s Fire Service Medal in the New Years’ Honours 2023 for her national work on Water Safety.

David Norris - Deputy Chief Fire Officer – Director of Service Planning & Assurance

Dave joined East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service as Deputy Chief Fire Officer in December 2021. Prior to joining East Sussex he served as Interim Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service.

As Director for Service Planning & Assurance, Dave leads on support functions such as Resources, Planning & Improvement and People Services Assurance.

Dave previously worked for Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service, and before his move to Bedfordshire, was Head of Service Delivery, with responsibility for Prevention, Operational Response, and Resilience.

Between April 2013 and July 2017, Dave was seconded to the Fire Strategy and Reform team in the Home Office which leads on the development and coordination of fire and rescue service policy. He was the lead fire adviser during development and delivery of the Fire Reform Programme, which included the refreshed fire inspectorate.

In 2017, Dave joined HMICFRS as the Deputy Portfolio Director for the fire team, which developed the fire inspection programme. Dave took part in the first tranche of inspections before returning to Service in August 2018.

Mark Matthews - Assistant Chief Fire Officer – Director of Service Delivery

Mark has been with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service since 1998. He has served in a range of roles including Staff Officer to the Chief Fire Officer, Brighton & Hove Borough Commander, Wealden Borough Commander, Assistant Director of Safer Communities and Assistant Director of Response and Resilience.

Since November 2020, Mark has been in the role of Assistant Chief Fire Officer, responsible for Service Delivery across East Sussex and Brighton & Hove. Mark directs and strategically leads across the directorate comprising of Prevention, Protection, Mobilising, Response & Resilience and Fleet. He is also the Delivery Board Chair of the Sussex Resilience Forum, working closely with partner agencies across East and West Sussex.

Mark was awarded the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002, the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, the Fire Service Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 2019 and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal in 2022.

Liz Ridley - Assistant Director – Planning & Improvement

Liz began her career in the utility sector, working in performance and improvement before she joined Local Government where her passion for improving public services and ensuring value for money began.

She joined the Fire Service in 2002 and became the Assistant Director Planning & Improvement in 2016.

She is responsible for Marketing and Communications, Planning & Intelligence, Democratic Services and the Programme Management Office.

Julie King - Assistant Director – People Services

Julie ‘Jules’ King is the Assistant Director People Services and has been in the role since January 2022.

Jules joined East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service in 1994 and has undertaken a number of roles across the Service over the last 28 years. Starting off as a firefighter in Eastbourne, Jules worked as a supervisory manager in Hove and Hastings and was promoted to Station Manager in 2002.

She has also worked in a variety of roles as Group Manager including Borough Commander for Eastbourne, Rother and Hastings, Command and Operational Training Manager and the lead for ESFRS in Fire Investigation.

In July 2021 Jules was temporarily promoted to Area Manager as the Assistant Director Safer Communities, before moving into her current substantive position.

Duncan Savage - Assistant Director – Resources / Treasurer

He is responsible for areas including Finance, Risk and Insurance, Procurement, Estates, Information Technology Governance and Legal Services Collaboration Agreement with Orbis Public Law.

Duncan is also the Fire Authority’s statutory Treasurer (S112 officer – equivalent to S151 in local government).

Duncan is a qualified CIPFA accountant with over 30 years’ experience in the public sector including 20 years at a senior management level. He has worked with East Sussex FRS since 2004 and joined them as Treasurer in 2013. He has been in his current role since 2016.

Duncan is a member of the NFCC’s Finance Co-ordination Committee, an LGA Core Adviser for Fire and a Director of the Fire and Rescue Indemnity Company (FRIC), a sector owned mutual providing risk and insurance services to its member FRS.

Matt Lloyd - Assistant Director – Safer Communities

Matt has worked for the Fire Service for over 26 years in a variety of different roles, including working for the NFCC (formerly CFOA) as a Policy Support Officer for the People Services Directorate.

Matt joined East Sussex at the age of 18 from college, undertaking a dual contract role for 10 years serving with the On Call section at Barcombe.

He has worked in the City Group (Brighton & Hove), Training Centre, Headquarters, Sussex Control Centre and the Central Group (Wealden).

Matt has a passion for making a difference, he enjoys a challenge and working with his teams to make the public safe.

Hannah Scott-Youldon - Assistant Director – Operational Support & Resilience

Hannah is the Assistant Director for Operational Support & Resilience and a member of the Senior Leadership Team for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

Hannah has worked for the Fire Service for over 19 years in various different roles, including a secondment to a government department.

Prior to that she worked in both the private and education sectors within the 'people arena'. She holds both a MSc in HR & Development and a level 7 qualification in organisation design and development which Hannah has used throughout her Fire Service career locally, regionally and nationally.

She also has a passion in developing, supporting and empowering people and holds a coaching qualification which is put to good use by volunteering as a mentor to the Girls Network.

Senior Leadership Meeting Minutes