Integrated Personal Development System
What is the Integrated Personal Development System?
The Integrated Personal Development System (IPDS)
is a new approach to training and development for the fire service.
It will be based on national standards and a framework of skills
and competencies. IPDS will use workplace assessment to enable
staff to demonstrate their competencies. It will be applicable
to all staff, regardless of role or whether they are uniformed
or non-uniformed, retained or part-time. Training will be based
on the needs of an individual at the appropriate time. This will
allow people to develop either within a single role or along
a specific career path that has been chosen by that individual.
Development will also be linked into other areas
of modernisation. Skills will need to reflect the move away from
the sole need to fight fires. With the increased focus on risk
management and community fire safety, as highlighted in the introduction
on Integrated Risk Management Planning, training will need to
reflect the skills needed by personnel to both achieve these
objectives, as well as attend both fire and non-fire related
Why introduce a new personal development system?
The system must also
allow for people to progress more quickly through to management
roles while providing a multiple point of entry system for people
with exceptional experience and skills to enter above the most
The Government’s position
The recent Government White Paper (January 2004)
on the future of the Fire Service in the UK stated: “This
year we have formally approved a new system of training and development,
based on national standards and a framework of skills and competencies – the ‘Integrated
Personal Development System’, or IPDS. The Fire Service
College will play a leading role in introducing this new system.
It includes initial recruitment, selection, training, in-service
development and progression through to retirement. The principles
of IPDS apply to all members of the fire and rescue service,
including control room staff, those without an operational role,
retained and part-time personnel. IPDS is the cornerstone of
the government’s reform of the human resource management
of the fire and rescue service. Together with the introduction
of IPDS, we intend to:
- Replace the 12 ranks of the fire and rescue service with
seven ‘roles’, which reflect the work that firefighters
- Introduce multi-level entry, so that people can enter the
fire and rescue service at a level appropriate to their qualifications
and experience, including the most senior levels.
- Introduce accelerated development schemes, so that members
of the fire and rescue service who have been identified as
having the potential to progress to strategic management levels
can receive appropriate development at an early stage in their
The Local Government Association’s position
The LGA welcomes
the introduction of IPDS and has supported its development since
- The IPDS makes sure the right people are in the right
jobs by assessing their potential and giving them the development
they need, before they are appointed. This development
is all about the real life skills that they need at work.
It is about making sure that our people can actually do the
jobs we give them.
- Learning doesn’t end with appointment or after
induction; it’s life-long. Existing skills
need to be refreshed and new skills learnt and IPDS ensures
people get the support and advice that they require throughout
their career. This applies to everyone, at whatever level
of the service – strategic or tactical.
- Each person is treated as an individual.
We are all different, with different needs and we make different
contributions. So when we need development, it is unlikely
that what is good for one will be good for another. Instead,
each individual’s development needs will be identified.
They will then be offered exactly what they will need to
become competent in their role. One size does not fit all.
As can be seen, in this respect the IPDS differs significantly
from what has gone before.
- It is about development, rather than training. The
system deals with the development of individuals so that they
can help their organisation achieve its strategic aims. This
is one of the key objectives of the system. It is firmly rooted
in the belief that development of an organisation is best achieved
through the development of its greatest asset – its
- IPDS helps reduce risk to an individual’s safety. If
an individual can demonstrate competence in dealing with all
the activities that can be expected to occur in the workplace,
then by definition, they must be relatively safe. This is because
the requirement to reduce the hazard and risk from workplace
activity is actually built in to each and every Standard. So
if people work to the Standards, they will be as safe as it
is possible to make them, in the context of what they will
be expected to do at work.