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Integrated Personal Development System


What is the Integrated Personal Development System?


IPDS Logo 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 emergencies.

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 junior role.

The Government’s position


HFSCThe 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 actually do
  • 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 careers.”

The Local Government Association’s position

The LGA welcomes the introduction of IPDS and has supported its development since its inception.

Key messages

  • 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 people.
  • 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.

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