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Corporate Management Team

The Corporate Management Team (CMT) is currently made up of seven principal officers and is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organisation.

Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive - Chris Blacksell 

Chris BlacksellChris Joined the Service in March 1988. He began his career as a Firefighter at Hull’s Central Fire Station and has served as an operational officer in every area of the Service. He completed a Master’s Degree in Fire Investigation to become one of the first Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Fire Investigators, and led on a number of high profile cases, including several fire related murders. He was promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer in April 2014 and is also the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) UK Lead for Fire Investigation. 

His overall responsibility is Humberside Fire and Rescue Service’s contribution to keeping the area it covers a safe place to live, work and visit.

As Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive he has ultimate accountability for all areas of the organisation, which he manages via the Corporate Management Team structure. 

In this role, Chris is keen to lead the Service to prepare itself in readiness for the many challenges it faces and ensure it is continually ‘fit for purpose’ through a greater emphasis on flexibility, innovation and collaboration. This will ensure the Service maintains and enhances its reputation for high performance and strong delivery.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Executive Director of Service Delivery - Phil Shillito

Phil joined the Service in July 2016 as Director of Public Safety, following a 28 year career at neighbouring South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue. 

Phil's first posting was at Edlington Fire Station in 1988 and held a number of roles and responsibilities throughout the organisation before being appointed Area Manager overseeing Emergency Response. In September 2017 he was promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer and is responsible for all service delivery across the four Local Authority areas covered by Humberside Fire and Rescue Service. This includes the Operational Response to fires and other emergencies, emergency call handling and mobilising, Community Safety activities to keep people safe in their homes and Business Safety activities in relation to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. He also works with partner agencies across the area for example through North Lincs Health and Wellbeing Board, the Greenport Guiding Coalition in Hull, NE Lincs Strategic Leadership Board and the Health Chief Executives Group in East Riding.

Executive Director of Service Support and S151 Officer - Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson is the Statutory Finance Officer responsible for the administration of the financial affairs of the Authority as required under the Local Government Act 1985. As Executive Director of Service Support he has direct responsibility for the Service’s Finance function along with overall responsibility for the areas managed by the Director of Service Support.

Prior to joining the Service in March 2007, Kevin had worked for Hull City Council, Newport City Council and Gwent County Council where he had undertaken a range of senior finance roles.

Director of Service Support - Steve Topham

Steve joined the Service in 1995 and his first posting was on Red Watch at Cromwell Road in Grimsby going on to undertake a variety of roles throughout the Service covering both operational, safety and support  functions including Training, Corporate Communications and both Technical and Community Safety. His most recent role was as Group Manager responsible for Hull CPU before he joined the Corporate Management Team in September 2015.

As Director of Service Support, Steve is responsible for support services such as the contract management of the joint workshops, fleet and equipment management, health/safety and environment, operational training, administration and estates. He also oversees ICT and internal systems management. 

Director of Emergency Response - Niall McKiniry

Niall joined the Service in 1995 and has served at various Stations including Bridlington, East Hull,  Scunthorpe and Hull Central in addition to a variety of specialist roles at Service Headquarters. His two most recent roles were as Group Manager responsible for the East Riding District and Group Manager responsible for Training before joining the Corporate Management Team in April 2016.

As Director of Emergency Response, Niall is responsible for the Service’s emergency response, the Service’s resilience planning, liaison with the region’s ports and ensuring the Service is able to effectively manage and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials. 

Director of Human Resources - Miriam Heppell

Miriam joined the Service in October 2016 after 15 years in the local  health sector and having also worked within HR in the private sector. Her most recent role was as Deputy Director of HR and Diversity at Humber NHS Foundation Trust which followed a six year stint as HR Manager at Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust.

As Director of Human Resources at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, Miriam is responsible for all areas of HR, organisational development and occupational health.

Director of Public Safety - Paul McCourt

Paul Joined Humberside Fire and Rescue Service in 1999 as a graduate and started in his first posting on Red Watch at Immingham in North East Lincolnshire. 

He has served across the Humberside region going on to undertake a variety of roles in the service including Training, Operations, Safety and Support functions. 

His two most recent roles were as Head of Function for the South Bank and Control Emergency Response​ and Public Safety Central Support before joining the Corporate Management Team in a temporary role in September 2017.  

Paul was appointed Director of Public Safety on 30 November 2017 and he is responsible for Community Safety, Business Safety and Road Safety, looking at the prevention of fires and the protection of the public. 


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