Academics are not the experts, managers are the experts but what fitting-in can do is to help managers to use their expertise.

Theory without practice is a waste - Practice without theory may just be dumb!

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This site contains a library of research on the fire service and explains our commercial service

The Library contains papers and dissertations that have been sent to us. If you and have a paper or dissertation that you would like us to publish or if you want to hear about our research service contact

Dr Sarah O'Connor and Dr Dave Baigent offer a free meeting to discuss their research and how they can work with you. Contact us 07802 495 329

Congratulations to Dr Sarah O'Connor. Sarah's PhD on fire service management is now complete - this is a unique piece of work that is evidence based and has much to add to the debate about modern fire service management. SARAH'S PhD NOW AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE   

Sarah's work sits alongside Dave's Phd One more last working class hero in providing an indepth and unique insight into the fire service.


Fire Magazine have published an article by Dave on the Grenfell Tower in their October 2017 edition.

This article drew attention to how firefighters reacted to the fire at Grenfell Towers - when faced with something they had not been formally trained for they used the experiential skills that each generation of firefighters had handed down informally for this 'out of book situation'.
In many ways the fire service had tried to regulate out the informal practices that firefighters had used over generations to teach the next cohort their experiential skills - but firefighter's informal culture is not so easily marginalised.

We are closely following the Grenfell Enquiry and working on producing a hands on, yet academic analysis. If you have any interest in contributing to this please contact




'Innocent Bias'

We note that the Thomas Review speaks about 'innocent bias' in relation to equality. Although we didn't use that term, our work in Sweden was all about raising and identifying this behaviour in a programme we led with the whole of the workforce in Räddningstjänsten Syd.


Our programme was called 'Stopping the drip.'

In simple terms, 'Stopping the Drip' was a very hands on and interactive awareness training based around questions about 'are you conscious of how your behaviour impacts on others?' . This was followed by working with the group to promote ways that people could speak out to challenge their colleagues in an appropriate manner.

Our catchphrase for challenging this type of behaviour was and remains 'what you don't condemn you condon'.



Innocent bias

In many ways 'innocent bias' is almost a sequel to the idea of 'institutional behaviour' raised following the Lawrence Enquiry. At that time the fire service followed a lead provided by Her Majesty's Inspector that suggested it was institutionally sexist. As a consequence the fire serive adopted an approach to overcome sexism by an 'acceptence' that sexist behaviour was less about the individual and more about how the institution set the tone for the behaviour of its workforce.

One outcome was the attempt to demiliatrise the fire service to make it more efficient and loose its masculine image by a process called 'Rank to Role' and IPDS. In regards to making the service more responsible to current political thought this was a success.

However, many firefighters resisted the idea that they had managers - prefering to think they were led rather than managed. This of course was a masculine agenda connected to the operational and this change to firefighter's culture was less successful.

One change that did work was the concentration on Community Fire Safety. Often reluctantly, firefighters have now seen the merits in this work.


If you would like to hear more please ring on 07802 495 329 or Email

The team at Fitting-in have extensive knowledge of working in and with the fire service, other industries and in academia.


Fitting-in specialises in producing action research for clients who want an 'outside' view on their organisation.

We look at old problems, new ideas and your culture - We provide fully supported answers!

Although our research is based on academic standards we do not live in an ivory tower - we are 'short on rhetoric and long on answers'.




Our three/four day snapshot audit allows for two researchers to meet with you to plan the research, spend three days researching and then provide an immediate verbal report back: a written report follows in seven days. Email now for further details or ring on 07802495328.

Examples can be provided from our work in Sweden, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Local Government Association, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire.

We also work with other organisations but to date this work remains confidential.


Fitting-in provides nut and bolts results that can be actioned by the experts – those managers chosen for their decision-making skills who deal with the thorny issues on the ground.


The team have presented their work at LGA annual conferences and working groups, in individual fire services, to representative bodies, to Standing Committees of the House of Commons, to the DCLG, at the fire service college.

There is also an extensive portfolio of papers presented to national and international academic and fire service conferences. Much of our research has been as the result of industry led commissions, some of this has been published and much of it remains confidential.

We continue to retain links based on our work with the New South Wales and Melbourne fire services and with the national and international scholars we have helped with their research.


Fitting-in offers two services:

Commercial consultancy service that draws on our extensive knowledge of workplace culture, resistance to change, equality matters and management.  

Free academic reference point through this website:

- where we publish submitted papers for other students to read

- and offer advice to people studying the fire service. Largely these people are undergraduate, masters and higher degree students from the fire service who we freely mentor and advise.

Our service is supported by more extensive training and projects on management, cultural understanding and equality.

Our widely acclaimed research that helps organisations to understand themselves is completed to academic standards. See for example our elite briefings workshops: A series of stand alone workshops to assist decision makers find some 'answers'.

All our training is research led.

Principally the team consists of Dr Dave Baigent (Phd, BA Hons, FHEA and FIFireE) and Dr Sarah O’Connor (PhD CertEd, BA Hons FDA). However, we are often assisted by an extensive network of people who have expertise in the fire service, wider industry and in academia. CV's

Dave's 17 years of working as a consultant on the fire service, and as an academic researching and lecturing on the fire service, other emergency services and industry is supported by his over 30 year's experience of working in the fire service. Recently Dave has been appointed Fellowship of the IFE (FIFireE) by Main Board nomination.   Sarah's experience from 15 years of consultancy work, supported by her research and lecturing on the fire service, is now extended by her PhD research on fire service managers/management at the University of Kent.

References: See what The Swedish Fire Service, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Fire Services, Swedish MSB and Tom Carroll (Past president of CFOA ) and others have said.

Fitting-in can provide a cultural audit that not only feeds back on attitudes in your service it also provides an outside view on how your organisation is thinking at all levels that is supported by recommendations for focussing change.This is what Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service had to say about the Ethos research, communications and training project:

"The Service are delighted with the research and reports produced by "Fitting-in. We believe that your original hypothesis and work undertaken in Merseyside has resulted in a ground breaking piece of work that can only serve to inform the wider fire and rescue communities." 

For further information or just to talk about what fitting-in can provide ring Dr Dave Baigent (FIFireE) 07802 495 329 or email

Academic theory without practice is a waste - practice without theory may just be dumb

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