Specialists in bespoke training and research
Use our cultural expertise to understand, improve and change your workplace culture. Specialists in masculine workplaces. Research, training and consultancy in all masculine workplaces including police and fire service with a particular emphasis on formal and informal cultures, modernisation, entreprenerial thinking, change management, resistance, racism, sexism and equality.   Women fire fighters, women in the fire service police, policing and equality in the police and fire service - the fitting-in website where academia and the fire service can meet to discuss fire service culture and other matters- a resource for research and consultancy for the fire and rescue service and firefighters and police and policing- Organised by Dr Dave Baigent this site provides a place to share and publish your own research, to look at what others have written about the fire and police service and to ask about our commercial offerings.


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!


Congratulations to Dr Sarah O'Connor on the successful completion of her Viva for her PhD on Fire Service Management

The fitting-in site is here to promote our business and to help researchers and people who have an interest in the fire service - scroll down to find out about our commercial offering or go to our free academic reference point.

The team at Fitting-in have extensive knowledge of working in and with the fire service, ocassionaly other industries and in academia. We have specific expertise on employment in masculine organisations - particularly the fire service and the police.

I set out to improve the police and fire service by writing and leading the two Public Service Degrees at Anglia Ruskin University. These degrees, which aim at students who want to join uniformed public services (primarily the police), are now offered at Cambridge, Peterborough and Harlow.


Fitting-in comprises of two senior trainers/researchers/lecturers with considerable experience of the fire service and academia.

Sarah O'Connor(BA Hons. PGCE) who has recently passed her Viv for her PhD on fire service management.

Dave Baigent(FIFire E. FHEA. BA Hons. PhD) whose PhD on uniformed service culture and the process of fitting-in transformed understandings about informal cultures operating in uniformed public services.

We have worked in the UK and internationally for over 14 years. This has particularly involved helping fire services to understand their cultures. During this time we have published a number of research based reports on management and culture in the fire service AND we write from our own research.

WE SPECIALISE IN THREE AREAS, CULTURAL AUDITS, EQUALITY AND HELPING ORGANISATIONS TO UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES THROUGH RESEARCH, DISCUSSION AND TRAINING - all our work is researched based AND our hands on approach allows us to talk to and work with the fire service on its own terms.

OUR argument is that it is difficult for an organisation to study or change itself: there are too many agendas at play because managers and unions are part of the politics of the organisation. Our offering is to work with you to help you understand your organisation and implement practical solutions.

We have no agenda other than delivering what we are asked to do.

Our Research in your organisation
Fitting-in offers an outside view by two researchers with PhD level experience of researching the fire service, plus over 13 years of very real and grounded experience from working with managers, firefighters, support staff, politicians and the FBU. One of our researchers, Dave, also has over 30 years of experience as an operational firefighter and manager.

We look at old problems, new ideas and your culture - We provide fully supported answers and analysis, and can work with you on implementation.


This website is currently being re-written but it is still functional



2015 Independent Cultural Review of Essex

It was brave of ECFRS to publish this report and it is difficult not to feel sorry for all of their employees

Fitting-in would like to offer our assistance to ECFRS so that they can fully understand their report and move forward - this is the sort of thing our expertise can help with.

September 2015 Dave is finalising two chapters for books on disaster and gender and Sarah is completing her PhD





The final conference on the exciting Fire Station for all Project to encourage the employment of women as firefighters (or Brandmen as the Swedish people call them) has taken place. Over 250 people attended and i was able to contribute to five of the sessions. There will be a report from the academic who has overseen the project shortly

My involvement with the Swedish Government since 2009 has led to the concept of 'a fire station for all' - follow the link to the report that started this project.

I have been involved in all the conferences associated with this project, and in delivering the training programme for the whole Malmo fire service.

The "En brandstation för all" project has seen us working with the Swedish Government and Fire Service to help with the introduction of women into their fire service

Dave receives a recommendation from CFO of RSYD

Fittiing-in have now completed their training programme with all the staff at RSYD. This package involves an extremely interactive workshop on equality and has been enoromously successful. We are now ready to deliver it anywhere in the world. Contact us for further details.

This programme goes alongside a number of other deliveries to RSYD, in Sweden more generally and though the government. The latest of these was presenting at three workshops at the MSB conference in Stockholm 17th - 18 September 2013. See also

Fitting-in has also been involved in the Gender and Emergency Services Project 2010-2015 at Karlstad University where Dave now holds Research Fellow status: see press release for talk at Karlstad)

The whole programme has developed from an original idea by Dave that featured in the Swedish Government Report on equality and has developed into "En brandstation för all" 2012 (a fire station for all) at Räddningstjänsten Syd.

From our Swedish experience we have worked up a real life programme providing strategies to fire services and employees so that they can challenge harassment and ask the questions so many want to ask but have yet to find a safe enough environment to do so. Fitting-in provides that environment.

These interactive workshops have also provided an environment for people to share their concerns and to develop their awareness.

At each workshop we have learnt something new and added it to the programme!



See a wider explanation of our work in Sweden


The four pictures below show us working in Sweden and Australia




Why not try a Snapshot Audit to look at an existing problem or a plan for the future?

First we will meet with you, discuss your needs and agree our research plan.
If our plan is accepted then our snapshot audit allows for two researchers to provide three days of research and an immediate verbal report back: a written report follows in seven days.

Our research team have PhD level experience of the fire service and post doc experience of researching in the fire service

Email now for further details or ring on 07802 495 328 to chat to Dave about what we can do for you.

Examples can be provided from our work in Sweden, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Local Government Association, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. We have also carried out research in Australia.

We also have extensive knowledge of training and we have produced a national audit of initial training in England and a report of research that followed a group of trainees through their whole initial training.

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

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

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 offered their work at LGA annual conferences and working groups, in individual fire services, to Standing Committees of the House of Commons, to the DCLG, at the fire service college and worked with the FBU.

Dave also has a very real experience of working in the fire service for over 30 years.


Fitting-in has just completed its 13th year and we recieved the following message from Greg Mullins who is the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue, New

South Wales (including Sydney).

Congrats on 13 years of "fitting in" Dave.

Your work still resonates with us in Sydney. Yesterday I trawled through your original paper to get material (suitably ascribed of course) for a presentation I'm doing in Canberra this Friday at the annual Women in Firefighting conference. My premise will be that all of the fire service talk in Australia re diversity and inclusiveness, including mine, is empty rhetoric. We've made very little progress and without affirmative action we probably never will. I intend (it looks like, with FBEU support!) having 50/50 recruitment for at least the next few years. The government also looks like it will back me in.

I don't know whether you were aware of our "annus horribilis" in 2010? 8 months of media scrutiny of historical work[place initiation rites and assaults etc. It led to some good reforms and changes, and was a wakeup call to the "boys' club". Some recent issues have made me realize though that the male culture and machismo is SO entrenched, that the only way to change it is to actually do something to change the mix.

A long diatribe, but I wanted to know that your work with us lives on and you still inspire me.

Best regards





Internationally we are working on a five year research project for the MSB in Sweden and the Swedish Fire Service. 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 that 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, change management and management.

- Free academic reference point through this website:

- where we publish submitted papers for other students to read

- and are prepared to comminicate with 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 widely acclaimed research, which helps organisations to understand themselves, is completed to academic standards.

We only offer training that is research led.

The fitting-in team

Principally the team consists of Dr Dave Baigent (Phd, BA Hons, FHEA and FIFireE) and Sarah O’Connor (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. In 2012 Dave has been appointed Fellowship of the IFE (FIFireE) by Main Board nomination.

Sarah's experience from 10 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.

To find out more about our services read on or contact us.


Kerry Baigent It is impossible not to provide details on the recent finding by an employment tribunial judge that found in favour of Kerry Baigent's constructive dismissal claim again Cambridge Fire and Rescue Service. At this moment it is enought to say that the judge ruled that the decision was illogical and perverse, done behind closed doors, using the wrong information, with no consultation and was entirely without transparency. link to a growing band of literature on this constructive dismissal.

If you would like to comment on this constructive dismissal either anonymously, in private or for public consumption pleaes Email




Home -- 'A fire station for all' and other Swedish Work
Recent index of contributions on fire service matter -- Older index of contributions
Workshops on fire service culture and equality -- Educational Workshops -- Consultancy
Elite briefing/workshops --- Academic Reference Point -- Are you big enough to stand a snapshot cultural audit from fitting-in -- Cultural Audits ---- Audit Commission Report   'Rising to the Challenge' -- Snapshot Audits -- Research -- Problem solving by  fitting-in -- Support for degrees and masters qualifications -- Work completed over the years -- Impact AssessmentsEquality Action Plan
Labour Government's Equality and Diversity Strategy
One Decade On - Survey on women firefighters
C&LG firefighters survey 08
Draft papers for reading
Main Index
Contact us
Some things from Australia on equality
Melbourne DiversityConference
CV & References
Have you seen Ethos?
Audit Commission on equality
How do I send my writing to fitting-in for publication
What does fitting-in publish
How do I do research - some basic tips
Writing a bibliography
Reports from Government
Diversity Strategy
Contact us
Synopsis of papers on Open Government

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

Site under reconstruction 7-4-14 please contact us with any errors

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