Examples of our work can be found here



Our experience and research, allows us to offer
 a free conversation with any Police or Fire Service wishing to improve
their understanding of the power of the culture mentioned in the recent cultural reviews.
There is also some new research published by FBU


Our contention is that these reviews have largely missed the power of the informal (masculine) culture. 


A culture which is both positive and negative and greatly influences ‘how things are done around here‘.  


An attitude that may be recognised by officers/managers.



Fitting-in has developed a way to work with organisations to help them understand how the informal culture works.


Would you like to hear about it?  Our first visit and conversation with any service is free. 


Dr. Sarah Baigent    BA (Hons) PGCE PhD  

       Dr. Dave Baigent   BA (Hons) FHEA. FIFireE PhD



07802 495329



This site contains

  • Library of uniformed service research.
  • An explanation of our commercial service.

Dr Sarah O’Connor and Dr Dave Baigent have been researchers, consultants and trainers on the Fire and Rescue Service since 2001: earlier Dave was a firefighter for over 30 years and a FIFireE. We specialise in providing snapshot cultural audits of uniformed service and workshops to discuss culture.  We offer a free meeting to discuss how we can work with you. Contact us 07802 495 329

Sarah’s PhD on fire service management 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 thesis sits alongside Dave’s Phd One more last working class hero, which provides an in-depth understanding  and unique insight into the uniformed services.  The thesis is hands on and is ground breaking in recognising the positive and negative outcomes of informal culture (includes analysis of why this happens, on an international basis in all uniformed services, and why senior managers have difficulty in recognising that such a culture can exist).

The Library contains our work, and papers and dissertations that have been sent to us. If you would like to hear about how we offer free support for your research, or  have a paper or dissertation that you would like us to publish – contact or ring 07802 495329

Links to current publications

National Fire Chiefs Council:  Cultural Action Plan for UK Fire and Rescue Services.  (July 2023)

Met Police:  An independent review into the standards of behaviour and internal culture of the Metropolitan Police Service.  (March 2023) Baroness Casey of Blackstock DBE CB.

FRS:  Values and Culture in the Fire and Rescue Services.  (March 2023) His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

LFB:  Independent Culture Review of London Fire Brigade (November 2022) Nazir Afzal OBE

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 offer free mentoring and advice.

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 can be assisted by an extensive network of people who have expertise in the fire service, wider industry and in academia. CV’s

Dave’s 20 year’s plus working as a consultant on uniformed culture, and as an academic researching and lecturing on the public uniformed service, and industry is supported by his over 30 year’s experience of working in the fire service. Dave is a Fellow of the Institute of Fire Engineers (FIFireE) by Main Board nomination.

Sarah’s experience from 17 years of consultancy work, supported by her research and lecturing on the fire service, is now extended by her PhD on FRS managers/management from the University of Kent.

Sarah and Dave 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 and 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 Swedish, New South Wales and Melbourne fire services and with the national and international scholars we have helped with their research.
If you would like some help with research or you have some to share in our library, get in touch.

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 that we led with the whole of the workforce in Räddningstjänsten Syd.


In many ways ‘innocent bias’ is almost a sequel to the idea of ‘institutional behaviour’ raised by the Lawrence Enquiry.
At that time the fire service followed a lead provided by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector who suggested the fire service was institutionally sexist. As a consequence, the fire service adopted an approach that sexist behaviour was less about the individual and more about how the institution set the tone for the behaviour of its workforce. The idea of taking collective blame was relatively successful because it avoided pointing fingers at individuals.
One outcome was the attempt to demilitarise the fire service to reduce its masculine image.  Officers became managers through ‘Rank to Role’ and IPDS.
Many firefighters did not accept the idea that they were led by managers  and today fire services are reverting back to having officers.
One idea that has eventually started to work and which has changed the culture, was the introduction of  Community Fire Safety.
This was not an easy move for firefighters, but gradually, once reluctant firefighters, began to see the merits in this work and it is now an entrenched and ‘supported’ part of the culture.

However, many firefighters resisted the idea that they had managers – prefering to think they were led rather than managed. This masculine agenda, connected to the operational, but now that the culture has changed to accept community fire safety, it could just be that there is something to gain by listening to their argument


An example of our work, from the four years we worked with the Swedish Fire Service

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 designed for the Swedish Fire Service and 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 condone‘.

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 SwedenMerseysideSouth YorkshireLocal Government AssociationNorthamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. We also work with other organisations but to date this work remains confidential.