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Strategic Leadership Team

The Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) 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 joined the Service as a Firefighter and was located at Central Fire Station in Hull in 1993, before progressing his career to become Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive in 2017.

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

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. 

Within his role as Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Executive Director of Service Delivery, Phil is responsible for Service Delivery, which includes Emergency Response and Public Safety. He is also responsible for Service Delivery Support and People and Development Directorates. 


Executive Director of Corporate Services and Section 151 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 Corporate Services and Section 151 Officer, he has direct responsibility for the Service’s Finance function along with overall responsibility for the areas managed by the Director of Service Improvement.

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 Delivery Support - Steve Topham

Steve joined the Service in 1995 and his first posting was on Red Watch at Cromwell Road fire station in Grimsby, going on to undertake a variety of roles throughout the Service covering both operational, safety and support functions. 

He was promoted to the role of Director in September 2015 and in March 2019, Steve became Director of Service Delivery Support and he is responsible for Public Safety Central Support, Emergency Preparedness, ICT, Fleet and Equipment, Estates, ESFM, Water, Stores, and our Service Support Centre.

Director of People and Development - Miriam Heppell

Miriam joined the Service as Director of Human Resources 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. 

In March 2019, Miriam's role changed to Director of People and Development and she is responsible for all areas of HR, Organisational Development, Occupational Health and all training.

Director of Service Delivery - Paul McCourt

Paul joined Humberside Fire and Rescue Service in 1999 and started in his first posting on Red Watch at Immingham West fire station. 

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. 

Paul was promoted to the role of Director in November 2017 and in March 2019 he became Director of Service Delivery, and he is responsible for Emergency Response from our 31 fire stations, Public Safety across all four Local Authorities and Fire Service Control Room. 

Director of Service Improvement - Niall McKiniry

Niall joined the Service in 1995 and has served at various fire stations including Bridlington, East Hull, Scunthorpe and Hull Central in addition to a variety of specialist roles at Service Headquarters. 

He was promoted to the role of Director in April 2016 and in March 2019 he became Director of Service Improvement. Niall is responsible for Programme Management, Operational Assurance, Performance (including HMICFRS), Safety Health, and Environment, Corporate Communications and Governance.