Latest information about the Fire & Rescue Service’s most comprehensive behavioural assessment system for promotion.

After a short break over the summer (albeit one where we used the CPG for assessments from Watch Manager to CFO!) promotion activity ramps up this autumn. We have eight assessment projects booked with five FRS’s from Crew to Group Manager into November, but there’s space for more!

Who else can you assess?

The CPG works well from Crew to Strategic Manager, but did you know it has also been used to assess:

  • Business Managers

  • Area fire safety manager (SM)

  • Control staff
  • On-call

  • External candidates


  • Make sure you let us know the names of your candidates (and FRS if external). We keep a record to make sure no one completes the same exercise twice, ensuring all candidates are assessed on an even playing field.

  • On-Call Assessments- When we have a large enough sample size we will explore comparisons between this group and whole-time firefighters. Early indications there may be a slight difference in overall scoring trends, although it may not be significant.
  • We can re-design CPG exercises for support staff roles. The tasks remain similar but we change the context to be more suitable for non-operational staff.
  • Control staff perform to the same level as Firefighters, despite many of the contexts being Station based.

Assessors – in-house or external?

Our clients currently use VCA’s assessment team, but when an FRS has an internally trained resource and are keen to reduce spending, is there a different way to use the CPG? The answer is yes, FRS’s can use their internal assessing team in conjunction with the CPG, provided they bear in mind the following:

  • Systems training
    The CPG for assessors is straight-forward to use, although, like any new system training is needed. We can deliver on-line training in how to navigate through the scoring and evidence screens.
  • Assessor training
    Gathering evidence is the same, but the scoring system we developed is slightly different as it was designed to simplify results to be calculated as percentages.
  • Evidence training
    We use evidence to support the scores and then we amalgamate these comments into the statements which appear in the developmental feedback reports. So, one is for client use, one for candidate use.
  • Roleplaying
    Our assessors are also the role-players, but without a lot of experience, this can be a difficult balance to get right. At Group/Strategic Manager level we record the roleplay audio in case the assessor needs to reflect back. They don’t need to do this at Crew Manager-Station Manager levels as the scripts are more manageable in addition to note-taking, but at GM and Strategic levels the scripts are more in depth and require more attention, particularly when they are new. It may be of benefit to record all your RPs to help the assessors, although be mindful about having clear guidelines on how long to store these and who has access to avoid future problems. Also bear in mind, listening back to an audio to assess from will at least double the time the assessors will need to complete their marking.
  • Feedback reports creation
    Knowing how to trim the evidence and how to frame it in a way which a) is not too specific to the exercise (which most candidates will forget quickly) and b) will seem applicable to the real working environment and therefore be useful going forward, is a fine art, but one we can offer guidance on.
  • Timing
    It’s only cost effective if the assessments can be completed efficiently. Practice makes perfect, but allow for it taking 2 or 3 times longer for new CPG assessors to complete each assessment to start with.
  • Results
    Factor in the additional turn around time for results. Most FRS’s hold interviews after the CPG so you need to make sure there isn’t too much pressure if the interviews are booked too close.

There are new articles on ‘When a team works well, can you make it even better?‘ and ‘13 great communication behaviours leaders can demonstrate everyday’ which may be useful for your candidates to browse as part of their ongoing development activity.

Next feature:

Reviewing pre-promotional assessment briefing materials