Nottinghamshire wanted to evaluate candidate performance against the PQAs, but also factor in the newly developed organisational values into the assessment criteria.

Nottinghamshire used a multiple roleplay and in-box exercise supplied by VCA, in addition to internally developed presentation and interview exercises as an ADC. We adapted the inbox exercise to a report format as requested.

VCA worked with Nottinghamshire to evaluate their person specification and values framework to ensure the exercises were an accurate measure of requirements. We advised on integrating these exercises so there was consistency in criteria being measured and accuracy in the scoring frameworks used.

VCA administered psychometric testing for all candidates, compiling detailed results reports and delivering personal telephone feedback sessions. We supplied Occupational Psychologist assessors and professional role-players to facilitate the ADC process. The final stage was the compilation of full, detailed feedback reports for internal candidates, and an overview feedback for externals. The full reports included a Psychologists summary evaluation, key strength and development needs section, an in-depth discussion of ADC performance and a final section on ‘developmental planning’ with next steps signposted for use within role.

‘I was really impressed with the work some of the candidates had done on the back of the briefing sessions e.g. practising role play with their partners on long drives, and the one station where there appeared to be strong support for the group of ADC candidates there practising things together.’

Kathy De Beer, VCA Associate

Key outcomes:


  • Candidates were more comfortable with an FRS context for the ADC exercises

  • The exercises were aligned to organisational priorities and core values

  • We produced a document on ‘how we saved you money’ for Nottinghamshire FRS, based on the guidance offered and decisions made throughout the process

  • Combining internal and external elements of the assessment (Nottinghamshire) meant that best practice was achieved and client requirements were also met


Candidate feedback themes

  • All candidates commented that they appreciated the thoroughness of the ADC and felt they had been given the opportunity to show what they were capable of.

  • Well-structured and facilitated

  • Liked the FRS context

  • The Psychometrics were a useful part of process and the FRS used the reports to probe and explore in interviews.

“VCA worked with us on our requirements in terms of what areas we particularly wanted to assess the candidates in and linked it to our Organisational Values.

Their flexibility was particularly helpful- VCA allowed us to add and/or remove content (that was specific to our Service) at all stages throughout the process and until we were happy with our final product.

Their expertise in this field and knowledge of working with other Fire Services made VCA stand out as a service provider. We would recommend then and use them again because of their understanding of our requirements and their work in the Fire Sector”

Tracy Crump, Head of People and OD