Representing: Isle of Wight Council
Political grouping: Independent
Isle of Wight born and bred, Ian took early retirement from BT. He then started an independent communication consultancy, until he was elected as a Liberal Democrat Councillor on the Isle of Wight Council in 2001, after which he started the family bed/furniture business.
In May 2005 Ian was re-elected as an Independent Councillor, and successfully retained his seat in subsequent local elections. He was Leader of the Council between 2013 and 2015. In September 2014 Ian was appointed as the Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism & Sport Board.
In September 2017 Ian was appointed as the Chair of the LGA’s Fire Services Management Committee (FSMC) and Fire Commission. FSMC and Fire Commission represent, as LGA bodies, the views and concerns of the fire community in England, ensuring that local circumstances have a voice in the national context. They also take the lead on behalf of the LGA on the future direction of the fire and rescue service, improvement within the sector and on all other day-to-day issues affecting fire authorities.
Ian took on the fire brief at a crucial time for the sector, being just months after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower. This terrible event has dominated the work of the Committee in the ensuing years and will continue to do so for some time to come, with the official Public Inquiry not expected to complete until 2022.
2017 also saw Fire & Rescue Services come under the remit of the new HMICFRS (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) with the aim of improving their effectiveness, efficiency and professionalism. The first inspections of services took place in 2019 and the recommendations from the first State of Fire & Rescue Services report have guided much of FSMC’s work.
Under Ian’s watch, FSMC has also taken a lead on improving diversity and inclusion within the sector, an issue identified by the Inspectorate as needing improvement in many services. The Diversity & Inclusion Champions Network was established in 2019 and is chaired by the FSMC’s Vice-Chair and London’s Deputy-Mayor for Fire & Resilience, Fiona Twycross AM.
Ian also sits on the Home Office Senior Sector Group, which puts the case for a fair funding settlement for Fire & Rescue Services from the Treasury; the Firefighters' Pensions (England) Scheme Advisory Board; and the National Joint Council for Local Authority Fire & Rescue Services.