Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – Members

Members of the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have been announced by Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham.

They will work closely with the Chair Pat Watters and Chief Officer Alasdair Hay to oversee, support and challenge the SFRS and ensure smooth transition to the new single service, which will go live on April 1, 2013.

The members will be: Bob Benson, James Campbell, Kirsty Darwent, Marieke Dwarshuis, Michael Foxley, Robin Iffla, Bill McQueen, Sid Patten, Neil Pirie, Grant Thoms and Martin Togneri.

All members have been appointed for four years and will take up post in October 2012.

Pat Watters was appointed Chair of the SPA on August 31, 2012.

Ms Cunningham said:

“Scotland’s fire and rescue services are already performing strongly and, against a tough financial backdrop, the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will enhance the vital frontline services communities across Scotland depend on while offering a unique opportunity to do more.

“These first members of the SFRS, under the leadership of the Chair and working closely with the Chief Officer, have a crucial role to play. They will ensure a smooth transition to the new service, and ensure all communities in Scotland enjoy the many benefits a single service offers – including a designated Senior Officer for each area and access to specialist expertise and equipment whenever and wherever it is needed.”

Mr Watters said:

“I am delighted to welcome these first Members of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – together, we will be a strong and committed team supporting the Chief Officer in shaping and delivering the new single service. As the national voice on fire and rescue, this is an historic opportunity for us to ensure the new service delivers for communities across Scotland.

“Partnership will be at the heart of everything we do. We will work closely together with local government, unions, other emergency services and, of course, local communities to deliver a service we can all be proud of.

“Finances are tight, but I am confident that we can deliver a quality service for Scotland’s communities. With the efficiencies a single service brings, I also believe it can be delivered at less cost. The hard work starts now – but we are all up for the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

The legislation allowed for 11 to 15 people, including the Chair, to be appointed to the SFRS – further Members will be added in due course.

There is an expected time commitment of 10-15 days per month up to April 1, 2013, after which it will be no more than 10 days per month for the first full year. The remuneration rate is a daily fee of £280.

These appointments are regulated by the Public Appointments Commissioner for Scotland.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.


Mr Benson is a former Scotland Director of the Disability Rights Commission, Executive Director for Community Development in England and Wales with Scope, and Director of Disability Scotland. He was also the Scottish representative on the UK Disability Rights Task Force and a member of the Disability Employment Advisory Committee (DEAC). Mr Benson recently stood down from the Scotland and Disability Committees at the Equality and Human Rights Commission after serving two terms.

He is currently a trustee of the Scottish Community Foundation, Chair of their Innovation and Impact Committee and is serving a second term as a member of the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) (£1,200 per annum).


Mr Campbell has extensive knowledge of partnership working at the strategic level with government, local authorities, health, police, the third sector and the private sector. His  fire service career spanned 36 years with three different services and includes taking command of Fife and Lothian & Borders as Chief Officer. Mr Campbell was awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal in 2004. 


Ms Darwent has wide ranging leadership experience within the charitable and voluntary sector and an academic background in systemic psychotherapy. She is a member of the Board of NHS Ayrshire and Arran ( £8,008 per annum) and a member of the Midwifery Committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Committee (£260 per day).

POLITICAL ACTIVITY – Stood as a candidate, canvassed on behalf of a party or candidate and obtained office as a local councillor (South Ayrshire – Labour).


Currently Director of Consumer Focus Scotland. Her career in Scotland spans over 20 years in the public and voluntary sector in a wide range of roles including positions at the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, the Scottish Government, Citizens Advice Scotland and Shelter Scotland.

Ms Dwarshuis is currently a member of the Scottish Government’s Making Justice Work Programme Board, and has been a member of the Communities Scotland Regulation Board, and the Executive Committee of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.


Dr Foxley and his family live on a working croft in Lochaber in the West Highlands. A recently retired GP, he is now an active member of the Highland NHS Board and Chair of West Highland College UHI. Dr Foxley is a member of NHS Highland (£8,008 per annum).

POLITICAL ACTIVITY – Obtained office as local councillor (Lib Dem, Highland Council) and served as a Highland Councillor for 26 years – the last four as Council Leader. Stood down in May 2012 but still a Liberal Democrat member.


Mr Iffla is currently a director of an Equality and Diversity Training Company which delivers training and facilitation to public, private and third sector organisations. With over 30 years of public service, he has worked in local authorities, served as a police officer and equalities officer and consultant in the fire and rescue service.


Mr McQueen was formerly the Deputy Chief Executive at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and has previously held senior posts in policy and delivery at the Scottish Government. He has experience from membership of the Scottish Government Emergency Action Team and Civil Contingencies Group.

Mr McQueen is currently a member of the Accounts Commission for Scotland ( £6,216 per annum), a Non Executive Director of Disclosure Scotland ( £215 per day), a Lay Member of Employment Tribunal (Scotland) (£174 per day) and a Member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board (£212 per day).


Mr Patten has held senior executive positions in both the public sector (Local Authority and NHS) and private sector (Construction and House Building Industries). As a Non-Exec, he has experience of working with Board members, executive staff and stakeholders of public and charitable bodies on the challenges of fiscal contraction and the process of change.

Mr Patten is Deputy Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage (£282 per day) and a member of the Scottish Housing Regulator (£8,372 per annum).


Mr Pirie spent five years as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen after qualifying  in 1985,  before embarking on a career in investment management. As a fund manager he worked for Aberdeen Asset Management before joining Dunedin Fund Managers.  In 1996 he was helped set up a new investment business which was to become the platform for New York-based BlackRock Inc’s Edinburgh operation.


Mr Togneri began his career in the computer industry and subsequently spent fourteen years in inward investment promotion work at home and overseas, serving in a senior European market development role for Cadence Design Systems in the late 1990's. He was the founding Chief Executive of Scottish Development International in 2000 prior to becoming Dean of the Caledonian Business School at Glasgow Caledonian University from 2007 to 2009. Since 2010 he has been a member of the Board of Skills Development Scotland (£6,240 per annum) as well as an adviser to the e-learning company, CogBooks.


Mr Thoms is director of a media relations and public affairs consultancy specialising in renewable energy projects and a part-time lecturer in public relations at Edinburgh Napier University. He has worked in the private, public and voluntary sectors in areas such as hotels, social work with ex-offenders, credit unions and political campaigning. 

Mr Thoms has served on the boards of Glasgow Housing Association, Unity Homes Housing Association, Glasgow North East Community Planning Partnership, City Parking (Glasgow) LLP and currently serves as Treasurer of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Scotland.

POLITICAL ACTIVITY – Acted as a political agent, spoken on behalf of a party or candidate, canvassed on behalf of a party or helped at elections, held office such as chair, treasurer or secretary of a local branch or party, stood as a candidate and was an elected member of Glasgow City Council from May 2007 – May 2012 (SNP). Mr Thoms is standing down from the National Executive Committee of SNP.


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