Service Leadership Team

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is overseen by Cheshire Fire Authority and led by our Service Leadership Team, with our Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive at the helm. There are 11 members of the Service Leadership Team all of whom can be contacted by calling 01606 868700:

Alex Waller

Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive

Alex is responsible for leading and directing the strategic management of the Service. He works closely with the Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority and local and national strategic partners, and ensures the Service’s activities are carried out with maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

Lee Shears

Lee Shears

Deputy Chief Fire Officer

Lee is responsible for the strategic and operational delivery of the Blue Light Collaboration with Cheshire Police, as well as service improvement, organisational performance and prevention and protection. He ensures that Service activity is aligned with the His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) requirements. Lee deputises for the Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive as necessary. He is also the senior sponsor for the Service’s Limitless women’s network.

Neil Griffiths

Assistant Chief Fire Officer

Neil is responsible for providing strategic leadership to shape and direct service provision through operational response, policy and planning, training, assurance and health and safety. The Heads of Service Delivery and Operational Policy and Assurance report directly to Neil, who also deputises for the Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive and the Deputy Chief Fire Officer when required. Neil is the senior sponsor for the Service’s Divergence (neurodiversity) staff inclusion network.

Andrew Leadbetter

Director of Governance (Monitoring Officer)

Andrew is Cheshire Fire Authority’s Monitoring Officer and provides guidance on matters of law, decision making, risk mitigation and governance to ensure that the Authority operates within the law and in accordance with constitutional and/or statutory requirements. He is also responsible for the governance and executive support teams.

Steve Barnes

Head of Service Delivery

As Area Manager for Service Delivery, Steve has overall responsibility for front-line emergency response. This includes the management of the Service’s 28 fire stations across the four local authority areas (Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington). He reports directly to the Assistant Chief Fire Officer. Reporting to Steve are three Service Delivery Managers who lead on tactical partnerships in each local authority area.

Steve McCormick

Head of Prevention and Protection 

The Area Manager for Prevention and Protection, Steve is responsible for ensuring non-residential premises comply with fire safety legislation (protection) and for fire safety in the wider community and specifically within the home (prevention). The protection team also educates business, campaigns for sprinklers and investigates the causes of fires. The prevention team also works to reduce the impact of deliberate fires on the community, improve road safety, operates the Safety Central life skills centre and delivers programmes for children and young people. Steve reports to the Deputy Chief Fire Officer.

Tony O'Dwyer

Head of Operational Policy and Assurance 

Tony is our Area Manager for Operational Policy and Assurance and is responsible for providing effective operational and incident command training to our firefighters. This responsibility includes the development of operational policies, plans and procedures. Fleet management, technical services and health, safety and well-being also sit within Tony’s department. He reports to the Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

Carmine Rabhani

Head of People and Development

Carmine is the Service’s strategic human resources lead and is responsible for a range of people-related services including pay and pensions, leadership development, recruitment and HR business partnership. Carmine started working for the Service in 2011 and was appointed to his current post in October 2022. He reports to the Assistant Chief Fire Officer and is the senior sponsor for the Service’s Race, Equality and Cultural Heritage (REACH) staff inclusion network.

Mark Shone

Head of Communications and Engagement

Mark has strategic responsibility for ensuring the communities of Cheshire, colleagues and partners are engaged and informed about the Service’s work, performance and priorities. His department comprises four functions: communications and campaigns; engagement and events; digital, visual and social media; and equality, diversity and inclusion. Mark reports to the Deputy Chief Fire Officer and is the senior sponsor for the Service’s Firepride LGBT+ inclusion network.

Neil McElroy

Head of Service Improvement (Temporary)

Neil, an area manager, leads all aspects of planning, performance and strategic choice. This includes the delivery of service improvement reviews, the HMICFRS action plan, station modernisation programme, Fire Cover Review and the development of the next four-year Community Risk Management Plan. He also has oversight of the Blue Light Collaboration and is the strategic sponsor for the Service’s environmental portfolio. Neil reports to the Deputy Chief Fire Officer.

James Cunningham

Head of Finance (Treasurer/Section 151 Officer)

As Section 151 Officer, James has overall responsibility for the Fire Authority’s financial affairs, as required by the Local Government Act 1972. The role has a number of statutory duties including reporting any unlawful financial activity or where expenditure is not kept within available resources. As part of the annual budget setting process, James has a statutory duty as Treasurer to report on the robustness of the estimates produced and the adequacy of the proposed financial reserves. He must also ensure compliance with all statutory requirements for the preparation and publication of annual financial statements.

Joint Corporate Services

Here are the heads of the joint corporate services teams for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Constabulary: 

David Bryan

Stephen McGlade

Head of Estates

Stuart Rogers

Head of Information and Technology

Last updated: Thursday, 1 February 2024