Evaluating the New Dimension Programme

30 October 2009
By Michael Spackman et al.

A NERA team was charged with assessing the benefits realized by the New Dimension Programme (NDP), which provides the UK Fire and Rescue Service with new capabilities to respond to major and unpredictable events caused by terrorism or natural disasters, such as flooding or earthquakes. The NDP delivered new specialist equipment, such as mass decontamination structures, and provided training and procedures to FRS staff.

NERA's work was commissioned by Communities and Local Government (CLG), the UK government department responsible for the NDP.

NERA analyzed records of incidents in which the new capabilities were deployed, and undertook a series of in-depth interviews. The team then developed a bottom-up approach to estimating the efficiency gains realized by the Fire and Rescue Service as a result of the NDP. NERA studied a sample of incidents in greater detail in order to assess the net economic, social, and environmental benefits delivered by the capabilities, including impacts on casualties, pollution, and wider disruption.

This study, conducted at an early stage in the development of these new capabilities, makes important recommendations to CLG for improving the recording of data relating to the NDP, and establishes methodologies for the NDP's subsequent evaluation.