Fenella Morris KC appointed as Chair of Culture Review

Following a rigorous appointment process, the Independent Chairperson of the Culture Review within South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) has been confirmed as Fenella Morris King’s Counsel (KC).

Between the London Fire Brigade Culture Review and the airing of the ITV report on the outcomes of two historic discipline cases previously investigated by the Service, Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway QFSM announced that he would instigate an Independent Review of the Service’s culture.

In January, following a fact-finding period and convening of an Independent Appointment Panel, Blake Morgan Solicitors identified a long list of King’s Counsels (KCs) for consideration by the panel. The Independent Appointment Panel consisted of: Aliya Mohammed – CEO of Race Equality First; Rachel Williams – Founder of Stand Up To Domestic Abuse and domestic abuse survivor and Councillor Lis Burnett – Leader of Vale of Glamorgan Council. Steve Bradwick, Chair of South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority and the Chief Fire Officer attended in an advisory capacity only.

The Independent Appointment Panel met on 7 February 2023, and shortlisted six KCs. On 17 February 2023 the panel interviewed the shortlisted KCs. The appointment panel consisted of Rachel Williams and Councillor Lis Burnett; who were accompanied by Paula Kathrens, partner at Blake Morgan Solicitors. Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway was also available in an advisory capacity only and took no part in the decision-making process, with panel members Rachel Williams and Councillor Lis Burnett having sole responsibility for the appointment of the independent Chairperson.

On conclusion of their deliberations, the Independent Appointment Panel appointed Fenella Morris KC as the Independent Chairperson, to lead the Service’s review into the culture, discipline processes and historic discipline cases. Fenella has carried out sensitive investigations, most recently into UKAD’s Operation Blackout, was counsel to the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review and instructed in the Covid Inquiry. Fenella was awarded ‘Professional Discipline Silk of the Year’ at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021, and was The Times’ Lawyer of the Week, in July 2020.

At this time Fenella Morris KC anticipates the review will be completed by the end of this calendar year.