FRS Equality Framework
We are very proud to have been rated 'Excellent' against the Fire and Rescue Service Equality Framework following a visit by a peer review team in November 2015. We are one of just a handful of fire and rescue services in the country to achieve the highest rating in this framework.
The peer team commended the successful positive action campaign carried out ahead of the wholetime firefighter recruitment process in 2015. The campaign resulted in five women being among the 21 successful candidates to join the Service at the end of last year after completing their training.
The assessors spoke positively about our development programme for non-management staff to gain new skills that will help them take the next rung up the career ladder if they choose that path.
They were also impressed by new initiatives such as Olive Branch training for voluntary sector organisations to help identify vulnerable residents at greater risk of fire, mental health first aid training and setting up new referral pathways with Red Cross, Age UK and others.
We recognise that receiving this status doesn't mean we are perfect but it rewards our staff’s efforts, commitment and achievements to date in this important area. We will continue to progress our work further, working with partners, community groups and staff.
Our journey to excellence
In 2009 we were rated as 'Achieving' and began a programme of work to improve in some of the areas flagged by the peer team as needing further development.
A reassessment was carried out in 2014 and although the peer team was impressed by the evidence they were presented with they felt the Service needed further improvement in a number of areas to reach 'Excellent'. Staff across the Service have been working hard since then to address the areas that needed strengthening, which included better equality monitoring of staff, further proactive work with the voluntary sector to identify vulnerable 'high risk' residents, and carrying out positive action to recruit more women firefighters and people from under-represented groups.
The peer team was invited back at the end of November 2015 and was awarded the ‘Excellent’ standard.