BUCKINGHAMSHIRE FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE
Equality, diversity & inclusion
Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service (BFRS) is fully committed to equality and diversity. The Authority recognises that we must make fairness and inclusion fundamental to everything we do in order to achieve our vision of making Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes the safest areas in England in which to live work and travel.
We believe that a workforce which better reflects the diversity of the local working population will create a stronger, more enriched and well informed organisation, able to meet the expectations for a modern Fire and Rescue Service. This is a key aspect of our People Strategy. The Authority’s philosophy is to embed equality and diversity in everything we do internally and externally.
The Authority recognises that having a diverse flexible workforce which better reflects the community it serves can enhance performance and understanding of these diverse communities and improve our services to those communities.
To ensure that there is stakeholder scrutiny an EDI Advisory Group has been set up and convened. This group has direct access to Strategic Management Board (SMB) members and therefore have real voice and influence in EDI for the organisation.
The Advisory Group is made up of people with particular interest and understanding and supports and promotes inclusion and employee engagement within Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. The group and its members are liaising with all colleagues to develop a working environment where individual diversity is valued, creating an inclusive workplace free from discrimination. The group and its members support delivery of the Authority’s agreed objectives in equality and diversity and Inclusion (EDI).
Our aim is to maintain a skilled and committed workforce and to have a diversity of employees to more closely reflect the diverse communities we serve.
Our overall strategic objective is to employ the best people. We will do this by:
- Recruiting, engaging and retaining the most high-performing, highly motivated people regardless of race, age, sex, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy/maternity and marriage/civil partnership.
- Aiming, over time, to employ a workforce that is more representative of the County’s working-age population.
We recognise much more is needed to attract women and Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) employees into our service so station based employees have commenced a pilot project in Milton Keynes to engage these communities to promote the service as an employer of choice. The learns from this project will be fed back through our engagement forums with an aim of spreading good practice throughout Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.
In support of our workforce strategy we are developing a Recruitment Plan with a particular priority to attract and retain a diverse workforce by encouraging and actively promoting employment applications from all groups in the community.
Achieving diversity at senior levels is generally more challenging than sourcing diverse candidates for less senior positions. This highlights the importance of creating a talent pipeline which is inclusive.
Our local strategy is supported by national initiatives which we are fully engaged with. Example initiatives such as the National Fire and Rescue Service People Strategy is being finalised with the full in-put of our Personnel and Organisational Development Director and the National Joint Council for Fire and Rescue Services Inclusive Fire Service initiative has been supported and contributed to fully with the local Fire Bridges Union and our Equality Lead participation.
We carry out on-going communication and consultation with employee groups and Trade Union representatives. We will use the views and experiences of employees and respond sensitively to employees needs and to inform policy development.
We actively oppose all forms of discrimination in the workplace and seek to promote best practice initiatives wherever possible.
Engagement with the trade unions occurs on a regular basis via informal meetings and discussions and more formal meetings including the Joint Consultation Forum. EDI is a standing item at the Joint Consultation Forum and Trade unions and Employee Representatives are regularly consulted on new and updated policies and projects and engaged in equality analysis.
We aim to provide a safe and accessible working environment that values and respects the identity and culture of each person. We insist on a culture and working environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and violence.
We have four equality, diversity & inclusion objectives that map across the Fire and rescue service equality framework (FRSEF) Each objective is listed below with links to our actions to support the framework.
We aim to be an employer of choice, attracting, recruiting, retaining and developing staff from diverse backgrounds, to reflect the communities we serve.