Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service is fully committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion for a modern fire and rescue service. As a public authority, we have an obligation to ensure that all staff are treated fairly and with respect taking into account the needs of people from different backgrounds. In order to fulfil our obligation, we have developed and implemented an Equality Scheme.
The Equality Scheme
Our Equality Scheme provides an overview of key equality objectives that we are working towards. It is effectively a strategy with a realistic action plan that outlines how we intend to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in what we do.
Our action plans to support the Equality Scheme are supported by a wide range of initiatives that are intended to deliver our objectives. We review our Equality Scheme and objectives annually and publish our progress on our external website as part of our equality annual reporting.
The Equality Scheme currently identifies the following groups to be underrepresented in our workforce:
- Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) – across the workforce
- People with disabilities – across the workforce
- Women – in operational roles
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) across the workforce
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service has developed specific initiatives to support and encourage people from the identified groups to consider careers within the Service.
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service runs and supports local, regional and national initiatives to increase the number of underrepresented groups in the workforce. The Service has developed a locally focused uutreach plan and undertakes Positive Action aimed at attracting applicants from underrepresented groups in our workforce.
Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI)
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service is a member of Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI). ENEI is a leading employer network promoting equality and inclusion in the workplace. ENEI covers all the nine protected characteristics with specific objectives to influence government, business and trade unions, while campaigning for real practical change.
Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA)
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service is a member of the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) and works closely with the association in order to promote equality in the fire and rescue services. AFSA is an independent, inclusive, employee-led support group with the aim to raise the profile of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic issues in the fire and rescue services.
Stonewall Diversity Champions
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service is a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champions and works closely with Stonewall in promoting Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) equality. The Service takes part in the Stonewall Annual Workplace Equality Index in order to be informed on its progress every year. We have devised a Stonewall Equality Action Plan to assist the service with promoting equality for LGB staff and service users.
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service has signed up to the Disability Confident Scheme which has replaced the two tick symbol. The Disability Confident scheme is designed to help employers in making the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people. The scheme was developed by employers and disabled people’s representatives.
We recognise that policies are not enough to tackle issues of bullying, harassment and discrimination. Therefore we are committed to providing suitable and adequate training to all employees, starting with a mandatory Introduction to Equality and Diversity Course which forms part of our induction. Training is also offered throughout the year on a range of equality (strands/characteristics) related topics.
The Equality and Wellbeing Forum – Driving Equality Through the Organisation
We have a dedicated forum that works to drive Equality and Diversity throughout everything we do. The forum is made up of volunteer employees from all levels of the organisation, who are committed to promoting equality and diversity. The group includes operational and support staff, men and women who offer a wealth of diverse experiences covering a range of backgrounds.
The Equality Act 2010 sets out, within a legal context, the requirements for public authorities to prepare and publish relevant equality information. The legislation places a duty on public bodies to eliminate unlawful discrimination across all protected characteristics, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a characteristic and those who do not. Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service will work towards building equality and diversity in respect of all protected characteristics which include:
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage and Civil Partnership
- Pregnancy and Maternity
- Sexual Orientation
- Religion or Belief
Equality and Fairness at Work Policy We believe that our Equality and Fairness at Work policy is of fundamental importance, and underpins all of our employment, management and service delivery policies and practices. Our “Dealing with Complaints of Harassment and Bullying Policy”, is aimed at ensuring that we create an environment which is free from harassment while encouraging everyone to treat colleagues with dignity and respect.