Lincolnshire fire brigade tackling gender bias among new recruits
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The organisation is committed to making the service attractive to all underrepresented groups, including women.
Chief Fire Officer Mark Baxter, chairman of a new equality, diversity, and inclusion steering group, is leading the charge.
He told a public protection and communities scrutiny committee meetinger said, “There is still a cultural belief out there that fire amd rescue is a career for men only.
“We are absolutely committed to changing this. Fire and rescue is a career for absolutely everybody within our communities.”
A report before the council said there did “not appear to be institutionalised issues of poor behaviours such as misogyny, racism, or bullying”.
“However, it is clear there is no room for complacency and there are examples of where behaviours need to improve and be addressed,” it said.
There has recently been a national focus on culture within fire services, following recent reports of unacceptable behaviours in some.
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is assessing its recruitment and selection processes to understand where potential recruits are dropping out, or not progressing.
Changes have been made to enable more people to reach the interview stage, without compromising required standards.
However, Lincolnshire presents a unique challenge. Two-thirds of the workforce are on call and must live within five minutes of their station, limiting the pool of potential recruits.
The EDI steering group is managing an action plan to address areas of concern identified in an inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, an independent body which assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of police and fire services.
The HMICFRS recently issued a document on “values and culture in fire services” which resulted in 34 recommendations to be implemented by April.
Mr Baxter said getting the culture right would enable everyone to perform more effectively.
It includes the launch of an EDI training programme for all staff and established staff networks in areas such as LGBT+, women, neurodiversity and non-operational network.
The reports indicate LFR is making positive strides against the recommendations, with several items already completed.
The committee agreed to endorse the report and record their satisfaction with the service’s overall efforts.