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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

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.

Equality, diversity and inclusion strategy

It is our philosophy that we will embed equality, diversity, fairness and inclusion into everything that we do. We view this as fundamental in order to achieve our vision of making Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes the safest areas in England in which to live, work and travel.

Our commitment:

  • We are fully committed to equality and diversity.
  • We recognise that having a diverse, flexible workforce can enhance performance and understanding of our communities and improve our services.
  • We believe that a workforce, which better reflects the diversity of the local public, will create a stronger, more enriched and well-informed organisation, able to meet the expectations of a modern fire and rescue service. This is a key aspect of our People Strategy.
  • To ensure stakeholder scrutiny and support our commitment to and delivery of our objectives, we have established structured groups which include managers, employees, trade union and staff representatives throughout the Service, which support and promote inclusion and engagement.
  • Our values incorporate honesty and trust, treating each other fairly and with respect, in an environment which expects cooperation and inclusive teamwork, free from any prejudice and discrimination.

Our aim

Our aim is to maintain a skilled and committed workforce which more closely reflects the diverse communities we serve.

An 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 working-age population of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

We recognise much more is needed to attract women and black and minority ethnic (BME) employees into our Service. Station based employees have started a pilot project in Milton Keynes to engage these communities and promote us as an employer of choice. Learning points from this project will be fed back through our engagement forums to help share good practice.

A Recruitment Plan is being developed to support our workforce strategy. A priority of this plan is 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 with which we are fully engaged. For example, our People and Organisational Development Director is helping to develop and finalise the new National Fire and Rescue Service People Strategy, and our local Fire Bridges Union and Equality Lead Officer have participated and supported the National Joint Council for Fire and Rescue Services Inclusive Fire Service initiative.

We also aim to provide a safe and accessible working environment that values and respects the identity and culture of each person, and seek to promote best practice initiatives wherever possible.

Employee Engagement

We carry out on-going communication and consultation with employee groups and Trade Union representatives. We use the views and experiences of employees to inform policy and procedure development and respond sensitively to employee needs.

Engagement with the trade unions and staff representatives occurs on a regular basis through formal and informal meetings and discussions. These include our Joint Consultation Forum at which EDI is a standing item, and where employee representatives are regularly consulted on new and updated policies, procedures and projects, and are engaged in equality analysis.

Our objectives 2016-2020

We have four equality, diversity and 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.

Objective 1:

To be an employer of choice, attracting, recruiting, retaining and developing staff from diverse backgrounds, to reflect the communities we serve.

Objective 2:

To provide a more diverse range of service to better protect the communities we serve

Objective 3:

Our employment offer will be inclusive and embrace flexibility to support improved diversity representation across the service.

Objective 4:

Our culture will engage and value diversity and difference, to enhance our service offering to the public.

Our progress towards these objectives can be found in the following reports:

EDI Year One Update : available to download below

EDI Year Two Update : available to download below