The disability provisions of the Equality Act 2010 apply to Firefighters. This means anyone who considers themselves to have a disability can apply to join the fire and rescue service. A disability is defined by the Act as:
“Anyone who has a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”
We ask all employees if they have a disability as part of the recruitment process. They are asked to give details of the type of adjustments they may require in order to take part in the selection process for the role they are applying for, and also any adjustments they may require in order to fulfil the role if they are successful.
Each case will be considered on an individual basis and, if reasonable adjustments can be made to enable an applicant to take part in the selection process and fulfil the role they are applying for, then their application will be progressed and the adjustments made.
This is the same for anyone applying for a role as a Firefighter. Some answers to commonly asked questions relating to equality, diversity and inclusion can be found in our FAQs section and On-Call Firefighter section.
Firefighters and Dyslexia
Dyslexia is considered to be a disability, and often potential applicants are concerned it will impact on their ability to cope with the online psychometric and ability tests that form part of our Firefighter application process. However, if an applicant indicates they are dyslexic as part of the recruitment process, we can make reasonable adjustments at the relevant stages of the selection process.
In these situations, we normally ask for a report to confirm the type and extent of the dyslexia, and this information is sent to our Occupational Health Practitioner for them to review. They then use the information to decide if a reasonable adjustment can be made – for example, giving extra time to complete an online test. The report must be submitted before the tests are undertaken, so the appropriate adjustments can be considered and implemented.
Criminal records checks
Disclosure & Barring Checks are conducted for all front-facing roles, and checks are carried out:
- Where employees are new to the Authority and appointed to a role where a DBS check is necessary
- Existing employees move into a role where a DBS check is necessary and do not have an in-date check
- As part of the three yearly renewal process for all employees with enhanced checks
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a criminal record should prevent you from applying.
Applicants are asked to declare whether they have criminal convictions during the recruitment process and are expected to be honest and declare any convictions or charges. Should an applicant declare a conviction or charge on their application or when completing the DBS check, this will not necessarily prevent them from progressing any further through our recruitment process, however the matter will need to be risk assessed and discussed between the person concerned, the line manager and Human Resources.
We apply for a new Disclosure Certificate every three years. During this three-year period, if there is anything relevant that the Authority should be aware of, employees are required to declare it; failure to do so may result in disciplinary action being taken.
More information is available at www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/53.