Fire chiefs set out plans to improve culture in services

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has published its Culture Action Plan as part of its response to recent reports about bullying and harassment in fire and rescue services.

The Action Plan forms part of a suite of products under the NFCC’s People Programme. NFCC Chair, Mark Hardingham, said that the intention of this work is to create an inclusive and safe culture. The Plan includes overarching outcomes about improving the trust and confidence of both the public and staff and improving the diversity of the workforce. There is a list of 22 deliverables in the plan, some of which are already in place such as the Core Code of Ethics.

Mark Hardingham emphasised the need to have solid data to underpin the work and acknowledged the absence of good quality, nationally consistent and comparable culture and inclusion data. He said that work would take place to address this data ‘gap.’

NFCC EDI Lead, Chief Fire Officer Kathryn Billing said at the launch of the Action plan that it comes at a time when many felt ‘disillusioned by the slow pace of equality, diversity and inclusion progress.’ She explained that having seen many plans come and go over the last 20 years, ‘This time is different. There is a strength of leadership, togetherness and the collective commitment for change and the momentum for progress has shifted from the minority to the majority.’

In a new approach, the NFCC has established an independent Challenge and Support Panel to provide external scrutiny, challenge and advice to the NFCC in this area. Chaired by Anthea Scully, CEO of White Ribbon UK, the new panel brings ‘external expertise and insights to inform work around culture, diversity and inclusion,.’ The seven panel members are drawn from a wide range of sectors and experience.

The Culture Action Plan will be subject to regular scrutiny and review.

Photo credit: Kent Fire and Rescue Service.