West Midlands Fire Service has welcomed today’s publication (18 May) of a new Core Code of Ethics for Fire and Rescue Services.
The document has been launched by the Local Government Association (LGA), the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC). It has been developed in response to Sir Tom Winsor’s recommendation in the State of Fire report 2019.
Public trust and confidence in fire and rescue services rely on all employees demonstrating ethical behaviours.
The Core Code sets out these ethical principles and is designed to help services to continuously improve culture and workforce diversity, helping to support communities in the best way.
Everyone in every fire and rescue service (FRS) is expected to follow the Core Code. This includes those working with, or on behalf of, a service.
The Core Code sets out five ethical principles, based on the existing Principles of Public Life, which provide a basis for promoting good behaviour and challenging inappropriate behaviour:
• Putting our communities first – we put the interest of the public, the community and service users first
• Integrity – we act with integrity including being open, honest and consistent in everything we do
• Dignity and respect – making decisions objectively based on evidence, without discrimination or bias
• Leadership – we are all positive role models, always demonstrating flexibility and resilient leadership. We are all accountable for everything we do and challenge all behaviour that falls short of the highest standards
• Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) – We continually recognise and promote the value of EDI both within the FRSs and the wider communities in which we serve. We stand against all forms of discrimination, create equal opportunities, promote equality foster good relations and celebrate difference.
Sarah Warnes, Assistant Chief Fire Officer with WMFS, led on developing the code on behalf of the NFCC , in partnership with the LGA and PFCC.
She said: “As the Core Code states, our communities’ trust and confidence in us and our work relies on all employees demonstrating ethical behaviours.
“The Core Code sets out these ethical principles and is designed to help us keep improving culture and workforce diversity. Ultimately, it helps us to support our communities in the best way.
“Our existing Core Values already focus on service to the community and valuing our people, diversity and improvement.
“Our next steps will be to look at how we can enhance and incorporate the Core Code of Ethics into our values, behaviours and policies.”
The Core Code will sit alongside the Code of Ethics Fire Standard developed by the Fire Standards Board.
The Code of Ethics for Fire and Rescue Services can be read at: https://www.local.gov.uk/publications/core-code-ethics-fire-and-rescue-services-england