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200035 – Diversity recruitment in the fire service

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Ref: FOI/20032

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 11th March 2020

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request

  • What would be your strategy to develop BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) recruitment to improve the image of the Fire Service?

Reply

One of West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) key strategic objectives is to ensure that effective strategies are embedded to support the Service in achieving equality outcomes for our diverse communities.  WMFS is committed to having a workforce that reflects the diversity of our communities to give us the widest spectrum of ideas, backgrounds, cultures and skills.  A diverse workforce will enable effective engagement with the communities we serve, deliver the priorities within our strategy and, in turn, make the West Midlands Safer, Stronger and Healthier.

WMFS will conduct a range of positive action initiatives in recruitment and will use initiatives to attract, encourage and support candidates from underrepresented groups to compete for posts on an equal basis.

Our underrepresented groups include those from BAME communities.

Request

  • How does your fire service recruit female firefighters, do you have a target to be achieved?

Reply

As per point 1 above.  The Service is also underrepresented of women in operational roles. WMFS seeks to achieve 50% of all new entrant firefighters to be female.

Request

  • Do you have suitable toilet/hygiene/changing facilities for female firefighters on all your stations?  If not do you have a strategy to accommodate females, and if so what might that be? 

Reply

Yes.

Request

  • Will using section 159 of the Equality at Work Act 2010 for treating employees of a protected characteristic more favourably, result to benefit women and BAME recruitment?

Reply

WMFS reserves the right to use section 159 during recruitment and selection.

We will not use section 159 as a standard policy.

Request

  • London Fire Brigade recently launched their Firefighting Sexism campaign to eliminate gender exclusive language in the workplace. Would your service consider adopting a similar policy to eliminate discriminative language?

Reply

WMFS uses a behavioural approach, focussing on behaviours in the work place to create a fully inclusive environment making use of the latest psychological research into unconscious bias and micro aggressions to educate and train all our managers and employees.

Request

  • If you use social media to advertise recruitment, has this encouraged more women and BAME to apply, influencing a positive image? 

Reply

WMFS targets social media advertising to women and BAME. We have found this targeted recruitment advertising very effective when combined with other positive action action interventions

If you have any queries about this freedom of information request, please contact us.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

For service complaints, issues or comments regarding this request please contact The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.

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