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1.0 Strategy

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is committed to developing its people so they can continuously strive to achieve the highest levels of excellence.

To achieve this, the framework is aligned to organisational strategy which is driven by the Community Risk Management Plan (CRMP).

​​​​​​​WMFS ensures it meets its legislative responsibilities and enables individuals to develop and maintain their own competencies and abilities, so they can effectively undertake their role in an assertive, effective, and safe manner.

2.0 Purpose

This policy sets the direction for WMFS’ learning and development by supporting continuous learning and improvement enabling us to meet the needs of our staff and communities.

This approach is supported by our commitment to the principles of Integrated Personal Development Systems (IPDS) and Individual Performance Development Reviews (IPDR) underpinned by a workplace assessment process and organisational coaching culture at all levels. With a commitment to continual personal development and consistent formal and informal coaching in the workplace.

Fundamental to the success of learning and development is that individuals are fully committed to their own personal development.

For this to be achieved, people at all levels of the organisation promote a continuous learning and improvement culture to ensure skills, capabilities and behaviours remain current and relevant to organisational needs.

Highly capable and skilled staff enable WMFS to deliver its organisational goals and overall strategy in ensuring the communities of the West Midlands are safer, stronger, and healthier.

​​​​​​​The policy framework delivers the principles of IPDS for all staff including those roles deemed as risk critical in terms of our emergency response capability and the principles of successful Health and Safety management.

3.0 Responsibility

3.1 Individuals will:

3.2 Line Managers will:

3.3 West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) will:

4.0 Procedures

4.1 Overview of Procedures

In the pursuit of excellence in everything that WMFS does, it is essential that we build on our current and future capability by ensuring that our workforce is trained and developed to a consistently high standard.

​​​​​​​WMFS builds a positive learning environment which allows people to be highly skilled and develop to their full potential to deliver the best possible service to the communities of West Midlands.

4.2 Community Risk Management Plan and Integrated Performance Development Systems

The IPDS provides a structure, based on agreed standards of performance, within which WMFS can identify, attract, assess and develop people to fulfil current and future roles.

A key part of the IPDS is how it supports WMFS’ objective of making communities safer, stronger and healthier.  

WMFS continually ensures that individuals have the right skills to contribute to community safety, therefore enabling its staff to reduce risks in the community.

The IPDS provides a framework to ensure that all staff are competent and able to support the requirements of WMFS’ CRMP and Service Delivery Model.

4.3 National Operational Guidance and National Occupational Standards

​​​​​​​WMFS ensures staff are assessed against National Occupational Standards (NOS) and Behavioural Frameworks.

NOS are a key component in determining role requirements by describing the skills, knowledge and understanding required to undertake a particular task or job to a nationally recognised level of competence.

NOS form the framework of our performance management system and are also used for competency recording in line with workplace assessment to ensure that staff meet their role requirements.

The NOS and National Operational Guidance (N.O.G) provide standards of performance that must be achieved when carrying out functions in the workplace, these are underpinned with knowledge and understanding of specific areas.

WMFS uses both N.O.G and NOS to agree standards of performance that will identify, attract, assess, and develop people to fulfil its current and future roles.

Integral to this framework is meeting the needs of the CRMP and a focus on improving the health, safety and wellbeing of staff.

As a learning organisation committed to continuous improvement, all aspects of the Learning and Development framework and its application are continually evaluated.

​​​​​​​WMFS creates an environment that develops, values, and enables people to be the best they can be in pursuit of excellence, organisational strategy, and continual development.

4.4 Training and Development

In WMFS all training and development provided is based on identified needs and assessed to ensure that it meets any risk critical development requirements.

​​​​​​​All training and development are provided in line with the following principles:

4.5 Qualifications

Accredited Professional qualifications are a primary means of confirming the quality of learning and development activities.

Qualifications also:​

4.6 Maintaining Skills

WMFS operates within a competency framework.  This is important to ensure that emergency response capability is maintained.

WMFS recognises that the acquisition of skills and knowledge through training is essential, and individuals must then demonstrate they can apply them in the workplace. Therefore, workplace assessment of simulated or real-life performance is mandatory within WMFS.

Workplace assessment benefits individuals and Line Managers by:

In WMFS, the requirement to assess individual performance is reflected in all management roles and role profiles.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​All Line Managers are required to assess the performance of the individuals in their team. 

4.7 Health, Safety and Wellbeing

WMFS complies with its legal duties in respect of the provision and maintenance of Health, Safety and Wellbeing learning and development to all employees.


This policy has no appendices

Document Control and Audit

Responsible SET Member OLPD

Authorised by
Juliet Malone

Direct enquiries to
EIA (Date Completed & Name)02/02/2022 - Kerry Evans and Sillina Griffith
PIA (Date Completed & Name)Not required
Review History
Version #DateReviewed By
2.028/3/2022Juliet Malone and the OLPD team 
Amendment History

Version #
DateAmended BySection AmendedAmendmentReason for change
2.028/3/2022Juliet Malone and the OLPD team Entire document.•    Title changed from Organisational Learning and Development to Learning and Development.
•    Relevant contents integrated from Individual Learning and Development Framework.
•    Grammatical, structure and formatting amendments.
•    CRMP and legislation details added.
•    IPDS, IPDR and H&S details added.
•    Details added relating to Individuals, Line Managers and WMFS.
•    Restructured and links added.
To minimise duplication and increase clarity.In line with template layout and neurodiversity

1.0 Strategy

The organisation recognises that employees' activities during off-duty hours, within reason, are their personal concern.  It is the policy of the organisation to permit employees to engage in outside employment, which is defined as 'any work, trade, business or profession', provided no actual or potential conflict of interest or appearance of such conflict exists.  Employees must avoid any outside employment activities that have the potential to bring the organisation into disrepute.

2.0 Purpose

The organisation has a duty, under regulation 6 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, to ensure employees are provided with appropriate health surveillance.  Employees should consider the possible impact that the nature of their outside employment may have on their overall personal health and effectiveness while carrying out their role within the organisation.  The organisation expects all employees to maintain the required level of performance and will not make exceptions for employees who are engaged in outside employment.

This policy outlines the guidance to be followed by line managers and the responsibility of the employees who undertake outside employment, including being self-employed.

​​​​​​​​This policy applies to all employees of West Midlands Fire Service.

3.0 Responsibility

3.1 Notification of intention to undertake outside employment

Within Oracle there is a facility for employees to register that they intend to undertake outside employment.  Once this intention has been registered by the employee, it will trigger a notification to the employee's line manager of their intentions.  The line manager will then invite the employee for a discussion guided by the outside employment checklist on Oracle and in to ensure the employee is aware of their responsibilities to the organisation and for their own safety and wellbeing when carrying out their outside employment.  The manager must discuss each statement with the employee and ensure each statement has been understood.  The manager and the employee will then update information on Oracle​​​​​​​ to confirm the discussion has taken place.  In certain circumstances, if the manager has concerns about the nature of the outside employment, that is, it conflicts with the guidance stated above, then support for the employee to engage in that particular employment will not be given.  Another reason could be that the manager has identified health and safety risks. The manager must discuss their concerns with the employee and remind them of their responsibilities to the organisation and their own wellbeing.  There is a section within the system for the manager to make notes about these discussions and what advice or guidance they have given to the employee.  Guidance should be sought from People Support Services in these circumstances, if there is any doubt.

3.2 Supervision and compliance

Officers in charge and section heads have a responsibility in terms of an employee's ability to undertake their duties.  Where an employee's ability to perform these duties is impaired for whatever reason, this must be brought to the attention of the station commander or department manager and should be managed through the relevant processes.

4.0 Procedures

Outside employment will not be undertaken during normal working hours (that is, during duty periods in respect of uniformed employees), or on the Service's premises or using the Service's facilities. This includes the use of vehicles, telephones, fax and computer facilities (including e-mail).

The Working Time Regulations 1998 (amended 2007) state there should be an 11-hour break between periods of work.  It is an employee's duty to ensure that he or she is fit for duty when attending work.  This duty includes ensuring that appropriate and adequate rest has taken place, in accordance with the relevant legislative requirements.  Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers should also familiarise themselves with driving hours and rest period regulations.

Employees must not carry out their outside employment whilst on sick leave from WMFS unless special permission has been given by the Service.  It is recognised that employees who are self-employed will have legal requirements to administer their business, however, if permission is granted to carry out outside employment whilst on sick leave, the individual should not work any more hours than they would normally do in their outside employment. 

Outside employment will not take precedence over any requirement to work casual overtime or detached duties.  Additionally, employees will not be released early from duty to undertake any outside employment.

Outside employment must not have a direct or indirect connection with any matters in which the West Midlands Fire Service have statutory responsibilities (for example, work associated with the Authority's contractual obligations, requirements imposed under fire safety legislation, and so on).  Additionally, such employment must not conflict with the Authority's interest or Core Values, or in any way weaken public confidence in the conduct of the Authority's business.  Employees must ensure that the organisation is not exposed to legal claims as a result of the outside employment.

Outside employment is not to be carried out for any person, firm or company which the Fire Service deals with during official duties.  Should the outside employer or contractor become such a person, firm or company, the employee must terminate their outside employment immediately.

Individuals are responsible for notifying the Service of their outside employment activity.  Where WMFS employees employ other WMFS employees for the purpose of outside employment, separate notifications must be made by the employees concerned.  This must not prejudice their working relationship within the West Midlands Fire Service.  If a conflict arises between employees, as a result of their outside working relationship, it will be managed through the relevant process.

Although it is considered outside employment, some conditions differ for employees who are members of or make up the Volunteer Reserve Forces.  See Policy Armed Forces

Employees in politically restricted posts (PORPS) must not undertake outside employment that will conflict with their role within the organisation, for example, as a Councillor either within or outside the West Midlands area.  Please refer to Policy Restrictions on Political Activities for more information. 

​​​​​​​Failure to comply with any of the above may result in disciplinary action.

This policy links to our 'Employee Conduct in the Political Environment Policy' and 'Armed Forces Policy' which are not listed on our website, but can be made available on request via

4.1 Appeal against refusal

When an application for outside employment has been refused by the line manager, an appeal against the decision may be made to the senior manager, for example, if a station commander has made the refusal the next stage would be the operations commander or equivalent, on Oracle​​​​​​​, stating the grounds for the appeal.  This appeal must be made within 7 days of receipt of refusal.

Arrangements will be made for the employee to discuss their appeal with their senior manager.  This meeting should take place and a decision made within 14 days.  Employees will be informed of their appeal outcome with a face to face meeting and followed by a letter.

​​​​​​​The decision of the senior manager is final.

4.2 Secondary contracts within West Midlands Fire Service

There are certain roles and activities within the organisation that are Secondary Contracts of Employment these include Recruitment Awareness Advisors, Fire Project and Youth Inclusion Work.  Employees of the organisation who are employed in one of these roles, in addition to their primary role, are still subject to the same conditions and notifications set out in Section 2 and Section 3.

4.3 Retained firefighting duties

Hours of duty must be worked within the rules set out in the Working Time Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Regulations.  A minimum of an 11-hour break should be taken between shifts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the employee, their colleagues and the community of the West Midlands.

4.4 Special constable duties

Firefighters employed on either retained or whole-time duty systems who seek to work as special constables are eligible to do so.  Special constables are not deemed to be members of the 'police force' and are not covered by the definition in section of 101 of the Police Act 1996.  Hours of duty must be worked within the rules set out in the Working Time Regulations and the Health and Safety at Work Regulations.  A minimum of an 11-hour break should be taken between shifts to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the employee, their colleagues and the community of the West Midlands.

4.5 Sickness or injury relating to secondary and outside employment

4.5.1 Sick pay and reporting of sickness or injury

In the event of injury or illness directly attributable to outside employment, the Fire Authority will not pay for any absence from duty or sick leave caused by outside employment.  If it becomes apparent that an employee's sickness absence is a direct result of their outside employment (non-West Midlands Fire Service related), they will be required to reimburse any sick pay that the organisation has already paid to them during that absence.

Any injury, illness or medical condition sustained during such off-duty employment or any exposure to hazardous substances whilst carrying out outside employment must be reported in the first instance to the line manager and then to People Support Services, through the normal channels on Form M1, as soon as possible.  Failure to report such injuries, illnesses or medical condition will be regarded as a breach of the Attendance Management Policy, resulting in a disciplinary matter.

The attendance management policy is not listed on our website, but can be made available on request via The Disciplinary Procedure referenced can be accessed on our website.

4.5.2 Pension

Secondary employment within the Fire Service may attract membership of the New Firefighters' Pension Scheme or Local Government Pension Scheme and be covered by the respective injury schemes, however, check with terms and conditions of the secondary employment contract for confirmation of the applicable schemes.

Uniformed employees injured whilst carrying out outside or secondary employment will not be entitled to receive the qualifying injury award under the Firefighters Compensation Scheme (FCS) that covers their primary employment.

​​​​​​​In respect of secondary employment within the Fire Service, as a general principle any injury award follows the contract under which a qualifying injury was received.

The situation in respect of pension scheme membership and injury benefits for secondary employments may be complex.  In this respect, employees may wish to contact the Pensions Section for further clarification.

See Terms and Conditions for Secondary Employments​ for more information.

4.5.3 Insurance cover

It is strongly recommended that employees who undertake outside employment ensure that adequate insurance cover exists and should enquire of their outside employer as to their insurance arrangements and consider the implications.


Appendix 1 - Outside and Secondary Employment Checklist

Managers please read through each statement with the employee, prior to a decision being made.

  1. A minimum of an 11-hour break should be taken between hours of work with West Midlands Fire Service and hours of work with the outside employment.  Neglecting to take suitable breaks may impact on performance in role with West Midlands Fire Service and, in some cases, may result in the capability procedure being implemented.
  2. Outside or secondary employment must not be carried out whilst on sick leave unless special permission has been granted by the line manager If permission is granted, no more than the originally agreed hours carried out in the outside employment should be worked.  If more hours are worked, this may result in disciplinary action being taken.
  3. The nature of the outside employment must not have a direct or indirect connection with any matters in which the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority have statutory responsibilities.
  4. Outside employment must not be carried out for any person, firm, company or contractor which the Fire Service deals with during the course of official duties.
  5. No building, vehicle, equipment, uniform or the West Midlands Fire Service brand may be used in connection with outside employment.
  6. A private insurance policy for death, injury or sickness in connection with outside employment is strongly advised, if the outside employer does not have adequate cover.
  7. If permanently incapacitated through injury due to outside employment, the Qualifying Injury Award will not be awarded. 

Appendix 2 - Terms and Conditions for Secondary Employments

A table showing terms and conditions and the type of work, insurance or conditions that may apply to secondary employment depending on the individuals role and shifts.

Document Control and Audit

Responsible SET Member People

Authorised by
Sarah Warnes

Direct enquiries to
EIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete date TBC
PIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete date TBC
Review History
Version #DateReviewed By
1.01/1/2019Business Partner, PSS
Amendment History

Version #
DateAmended BySection AmendedAmendmentReason for change

1.0 Strategy

West Midlands Fire Service requires appropriate standards of discipline from its employees, together with satisfactory standards of work. These standards are outlined in our Core Values, Code of Conduct and other Service policies.  It is important that all employees are aware of these policies and the expectations the Service has on our employees.  Managers and the employees are encouraged to work together to support the appropriate levels of conduct and behaviours by ensuring that regular discussions are taking place outlining expectations and any support and development that is required.

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to provide a formal way for the Service to manage unacceptable or improper conduct.  It will provide an approach that is fair, consistent and should be undertaken in a timely manner.   

​​​​​​​This Policy applies to all employees within the West Midlands Fire Service.

3.0 Responsibility

Responsibilities are detailed within this document.

4.0 Procedures

This policy sets out to confirm the process the Service will take should an employee’s conduct fall short of expected standards and to confirm the options and possible sanctions where there is a shortfall in behaviour and conduct.

​​​​​​​Before starting a disciplinary procedure, the Line Manager should first consider if the issue can be resolved in an informal way.  This can often be the quickest and best approach to manage minor issues.  If the misconduct was more serious then managers are required to act in a fair and transparent manner which is clearly outlined in this policy.

4.1 Timelines

At all levels of this policy it is important the managers and employees raise and deal with issues promptly and should not unreasonably delay meeting s or the process.  During formal stages the employee should be kept updated on the progress of the investigation, hearing or outcome and the expected timeframes for completion.  If this change, then the reason for the delay and the new timeframe updated on the Terms of Reference and this will be shared with the employee under investigation.

4.2 Resolving issues informally

The Service is committed to resolving issues of conduct and behaviour promptly and appropriately and encourages the use of informal resolution where possible. If the employee requires any support to help their well-being, a referral to OH would be beneficial.

​​​​​​​Managers are required to have early conversations and provide feedback to manage these issues informally. An informal discussion is often all that is required to improve an employee’s conduct or performance. In some cases, additional training, coaching and advice may be what is needed. Details on how this should be done can be found in the toolkit (Appendix 1). Disciplinary Toolkit

4.3 Informal advice, coaching or guidance

Where possible, the organisation will first try to resolve disciplinary issues informally. This may include having informal, private conversations with the employees involved. Listening to the employees viewpoint and agreeing improvements to be made and development as appropriate, this may include some form of awareness training. In these circumstances, the line manager will ensure that the conversation is documented in a development plan and this recorded on the PRF. If allegations are around behaviours between employees and there may be a misunderstanding, the manager may offer mediation. Any information relating to mediation will be found in the toolkit (Appendix 1).

Informal advice, coaching or guidance is not part of the formal disciplinary procedure and therefore there is no statutory right to be accompanied.

There will be cases where the allegation or complaint is serious and formal disciplinary procedures are the appropriate course of action.

4.3.1 Managers are responsible for clarifying standards of behaviour and dealing with minor shortcomings informally. Where appropriate this may be achieved by giving informal advice, coaching and counselling. (as outlined above 4.3)

4.3.2 The purpose of the informal meeting is to allow the manager and the employee to discuss the issue or problem on a one-to-one basis so that the manager can encourage and help the employee to improve outside of the formal process outlined below.

4.3.3 At the end of the informal meeting the manager will check that the employee understands what needs to be done, how it will be reviewed and over what period of time. They will set a review date to re-assess the situation. The manager should advise the employee that if there is no improvement then the formal procedure may be initiated. The required improvement and timescale will be recorded as part of the development plan.

4.3.4 On the review date, if the issue has improved as agreed, it is important that this is acknowledged by the manager and that they ensure that any temporary arrangements put in place to engender this improvement are also reviewed to decide their continued relevance.

4.35 This informal process does not constitute formal disciplinary action under this procedure.

​​​​​​​4.3.6 If the informal stage does not bring about an improvement and the behaviours do not improve, or the misconduct is considered to be too serious to be dealt with informally, managers should instigate formal disciplinary action.

4.4. Formal Process of Disciplinary

If the Line Manager has attempted to resolve the issue previously using the informal process or the employee’s behaviour or conduct is too serious for informal resolution, then a formal disciplinary procedure will need to start, and the employee should be informed straight away.  This notification will be in writing and will provide sufficient information about the allegation and possible consequences.  An employee will also be given sufficient notice and be informed of their rights in relation to being accompanied throughout the investigation until the appeals process has been concluded. Once everyone is clear of their roles throughout this process, the formal investigation interviews will start.

4.4.1 What is Misconduct?

Misconduct is when an employee's inappropriate behaviour is not in line with Service policy. Some examples of what may constitute misconduct includes:

4.4.2 What is Gross Misconduct?

Gross misconduct is generally seen as misconduct serious enough to overturn the contract of employment.   Gross misconduct could lead to dismissal or dismissal without notice. To reach the threshold of Gross misconduct at a hearing there is an acceptance that the employment relationship being irreparably damaged.

 Examples of gross misconduct may include:

4.4.3. Trade union officials/representatives

Service disciplinary standards apply to Trade Unions Officials and representatives.  In the circumstances when disciplinary action is to be taken against Officials and representatives it is important that this is managed in relation to the Employee Relations Framework section 5.5.2. 

4.4.4. Brigade Managers

For discipline issues involving Brigade Managers, the approach is defined within the ​Authority constitution.   For further information and guidance please contact People Support Services (PSS) or the Clerk to the Authority.

4.5. Fair Procedure

It is important during the case that a fair procedure is followed. A fair investigation will support a fair outcome. Managers involved in this procedure should have training in handling these procedures and conducting  a fair investigation/hearing.  Where possible different people will manage different steps of the procedure.

  1. Fact Finding Exercise, this is an informal process which is outlined in the toolkit (Appendix 1);
  1. Disciplinary Investigation, this is a formal process which is outlined in the toolkit (Appendix 1).  Having established the basics facts and a decision being made that an investigation is required.  The Investigation Officers should find out all they reasonably can about the issue.  The purpose of an investigation is to:
  1. if a formal procedure needs to continue or if the issue can be resolved informally.
  2. Is suspension required/still required? (Details on this will be found in the toolkit (Appendix 1) under suspension)

During the investigation the Commissioning Officer will manage the progress and ensure the investigation is conducted in a timely manner and that the relevant level has not changed.  If there are delays in the investigation the Employee under investigation will be informed as to why and the anticipated new timescales.

On conclusion on the investigation the Commissioning Manager will consider if there is a case to answer and if this can be managed informally or if a Disciplinary hearing is required.

  1. Disciplinary hearing -  further guidance in toolkit (Appendix 1);
  1. Appeal Hearing – further guidance is in toolkit (Appendix 1);
  1. Debrief -  See section 4.12.

Where the manager who would normally deal with the issue cannot be available, or, there may be a conflict of interest, another manager, at the same or more senior level, will be appointed to deal with the case

The roles and responsibilities of individuals involved in any parts of the Disciplinary process can be found in the toolkit (Appendix 1) under roles and responsibilities. Disciplinary Toolkit

4.5.1 Use of external Investigator

Our policies outline the need for a fair investigation that is balanced and factual, which will, in turn, support a fair outcome. The investigating officer will be responsible for undertaking a fair and balanced investigation and producing the report for the commissioning manager. In some cases, as outlined in Appendix 2, the Service may consider that an independent/external investigator is commissioned to undertake the investigation

4.6. Right to be Accompanied

Employees have the right to be accompanied by a trade union official or representative of their choice, who is certified by their union in this role or a fellow colleague at all formal stages of the procedure. No reasonable request for representation or to be accompanied by a companion would be refused at the informal stages of the procedure.

The Service will ensure that disabilities are catered for at any meeting or hearing, including catering for a representative or companion's disability.

The representative or fellow colleague can also confer with the employee during the meeting or hearing and participate as fully as possible, including asking witnesses questions. The representative or companion has no right to answer questions on the employee's behalf, or to address the hearing if the employee does not wish it, or to prevent the employer from explaining their case.

​​​​​​​In some cases, it may be appropriate to suspend an employee from the workplace while an investigation or preparation for a disciplinary hearing takes place.  Suspension should usually only be considered if there is a serious allegation of misconduct.

Suspension should normally only be used where:

A SET member (or equivalent) will make the decision whether an employee will be suspended from normal duties, having fully considered all the information available at the time, with a clear consideration of the actual risks.

If an employee is to be suspended they must be informed of the reasons for the suspension, that suspension is a neutral act and not disciplinary action, and that they will be expected to maintain their availability to attend meetings or hearings related to the process. It is also appropriate at this stage to discuss any conditions, which will apply during the period of suspension, for example communications channels, availability to attend meetings, facilities to meet with their representative.

Suspensions should be reviewed on a regular basis.

4.7. Disciplinary Hearing

Where it is considered there is a disciplinary case to answer, the Commissioning Officer shall advise the employee of this fact and a hearing will be held as soon as possible.

They employee will be advised:

The employee should be given a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the hearing, this would be at least five working days. The Investigating Officer and the employee responding to any allegation must make available to the other party, in reasonable time, prior to the hearing any papers that are to be relied upon during the disciplinary hearing. People Support Services will set a date by which all relevant papers should be exchanged.

If an employee does not attend the disciplinary hearing, without good reason, a decision may be taken in their absence. Where the employee continues to be unavailable to attend a meeting the employer may conclude that a decision will need to be made on the evidence available. The employee should be informed where this is to be the case.

4.8 Levels of Disciplinary Action

Disciplinary action will only be taken following investigation and a disciplinary hearing, unless otherwise specified disciplinary warnings will remain 'live' for the periods set out below. After the expiry of that period, subject to the employee having committed no further disciplinary offence, the letter will remain on the employee's Personal Record file but will not normally be considered on any subsequent disciplinary decisions

Levels of formal disciplinary action are as follows, all template letters can be found in the toolkit (Appendix 1):

In cases of gross misconduct, the Hearing Manager may decide to dismiss even though the employee has not previously received a warning for misconduct, this all depends on what has come out through the investigation. If the level of conduct is severe then the outcome can be dismissal.

The Presiding Officer may issue a sanction that is less than dismissal, as an alternative to dismissal.  You will find some examples of gross misconduct, which may be grounds for dismissal without notice, listed in the toolkit (Appendix 1).

4.8.1  Alternative/additional Actions:

Demotion - either within role or of no more than one role, a demotion of more than one role can only be applied with the specific consent of the employee. If the employee refuses to accept the sanction and commence in the new role, then the outcome will revert to dismissal;

Disciplinary transfer to another location i.e a disciplinary transfer to another place of work (station).

Where a pattern of re-offending after expiry of previous warnings occurs then that pattern may be considered by a presiding officer in determining a currency beyond the standard period when issuing a subsequent warning.Disciplinary Toolkit

4.9. Communicating the Outcome

Where practicably possible, the employee will be verbally informed of the outcome on the day of the hearing once the adjournment has concluded. Following the hearing, the decision will be confirmed in writing, within seven days. The decision will include a description of the nature of the issue, any required remedial action, and the timescale for improvement. The letter will include the appeals process.

4.10. Notification of outcome of hearing and/or appeal hearing

In every case where disciplinary action is taken, the employee will be informed of the outcome. The decision will normally be indicated verbally to the employee at the end of the hearing and will normally be confirmed in writing within 7 working days of the hearing.

The employee will be informed of:

The management should also consider a referral to OH if this is required as part of the outcome, especially if the employee has received support throughout the investigation, it will be advised they may wish to continue.

The right of appeal, advising that any appeal should be submitted in writing to the Business Partner within five working days of receipt of the decision letter, and the right to representation at any future appeal hearing.

4.11.Appeal Procedure

Where an employee is notified of a disciplinary decision against them, they will also be notified of the right of appeal. The Appeal Hearing Manager will have had no involvement in the specific disciplinary process. To understand the process of an appeal can be found in the disciplinary toolkit (Appendix 1).

Once the appeal has concluded, this is the end to our internal process. ​​​​​​​

4.12. Debriefing Process

The organisation is committed to establishing an effective and constructive approach to facilitate organisational learning and improvement by capturing key learning from our day to day activities within dispute resolution.  The feedback that is received from this process will be used to inform and improve the systems and processes that we have in place.  This process is suitable for any informal or formal internal and external resolution processes including litigation.  However, it is important to note that the internal process may continue prior to the conclusion of any external intervention. The debrief form is available on MESH and in the Toolkit (Appendix 1).Disciplinary Toolkit

4.13. Disciplinary Toolkit (Appendix 1)

Both the employee and the line manager can find all the relevant information, documentation, process, relevant policies, and guidance within the disciplinary toolkit (Appendix 1) Disciplinary Toolkit

4.14. Training/Development and Competence

Good training of managers helps to assist positive outcomes.  Managers at all levels, People Support Services Business Partners and Trade Unions who are responsible for the implementation of the disciplinary rules and procedure will be responsible for being trained for the task.  The Service will be responsible for providing the appropriate resources to enable this.  Where possible any training should be joint training -  with everyone having the same understanding and opportunity to work through the procedure including conducting a fair investigation and hearing.


Appendix 1 - Disciplinary Toolkit

You can view the Disciplinary Toolkit document, which is a PowerPoint presentation, provided to our staff on this Disciplinary Tool Link

Appendix 2 - Framework for the use of External resource for discipline and grievance investigations.

Framework Document

Document Control and Audit

Responsible SET Member People 

Authorised by
Sarah Warnes

Direct enquiries to
EIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete date TBC
PIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete date TBC
Review History
Version #DateReviewed By
1.01/8/2017Business Partner, PSS
2.01/7/21Wendy Browning Sampson, PSS & Disciplinary Stakeholder Group
Amendment History

Version #
DateAmended BySection AmendedAmendmentReason for change
2.06/7/2021Wendy Browning Sampson, PSS & Disciplinary Stakeholder GroupThis entire policy has had a full review and re-writeThis policy has been fully amended throughout as should be read in its entirety, special attention should be found in the toolkit (appendix 1) which contains guidance material.In line with scheduled review programme
2.16/9/2021Wendy Browning Sampson, PSSAppendix 2Addition of a Framework for the use of External resource for discipline and grievance investigations.  This is also referenced in section 4.5.1 with further detail.New section

1.0 Strategy

West Midlands Fire Service recognises that from time to time employees may wish to seek redress for grievances relating to their employment.

The procedure applies to all employees and employers should always seek to be resolved within the workplace.  

For discipline issues involving Brigade Managers, the approach is defined within the Authority Constitution.   For further information and guidance please contact People Support Services (PSS) or the Clerk to the Authority.

The Appendices to this Policy detail the procedure to be followed when dealing with a grievance.

People Support Services make sure that efficient and effective procedures are maintained. They also monitor the use of these procedures to make sure that they are applied consistently and fairly.

Managers involved with the grievance procedure are appropriately trained to fully understand the procedure.  Before commencing any formal grievance investigation, the Manager is advised to consult with a HR Practitioner for professional advice and guidance to ensure consistency.  This person within this document is known as the Business Partner.

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to encourage open communication between employees and their managers to ensure that questions and issues arising can be aired and resolved in a timely manner and to the satisfaction of all concerned.

​​​​​​​This procedure is in line with conditions of employment, statutory requirements and the ACAS Code of Practice and guidance.  The procedure allows employees to raise grievances relating to their employment and makes sure that they are dealt with fairly, consistently and speedily.

3.0 Responsibility

Responsibilities are detailed within this document.

4.0 Procedures

4.1 Preamble

The grievance procedure should only be used where normal discussions with line management have failed to resolve the issue or if the informal procedure has not delivered a satisfactory resolution. Where the informal stage has been exercised this can be classed as a resolution of the formal grievance procedure. The line managers are required to keep a record of any meetings held or any conversations that have taken place. The procedure is not intended to undermine the normal management process.

The resolution of grievances should be treated as a priority by all parties and timescales should be adhered to, save in exceptional circumstances.

5 steps for managers to follow through this grievance procedure:

4.2 Confidentiality

All matters dealt with under the grievance procedure will be conducted in the strictest confidence.  There is a need to protect both the aggrieved person and the individual against whom the grievance is raised from malicious allegations or rumours.

There must be equal treatment of all the parties, including access to information (except where issues of potential intimidation or individual safety arise).  People Support Services will advise on documents which may be disclosed.  Documents relating to national security or public interest, confidential legal advice, confidential medical records or advice, or whistle blowing communications will not be disclosed.

There will be times when confidentiality cannot be maintained, particularly where criminal, disciplinary or management issues come to light.  In order to resolve a grievance, there will be occasions when it is necessary to involve others.  

​​​​​​​In these circumstances, line managers will discuss the disclosure of information with the individual prior to the involvement of others.

4.3 What is a grievance?

Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that an employee raises with an employer about their employment.

Issues that may cause grievances include:

The grievance procedure will not normally be a vehicle for expressing individual disappointment when employees are not successful on application for the appointment or promotion to a post or posting to a particular post; nor is it intended for employees to register individual disagreement regarding appraisals.  It may be used if it relates to a breach of policy regarding selection or appraisal procedures, or a breach of equality and diversity policies.

​​​​​​​There are some issues which are excluded from the grievance procedure.  These include:

where the declared grievance is in connection with decisions under agreed procedures that already include rights of appeal, for example:

where the matter is already being dealt with under the whistle blowing procedure;

4.4 Should the 'status-quo' be maintained pending the outcome of a grievance?

Good practice requires that every effort should be made to delay implementing a change where a formal grievance remains unresolved, especially where it involves difficulty in reconciling work and caring responsibilities, for example, transferring an employee to a new duty system or a new location and immediate implementation would cause the employee difficulties with their current caring arrangements.

4.5 Collective grievances

Where a group of employees share a common grievance they may appoint, in writing, up to 3 of their number and/or a trade union representative to present the grievance on their behalf as a joint grievance.  Then the grievance will be treated as if it were a single grievance, with the appointed representatives attending meetings with management on behalf of their colleagues.  However, copies of minutes of meetings, decision letters from management and other correspondence shall be distributed to all the aggrieved parties, not just to the appointed representatives.

4.6 What is the procedure for resolving a grievance

There are three stages:

Informal stage

In many instances’ grievances can be dealt with informally and promptly without recourse to the formal resolution stage.  An employee with a grievance should first raise it with his or her immediate line manager on an informal basis.  In exceptional circumstances, and if the employee feels unable to raise it directly with their manager, he or she may approach a work colleague or trade union representative to try and help mediate and resolve the grievance.

Formal stage

If it is not possible to resolve a grievance informally then employees should raise the matter formally (Use Grievance tracker form) and without unreasonable delay with a manager who is not subject of the grievance. This should be done in writing (use grievance tracker form) and should set out the nature of the grievance and what they wish as an outcome of this formal grievance. , it should be raised formally, in writing, with the appropriate level of management, normally the line manager.  Employees should use the Recording and Tracking form in Appendix 4 to raise their grievance.  

Hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the grievance:

The manager hearing the grievance should arrange for a formal meeting to be held without unreasonable delay (within 7 days) after the grievance is received. The employee has a statutory right to be accompanied at the meeting by a fellow worker or a trade union representative.

Deciding on the appropriate action:

A written response will be sent within seven days of the meeting.  Where, for any reason, the timescales set out above cannot be met, this will be communicated, in writing, to the aggrieved employee and his or her representative and an appropriate extended timescale arranged. Additional guidance is available in appendix 1 for employees and appendix 2 for managers. The employee should be informed that they can appeal if they are not content with the action taken.

​​​​​​​Appeal stage

Where an employee feels that their grievance has not been satisfactorily resolved they should appeal. The employee should let the manager know the grounds for their appeal in writing within seven days of  receipt of the response at the formal stage.  The appeal will usually be heard by a more senior manager, where this is not practical it will be heard by a manager who has authority to review and change the original decision.  The employee has a statutory right to be accompanied at any such appeal hearing  and the outcome of the appeal should be communicated to the employee in writing without any unreasonable delay.  

This forms the final decision and concludes the formal procedure within the workplace.

4.7 Overlapping grievance and disciplinary cases

Where the employee raises a grievance during a disciplinary process the disciplinary process may be temporarily suspended in order to deal with the grievance. Where the grievance and disciplinary cases are related it may be appropriate to deal with both issues concurrently.

4.8 Former employees

Where an employee leaves the Fire Service and has an outstanding grievance, or where a former employee raises a grievance after leaving the Fire Service, the relevant line manager, in consultation with People Support Services , will find an appropriate way of ending the grievance, depending on the nature of the grievance and the stage reached.

4.9 Special considerations

Managers must always consider the diversity context of their decision making before any final decision is reached, making sure that decisions are objectively taken and do not unfairly or unlawfully discriminate.  Where any party might have difficulty in participating fully in proceedings through disability (for example, deafness) or difficulty in understanding spoken or written English, the manager must make sure that appropriate arrangements are put in place to help with this.

4.10 Who will hear the grievance?

The informal stage of the procedure is conducted by the line manager.  If the grievance is a complaint against the line manager with whom the grievance would normally be raised, the employee can approach that person's manager.

If the grievance moves onto the formal stage of the procedure, normally the same manager will conduct the grievance meeting.  However, if the decision that gave rise to the grievance was made at a higher level, consideration will be given to the grievance initially being heard at that level.

The appeal stage is usually conducted by a manager more senior to the one who dealt with the formal stage, where this is not practical it will be heard by a manager who has authority to review and change the original decision.

4.11 How are employees informed of the grievance procedure?

All new employees are provided with a copy of the grievance procedure in their starter pack, which is sent out with their Statement of Particulars of employment.

4.12 Recording and monitoring

Grievances that are resolved at the informal stage will not normally have any associated paperwork.

Grievances should be raised and recorded on the recording and tracking form (shown at Appendix 4 and also on QuickForms).  Grievance paperwork from the formal and appeal stages will be filed on the Personal Record File.

Information giving details of the number and type of grievances (without personal details) will be produced by People Support Services.

4.13 Debriefing Process

The organisation is committed to establishing an effective and constructive approach to facilitate organisational learning and improvement by capturing key learning from our day to day activities within dispute resolution.  The feedback that is received from this process will be used to inform and improve the systems and processes that we have in place.  This process is suitable for any formal internal and external resolution processes including litigation.  However, it is important to note that the internal process may continue prior to the conclusion of any external intervention (See Appendix 5 for information). 


Appendix 1 – Grievance Procedure Guidance for Employees

1. How do I initiate the grievance procedure?

If you have an issue or problem that is causing you concern, or a complaint, you should discuss this with your line manager in the first instance.  This is the informal stage of the grievance procedure.

You have a responsibility to behave reasonably and co-operate with the procedure, and to make sure that any grievance raised by you is genuine.  Misuse of the procedure, including raising malicious complaints may be regarded as a disciplinary matter.

In normal circumstances, you should raise your grievance as soon as possible following the management decision or individual action that caused you to become aggrieved.  If you delay unreasonably your grievance may be rejected on the basis that it is out of time.

If your grievance is a complaint about the line manager with whom the grievance would normally be raised, you may approach their manager to informally discuss the grievance.

The line manager who you have approached will meet with you to discuss your concerns and ask you to clarify how you would like the situation to be resolved.  A verbal response will be given, and you will be asked if this resolves the grievance. If you are satisfied, the grievance will come to an end.

2. What if I am not satisfied with the reply?

If you are not satisfied with the reply, you should set out your grievance in writing and forward it to your line manager. This is the formal stage of the grievance procedure.

You may want to seek  help  from either a work colleague or a representative of a recognised union or representative body.

3. What will happen then?

You will be invited to a meeting with the line manager to discuss your grievance, normally within 7 days.  The manager will usually be accompanied by a Business Partner whose role is to provide advice and guidance to the manager.

4. Can I take someone with me?

Yes. You have a statutory right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative.

Remember that colleagues or trade union representatives do not have to accept a request to accompany you, and they should not be pressured to do so.

When choosing a companion, bear in mind that it may not be reasonable to insist on being accompanied by a colleague whose presence would prejudice the hearing or who might have a conflict of interest and you should inform the line manager, before the meeting takes place, the name of the person who will be accompanying you.

5. What if my companion can't make the meeting?

If your companion cannot attend on the agreed date, you can suggest an alternative date so long as it is not more than seven days after the original date proposed by the line manager.

6. What can my companion do?

Your companion will be given time to familiarise themselves with your grievance and to confer with you before and after the meeting.

Your companion will be allowed to:

put your grievance;

sum up your grievance;

respond on your behalf to any views expressed during the meeting;

confer with you during the meeting; and

ask questions of any witnesses.

Your companion has no right to answer questions on your behalf or to address the meeting if you do not wish them to or to prevent the employer from explaining their case.

7. What will happen at the meeting?

You will be given an opportunity to explain your complaint and say how you think it should be settled.  If, during the meeting, a point is reached where it is not clear how to deal with the grievance or further investigations are necessary, the meeting will be adjourned to get advice or to make further investigations.  In addition to meeting with you and your representative, the manager will need to:

meet with any other employee or person who is relevant to the investigation; and

consider any relevant supporting paperwork provided by you or others in the course of the investigation.

The manager will give careful consideration to your grievance before responding and will write to you explaining the reason for their decision within 7 days of the meeting.  If it is not possible to respond within 7 days, the manager will let you know the reason for the delay and tell you when a response can be expected.

You will also be informed of the appeal process to use if you are unhappy with the decision.

8. What if the manager is unavailable to conduct the meeting?

If the manager is unavailable within a 7-day period, the meeting will be postponed.  Alternatively, another manager can be appointed to hear the grievance.  The selection will be discussed with you.

9. What if I am not satisfied with the decision from the formal stage?

You must inform the manager, in writing, within 7 days of receipt of the written decision that you are unhappy with this; your grievance will then be considered at the appeal stage of the procedure.

The manager will arrange for an appeal hearing to be held, normally within 7 days.  

The appeal will usually be heard by a manager at a more senior level than the manager who conducted the formal stage, where this is not practical it will be heard by a manager who has the authority to review and change the original decision if necessary.  The procedure that will be adopted at the Appeal Hearing is set out in Appendix 1.

The manager will write to you explaining the reason for their decision within 7 days of the meeting.  If it is not possible to respond within 7 days, the manager will let you know the reason for the delay and tell you when a response can be expected.

10. What if I am still not satisfied with the decision of the appeal?

This represents the end of the grievance procedure internally.

11. What happens to my grievance once it is concluded?

A copy of any meeting records, minutes, or other correspondence will be held on your Personal Record File.

Summary details of the grievance in an anonymous form are recorded in order to monitor and analyse the levels of grievances, the reasons for grievances arising, how effectively and fairly they are being dealt with and to make recommendations for any steps that need to be taken by the organisation to address the issues identified.

Appendix 2 – Grievance Procedures Guidance for Managers

1. What do I do if I receive a grievance?

Before you do anything, make sure that you understand the procedure.  If you are in any doubt seek advice from People Support Services .  Be aware that if you do not follow the procedure, you may breach the statutory obligations placed on the Service.  In particular, you should make sure that you meet the timescales set out in the procedure.  If, for any reason, you consider that you will not be able to meet the timescales, you need to inform the employee, in writing, immediately and seek to agree a revised timescale with him or her.  If you cannot agree a revised timescale then you must inform your own manager at once who may arrange for the grievance to be dealt with by another manager.

It is your responsibility to behave reasonably and co-operate with the procedure and to make sure that any grievance is given serious consideration.  You should treat the matter as a priority and deal with it in a timely manner.

You should arrange to meet the individual on a one to one basis, normally within 7 days of the matter being raised with you; this is the informal stage of the procedure.

It is important to establish exactly what the grievance is about; sometimes the issue is not a grievance at all and may be better dealt with in another way.  Get the employee to be specific about why they are aggrieved and ask them to say what outcome they are seeking.  Also, be honest and frank with them about whether the desired resolution is realistic or achievable.

Often, grievance matters escalate because they are not dealt with properly at the early stages.  At this stage, the key is to try and resolve the grievance quickly and informally.

The individual has no right to be accompanied at this stage of the procedure.  However, depending upon the circumstances, it may be helpful for them to have someone to support them when they are raising the issue with you, particularly if it involves something which is causing them distress, such as bullying or harassment.

The individual should raise their grievance as soon as possible after the individual action or management decision that caused them to be aggrieved.  If raising the grievance is unreasonably delayed it may be rejected on the basis that it is out of time.  However, you should give careful consideration to the circumstances of the case and the reasons why an individual did not raise the matter sooner.  If you are in any doubt, seek advice from the Human Resources department.

2. Can an individual raise a grievance with a line manager other than their own?

The expectation is that direct line manager's deal with grievances in the first instance; it is not acceptable for an employee to 'shop around' for a manager that they feel will be more sympathetic to their complaint.  However, there are occasions when it would not be appropriate for the direct line manager to deal with the grievance at either the informal or formal stage, that is, where the grievance involves a complaint against them personally.  In these circumstances it is acceptable for the employee to approach the line manager's manager.

3.0 What if the grievance is regarding a serious issue such as harassment and bullying?

If you feel there are very serious allegations involved, which may result in disciplinary action or will require actions which you cannot authorise, you should seek advice from either your manager or People Support Services.

There are a number of issues where separate procedures exist and which should be used by individuals, such as, requests to work flexibly, whistle blowing, job evaluation appeals and appeals again disciplinary decisions.

Be mindful that individuals should not be allowed to 'procedure-hop'; this may occur if an individual is unable to obtain the solution they are looking for. If an employee has sought a remedy under one procedure, they should not be permitted to access the grievance procedure to seek the same remedy.  Equally, it makes sure that all issues are dealt with once and once only and that the grievance procedure is used only where the issue has not been dealt with under an alternative, more suitable procedure.  It should not be used as an 'either/or' option.

4. Should the 'status-quo' be maintained pending the outcome of a grievance?

Good practice requires that every effort should be made to delay implementing a change where a formal grievance remains unresolved, especially where it involves difficulty in reconciling work and caring responsibilities, for example, transferring an employee to a new duty system or a new location and immediate implementation would cause the employee difficulties with their current caring arrangements.

These considerations are, however, 'subject to the exigencies of the service' and therefore management decisions can be implemented without delay where an overwhelming Service need can be demonstrated.

Managers will have to make reasonable decisions based on the specific circumstances of the case.  It may be that the exigencies of the service mean that the decision cannot be delayed until the grievance has been concluded, but some lesser delay can be agreed, to enable the employee to make alternative arrangements.

5. What if the individual is not satisfied with the outcome of the informal stage?

If the individual is not satisfied that the informal meeting has resolved their grievance, they must put the grievance in writing; this is the formal stage of the procedure.  A standard form is provided to assist in this.

You should encourage the individual to seek help, when setting out their grievance, from a work colleague or union representative.  Particular attention should be given to those individuals covered by the Disability Equality Legislation, where you are required to provide reasonable adjustments, including assistance with the preparation and presentation of a grievance if required.

6. What arrangements should I make concerning the meeting?

You should arrange a meeting normally within 7 days.  You should agree a time and place with the individual and make sure that the meeting is held in private and not interrupted.  It is important that the individual feels that the grievance is being treated seriously and in confidence.

You must also inform them that they have a right to be accompanied at the meeting by a fellow worker or a trade union representative.

You should also arrange for someone to accompany you at the meeting to act as your advisor.  Normally this is a Business Partner.

What happens if the meeting cannot be arranged within 7 days?

It can sometimes be difficult to arrange the grievance meeting within 7 days, particularly where one or more of the parties are working a shift system.  The time limits can be varied by agreement, and therefore where other commitments, including leave and off-duty days by either party, make it impossible to hold the meeting within 7 days, you should notify the employee, in writing, stating the reason for the delay and make arrangements to hold the meeting outside the normal 7 day limit.  The procedure is based on the premise of reasonableness by all parties.

Another manager may be appointed to hear the grievance where, for example, the manager who would normally hear the grievance is on long-term sick leave or long-term secondment.  This would not apply in situations of standard leave or roster arrangements, for example, where the manager is on leave for a period longer than 7 days.  In these cases, the manager who would normally deal with the grievance should agree a suitable date with the employee.  However, if the employee is unwilling to wait longer than 7 days, an alternative manager should be sought.

There is also a right for the employee to delay if the companion is unable to attend.  This should be no longer than 7 days after the proposed date of the original meeting.

There is no statutory right for an individual to delay any further, although good practice would suggest that reasonable efforts should be made to accommodate such requests.  However, where delay is regarded as being unreasonable, it would be acceptable to inform the employee that they should select another companion or proceed without representation.

8. What happens during the meeting?

Prior to the meeting taking place, ensure that the employee has completed the attached form (appendix 4).

You must give the individual full opportunity to explain their grievance and say how they would like it to be resolved.

You should also be aware of the role of the companion; they are allowed to:

put the grievance on the individual's behalf;

sum up the grievance;

respond on the individual's behalf to any views expressed during the meeting; and

confer with the individual during the meeting.

It is good practice to allow the companion to participate as fully as possible in the hearing, including asking witnesses questions.  However, the companion has no right to answer questions on the individual's behalf or to address the meeting if the individual does not wish them to, or to prevent you, or anyone else, from explaining the employer's case.

If, during the meeting, a point is reached where it is not clear how to deal with the grievance or further investigations are necessary, the meeting should be adjourned to get advice or to make further investigations.  In any event, you should not be rushed into making a decision.  Often decisions made in one forum can have consequences elsewhere; following the presentation of the employee's grievance it will often be the case that you will not be able to give an immediate decision, but will need to seek further advice or information before reaching a final decision.  In particular, in addition to meeting with the employee and his or her representative you will need to:

meet with any other employee or person who is relevant to the investigation; and

consider any relevant supporting paperwork provided by the employee or others in the course of the investigation.

9. What happens following the meeting?

You are required to write to the individual explaining the reason for your decision within 7 days of the meeting.  If it is not possible to respond within 7 days you must let the individual know the reason for the delay and tell them when a response can be expected.

You must also inform them of the appeal process to use if they are not satisfied with the decision.

10. What are my responsibilities if an individual wishes to appeal?

The individual must inform you in writing within 7 days that they are unhappy with the decision following the grievance meeting; this is the appeal stage of the procedure.

You are required to arrange an appeal hearing normally within 7 days.  This will usually be to a manager at a more senior level, where this is not practical it will be heard by a manager who has the authority to review and change the original decision.

If you are unsure who to pass the appeal to, you should seek advice from the Business Partner.

11. What if I am a manager hearing an appeal?

You will conduct the appeal in accordance with the procedure set out in Appendix 1.

12. What records should be kept?

Grievances that are resolved at the informal stage will not normally have any associated paperwork, however, it is good practice to record your reasoning and rationale for your decision making. 

Details of the nature of the grievance and the resolution should be submitted to People Support Services for statistical purposes.

At the conclusion of a formal grievance, all the original documents are forwarded to  People Support Services who file them with the employee's Personal Record File.

The documents should include the following:

the nature of the grievance raised;

a copy of the written grievance;

the manager's response;

action taken;

reasons for action taken;

whether there was an appeal and, if so, the outcome;

subsequent developments; and

copies of any formal minutes that may have been taken.

Records will be also be maintained in a summarised and anonymous form, so the Service can monitor, and address issues raised through the grievance procedure.

13. What if I receive a grievance from a former employee?

Consult with your Business Partner immediately to decide the best way of dealing with the grievance.  Where possible, the grievance should be concluded through the use of the standard procedure.  Where this is not reasonably practicable (for example, because one or more of the parties has left the country for an extended period) or where both parties agree in writing, a modified procedure may be used as follows:

The former employee provides the manager with a written statement of the grievance.

The manager considers the grievance and replies to the former employee in writing within 14 days of receipt of the written grievance.  Where, exceptionally, this timescale cannot be complied with, the employee will be notified in writing, stating reasons.  The decision will then be given in writing as soon as possible thereafter.

The manager's decision is final.

14. Who should conduct the debriefing exercise?

The Manager who dealt with the last process (hearing or appeal) should co-ordinate the debriefing exercise (please see appendix 5 for further information).

Appendix 3 – Process for Grievance Appeal Hearings

Who will attend?

Presiding officer – to consider and decide on the grievance.

Business Partner to the Presiding officer.

Employee - who has submitted the grievance.

Employee's representative - the employee can be represented by a trade union, or a fellow employee, or they can choose to not be represented and present their own case at the grievance hearing.

Management representative – who will present the management case, including the outcome of any earlier stage(s) of the grievance.

Any witnesses called by either side.

2. Introduction

Presiding officer asks individuals to introduce themselves and their role within the hearing.

3. Employee's case is presented

Employee (or employee's representative) presents their case.

Employee (or employee's representative) calls witnesses and questions them (if applicable).

Management representative has the opportunity to question the employee and/or the witnesses.

Presiding officer has the opportunity to question the employee and/or the witnesses.

Note on witnesses

Where a witness is called, the employee, or their representative, will question them, then the management representative and then the presiding officer.  The witness will then leave and the employee, or their representative, will continue presenting their case.

4. Management case is presented

Management representative presents their case.

Management representative calls witnesses and questions them (if applicable).

Employee (or employee's representative) has the opportunity to question the management representative and/or witnesses.

Presiding officer has opportunity to question the management representative and/or witnesses (see Note on witnesses above).

5. Summing up

Management representative sums up their case.

Note – no new information should be introduced at this stage.

Employee (or employee's representative) sums up their case.

Note – no new information should be introduced at this stage.

6. Adjournment for decision

All parties will withdraw, with the exception of the presiding officer and the Business Partner, who will advise the presiding officer.

Should the presiding officer need to recall anyone to answer further questions, all parties will be recalled so that they have the opportunity to hear the question(s) and to comment and reflect on the responses.

Once the presiding officer has reached a decision, all parties will be recalled, and the presiding officer will advise them of the decision.  This decision will then be confirmed in writing, usually within 7 working days of the decision being delivered orally.

Where it proves impossible to reach that decision within a relatively short period of time, the presiding officer will recall all parties and advise them of this.  The decision will then be given in writing to all parties, usually within 7 working days of the completion of the hearing.

Appendix 4 – Recording and Tracking Form

A recording and tracking form for use by employees to raise a grievance and managers to track progress is available for employees. Please contact us via if you would like a copy of this form.

Appendix 5 – Debriefing Process Guidance

1. Composition of the Debrief Team

It is important that this review involves representatives from Trade Unions, Management and People Support Services.

1.1 The composition of the Debrief Team will include:

The Manager who dealt with the last process (hearing or appeal) will chair the meeting

The relevant Trade Union Representatives

The Investigation Officer/s, Hearing and Appeal Hearing Manager

Relevant representatives from People Support including Senior Business Partner and/or Manager.

2. Arrangement and timing of meetings

Debrief Meeting will be coordinated by the last People Support Service (PSS) Representative who supported the Manager with the final internal process.   If this PSS representative is unavailable then it will be the PSS representative who supported the previous internal process. 

A debriefing should aim to be completed within 4 weeks of the final stage of the internal and/or external process. 

3. Agenda for discussion

Overview of the case

Overview of the timescales and process

Rational for deviating from the standard process (if that has happened)

Areas of good practice

Areas of concern

Any other information

(See case debrief record form attached)

4. Key Learning and Actions required

Application of policy, timescales, decision making, behaviours of those involved, including areas of good practice and areas of improvement should be recorded.  Feedback given will be constructive with a view to improving our approaches.  Learning will be captured and shared as part of our consultative arrangements with Joint Working Party and Joint Consultative Panel.

Document Control and Audit

Responsible SET Member People

Authorised by
Sarah Warnes

Direct enquiries to
EIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete date TBC
PIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete date TBC
Review History
Version #DateReviewed By
1.01/7/2017Business Partner PSS
Amendment History

Version #
DateAmended BySection AmendedAmendmentReason for change

Note, this is an extract from our full Mobilising policy. To request the full policy, please email

1.0 Strategy

It is the strategy of the West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) that all personnel are aware of the principles of call handling and resource mobilisation.

2.0 Purpose

The Service sets out in this document the processes that Fire Control should adhere to from the point of receiving an emergency call to the mobilisation of resources.  It also sets out the different types of resources that are available to respond to emergency calls within the West Midlands Area and how they will be mobilised.​​​​​​​

​The information contained within this Policy extends to all WMFS staff who have a responsibility to mobilise Brigade resources and those who will be mobilised to bring incidents to a satisfactory conclusion.

3.0 Responsibility

Responsibilities are detailed within this document.

Appendix 2 - AFA Call Challenge Information

Call Challenging


West Midlands Fire Service operates a policy to challenge calls reporting fire alarms actuating.

Fire Control (FC) will determine the level of call challenge needed depending upon the type of Premises where the alarms are actuating and the information from the caller.

The mobilising system will assist Operators by offering prompts attached to specific incident types which will instruct the Operator as to the level of call challenge that will be needed for the incident type that is selected.

Regardless of whether the call is to be challenged or not, Fire Control Operators will always ask the question

'Do you know what has caused the alarm to actuate?'

This will assist the Operator in making a risk assessment of the call.

​​Types of Premises

Premises are grouped into 3 different categories –

​Sleeping Managed

Examples of Sleeping Managed premises are (but not limited to):

Fire Control will always challenge a call to a sleeping managed premises, as there will be a wakeful responsible person on duty who will be able to confirm why the alarms have actuated.  An attendance will only be made if the premises give fire control a reason to attend.


Fire Control will not challenge a call to a Hospital, however the question 'do you know what has caused the alarm to actuate?' will still be asked.

Because of the amount of staff that are on duty at hospitals, it is accepted that if there is an incident a call will be received from a member of staff confirming that there is a fire, therefore the attendance will only be a business support vehicle.

​​​​Alarms Sleeping Non-managed

Examples of Sleeping Non-managed are (but not limited to):

Fire Control will not challenge a sleeping non-managed premises as there will be no one who can confirm why the alarm has actuated and therefore an attendance will be made.  The premises need to give fire control a valid reason not to attend for an attendance not to be made.

Examples of Non-sleeping premises are (but not limited to):

If the call is from an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) they will be informed that the Fire Service will not attend unless a call is received from a member of the premises confirming signs of smoke or fire.  If there is a further call from the ARC to the activation of a second detector head within ten minutes an attendance will be made.

Alarm activations at any of the above premises will only receive an attendance if they fall into the following criteria

​​Sources of Call

Fire Control will receive calls to automatic fire alarms (AFA) actuating via an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), from a member of the public ringing 999 or from an automated system known as an autodialler.

​​​Alarm Receiving Centres (ARC)

There are numerous ARC's that receive AFA signals from commercial and domestic premises within the West Midlands area.

When taking a call from an ARC they will usually only have the address details, so a postcode check is usually the best way to confirm that the address is correct.

​​Call from Premises or member of Public

Calls to alarms may be received from someone at the premises.  This may be a member of staff or a resident who will be able to answer questions as to why the alarms have actuated.  They may be lone working such as security or may be simply passing by so may not be able to check premises to see why alarms have actuated.


An autodialler is an automated recorded voice message which passes the address where the alarms have activated. 


This is an alarm system linked to a Careline call centre installed in the homes of vulnerable persons.  The person can ask for help from Careline by activating a pendant or call point within the property, or it may be automatically activated in event of smoke or fire.  The Careline Company will attempt to contact the user to establish whether there is a fire. 

These types of call will not be challenged, but the level of attendance will be adjusted dependent on whether the Careline Operator has received speech contact from the occupant or not.

​Business Support Vehicles

Business Support Vehicles (BSV) provide a 20-minute blue light response to all AFA and Alarm calls except for alarms at domestic premises (a person's house).

The purpose of the BSV is to provide businesses with support to reduce unwanted fire signals and improve general fire safety. They operate between the hours of 0700 – 1900, 7 days a week and are crewed by 1 Fire Safety Officer.

The BSV will also provide resilience to the staffing model; the WCdr/CCdr from the BSV may be used to staff another appliance if there is a requirement due to sickness etc.

The Duty FDS Officer needs to be informed if one or more of the vehicles goes off the run so they can arrange cover.  If the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the BSV is sick they will ring Fire Control to enable the vehicle to be booked off the run until cover can be arranged.

Levels of Response for Alarm calls received is as the table below:

Incident TypeNon SleepingSleeping Managed Inc HospitalsSleeping Non-Managed Inc Carelines
Level of ChallengeChallengeCan be challengedDo not challenge
Level of ResponseNo responseNearest PRL/BRV/ TBRV + BSV if within 20 minsHospitals -  BSV only if within 20 minsor if BSV not within 20 mins, PRL/BRV/TBRV within 20 minsNearest PRL/BRV/ TBRV + BSV if within 20 minsCareline – if no speech contact – 2 resources

​​Locations of BSV's & Callsigns

​​Mobilising Criteria for the BSV

As the OIC is also the driver, when communicating with the BSV, this should be done via mobile phone as they may not be able to answer the radio.

Other Incident Types

Fire Control will challenge all calls that come into the Emergency Control Room.  This may be to ascertain whether an attendance needs to be made under primary or secondary response, or it may be to ascertain what resource would be best suited to attend the incident dependent on the information passed by the caller.

There are incidents that are received in the Control Room, that although may not be emergencies or indeed fires, they may still require a response from the Fire Service.  These incidents are call challenged by Fire Control staff and are detailed in Policy Fire and Rescue Service Act 2004​​

1.0 Strategy

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) strives to support its employees and their wellbeing by providing an environment that supports a good work life balance and sense of wellbeing.  ​This policy covers pregnancy & maternity Leave, paternity leave, adoption leave, and shared parental leave and pay.

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to inform and support employees and their line managers when employees require support and time off for.

This policy covers all employees of West Midlands Fire Service

3.0 Responsibility

3.1 Employees

To notify their manager in writing in the legally required time frames of their intention to take Maternity, Paternity, Shared Parental or Adoption leave and to keep their line manager informed as their situation progresses.

3.2 Managers

To support employees in their health and wellbeing at work before, during and after any of the aforementioned, and to inform the appropriate sections in regard to leave and pay.

4.0 Procedures

4.1 Definitions

Maternity Leave - A period of absence from work granted to a Mother before and after the birth of her child.

Paternity Leave – A period of absence from work granted to the Father/Partner of the Mother after or shortly before the birth of their child.

Adoption Leave – A period of absence from work granted to Adoptive Parents before during and after the adoption of a child.

Shared Parental Leave – A period of absence from work where Mothers, Fathers, Partners and Adopters choose how to share time off work after their child is born or adopted.

4.2 Pregnancy & Maternity Provisions Leave & Pay

The Service has a responsibility to make sure that:

All pregnancy and maternity related issues are approached and dealt with in a fair and equitable manner.
the health and wellbeing of both the unborn child and expectant mother are paramount.
the expectant and new mother is fully aware of her entitlements.
no woman receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of being pregnant, during maternity leave or upon return to work.
The Service has a duty under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations to assess risks at work and to provide a safe and healthy working environment. These regulations place specific duties on the Service in respect of new or expectant mothers (that is, those pregnant, or those who have given birth within the previous 12 months or those who are breast-feeding).
This policy outlines the eligibility conditions and criteria for maternity leave and pay, and the provisions and process to follow before, during and after the period of maternity leave.

Many pregnant employees, including operational based employees will wish to continue working in their normal role, in their normal shift working pattern and environment for as long as they can. As a supportive employer we will work with our employees to achieve this where it is reasonably practicable and safe for them to do so. The working arrangements will be informed by an appropriate risk assessment which should be on the specific activity. Any relevant risks must be removed. Line Managers can seek support from Health, Safety and Wellbeing Team and early referral to Occupational Health is encouraged. Please see manager's guidance for further information on Occupational Health Referrals and review on returning to work.

The Grey Book Section 4D Paragraph 7 states: 'Pregnant employees will normally remain on their watch, or in their department, unless this is deemed inappropriate following an individual risk assessment'.

The Service cannot support the attendance at operational incidents once pregnancy is confirmed due to the risk factors. Participation in operational training exercises will be considered where there is a risk assessment undertaken.

Information and guidance on the Risk assessment process template forms and manager's guidance and Employee Guidance is available on MESH (internal platform not available to the public).

4.3 Eligibility for Maternity Leave & Pay

You qualify for Statutory Maternity Leave if:

4.4 Maternity Time off & Leave

All pregnant employees will be given paid time off to attend ante-natal care, including relaxation and parent craft classes as well as medical examinations relating to the pregnancy.  Evidence of appointments is required.​​​​​​​

All pregnant employees will be entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, regardless of the number of hours worked, or how long she has worked for the Service.  The amount of leave is detailed below.

Maternity leave is defined as three types:

4.4.1 C​ompulsory maternity leave

An employee is not permitted to work for at least 2 weeks commencing on the day of childbirth.

4.4.2 Ordinary maternity leave (OML)

An employee is entitled to 26 weeks' ordinary maternity leave which may start up to 11 weeks before the expected date of childbirth. This includes the compulsory maternity leave period.

4.4.3 Additional maternity leave (AML)

A further period of 26 weeks' additional maternity leave is available, commencing on the day following the end of the OML.

It should be noted that some of this leave is unpaid.

4.5 Commencement of Maternity Leave

Employees must choose when to start their maternity leave; this can be any date from the beginning of the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC).

The actual start date will be the earliest of:

In the latter two cases, the employee must tell their line manager that their absence is due wholly or partly because of pregnancy, or that the employee has given birth. The line manager will pass the information to the People Support Services, Service Support team.

4.6 Maternity Pay

The Services occupational maternity provision is more favourable than the statutory provision; employees will receive pay based upon a combination of occupational maternity pay and statutory maternity pay.

The rates of statutory maternity pay, and maternity allowance are subject to revision each April. To confirm the current rate please follow link (Link).

If you have 26 weeks' service by the end of the 15th week before EWC:

You will be entitled to any pay but will be able to claim maternity allowance, paid by the Benefits Department.

​​If you have less than 1-year service but more than 26 weeks:

You will be entitled to:

6 weeks at full pay; followed by

33 weeks' statutory maternity pay (SMP)

​​​​​If you have more than 1-year service:

You will be entitled to:

6 weeks at full pay; followed by

12 weeks at half pay plus SMP (unless this total exceeds full pay).

and then 21 weeks at half pay or statutory maternity pay (SMP) (whichever is greater) If the employee does not intend to return to work, they will only receive the 33 weeks of SMP rate after 6 weeks and not half pay.

If the earnings are below the average earnings limit, that is the employee does not pay National Insurance, they will not be entitled to SMP, and must claim maternity allowance.

In these calculations, allowances plus pay must not exceed full pay entitlement.

If you had indicated that you intended to return to work and fail to do so for a period of at least 3 months, you will be required to reimburse the Service any half pay which you have received.

4.7 Breastfeeding

The Health and Safety Regulations place a responsibility on the Service to continue to protect new mothers (that is those who have given birth within the last 6 months) and those who are breast-feeding.

A woman may return to work while they are breast-feeding. However, whilst most health and safety implications can be adequately addressed by carrying out a risk assessment and health and safety management procedures, some hazards in the workplace may affect the health and safety of new mothers and the baby.

​​​​​​​In addition, the Ionising Radiation Regulation 2017 do not prevent breastfeeding employees from working with ionising radiation, where the risk is controlled, and contamination is unlikely. However due to the uncertain nature of a radiation incident and to ensure compliance with Regulation 9(6) Paragraph 164 of the Ionising Radiation Regulation 2017 and Regulation 9(6) Paragraph 160 Part (b) breast feeding employees must not be engaged in work where there is a significant risk of intake of radionuclides or of bodily contamination.

The Workplace (Health and Safety and Welfare) Regulations requires that suitable rest facilities be provided to any person at work who is pregnant or a nursing mother. The organisation provides fridges at all locations however, if there is a requirement to have a separate fridge, this facility can be supported through Occupational Health. They should be conveniently situated in relation to sanitary facilities and where necessary, include the facility to lie down and allowed adequate time for expressing milk.

4.8 Unforeseen Circumstances

In the unfortunate circumstance of a miscarriage occurring before the 24th week of pregnancy then maternity leave will not apply. Normal sickness reporting procedures will apply.

If a pregnancy is lost after 24 weeks, this includes a still birth baby, then maternity leave including pay will apply. Support can be made available through Occupational Health via the line manager should the employee so wish.

If a baby is born prematurely, regardless as to whether 24 weeks has been reached then maternity leave including pay will still apply. Your entitlement will start from the date of birth.

If a baby is born very early and the new mother is not ready to return to work, and the maternity leave is coming to an end, consideration will be given to an extension of maternity leave. This does not, however, apply to maternity pay.​​​​​​​

If an adoption placement ends for any reason and the adoption leave has started, entitlement to leave is curtailed, ending 8 weeks after the end of the week in which the adoption is terminated (unless the end of AAL occurs before that date).

4.9 Paternity Provisions Leave & Pay

The Service recognises that all eligible employees have an entitlement to paternity leave and pay. There is legislation which states that eligible employees have a right to take Occupational Paternity Leave (OPLS) and receive paternity pay to care for the baby or to support the mother at or around the birth.

4.10 Eligibility for Paternity Leave & Pay

To be eligible for OPLS an employee must meet the criteria identified below:

You must have been continuously employed by the Service for a period of 26 weeks which ends at the 15th week before the baby is due.  The date the baby is due is known as the expected week of confinement (EWC). This is stated on the mother's maternity certificate (Form Mat B1) which is issued by a doctor or midwife up to 20 weeks before the baby is due; and

You must either be:

4.11 Paternity Leave

Where an employee is in a qualifying relationship with the pregnant woman, he/she is entitled to unpaid time off up to six and a half hours on no more than two occasions to accompany the pregnant woman to an ante-natal appointment. Also subject to the exigencies of the Service reasonable unpaid time off will be given to partners to attend relaxation and parent craft classes.

With regard to Paternity Leave, employees are entitled to take up to two complete weeks under the Occupational Paternity leave scheme (OPLS). As the Authority has an OPLS which provides better provision than the statutory scheme the first week of any request will always be granted under the OPLS.

Leave cannot be taken as odd days or as two separate weeks and can start any day of the week.

For multiple births the maximum amount of paternity leave remains at 2 weeks.

4.13 Paternity Pay

As the Service provides a more favourable provision for pay under the occupational paternity scheme than the statutory requirement, the first week of paternity leave is paid at full pay.

For the second week most employees will also be entitled to statutory paternity pay (SPP), which will usually be less than normal salary.  You will either be paid the rate of SPP or 90% of weekly average earnings whichever is the lower.

Average earnings are calculated by taking the average earnings in the 8 weeks up to and including the last pay-day before the end of the qualifying week.

Taking other employment during your leave period will disqualify you from SPP.

Employees whose average weekly earnings do not reach the minimum earnings for payment of NI contributions do not qualify for SPP.

4.14 Adoption Provisions Leave & Pay

The right to adoption leave and pay applies to employees who adopt a child through an approved adoption agency, whether a child is adopted from within the UK or from overseas, provided that they meet the relevant criteria.  Where a couple jointly adopts a child, only one of them will be entitled to take adoption leave (the couple can choose which),

For those employees who are not eligible to statutory adoption leave due to their length of service, consideration will be given to allowing unpaid leave for the same amount of time as statutory adoption leave.

4.15 Eligibility for Adoption Leave & Pay

To be eligible for adoption leave, you must satisfy the following conditions:

You must be newly matched with a child for adoption by a UK adoption agency.

You must have notified the agency that you have agreed that the child will be placed with you and agree the date of placement.

You must have been continuously employed by the Service for at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which you have been notified that you have been matched with the child.

You must be the adopter named on the matching certificate.  Where two people are named as adopters, only one may take long adoption leave, so you must decide who will take adoption leave. 

You must inform the Service of when you wish to take the adoption leave no more than seven days after you have been notified that you have been matched with the child, or as soon as is reasonably practicable.​​​​​​​

To receive statutory adoption pay (SAP) you must satisfy the same conditions as those for adoption leave and additionally:

4.16 Adoption Leave

The adopter with the main caring responsibilities has the right to paid time off up to six and a half hours on up to 5 occasions to attend appointments such as having contact with the child, meeting with the child's social worker or current carer, up to the date of the placement of the child. This limit applies irrespective of the number of children being adopted as part of the same arrangement. Appointments must be made at the request of the adoption agency.​​​​​​​

Eligible employees who are adopting are entitled to 52 weeks' adoption leave.  This is made up of:

4.17 Additional adoption leave (AAL)

A further period of 26 weeks is available, starting on the day following the end of the OAL. It is assumed that you will take your full entitlement unless you tell your line manager otherwise.

For practical reasons, some elements of the detailed operation of the adoption and paternity leave and pay schemes are different for those adopting a child from overseas.  The differences relate to eligibility criteria, notice and evidential requirements to take leave and when leave and pay may begin, the People Support Services Team can give further guidance.

4.18 Commencement of Adoption Leave

You choose when to start your adoption leave:

either on the day the child is physically placed for adoption, or

on a specific date which can be up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.

4.19 Adoption Pay

If the employee meets the qualifying criteria, they will be eligible for 39 weeks' statutory adoption pay (SAP).

To receive statutory adoption pay (SAP) you must satisfy the same conditions as those for adoption leave and additionally:

​​​​If you have less than 26 weeks' service by the end of the 15th week before EWC:

​You will not be entitled to any pay from the Service.

​​If you have less than one-year service but more than 26 weeks:

You will be entitled to:

​If you have more than one-year service:

You will be entitled to:

4.20 Paternity Adoption Provisions Leave & Pay

An employee may be eligible for paternity leave – adoption and statutory paternity pay

if their partner is an adopter who has decided to claim for adoption leave and pay. This leave is granted to eligible employees to enable them to assist in the care of the adopted child.

4.22 Paternity Adoption Leave

As section Paternity Time off & Leave, but where it reads 'ante-natal care' read 'adoption appointments'.

4.23 Commencement of Paternity Adoption Leave

•          on the date of placement

Your period of Paternity Leave can start:

•          an agreed number of days after the date of placement

•          on the date the child arrives in the UK or an agreed number of days after this (overseas adoptions only)

Leave must be taken within 56 days of the date of placement or the child’s arrival in the UK (overseas adoptions).

You must give 28 days’ notice if you want to change your start date.

4.24 Paternity Adoption Pay

As section Paternity Pay.

4.25 Shared Parental Provisions Leave & Pay

SPL gives parents more flexibility over how they share childcare between them during the first year of their child's life. They will be able to take it in turns to have periods of leave to care for the child, and/or take leave at the same time as each other.

4.26 Eligibility for Shared Parental Leave & Pay

A mother or adoptive parent who meets the eligibility requirements will be able to bring their maternity or adoption leave to an end and choose to take shared parental leave with their partner, who must also meet the relevant eligibility requirements.

A mother or adoptive parent will be eligible for shared parental leave to care for their child if:

For those employees who do not qualify for the conditions there may be other benefits to which they are entitled.

4.27 Shared Parental Leave

Up to 50 weeks' parental leave can be shared between the parents. The amount of shared parental leave that parents can take is 52 weeks minus the amount of maternity/adoption leave taken by the Mother/main carer. Compulsory maternity leave period is reserved for the Mother; therefore, the Mother cannot curtail her maternity leave until two weeks after the birth. The leave does not have to be taken as one continuous block; employees can return to work and then take a further period of shared parental leave

See SPL application form

4.28 Continuous Leave

a period of leave that is taken in one block e.g. four weeks leave.

4.29 Discontinuous

a period of leave that is arranged around weeks where the employee will return to work e.g. an arrangement where an employee will work every other week for a period of three months.

4.30 Commencement of Shared Parental Leav​​​e

Before either parent can take shared parental leave the Mother must give her line manager a leave curtailment notice, setting out the date she wishes to bring her maternity leave to an end this must be given no less than eight weeks before the start of the first period of shared parental leave taken by either parents.

The Mothers partner can choose the start date for a continuous period of leave that again is no less than eight weeks from the date of the leave notice.​​​​​​​

Adoption leave and paternity adoption leave must both end before shared parental leave can commence.

4.31 Shared Parental Pay

The amount of statutory shared parental pay that is available for the parents to share is 39 weeks, minus the amount of statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance received by the Mother (2 weeks). The maximum amount of shared parental pay available is 37 weeks. Statutory shared parental pay will be paid at a flat rate for all 39 weeks.

4.32 Keeping in Touch (KIT)

Whilst on maternity, adoption leave and shared parental leave an employee is able to do up to 10 paid days’ work without bringing the leave to an end; these days are to be known as 'keeping in touch' (KIT) days. The 10 shared parental leave KIT days are in addition to the Maternity and adoption KIT days (this can equate up to 20 days and this in known as shared parental leave in touch days SPLIT) and it is 10 days for each parent/partner. Pay will be at the employees’ normal pay rate. Regardless of the hours worked the employee will be paid for a full day.

During the first two weeks following birth in regard to maternity leave work will not be able to be carried out.

There is no requirement to work the days and there is no right to insist that the work be provided. The days that are worked will be agreed with the line manager, and the whole 10 days do not have to be worked.

If the 10 'keeping in touch' are worked, this does not mean that maternity, adoption or shared parental leave is extended, it remains at 52 weeks. If the full 10 KIT days have not been taken by the time maternity or adoption leave has ended the remainder days cannot be carried over into the shared parental leave KIT entitlement. ​

4.33 Annual & Public Leave Accrual

​​4.33.1 Annual Leave

An employee on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave will continue to accrue annual leave during all of their maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave.  They should meet with their line manager to agree how best to take the annual leave, which could be taken before or after the period of maternity or adoption leave.

The employee may be in a position where they have annual leave entitlement that crosses two leave years.  In these circumstances the employee should, wherever possible, take annual leave in the leave year that it is accrued (normally this would be taken before maternity, adoption or shared parental leave starts).  However, to support pay after statutory maternity leave, employees are able to carry their leave to the end of maternity.

Employees must make sure that they take their leave at regular intervals throughout the year for their own wellbeing and in line with the Working Time Directive. Employees must not save leave to specifically take prior to or following maternity, paternity, and adoption or shared parental leave.

For employees who are on a protected pay and leave period that is due to end during or on returning from Maternity, Adoption or Shared Parental leave, please see Outside Employment and Secondary Contracts Policy

4.33.2 Public Leave

Public holidays will continue to be accrued that fall within the 26 weeks period of ordinary adoption leave and the 26 weeks period of additional maternity leave and they will be granted a day in lieu of that public holiday.  If public holidays are not accrued whilst on maternity or adoption leave other leave can be used to support a phased return to work in agreement with the line manager.

For further information on leave please see Annual Leave Public Holiday TOIL and Flexi Time.

4.34 Pension

Whilst on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave the employee will pay pension contributions on any pay that they receive (including Statutory Pay).

Before commencing maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave, the employee can contact Payroll to discuss pension contributions.

Contributions will be paid as follows:

4.35 Terms & Conditions

Your terms and conditions of service will not change during your period of maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave, except for those related to pay or otherwise negotiated nationally and/or locally. However, in the case of paternity leave if you take the second week of paternity leave your normal pay will be suspended and you may receive statutory paternity pay.

You are entitled to return to the same job, on terms and conditions no less favourable than if you had not been away, with pension and similar rights protected (with regard to pension rights it is on the assumption that the appropriate contributions have been paid). If, due to redundancy, it is not possible for you to return to your job, a suitable alternative vacancy, if one exists, will be offered. If, due to other reasons (e.g. Service/department/team reorganisation or the role no longer exists) it is not possible to return to your job, again a suitable alternative vacancy, if one exists, will be offered and adequate notice will be given to put any arrangements needed in place.

Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave will be regarded as a continuous periods of employment for the purpose of calculating annual and long service leave.


Appendix 1 – Additional Information

Flexible Working

Employees have a statutory right to apply for flexible working and it is the employers' duty to consider the application.

There is no automatic right to work flexibly as there may be circumstances when it is not possible for a desired work pattern to be accommodated and the needs of the Service have to be taken into account. 

​​Childcare Vouchers

The Service has a salary sacrifice scheme in place for the purchase of childcare vouchers.  Information is available from the DPM People Support Team.

​​Essential Car User Allowance

Essential car user allowance, if applicable, will continue to be paid for the 26 weeks' ordinary maternity and adoption leave and for paternity leave. It will also continue to be paid for 26 weeks' additional maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave.

​​Requirement for Further Leave

If you require further leave following your maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave, you may be entitled to unpaid parental leave (this is different to shared parental leave).  For details of who is eligible to apply for this leave, refer to Parental Leave.

​​​Special Guardianship

Statutory adoption leave or pay is not available to special guardians, although they may take parental leave.  A person becomes a special guardian for a child when a court makes a Special Guardianship Order (SGO).  This gives them parental responsibility for the child and allows them to make all of the day-to-day decisions in caring for the child or young person and for taking any other decisions about their upbringing, for example their education.  A special guardian may exercise parental responsibility to the exclusion of others with parental responsibility, such as the birth parents, and without needing to consult them in all but a few circumstances.

Unlike adoption, under a SGO the parents remain the child's parents and retain parental responsibility, though their ability to exercise their parental responsibility is extremely limited.


If an employee becomes pregnant as a surrogate, she is the legal mother of the baby. She is entitled to all the provisions, leave and pay as detailed in this policy for pregnancy and maternity provisions.  The baby's legal Father or 'second parent' are the surrogates' husband or civil partner and he will be entitled to paternity leave.

New parents who are using a surrogate will be entitled to the same rights as those who are adopting.


The right to adoption leave does not apply where a child is not being newly adopted for instance where a stepparent decides to adopt a child or for foster parents who adopt the child they are fostering.


Following the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), which came into force in July 1999 (updated on 1st May 2013 GOV.UK), legal protection is now provided to employees who raise concerns about suspected dangerous or illegal activity that they are aware of through their work. The common term for voicing such concerns is 'whistle blowing'. West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) wishes to create an open and honest culture with its statutory obligations, detailed in the Act, and ethical standards, detailed in its Core Values. Details on our core values can be found in the Equality & Diversity Policy


The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 makes sure that employees, contractors providing services, most agency workers, home workers and trainees on vocational and work experience schemes are legally protected in raising concerns responsibly.

External contractors may encounter wrongdoing that affects WMFS. Therefore, this whistle blowing policy is also open to employees of our contractors.

Whistle blowing is when an employee reports suspected wrongdoing at work. Officially this is called 'making a disclosure in the public interest'


3.1 Employee Responsibilities

A whistle blower is an employee, you! You report certain types of wrongdoing. This will usually be something you've seen at work - though not always.

The wrongdoing you disclose must be in the public interest. This means it must affect others, e.g. the general public.

As a whistle blower you're protected by law - you shouldn't be treated unfairly or lose your job because you 'blow the whistle'.

You can raise your concern at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now, or you believe will happen in the near future.

Employees are often the first to realise that there may be something seriously wrong with the organisation that employs them. They may be able to alert the organisation early on to things like fraud, negligence, bribery and health and safety risks. However, they may not express their concerns, because they feel that speaking up would be disloyal to their colleagues or to the organisation. They may also fear harassment or victimisation. In these circumstances they may feel it easier to ignore the concern rather than report what may be no more than a suspicion of malpractice.

The procedures in this order give ways for individuals to raise concerns and receive feedback on any action taken. It makes sure that individuals receive a response and know how to pursue concerns if they are not happy with the response. It gives reassurance that individuals will be protected from possible reprisals or victimisation if they believe they have made a disclosure.

You're protected by law if you report any of the following:

Complaints that don't count as whistleblowing

3.2 Management Responsibilities

The action taken by the Service will depend on the nature of the concern. The matters raised may be investigated internally by an appropriately experienced officer knowledgeable in the area concerned, for example, audit, Line Manager or HR Practitioner.

Alternatively, through the disciplinary process, the matter may be referred to the police, the external auditor or may be the subject of an independent enquiry.

In order to protect individuals and the Service, and those accused of misdeeds or possible malpractice, initial enquiries will be made to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, what form it should take. Concerns or allegations that fall within the scope of specific procedures, for example, unfair discrimination issues, will normally be referred for consideration under those procedures. Some concerns may be resolved by agreed action without the need for investigation. Members of the SET can seek guidance from the Strategic Enabler - People at any stage in the investigation.

Within 10 working days of a concern being raised, the individual with whom the concern was raised will write to the complainant:

When any meeting is arranged, the complainant will have the right to be accompanied by a representative body or a work colleague. The meeting can be held off site if requested.

West Midlands Fire Service will take steps to minimise any difficulties, which may be experienced as a result of raising a concern and provide any appropriate support. For instance, if required to give evidence in disciplinary or criminal proceedings, the Service will advise the complainant of the procedure and give reasonable support. Subject to legal constraints, complainant will receive information about the outcomes of investigations.

Upon completion of the investigation, all documents will be forwarded to the Strategic Enabler People.

3.3 Responsible Officer

The Strategic Enabler - People has overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of this policy. This officer maintains a record of concerns raised and the outcomes (but in a form which does not endanger the complainant's confidentiality) and will report as necessary to the Service and Fire Authority.


4.1 How to raise a concern

If the matter relates to any fraudulent or corrupt activity, concerns should be raised in accordance with procedures detailed in the Anti-Fraud Corruption and Bribery Policy.

If the complainant wishes to raise or discuss any issues which might fall into the above category then the complainant should contact a member of Strategic Enabling Team (SET), the Treasurer or the Clerk to the Fire Authority, who will be required by WMFS to treat the matter in confidence.

Where possible, the complainant should raise their complaint in writing setting out the background and history of the concern giving names, dates and places where possible and the reason why the complainant is particularly concerned about the situation. If the complainant does not feel able to put the concern in writing, then the complainant can discuss the concerns verbally with a member of the SET, or the Treasurer/ 151 Officer or the Clerk to the Fire Authority.

The earlier that the complainant can express the concern and the more detail that can be provided, the easier it will be for the Service to take appropriate and necessary action. Remember:

At this stage the complainant will not be expected to prove the allegation, but will need to demonstrate to the person contacted that there are sufficient grounds for reasonable suspicion or concern.

The complainant may invite a member of the trade union representative body or a work colleague to be present during any meetings or interviews in connection with the concerns raised.

Where a concern relates to a Brigade Manager or SET Manager, then either the Strategic Enabler People (as Responsible Officer), or Deputy Chief Fire Officer or Chief Fire Officer, as appropriate, should be contacted in the first instance. Satinder Sahota as the Monitoring Officer role for the Fire Authority. The Monitoring Officer may be contacted via email

The Treasurer to the Fire Authority may be contacted on 0121 380 6919. The Clerk to the Fire Authority may contacted on 0121 380 6678. Address for the Treasurer and the Clerk to the Fire Authority is: West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW.

4.2 Confidentiality

All concerns will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal the identity of the complainant. However, it is likely that further investigation will be necessary and the complainant maybe required to attend a disciplinary or investigative hearing as a witness at the appropriate time. An employee raises a concern confidentially if they give their name only on condition that it is not revealed without their consent. A concern is raised anonymously if the employee does not give their name.

4.3 Harassment or Victimisation

West Midlands Fire Service recognises that the decision to report a concern can be a difficult one to make, not least because of the fear of reprisal from those responsible for the alleged malpractice. The Service will not tolerate harassment or victimisation and will take action to protect the complainant when a concern is raised.

4.4 Untrue Allegations

If the complainant makes an allegation, but it is not confirmed by the investigation, no action will be taken against the complainant. If however the complainant makes an allegation which, upon full investigation, is found to have been malicious or vexatious, disciplinary action will be considered and the protection of the PIDA will be lost.

4.5 Anonymous Allegations

This policy encourages the complainant to put their name to the concerns. Concerns expressed anonymously are much less powerful, but will be considered at the discretion of the Strategic Enabler - People.

In exercising this discretion the factors to be taken into account would include the:

4.6 How the matter can be taken further

This policy is intended to provide the complainant with an avenue to raise concerns within the Service. We hope the complainant will be satisfied with the response. If not, the complainant must indicate this to the Strategic Enabler - People or the Treasurer or Clerk or Monitoring Officer to the Fire Authority.

Legal advice may be sought on any concerns about malpractice. If the employee feels it is right to take the matter outside the Service, the following are possible contacts:




Responsible SET Member Accountable  People Support Services
Authorised bySarah Warnes
Direct enquiries
EIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete TBC
PIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete TBC
Review History 
Version #DateReviewed By
1.01/7/2018Business Partner, PSS
Amendment History 
Version #DateAmended BySection AmendedAmendmentReason for change

Due to the length and complexity of our Management of Information Policy, it is not currently viewable on our website.

We have made it available to download on our documents section. Please visit the Management of Information Document link to see and download it.

We are working hard to ensure all our policies and documents are available in an accessible, ideally web page based format, however, in some instances, this isn't possible. If you do require this or other documents in an accessible format, please contact us at


It is the strategy of West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) to comply with the legislative provisions of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004.

WMFS supports the requirements of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 through the operation of various WMFS policies and procedures.


The information within this Policy gives an overview of the Act and an indication of further points of reference.

Any specific legislative points must be made from the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 (FRSA) itself or guidance to the Act.

The Act covers various aspects of the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) and is divided in 7 Parts:

Part 1 - Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRA) (sections 1 to 5)

Part 2 - Functions of Fire and Rescue Authorities (sections 6 to 20)

Part 3 - Administration (sections 21 to 31)

Part 4 - Employment (sections 32 to 37)

Part 5 - Water supply (sections 38 to 43)

Part 6 - Supplementary (sections 44 to 54 and Schedules 1 and 2)

Part 7 - General (sections 55 to 64)


Responsibilities are detailed within this document.


4.1 Part 1: Fire and Rescue Authorities

These sections determine which body is the FRSA for an area and provides for the combination of two or more FRAs by order.

4.2 Part 2: Functions of Fire and Rescue Authorities

These establish the core duties and powers of FRAs including Fire Safety and the following:

Section 7: Firefighting

Section 11: Power to respond to other eventualities

Section 12: Other services

Section 19: Charging

4.2.1   Call management and charging policy

The Act introduces the concept of charging or recovering non-emergency costs. A request for assistance is usually received in Fire Control (FC) via the 999 or administrative telephone system. FC will normally act as the first filter and will try to determine whether the call for assistance is of an emergency or non-emergency nature. The request will fall into 1 of 3 categories:

Category 1:  Non-chargeable Special Service Calls (SSCs)

Providing emergency medical assistance

Rescuing individuals from serious harm, in the event of an emergency

Emergencies resulting from events of widespread significance

Emergencies which have occurred as a direct result of severe weather

Emergencies resulting from road traffic incidents

Actions taken by the Fire Authority to enforce the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Extinguishing fires, or protecting life and property in the event of fires (excluding fires which are at sea or under the sea)

The Secretary of State may by order authorise a FRA to charge a person of a specified description for any action of a specified description taken by the authority but may not charge for emergency medical assistance, however may authorise a charge to be imposed on, or recovered from, a person other than the person in respect of whom action is taken by the authority (Section19).

Category 2:  Chargeable SSCs
For all requests made for assistance of a non-emergency nature, the caller should then be encouraged to call the appropriate undertaking or trades person.

In the event that the caller still requires the services of the WMFS, then FC must ensure the caller understands that providing this discretionary service falls outside the scope of the core duties of a FRS and they must be left in no doubt as to the likely charges involved.

No response should be made unless the caller or appropriate person identified as liable for the charge is prepared to accept such charges. FC will always have the discretion to mobilise if there is any doubt or where a vulnerable person could be at risk.

Once the crew are in attendance, the Incident Commander (IC) should ensure the customer is fully aware of the charges and to sign the disclaimer before any service is rendered.

The 'customer copy' of a SSC form should be completed and left with the customer for their records.

If the caller is not prepared to accept the charge, or where it is decided by the IC that the attendance of the service is unwarranted or not an appropriate use of WMFS resources, the caller may be provided with general advice. Where necessary FC may seek advice from the Flexi Duty System (FDS) Officer or if appropriate contact the duty Fire Emergency Support Service (FESS) Officer, if this is an area where they could provide additional support to members of the public.

Category 3:  Combination of non-chargeable and chargeable actions
FRS are responsible during the emergency phase of an incident but when an incident moves from the emergency phase to the recovery phase, the Incident Commander should be aware that FRS actions may now be chargeable. Where the recovery phase can be handed over to another agency, company or responsible person the Incident Commander should be looking to maintain their own service delivery. If FRS are required during this recovery phase then IC must clearly communicate to responsible person of potential costs incurred.

FC should be informed when the SSC changes from one category to another.  The SSC forms must be completed as per a chargeable incident. 

4.2.2 Exceptional circumstances

Occasionally, the WMFS will attend SSCs that are of a chargeable nature however due to exceptional circumstances, it may not be in the interest of WMFS to charge for the actions taken.

In circumstances where vulnerability has been identified whilst attending a SSC, the IC must always consider a referral to the local Vulnerable Persons team.

4.2.3 Special service advisor or adjudicator

All pre-arranged special service calls should be treated as a Category 2 SSC (chargeable). Authorisation should be obtained, from the duty FDS Officer but overall decision on any charges will be that of the Mobilising Officer.

4.2.4 Electronic SSC workbook

All chargeable SSCs attended by WMFS will generate an additional electronic workbook once the incident workbook is completed.

4.2.5 Review of SSC charges

A full review of the schedule of charges will be carried out every year. During this period the Finance will adjust the direct salaries cost elements within the charge for pay award, if appropriate, and also increase the indirect cost elements by the Retail Price Index (RPI).

SSC Confirmation of Service Agreement Form​​​​

​4.3 Part 3:  Administration

This identifies the requirement for Fire and Rescue National Frameworks in order to deliver a best value service.

4.4 Part 4:  Employment

Makes provision for establishment of 1 or more negotiating bodies for the purpose of negotiating terms and conditions of employment both nationally and locally including pensions.

4.5 Part 5:  Water Supply

This section requires FRA to take all reasonable measures to ensure the adequate supply of water for use in the event of fire.

4.6 Part 6:  Supplementary

Section 44:  Powers of Firefighters, etc. in an Emergency

This provision provides individual authorised employees of a FRA with the powers to deal with fires (which have either broken out or situations where a firefighter reasonably believes a fire is about to break out), road traffic collisions and other emergencies.  

Section 45:  Obtaining Information and Investigating Fires

This section allows an authorised employee of a FRA to enter premises to obtain information that is needed for the discharge of the core functions of firefighting (section 7), dealing with road traffic collisions (section 8) and specified emergencies (section 9).

In the case of premises where a fire has occurred, the section also allows an authorised employee to gain entry in order to investigate the cause and progression of the fire that has occurred there. Such entry cannot be forcible, and 24 hours' notice must be given to the occupier of a private dwelling, unless authorised by a Justice of the Peace.

Section 46:  Supplementary Powers

This section sets out the powers and the obligations of an employee of a FRA who has entered premises under section 45 to gain information or investigate the cause and progression of a fire. The powers and obligations are similar to those applicable to investigations under Health and Safety legislation.

4.6.1 Securing Property (Boarding Up)

Note: Whilst the Fire Service does not have a specific responsibility to secure premises under statute we do have a duty of care to leave the premises safe and secure.  Therefore, we must be able to demonstrate that we have taken reasonable steps to secure the premises.

The IC must take positive action to find out the person(s) responsible for the premises and the responsible owner or occupier will then be able to organise their own 'boarding up' contractor service to respond to the incident.

4.6.2 Hierarchy of options or actions

The options or actions listed below are in a defined logical sequence of responsibility for boarding up of premises. The list must be used in sequence, with each option ruled out before progressing to the next option.

Local authority or housing association property

Commercial or industrial premises - request for the key holder

Possible crime scene – Police

Local authority - protection of buildings

Fire Service personnel are able to re-secure premises

Request a 'boarding up' contractor - via FC

If the 'boarding-up' service is requested on behalf of the owner, they should be made fully aware that they are fully liable for the costs of the service as per SSC.

Cost implications

The 'boarding up' contractor will make all reasonable efforts to identify, claim and legally pursue the financial costs from the owner or occupier of the premises. If the costs of the 'Boarding up' are not recoverable, then the WMFS will only pay the associated costs as per the agreed contractual arrangements.

4.6.4 Special Service Calls (forced entry) responsibilities for re-securing premises

If the SSC - forced entry is to assist the Police, Ambulance Service or another agency then the other service or agency requesting the Fire Service to legally 'force entry' is responsible for arranging their own 'boarding up' service.  In exceptional circumstances the Fire Service can arrange for the 'boarding up' service if required but any costs for the contractor must be borne by the other agency.

4.6.5 Failure of the key holder to assume responsibilities at incident

If key holder fails to assume responsibilities at a local authority/housing association property or a commercial/industrial premises, FC must inform the key holder of the above that Fire Service crews will only remain at the scene for a maximum of 1 hour, from the time of contact (subject to the completion of all firefighting and special service call actions).

If the key holder fails to do either of the above within the specified time, then the IC must send an informative message to FC, stating that the incident is being left unsecured, as the key holder or their boarding up service has failed to attend.  The crew must take all reasonable measures in their attempts to temporarily secure the premises before leaving.

FC will inform the key holder, local authority or housing association that the Fire Service is leaving the incident 'unsecured' and also inform the Police of FRS actions.

4.7 Part 7: General

These sections list the general provisions in relation to pre-commencement consultation, interpretation, statutory instruments, territorial extent, and so on.

Section 58 Meaning of "Emergency"

One or more individuals to die, be seriously injured or become seriously ill

Serious harm to the environment (including the life and health of plants and animals)


Appendix 1 - SSC Confirmation of Service Agreement Form

Please contact us for a copy of this form via

Appendix 2 - Common chargeable services and persons who may be charged

Action taken by Fire Service Person who may be charged 
1.Containment and clearance of debris, spillages, discharges or leaks from vehicles, storage tanks or pipes. The owner, occupier or operator of any premises or vehicle prior to the incident which is giving rise to the charge.    

Guidance Once the emergency phase of the incident is stabilised the recovery phase will be chargeable.  When completing the workbooks, the recovery phase should be reflected when recording the in attendance and release times. 

Important Minor non-commercial leaks of fuel in public places can be classed as an emergency due to the serious risk this could pose to other members of the public.  

If the incident involves a vehicle it is vital that the registration number of the vehicle and any other identification marks such as company name or fleet number of the vehicle is recorded.  This information should be confirmed to Fire Control and recorded on the incident log.  

Action taken by Fire Service Person who may be charged 
2.Provision or removal of water. The owner, occupier or operator of any premises in relation to which the service is provided or the person who requests the service or for whom the service was provided.   

Guidance Flooding in domestic or commercial premises the caller should be advised to call the appropriate trade’s person or service provider.  

Water coming from adjoining premises where that occupier is not present, maybe treated as an emergency if it is deemed persons could come to harm.    

Important Flooding affecting an electrical consumer unit (fuse board) should be treated as an emergency.   

Using water from a hydrant for a SSC to fill pools, ponds tanks or similar vessels should be referred to the Fire Service Water Officer.  

Under no circumstances should WMFS loan out equipment to a third party to allow them to access water from a hydrant or washout.  

Action taken by Fire Service Person who may be charged 
3. Effecting entry to, or egress from a premises. The owner, occupier or operator of the premises, or the person who requests the service or for whom the service was provided.   

Guidance Lock in or out, special consideration should be given to vulnerable persons.  See section 2.4 for further guidance.  

Action taken by Fire Service Person who may be charged 
4.Rescuing persons from lift cabins. The owner or operator of the lift.   

Guidance Fire Control or IC should make every effort to determine the identity of the owner or occupier of the premises where the lift is located.  

Where the owner or operator of the lift cannot be located in a reasonable amount of time, Fire Control should mobile the appropriate LOR.  The lift owner or operator should be informed in writing that any similar rescues in the future will be chargeable. 

Action taken by Fire Service Person who may be charged 
5. Rescuing animals.   The owner or keeper of the animal or the person who requests the service.   

Guidance Where there is no immediate risk to human life, animal rescues will be treated as chargeable.  

It is not the intention of the WMFS to charge the RSPCA in the event they request assistance from the WMFS especially if the rescue required is of a technical nature. 

Action taken by Fire Service Person who may be charged 
6. Provision of documents, photograph, tapes, videos or other similar recordings, where charging is not already authorised or prohibited by other enactments.   The person who requested the service or for whom the service was provided.   

Guidance The provision of fire scene photographs, video footage, copies of fire reports where there is no separate prohibition on charging. 

The above is not intended to deal with freedom of information requests or Data Protection Act issues or any similar requests under statute where separate charging arrangements exist. 

Such requests should be made directly to Data Management.  

Action taken by Fire Service Person who may be charged 
7.Removal of dangerous structure. The owner, occupier or operator of the structure or where the structure or premises where the structure is located or the person who requests the service or for whom the service is provided. 


If it is believed that persons could come to harm or serious injury Fire Control should treat the initial call as an emergency.  Once the incident is stabilised (for example, safety cordons implemented) the incident should be deemed as chargeable.  The IC should advise the owner, occupier, or Police of the most appropriate action to be taken.  

If necessary a structural engineer from the local authority can be requested via Fire Control. 


Removal of rings  

Removal of rings and other similar items will not be deemed as chargeable.  


Responsible SET Member Accountable  Response
Authorised bySteve Vincent
Direct enquiries
EIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete. TBC
PIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete TBC
Review  History 
Version #DateReviewed By
1.01/8/2017Laraine Duggan, FC and Response Officer
Amendment History 
Version #DateAmended BySection AmendedAmendmentReason for change


West Midlands Fire Service is fully committed to meeting the diverse needs of the communities it serves and recognises that having an inclusive and diverse workplace is a vital part of achieving this.

The personal commitment of every employee, contractor, partner agency and stakeholder of West Midlands Fire Service to this policy and the application of its principles are key to its success in ending unlawful discrimination, promoting inclusion and cohesion, and advancing equality of opportunity. To ensure we further these goals we have a set of clear equality objectives. Progression against these objectives is supervised by the Fire Authority Scrutiny Committee.

Within 'The Plan' the Service has committed to strategic 'Equality and Diversity Objectives' where equality outcomes are delivered for our communities and employees.  The Service proactively does this through implementing the Marmot Principles and delivery model in our work.


This policy sets out the statutory requirements, rights and responsibilities of West Midlands Fire Service as a Service Provider and employer as required by legislation.  This policy also sets out expectations of the behaviours of our employees in reference to equality and diversity in line with our core values which are supported by the Code of Conduct​​ and Dignity at Work​​ Policy. 

If you want further details on the Equality Objectives, you will find this information on MESH.

The Service is committed to valuing the diversity of our employees and putting steps in place to respect the individual's needs wherever possible.  The provision of reflection rooms demonstrates the Services commitment to valuing the diversity of faith among our employees. The provision of a personal reflection room, where reasonably practicable is a key part of this.  Please see Provision of Personal Reflection Rooms​​​​

​​This policy applies to all employees of West Midlands Fire Service.


3.1 Rig​h​ts

Any service user or member of the public who feels that they have received less favourable treatment or have been unlawfully discriminated against on the grounds of their protected characteristic is encouraged to submit a complaint to West Midlands Fire Service which will be dealt with via the Compliment Comments and Complaints process.

All employees, service users, Authority members, partner agencies, contractors and any other individual or groups that we engage with have a right to be treated with dignity and respect, see Code of Conduct and Dignity at Work.


The West Midlands Fire Service recognises its responsibilities as an employer, both legally and morally for the full implementation and monitoring of this policy.

The Service will make sure that the policy and procedures contained within this policy are evaluated, reviewed and regularly updated.

The Service will consult regularly with the recognised trade unions, employee representatives and employee forums/ stakeholder on equality and diversity matters and their implications.

​3.2 Manager Responsibilities

In addition to our individual responsibilities, all employees with managerial or supervisory responsibilities have a key role to play in the promotion of the Equality and Diversity Policy.

Managers and employees must abide by the appropriate PSS policies and procedures at all times. 

Managers are expected to conduct themselves with the highest standard of behaviour and be role models for the Core Values

Further guidance on managers and supervisors' responsibilities can be found in Dignity at Work.

​3.3 Employee Responsibilities

All West Midlands Fire Service employees are responsible for upholding this policy and all managers are accountable for its effective implementation.  Failure to abide by this policy may result in disciplinary action.


4.1 Equ​​ality Duty

The Equality duty can be summarised by its three aims:

These outcomes will be achieved by;

West Midlands Fire Service seeks to provide an environment where all employees and service users are treated with dignity and respect and do not suffer unlawful discrimination owing to any perceived, actual or association protected characteristic as defined by the Equality Act 2010.  These protected characteristics are:


4.2 Our Commitment to Equality and Diversity

The Service is committed to understanding and being responsive to the diverse needs of our communities and also to our Service's core values which enables the Service to provide the best working environment for our employees and the most effective and professional standards in service delivery.

We expect the highest standards of behaviour, particularly in regard of Equality and Diversity issues from our employees and require our employees to demonstrate this in their personal interactions within the workplace and at any time where they are clearly identified as an employee of West Midlands Fire Service. Any behaviour which falls short of this expectation may result in disciplinary action.

Our commitment to fulfilling the General and Specific duties placed upon us by the Equal​ity Act 2010 and also meets the statutory requirements set out within the Act.

​4.3 Core Values

Underpinning our policy are the Service's core values; upholding, promoting and demonstrating these behaviours will enable West Midlands Fire Service to achieve the aims and objectives of this policy.  Our core values are mainstreamed throughout our Service not only by training all our employees but in how those values influence our day to day business from recruitment to procurement and how we develop projects from the earliest planning stage.  

WMFS Core values are also fundamental in the achievement of our strategic objectives as detailed in 'The Plan'.  This includes our People objective which states that 'We will develop a skilled, motivated and flexible workforce reflective of our community, who are focused on continually improving the services we provide'.

Our core values are:

We will value Service to the Community by:

We value all of our People by practising and promoting:

We value Diversity in our service and the community by:

We value Improvement at all levels of the service by:

​​​4.4 Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 came into force in the United Kingdom in October 2000. It is composed of a series of sections that have the effect of codifying the protections in the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.

Human rights are legal obligations owed by public authorities to everyone. This means that governments and public authorities must act in a way that respects human rights. Governments must also pass laws to ensure that individuals respect each other's human rights. Every human being has human rights regardless of their particular situation or characteristics.

​​4.5 Age Equality

The Service is committed to working with our community partners to engage and promote safety to high risk groups due to age which include disproportionate levels of injuries and fire deaths.  The Service is committed to educating young people via a range of school visits and education programs at various locations including our purpose built SafeSide facility.

As an employer and a provider of services we will value all people regardless of their age, including challenging negative stereotyping and making assumptions about people's choices and delivering services in a sensitive and appropriate manner considering the needs of individuals.

​​4.6 Disability Equality

The West Midlands Fire Service recognises that people with a disability are disadvantaged by both a social and physical environment focused on the needs of non-disabled people.  As such, the West Midlands Fire Service is committed to achieving disability equality by eliminating unlawful discrimination on the grounds of disability the Service embraces the social model of disability and aims to make sure that the working environment, where practical, is accessible in order that employees with disabilities are not disadvantaged. 

All managers have a responsibility to make sure that if employees declare a disability or become disabled during the course of their career the employee is offered the right support to allow continued employment whenever possible including the consideration of any reasonable adjustments that may be required.

​​4.7 Gender Reassignment

The Service works towards increasing understanding within our workforce and service delivery. We also develop awareness with our employees where appropriate so that the employee understands and can respond to the needs of individuals who are transgender.

Managers are expected and required to provide support to an employee who is or was undergoing gender reassignment to ensure that the employee is not subjected to harassment or bullying.  The manager and the employee in question would be able to access support and information from the DICE team to ensure that the transgender employee's workplace was a supportive environment.

Further details and support can be found in our Transgender and Gender Identity​​​ policy

​​4.8 Marriage and Civil Partnership

The Service is opposed to unlawful discrimination on the grounds of marital status including civil partnership and we will ensure policies and procedures are monitored in order that employees and service users who are married or in a civil partnership are not disadvantaged in the provision of employment and goods and services.

​4.9 Pregnancy and Maternity

The Service provides a range of flexible working arrangements and opportunities for its employees and has an excellent record of women returning to work after maternity which we aim to sustain. The West Midlands Fire Service is opposed to unlawful discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity.

Managers are expected to support employees returning to work following maternity leave to ensure a smooth transition back into the workplace.

Further details are set out in Pregnancy, Maternity, Paternity, Adoption SP Provisions Leave and Pay 06. 

​​​4.10 Race Equality

Race includes colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins. In relation to the protected characteristic of race, a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person of a particular racial group. 

The Service will target appropriate and relevant prevention activities to vulnerable communities, where there is evidence of disproportionate risk to the safety of individuals.

The Service will continue to undertake monitoring in relation to race to make sure employees are not being disadvantaged and have equal access to equality of opportunity during their employment including promotion progression, training and development opportunities.

The Service encourages applications from individuals from underrepresented groups and offers pre recruitment support programs to better prepare applicants from these groups for selection.

​​4.11 Religion or Philosophical Belief Equality

The Service represents an extremely diverse region for faith with large faith communities and is committed to tackling unlawful discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief and promoting good relations between people of different religions and beliefs.

The Service provides reflection rooms which are for the use of all employees (and where requested and practical, visitors and/or guests). The use of the room is not specific to any particular faith and can also be used by employees who may wish to use the room during break periods for quite reflection – Please find more details in Provision of personal reflection rooms

The Service also recognises and respects different religions and beliefs developing appropriately sensitive employment practices and through our etiquette, our behaviours, and the ways in which we communicate and engage in delivering our services.

The Services strives where possible to eliminate any barriers to for individuals with particular religious from joining the service.

​​4.12 Sex Equality

The Service strives to create an inclusive working environment and eliminate any form of discrimination or harassment based on gender.  As a legal requirement the Service will publish its gender pay gap data yearly and put actions in place to reduce any gap.

The Service will ensure that policies and procedures are monitored in order that employees are not disadvantaged in the provision of employment.

Further details can be found in Dignity at Work – Dignity at Work

​​​4.13 Sexual Orientation Equality

The Service is opposed to unlawful discrimination on the grounds of a person's sexual orientation. The Service will ensure where appropriate that employees understand and can make considerations to the needs of individuals with a different sexual orientation including those who identify as Bisexual.  The Service will take action in relation to complaints or allegations about bullying and harassment in the workplace in respect of sexual orientation and create an environment where employees are free from unfair treatment and feel safe to be open about their sexuality if the e​​mployee chooses to do so. The Service will ensure that policies and procedures are monitored in order that employees are not disadvantaged in the provision of employment.

​​4.14 Harassment under Dignity at Work

Within the Equality Act, the definition for harassment is 'unwanted conduct on the grounds of a protected characteristic under the Equality Act which has the purpose or effect of either violating the employee's dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them'.

Further details can be found in the Dignity at Work, Dignity at Work.  

​​​4.15 Practices and Supporting Policies

In order to ensure equality of opportunity for all, our procedures and practices will provide a framework to ensure that no job applicant, employee or service user receives less favourable treatment on any grounds that cannot be justified.  These include Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Transgender or non-binary, Marriage & Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex, Sexual Orientation. 

​​4.16 Equality Impact Assessments

The Service will carry out equality impact assessments (EIAs) to demonstrate legal compliance with the Equality Act 2010.

The Service has a legal duty to demonstrate due regard of the impact of its services and policies in terms of the general equality duty as set out in the Equality Act 2010.  Further details can be found in Equality Impact Assessment Procedures​​​​

​​4.17 Employment Practices

The Service recognises that clear and fair recruitment and selection practices are critical to ensuring equality of opportunity.  The Service will guarantee a job interview to candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the post for which they are applying as permitted by the Equality Act.

The Service will conduct a range of positive action initiatives in recruitment and internal progression in line with section 158 of the Equality Act 2010 to address under representation within its workforce.

The Service reserves the right to enact Section 159 of the Equality Act during selection on a case by case basis.

​​4.18 Learning and Development

Training and development on equality and diversity enables employees to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of the wider community, in the delivery of our services of prevention, protection and response.  It also equips employees with the skills and knowledge to enable individuals to understand their workplace rights and challenge unlawful discriminatory behaviour. 

Training and learning opportunities designed to promote understanding of equality and diversity will be arranged regularly for all employees as well as online resources which can be accessed by all employees.

​4.19 Service Delivery

The West Midlands Fire Service is committed to making sure that equality and diversity is integrated into all relevant areas of service planning and this is reflected in 'The Plan' which sets out the key priorities for reducing risk in the community.

At the core of our work, we aim to deliver the best possible level of service to the people of the West Midlands in order to make them safe.  We will ensure that we provide suitable, accessible and effective services and facilities free from unlawful discrimination, prejudice or stereotyping.

​​4.20 Monitoring

West Midlands Fire Service has a legal duty to regularly monitor the make-up of its workforce to make sure that individuals are not disadvantaged.  Our equality monitoring data is to be published annually, considered by Authority members and Strategic Enabling Team with regard to our Equality Objectives as set out within our specific duties under the Equality Act.

​​4.21 Procurement

As a public authority West Midlands Fire Service has a duty to follow national and European Union public procurement legislation.  West Midlands Fire Service will make sure that all external providers carrying out work on our behalf sign up to the Service's Equality and Diversity policies and standards.


Appendix 1 – Provision of Personal Reflection Rooms

Reflection rooms are for the use of all employees (and where requested and practical, visitors and/or guests).  The use of the room is not specific to any particular faith and can also be used by employees who may wish to use the room during break periods for quite reflection.



The manager responsible for each location which currently has a reflection room should make sure that all employees are aware of the availability of the room.

Employees who identify a need for a room in which to practice their faith through prayer or contemplation should, in the first instance, discuss it with their line manager.  Together they should consider the rooms available within the location to try to identify a suitable room.  It is an organisational commitment and legal requirement for all managers to give serious consideration to all requests relating to the practice of an employee's faith.  The line manager should draw upon the expertise of the Facilities Management Section or the DICE Team for further assistance if required.

Failure to reach a satisfactory agreement between the employee and line manager should be documented.  An appeal of the decision can be made via the grievance process.

​​Room guidelines

The Service recognises different faiths have different religious practices, customs and requirements concerned with prayer, worship or spiritual contemplation.  When choosing and setting up a reflection room, the Service will consider the following.

If you would like to use a room for any reason please inform your manager who can make the necessary arrangements. ​

Appendix 2 - Equality Impact Assessment Procedures


It is the policy of the West Midlands Fire Service to carry out equality impact assessments (EIAs) to demonstrate due regard to Equality considerations as detailed in the Equality Act 2010.

Equality impact assessments are used as a systematic way to assess all policies, procedures, activities and proposed projects for impact on employees of the West Midlands Fire Service and members of the public.  This impact may be negative (and therefore potentially constitute unlawful discrimination) or positive (furthering the organisations commitments under the general and specific duties of the Equality Act 2010).

The completion of an EIA allows the organisation to demonstrate that it has taken Equality considerations into account when developing new policy's, projects or practices and that the organisation adapts to the changing nature and needs of the community it serves

Any new policy development, activity, service project or any policies being amended and reviewed should undergo an equality impact assessment.  The aim of an equality impact assessment is to highlight the likely impact of the policy, activity or project on the groups listed below, it will also determine the extent of any differential impact and identify ways in which the policy should be changed or this impact mitigated if adverse.

The assessment process requires policy and project leads to demonstrate that a number of key considerations have been taken into account in developing or revising a policy or practice. 

Policy leads have a responsibility to show due regard to equality considerations and to assess their policies for any impact on the following; these are termed 'protected characteristics'.

Further detail on these "Protected characteristics" can be found in Equality and Diversity Policy

In summary, those subject to the equality duty must, in the exercise of their functions, have due regard to the need to:

WMFS is a listed body covered by the specific duties of the Equality Act 2010 and as such is required to publish sufficient information annually to demonstrate its compliance with the general equality duty across its functions.

This information must include information on the effect that its policies and practices have had on people who share a relevant protected characteristic, to demonstrate the extent to which it furthered the aims of the general equality duty for its employees and for others with an interest in the way it performs its functions.


The main purpose of an EIA is to examine policies, projects, services and functions to determine whether the policy, service, function or project has:

The EIA process consists of 2 parts:

If the initial equality impact assessment screening process identifies that the policy, project or activity has a significant impact on people with a protected characteristic then a full equality impact assessment must be completed.

A full EIA is likely not to be required when:

A full EIA is likely to be required when:

A full EIA will be required when:

 ​​Who is responsible for carrying out EIAs?

The lead person on any project or policy formation or review is responsible for making sure that an initial equality impact assessment and a full equality impact assessment is completed, if required.

Members of staff responsible for writing, amending or reviewing policies should make sure that they have had equality impact assessment training or have sought guidance from the DICE team. Each department should identify a person who is responsible for EIA and ensure that any EIA are reviewed in line with the review date identified in the EIA form.

The DICE team can provide advice guidance and assistance when requested.

​When should an EIA be completed

An EIA should be completed at the start of any design process for a policy or activity.  A robust EIA will help inform any design process and help promote more effective and targeted policy or activity.

Information gathered from the EIA may help change key aspects of any activity and therefore should not be completed after decisions have been made. The purpose of an EIA is to encourage holistic thinking and to ensure any impact on those with a protected characteristic is fully explored.

Sometimes not all factors are known at the beginning of a project; an EIA should be a living document and be revisited as part of any review/evaluation process of a policy/activity. With some policies/activities it may be necessary to carry out further EIA' at a later day on specific aspects of an activity. An EIA is a living document and as a project evolves and as is implemented then the EIA should be updated.

​​​​Initial impact assessment screening process

At the screening stage, members of staff responsible for completing EIAs will need to identify whether the policy, activity, function or project impacts directly on employees or members of the public.  Members of staff also need to determine whether the policy has an impact on specific groups of people.

 If it is felt that a full EIA is required, then this can be completed without the need to complete an initial EIA

The initial EIA form can be provided on request.

​Full impact assessment

A Full EIA is carried out if it has been identified by an initial EIA or the owner of the policy or project considers it to likely to have an impact on employees or service delivery. For projects or policies with a widespread or likely to have an equality impact then a full EIA can be completed. An initial EIA is not required if a full EIA is completed.

The Full EIA form can be provided on request.


The impact assessment of any project or policy will have helped you to anticipate its likely effects on specific groups of people.  Monitoring of the policy once it is in operation must be carried out to ensure that any unforeseen impacts are identified.

The final policy may be revised to take account of some or all of these findings, but you will only know the actual impact of the policy once it is in operation. 

This means that the policy will require regular monitoring to identify what is happening in reality.  Monitoring consists of continuous scrutiny, follow-up and evaluation of policies.  It is not solely about the collection of data, it can also take the form of regular meetings and reporting of research that has been done.

 It is normally recommended that an EIA for a new policy or project is reviewed after 6-12 months 

Appendix 3 - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace


It is the strategy of West Midlands Fire Service to provide a working environment which promotes the safety at work for all employees and volunteers by protecting them from sexual harassment in the workplace. Conduct which creates an unsafe, offensive and intimidating environm​ent within the workplace will not be tolerated and may lead to disciplinary action.

The Service has a legal (General Duty Equality Act 2010, Health and Safety Act 1974) and moral responsibility to protect all employees from sexual harassment and will ensure that unsuitable conduct and behaviour is dealt with effectively.

This document details the procedures and practices that all employees are expected to follow in order to ensure that we treat each other with dignity and respect in the workplace and the consequences of subjecting a fellow employee, contractor or member of the public to sexual harassment.


All employees of the Service have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their position and should not be subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace.

In order to provide a working environment free from sexual harassment the Service will:

As an employer, it is recognised that sexual harassment can create serious problems for the organisation such as putting employees at risk/poor health and mental wellbeing, poor morale, poor employee relations, poor performance, absence, Employment Tribunal and other court cases.

​​​What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.  It has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of an employee, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.  Something can still be considered sexual harassment even if the alleged harasser didn't mean for it to be. It also doesn't have to be intentionally directed at a specific person.

Sexual harassment can happen in any number of ways, including:

Sexual harassment can happen to men or women.  Employees can be sexually harassed by people of the same sex or the opposite sex.

Sexual harassment can come from anyone, including:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

Unwelcome Behaviour is the critical word. Unwelcome does not mean "involuntary." A victim may consent or agree to certain conduct and actively participate in it even though it is offensive and objectionable. Therefore, sexual conduct is unwelcome whenever the person subjected to it considers it unwelcome. Whether the person in fact welcomed a request for a date, sex-oriented comment, or joke depends on all the circumstances.


An employee who feels they have been/are the subject of sexual harassment is encouraged to make a complaint so the behaviour can be addressed. If raised at an early stage matters can be dealt with promptly to stop further escalation and seriousness of behaviours.

To make a complaint relating to sexual harassment you should use Grievance Procedure​

Every effort should be made by a complainant to raise their complaint within a reasonable time. This will make effective and timely investigation possible.

During the formal stage, the complainant may wish to include a third party such as a union official or colleague who is willing to facilitate the meeting on their behalf if they feel unable to do so.

There is a presumption that a complaint has been made in good faith. Where it is considered to have been made other than in good faith the complainant will be liable for disciplinary action which may result in dismissal.

Similarly, if the grievance of the complainant is upheld then disciplinary action will be taken.

​Lines of Reporting

When reporting unwanted behaviour this should be reported to your line manager where appropriate. However, if for any reason if this is uncomfortable there are alternative lines of reporting you can follow:


Responsible SET Member Accountable  People Support Services
Authorised bySarah Warnes
Direct enquiries
EIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete TBC
PIA (Date Completed & Name)Complete TBC
Review History 
Version #DateReviewed By
1.01/12/2018Tristan, DICE
Amendment History 
Version #DateAmended BySection AmendedAmendmentReason for change
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