West Midlands Fire Service condemns behaviours in HMICFRS report and will accept recommendations 

This latest HMICFRS Culture and values report underscores how we must continue to exceed our own standards, and now those of HMICFRS.

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Published on 30 March 2023

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) has read and accepts the 35 recommendations outlined in His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) report on ‘Values and Culture in Fire and Rescue Services’, published on the evening of 30 March 2023.

The report highlights allegations of bullying, harassment and discrimination in every fire and rescue service (FRS) in England.

WMFS Chief Fire officer, Wayne Brown, described it as “a difficult read”.

The report has made a series of recommendations, which WMFS will accept in full.

HMICFRS says the recommendations are intended to assist FRSs in improving values, culture, fairness and diversity.

WMFS has made great strides in these areas in recent years, but will seek to implement the recommendations in accordance with the timeline set out by HMICFRS.

CFO Wayne Brown said: “As Chief Fire Officer, I find the report a difficult read. It cites reports of widespread bullying, harassment, discrimination, misogyny, racism and homophobia across our sector. It is offensive that some have dismissed such behaviour as ‘banter’.

“We strive to make WMFS a place where people can work in a safe and dignified way. Our core values and national code of ethics are the foundations for a workplace free from bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour. Any breaches of these will be addressed robustly, in line with our policies and procedures.

Chief Fire Officer Wayne Brown

“Our recent HMICFRS report graded us as ‘Good’ in our approach to People, including: promoting the right values and culture; getting the right people with the right skills; ensuring fairness and promoting diversity; managing performance and developing leaders.

“I said at the time that we’ve worked exceptionally hard to achieve this recognition from our national inspectorate, and do not take it for granted. We have set ourselves incredibly high standards. Our challenge now is to continue to meet and exceed them.

“This latest national report underscores how we must continue to exceed our own standards, and now those of HMICFRS.

“There are some recommendations where we have already started the work required, some where our planning has begun and now needs adjustments, and some where we have more work to do.

“There are stories in the report that could evoke some strong emotions. We must, and will, take action to correct what the report outlines where it exists in WMFS.”

Read the HMICFRS Values and culture in the fire and rescue sector report.