The benefits of a diverse workforce
Our primary objectives as a fire and rescue service are to prevent fires, non-fire emergencies including road traffic collisions and false alarms. We also work hard to reduce the risk of death and injury by providing safety advice and guidance within our businesses and communities.
The business case for diversity in the workforce is compelling and there is a growing body of evidence documenting the many advantages it can bring, such as innovation, new and different ways of thinking and greater inclusivity. But these benefits can also have a positive impact on service provision because a workforce which is representative of the community it serves is much better placed to understand the needs of a wide range of people and can engage with them more effectively.
Collecting information on our workforce
We collect equalities information on our staff so that we can understand and monitor the diversity profile of our workforce. All job applicants are requested to complete a confidential equal opportunities monitoring form as part of the recruitment process so that we can make sure that the process is fair and unbiased. We also ask existing members of staff to update their personal information at specific points in their careers such as promotion, training courses, staff surveys and exit interviews and during occasional staff data refresh exercises.
Collecting and analysing this data enables us to:
Identify key issues, for example:
- Monitor and understand the impact of our policies, practices and decisions on people with different protected characteristics.
- Assess whether we are discriminating unlawfully when carrying out any of our functions and take prompt action to change this, if so.
- Identify what the key equality issues are for our organisation.
Take action, for example:
- Take steps to meet the needs of staff and service users who share relevant protected characteristics.
- Identify if there are any actions we can take to avoid discrimination and harassment, advance equality of opportunity or foster good relations.
- Make informed decisions about policies and practices which are based on evidence about the impact of our activities on equality.
- Develop appropriate equality objectives.
- Have due regard to the aims of the public sector equality duty by ensuring that staff have appropriate information for decision-making.
The data that we collect is disaggregated across the sub-groups below so that we can identify patterns or trends which may indicate possible inequalities between staff groups:
- All staff
- Operational wholetime firefighters
- Operational retained duty system (RDS) firefighters
- Support staff
- Control staff
- All appointees
- Operational appointees
- Management appointees
- Control appointees
- RDS appointees
The information we collect about our workforce and the community is also used to enable us to comply with our statutory duty under the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011. This legislation requires us to publish the data that we have collected relating to people who share a relevant protected characteristic who are our employees and people who are affected by our policies and practices (service users).
We publish a revised workforce diversity report at least every 6 months. You can view the most recent reports below or to view all reports, visit our document library.
Collecting information on our community
The information we hold on our community is drawn from a number of sources. As a base we use national census data but this is supplemented by our own operational intelligence which is compiled using tools such as MOSAIC, a demographic tool provided by Experian. This helps us to predict what sort of person lives in each household and gives in-depth insight into their lifestyles.
We also work and share relevant information with our partners such as the police, local authorities, social care providers, public health organisations, voluntary and third sector organisations and other key agencies.
This in-depth local knowledge helps us to identify households which are at greater risk of experiencing fire so that we can tailor our interventions to make sure we deliver the right services, to the right people, at the right time. Our Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) and our Community Risk Reduction Strategy set out how we plan to do this.
Working in the community
As a service one of our main aims is to reduce community risk and inequality within the four unitary areas that we serve:
- Bath and North East Somerset
- North Somerset
- South Gloucestershire
In addition to developing our own initiatives and interventions to fulfil this aim, we also do a lot of work in partnership with agencies such as Police, local authorities, health organisations, voluntary and third sector organisations and other key agencies.
A selection of short case studies, featured below, give an insight into some of the innovative schemes that we successfully developed and delivered, either independently or jointly with our partners: