Equality and inclusion

Equality and inclusion information from the fire service.

Chief Fire Officers statement on equality and inclusion

Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service recognises that all individuals have fundamental human rights and therefore adopts a rights based approach to equality. We shall develop practices that promote the right for everyone to participate in all aspects of life by promoting initiatives which remove barriers to participation and by actively promoting equality and social inclusion.

We will have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other unacceptable conduct, to promote equality of opportunity and to promote good relations between all persons with respect to their disability, sex, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender status or gender reassignment, age, marital status and pregnancy or maternity.

We seek to develop and provide relevant, appropriate and accessible services that meet the needs of our diverse population. We will eliminate unlawful or otherwise unjustifiable discrimination and promote equality in the provision of our services. As an employer we will value the contribution that every employee makes and respect individual differences, utilising the diversity of our workforce as a positive benefit.

Chief Fire Officer, Simon Furlong

Our performance 2012-2017

Fire and Rescue Service equality and diversity objectives are contained within the county councils equality policy and we support those objectives in our work:

  • Objective 1 - understanding the needs of individuals and communities
  • Objective 2 - providing accessible, local and personalised services
  • Objective 3 - supporting thriving and cohesive communities
  • Objective 4 - promoting a culture of fairness in employment and service delivery

We have changed the way we deliver equality to meet the requirements of equality legislation and also the equality framework for fire and rescue services. This means we will also be delivering equality in the way we provide our services. We have always done this in the past but now we will incorporate this aspect into our overall equality work and include it in our plans.

The Fire and Rescue equality group deal with not only recruitment and employment issues in the Service, but also how we deliver equality across our service. They meet regularly and have a responsibility to scrutinise equality case studies to see that we continue to meet the required standards of equality. The local government association equality charter for fire and rescue authority members was signed by our Cabinet Member.

Case studies

We plan to use case studies to illustrate how our day to day business is working in harmony with our aspirations in terms of equality and inclusion. We will also be using pilot schemes and innovative projects as case studies , where they are appropriate, to demonstrate our commitment to equality and inclusion and further support a thriving Oxfordshire.

Case study 1. Have a Go Days

Our have a go days have become more successful with every event, providing a much needed look at the role of a firefighter for women and those from diverse ethnic backgrounds who might have previously been reticent about trying out the tests. Our have a go days ran alongside our usual open days and invitations to stations for anyone in the community to try, to ensure no person or part of the community lacked access to the information and an opportunity to try the tests. Coaches and service instructors were on hand at all of our events to guide and encourage those who were able to attend, in negotiating the physical challenges and written tests.

Case study 2: Breathing apparatus compatibility assessment

As part of the replacement of breathing apparatus for the service we engaged a number of staff to participate in the compatibility assessment of the protective equipment with due regard to their physical make up, any dexterity, mobility, hearing, vision or flexibility issues as there are members of the workforce who have difficulties with some aspects of the previously mentioned but need a reasonable adjustment in the work wear to enable them to remain operational firefighters. We also invited a number of women firefighters to take part to assure the process in regards to physical form. A representative body also took part in the process.

Case Study 3: Organisational assurance team tasks with links to equality

As part of the Organisational Assurance teams work, it has conducted audits into the work doen in the service to examine how it has met the statutory and organisational requirements in respect of Equality Objectives.

Case study 4: Managing provision for language barriers in legal enforcement

To assist members of the business community that do not speak English or have English as their first language, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has procedures in place to obtain the services of an interpreter in serious cases and to offer written guidance in their own language for routine situations.

Case study 5: Progression from cadet to fire fighter

Cadets often want to progress on to the role of fire fighter when they reach 18. This case study outlines how one cadet did so, supported by the management of the service as part of their commitment to equality of opportunity.

Case study 6. Diabetes in the Fire Service

Diabetes is not a bar to a career in the Fire and Rescue Service. Everyone with diabetes working in today's Fire and Rescue Service has a right to be treated fairly and positively and to have the same access as anyone else to all the opportunities that the service offers. This equally applies to those already serving, who develop Diabetes during their career, as it does to those applying to join.

Case study 7. Organisational assurance

The Organisational Assurance Policy was introduced in March 2014 and states how the service is assured, meeting statutory requirements and organisational needs.

Case study 8. Colour deficiency

Colour deficiency is not a bar to a career in the Fire and Rescue Service. Every case is treated on its medical merits and the severity of the condition. Everyone with colour deficiency working in today's Fire and Rescue Service has a right to be treated fairly and positively and to have the same access as anyone else to all the opportunities that the service offers. This equally applies to those already serving, whose condition develops during their career, as it does to those applying to join with the condition.

Case study 9. Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as the month of fasting; the month lasts between 29 to 30 days and ends on the sighting of the relevant new moon with the celebration of Eid. The date for Ramadan will change from year to year.