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This report provides an overview of the range of activities, outcomes and progress made by Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) during 2022/23.

Adhering to the Public Sector Equality Duties (PSED), this includes both general and specific duties, as detailed below:

1. General equality duty (section 149 Equality Act 2010):

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation.
  • Advance equality of opportunity between different groups.
  • Foster good relations between different groups.

2. Specific duties (Schedule 19 Equality Act), listed public authorities must publish:

  • Information on employees (if 150 staff or more) and people affected by policies and practices to show compliance with equality duty, at least annually.
  • Specific and measurable equality objectives, at least every four years.

Click through the below to find out how we are meeting our Equality and Inclusion Priorities 2021-2025.

Priority 1: Leading by example on equality

Our commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is structured through the EDI Steering Group, comprising various stakeholders such as elected Members, Heads of Departments, Trade Union and Representative Bodies, and Staff Forums representing under-represented groups. The Steering Group assesses our progress against objectives regularly through the PSED action plan. The identified progress, gaps, and new issues are documented in an updated action plan for the following year.

Leadership in EDI occurs at different levels, with significant roles played by HFRS Senior Equality Ambassadors within the Strategic Leadership Team, each championing a protected characteristic of the Equality Act 2010. These roles have been recently updated due to promotions and new appointments. Heads of Function implement PSED within their areas throughout the year and actively contribute to the action plan through the EDI Steering Group. EDI is integrated into all tactical plans for Heads of Function.

Managers play a vital role in fulfilling their statutory equality duties, including conducting Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs). We have trained 60 managers using the National Fire Chief Council (NFCC) EIA template and provide annual training to ensure competence. All completed EIAs are accessible on the Service's intranet.

An external audit of our EIA arrangements in 2022 confirmed reasonable assurance, with an action plan implemented to address identified three areas of improvement, which have all been completed.

Staff-led Forums, such as Voices for Disability, Voices for Women, and LGBTQ+, empower under-represented groups, influencing workplace culture and policies.

Our equality monitoring systems allow staff to update their personal information confidentially during their annual Performance Development Review. We actively promote HFRS as an anti-discriminatory organisation, adhering to the National Fire Standards Board (FSB) Core Code of Ethics, which has 5 key principles:

1. Putting our Communities First

2. Integrity

3. Dignity and Respect

4. Leadership

5. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Continuous learning and staff engagement make sure the principles are embedded in our organisation.

HFRS's leadership role extends beyond our region to national engagement, exemplified by our membership in organisations like the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) and Women in The Fire Service UK (WFSUK). We've led regional initiatives, such as women’s mentoring, and established networks to foster collaboration and support among professionals.

Priority 3: Ensuring a safe and fair workplace for all staff

In the past year, several accomplishments and opportunities have been realised, including:

  • Launching a new Occupational Health and Wellbeing Portal, offering comprehensive health, safety, and wellness resources, along with access to confidential counselling services through the Employee Assistance Programme.
  • Achieving the Healthy Workplace Award (Silver Level) across all 8 thematic areas.
  • Establishing the 'Fire Lounge' community café, providing a comfortable space for staff to dine, connect, and unwind.
  • Introducing two wellbeing pods at the Service HQ site, facilitating confidential discussions and support for staff welfare.
  • Maintaining blue light champions, identifiable by their lanyards, offering support and wellbeing discussions to staff.
  • Hosting the Annual Staff Awards Evening to recognise outstanding staff achievements.
  • Co-hosting a major event with West Yorkshire FRS for national Staff Network Day.
  • Celebrating the benefits of staff forums during Mental Health Awareness Week, fostering a safe space for discussions and support.

Additionally, staff forums have played a pivotal role in enhancing workplace culture. The LGBTQ+ Forum has created and distributed posters in all HFRS workplaces with contacts for support. The Forum knows, from members lived experience, that just having posters visible in workplaces allows staff who may not be ‘out’ at work to start to feel more supported and helps limit homophobic micro aggressions in the workplace.

The Voices for Women Forum organise regular meetings and events for members and all staff to benefit from. Recent topics and events have included:

  • The Cost of Living which led to the engagement of Directors and Trade Union leaders and a support resource being made available on our intranet.
  • Imposter Syndrome which can affect individuals from several under-represented groups and lead them to feel lacking in self-esteem.
  • 8 March 2023, for HFRS International Women’s Day Celebrations, a major event which brought together leaders, managers and male and female staff to discuss and action plan around women’s career development at HFRS, and how allies can take responsibility to champion this issue.
  • Championing fitness for women and focussing on non-operational staff and are currently supporting the Service’s Occupational Health and Wellbeing team to develop fitness programmes for women and around women’s health.
  • Menopause (pre and post-menopausal) women have formed a Menopause Group and a Menopause Policy has been developed, consulted on and adopted this year which provide support and guidance.
  • A task and finish group including lived experience of women who have been pregnant and taken maternity leave supported by managers (male and female) has been formed to develop a Maternity Guidance Handbook.

The Voices for Disability Forum has provided a secure environment for staff to discuss relevant issues and members have continued to provide a contact point for staff and provide informal support and mentoring for disabled staff. The Forum has also continued to raise awareness on disability equality issues and provide information to all staff on a wide range of issues from neurodiversity to the social model of disability.

The Forum has been successful in influencing the Service to adopt the social model of disability rather than a medical model. The social model says that disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than by a person’s impairment or difference. Adoption of this model is crucial for promoting disability equality at work, and therefore a significant change. The Forum has also continued work begun in 2021/2022 when they identified a need for a policy on reasonable adjustments and undertook research on best practice.

Discussions have begun around forming an Age Spectrum Forum to address issues affecting staff across different age groups. The concept of allies within these forums has gained traction, leading to the formation of an Allyship Group. This group will empower staff across HFRS to champion under-represented groups, building on the groundwork laid by previous HeForShe campaigns. These forums play a vital role in raising awareness and fostering inclusivity.

Priority 5: Identifying the fire and other emergency risks linked to multiple disadvantage and discrimination

Through the establishment of our Risk and Intelligence team, we have significantly enhanced our data management and analysis capabilities. Our dedicated analytics team, which includes a skilled Data Scientist, ensures a seamless, data-driven decision-making process. This methodology supports different sectors within our organisation, providing vital social data concerning our community.

We use national data and advanced machine learning models to discern risk attributes and identify unique combinations that indicate a higher risk of fire-related fatalities. These attributes encompass protected characteristics like gender, age, and disability. This intelligence is transformed into household-level risk profiles, driving our proactive prevention initiatives.

We've employed a similar modelling process to develop intelligence for our proactive protection efforts, generating business-level risk profiles for our Inspectors' audit schedules and Operational Crews’ engagements. This strategic approach advances our goal of ensuring the safety of establishments where the public resides, works, or visits. Individuals with protected characteristics and those facing deprivation or disadvantage benefit from the safety measures implemented in places like hospitals, care homes, restaurants, clinics, religious centers, and hotels.

Additionally, our subscription to Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OSCI) provides us with the latest community data and analyses. This invaluable resource enables us to create tailored area population profiles. These profiles serve as the foundation for our Station Story Maps, accessible to our crews in each station area. Crew members can access key population data, including ethnicity, enabling them to adapt their approaches as needed or consult the HFRS community handbook for further insights into specific community groups.

We've developed comprehensive dashboards to evaluate our community and assess our activities. For example, we have one that shows the race of people experiencing fires and those receiving prevention services from us. Another dashboard highlights vulnerabilities identified during home fire safety visits. We're continually enhancing our data collection system to gain deeper insights, including aligning our data collection with government standards. Through these initiatives, we are committed to improving the safety and wellbeing of all community members.

Priority 2: Increasing diversity throughout our workforce

HFRS is dedicated to enhancing the diversity of our workforce. We acknowledge areas where we have a lack of representation in terms of the protected characteristics outlined in the Equality Act. To address this, we have implemented a comprehensive strategy to proactively engage and create opportunities for underrepresented groups. Our initiatives for positive attraction in 2022-23 included:

  • Collaborative events with Humberside Police in Hull, Grimsby, and Scunthorpe, resulting in 349 direct interactions.
  • Engagement with communities in Goole, Spring Bank, and Peel Street in Hull, as well as participation in events like the British Firefighter Championships and Hull Pride.
  • Station-led events in Bridlington, Immingham East, Peaks Lane, and Scunthorpe.
  • Coordinated efforts with prevention and protection colleagues to integrate fire safety and positive attraction at various identified events on the Protection and Prevention calendar.
  • Distribution of posters to cross-fit gyms and fitness groups.
  • Collaboration with partner organisations such as Hull All Nations Alliance (HANA), Hull KR and Hull FC Rugby Clubs, Yorkshire Migration, Scunthorpe Job Centre, North Lindsey College, and the Disability Consortium to promote recruitment opportunities.
  • Our newly established Reasonable Adjustments Policy Delivery Guidance and passport system provide essential support for candidates with disabilities or health issues throughout the recruitment process. We have improved information-sharing to empower candidates to confidently request reasonable adjustments, ensuring they receive the necessary support.

Rookie Reds Programmes:

The Rookie Reds Programmes at Service HQ, Howdens, Pocklington, Market Weighton, Hornsea, and Withernsea continue to prepare underrepresented groups for recruitment into HFRS. Support includes the development of an online testing guide, sample interview questions, and an expanded recruitment support area on our website.

These close-knit cohorts of approximately 50 individuals have formed supportive groups who are enthusiastic about working for HFRS. Many of them extend their support for communities by regularly volunteering at events such as Pride celebrations and working at food banks.

Full-Time Recruitment:

In 2022 and 2023, we carried out two Full-Time recruitment processes. The statistics are as follows:

2022: 16 successful candidates, including 4 females (25%), 12 males (75%), 1 Ethnic Minorities candidate, and 3 neurodivergent candidates.

2023: 39 candidates have successfully completed the interview stage, with 7 females (18%), 31 males (79%), and 4 Ethnic Minorities candidates. The final selection is pending.

Improve the retention and progression levels for all underrepresented groups:

This year, HFRS introduced the Reasonable Adjustment Policy Delivery Guidance and passporting system, which underwent thorough piloting. This guidance informs managers and employees about how the Service supports individuals with specific health and wellbeing needs through reasonable adjustments. HFRS is committed to fostering an inclusive work environment where every employee feels valued, respected, and supported to perform at their best.

The passport system allows existing employees to discuss and implement reasonable adjustments that enhance their working environment. We have piloted this system to support progression and retention of staff with neurodivergent conditions. All HR Service Partners and Occupational Health Nurses have received training to assist managers in implementing reasonable adjustments and passports at work.

Learning and Development Opportunities:

HFRS continues to invest in the learning and development of all staff, recognising its role in retention. Role-specific training outlines have been created for every staff level, detailing supported learning and development opportunities. Our annual PDR process encourages employees to discuss their career aspirations and development needs.

Examples of development opportunities related to EDI include:

  • Integrating the WFSUK three-month development program into the annual PDR process to promote opportunities to female staff.
  • Organising an event for International Women's Day 2023, focusing on Women's Career Development, resulting in a Career Development Action Plan covering recruitment, development, and retention.
  • Implementing NFCC Mentoring and Coaching to promote a coaching style of management and ensure skilled mentors are available, with a diverse range of mentors for both women and men.
  • Active participation in WFSUK and Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) activities, including committee meetings, training events, and conferences, to promote diversity and inclusivity within HFRS.

Priority 4: Continuing to improve our knowledge of our diverse communities and how we engage with them

Our Corporate Communication team has developed a calendar for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), as well as fire service safely related campaigns, which provides opportunities to participate in various EDI events and initiatives.

As a public sector organisation dedicated to combating discrimination, we are actively involved in communities, promoting EDI and safety during events like Pride events, Mental Health Awareness, Dementia Action, Be Water Aware and Home Fire Safety Weeks. Managers from our Prevention Teams actively participate in local EDI forums and interagency working groups related to domestic violence, LGBTQ+, and Ethnic Minorities communities.

We have also been engaged in the Regional Migration Forum, focusing on volunteering opportunities and recruitment practices. Our organisation has been recognised as a model of good practice in the upcoming online toolkit and referenced in their multi-agency training presentations.

We collaborate with local schools and colleges, hosting career events and open evenings, fostering positive engagement and attracting diverse talent.

We actively participate in EDI partnership meetings in our area, sending representatives to contribute and learn from best practices. Additionally, we organised a networking event where we collaborated with various community partners to promote prevention and identify key stakeholders. We established connections with representatives from a local mosque, enhancing our community engagement efforts.

We have reinforced our support for the White Ribbon Campaign against domestic abuse. On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), we partnered with the Hull Domestic Abuse Partnership to recruit White Ribbon Women Champions and Male Ambassadors, taking meaningful action to combat domestic violence.

Forward Look: Our Work on PSED Priorities during 2023-2024

In the upcoming 2023-2024 period, we will be entering the fourth and final year of implementing our existing priorities aimed at fostering positive outcomes for our communities and employees. Following this phase, we plan to engage with a diverse range of stakeholders to refresh our objectives.

To give you a glimpse of our planned actions within the five priorities outlined in our PSED action plan for the next year:

Priority 1: Leading by example on equality

We will actively promote and support new Staff Forums and Groups, including the establishment of an Age Equality Forum and Allyship Group.

Priority 2: Increase diversity throughout our workforce

Our efforts will continue through targeted attraction campaigns focusing on women, as well as men and women from Ethnic Minorities communities.

Priority 3: Ensuring a safe and fair workplace for all staff

We are set to implement reasonable adjustment guidance and passports for existing staff, integrating them into recruitment and promotion processes across the service.

Priority 4: Continuing to improve our knowledge of our diverse communities and how we engage with them

We plan to implement a wider range of robust Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) with a focus on prevention and improvement outcomes.

Priority 5: Identifying fire and other emergency risks linked to multiple disadvantage and discrimination

We aim to use new data sources to enhance community engagement and service provision, particularly for groups experiencing multiple disadvantages and discrimination.

We will continue with the improvement to our approach to EDI, making sure we can offer the right services to our communities and support staff with protected characteristics. We are proud that our HMICFRS Inspection reported that “staff we spoke to were all very knowledgeable and were very positive about the (EDI) journey the Service has been on since the last inspection”.