When settings its equality objectives under the public sector equality duty, Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service set an objective to increase the number of lesbian, gay and bisexual people applying for promotion in the Service by 2014. To achieve this, the Service actively promotes career development opportunities to its lesbian, gay and bisexual staff. Its Coaching and Leadership Programme was advertised on the Service’s LGBT e-network to encourage participation from lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.
This objective also prompted the Service to fund a place on Stonewall’s Authentic Role Model programme in September 2013. The course, designed for employees from all levels in an organisation, aims to promote increased visibility of lesbian, gay and bisexual role models in the workplace by exploring what it means to be yourself at work. Following a lot of interest from its LGB staff, the Service decided to fund two places on the course. Both a male Fire-Fighter and a female Watch Manager applied for and secured places on the programme.
The Service measures the impact of these actions by monitoring its internal recruitment processes and the number of LGB staff accessing training and promotion opportunities. This has shown an increase in LGB staff accessing these opportunities, particularly at middle management level, and an LGB candidate was successful in the Service’s most recent internal promotion process. The Service has also commissioned a piece of research to understand why employees from under-represented groups, including LGBT staff, might not seek promotion. This will help the Service address any barriers and help their lesbian, gay and bisexual staff achieve their full potential.
To meet its obligations under the public sector equality duty, Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service set an equality objective to improve equality and diversity in its procurement process.
Following engagement with its suppliers, the Service decided to support its supplier base with training in diversity and equality to drive up standards in the supply chain and help meet this objective. The Service held a series of Supplier Briefing events, in which the Service outlined its commitment to equality for all protected groups under the Equality Act – including lesbian, gay and bisexual people – and educated suppliers on their responsibilities, directing them to further support if needed.
Following these briefings the Service hosted an Equality in Procurement event bringing together key stakeholders to raise awareness of equality and diversity issues and discuss potential solutions. Feedback from the event was excellent, with one delegate stating that the event had opened their eyes to what to do in terms of equality and diversity and how this can help compete for work in the public sector.
This series of events has led to the Service developing an Equality and Diversity Supplier guide.