ESFRS in partnership with ChoicES Employment Service will be employing an adult with a learning disability on a part-time basis (1 day per week) to work initially in Business Services.
ChoicES Employment Services is part of East Sussex County Council Adult Social Care and is a county wide service for adults with a learning disability who are seeking support into paid employment. This is not creating a new job role but carving out routine functions from an existing job role in order to enable the job seeker to enter the job market and contribute their skills to the world of work.
ESFRS want to improve the life chances of disabled people by providing paid work experience on a 6 monthly rolling programme.
The benefits of this project include:-
In 2011, 48.8%of disabled people were in employment, compared to 77.5% of non-disabled people.
People with disabilities or support needs are usually excellent problem solvers (because they have to be) and once in work, statistics show they are at least as effective as their non-disabled colleagues. ESFRS want to do everything we can to give people with disabilities a fair chance to demonstrate their skills and provide invaluable work experience that may lead to full time employment.
On 22nd June, Garry Collins (Borough Commander of Lewes) and Eddie Shrivastava (Web Developer) attended the 2nd Annual Regional Conference of the Asian Fire Service Association hosted by Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.
The conference contained a variety of useful workshops for attendees relating to changing values within the workplace, inspiring social cohesion, changes to the Equality Act, supporting change through coaching and leading change through innovation and advancement.
Garry attended the "Conversations for Change -Inspiring Social Cohesion" workshop which was presented by the Tutu Foundation and gained a valuable insight into core community principles that were used to help unite the South African community.
He also attended a very thought provoking session by Martin Emberson (Chief Fire Officer of Northamptonshire FRS) who has adopted a high pressure water extinguishing system (COBRA) which has been added to appliances in addition to traditional hose reel jets. It offers many advantages and importantly users much less water, with the majority being absorbed in a misting extinguishing phase of cooling from a fire.
Eddie attended two different workshops which were both relating to change management.
The first was "Managing People through Change" which was delivered by Julie Johnston and highlighted the challenges of managing teams through organisational change and the second was "Supporting Change- NWFS Coaching and NLP Training" which was delivered by Mani Gilbert-King.
Mani provided an insight into the value of coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming in terms of influencing people and unleashing their potential.
"This conference was worthwhile attending not only as an excellent social networking event but as a brilliant opportunity to share knowledge in the workshops. I learnt what the contribution of equality and diversity is in a successful organisation and society." Eddie Shrivastava
"An excellent opportunity to network and gain valuable insight to developments progressing in other areas, while demonstrating a clear commitment by ESFRS to support AFSA." Garry Collins
If you want to know more about AFSA please contact Raj Baksi email or confidentially on 01323 462141 which is Raj's direct line with voicemail that only he has access to.
On 21st June, Andy Reynolds (Director of Prevention and Protection) attended a Gypsy/Traveller Safety event organised by Friends, Families and Travellers at the Brighthelm Centre in Brighton.
The event was a half-day best practice and learning event to raise awareness of Gypsy Traveller culture and how this impacts on fire safety.
The attendees included the Traveller Sites Manager for East Sussex County Council, Community Safety teams from Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Luton and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services and Essex County Council.
Andy Reynolds delivered a presentation on "Achieving safer and more sustainable communities" which included the Community Safety projects that ESFRS offers but highlighted that Gypsy/Traveller communities may have difficulty in accessing these services. He said, "This event was a valuable showcase of fire safety best practices and lessons that can be learned from working with England´s oldest yet most socially excluded ethnic group."
Jazka Atterbury (Strategic Development Officer FFT) commented, "It was good to see so much discussion, sharing of best practise and examples of working. We have some interesting themes and key issues to take from the day and form a recommendation report."
On Friday 20th April 2012, Station Managers Graham Gray and Greg Lee attended the annual Stonewall conference at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, London.
The keynote speakers included :-
Graham and Greg have provided invaluable feedback from the day…
"The Home Office (2nd in the Stonewall Top 100 Index) tied their performance management/professional development programs to equality. All employees had to embark on equality training once a year through e-learning or blended learning systems. I felt we needed to aspire to this level.
References were made to key points throughout the day which were invaluable to remind us how far we have travelled in such a short period of time. It also reminded me how potentially dangerous and quickly we could slide back!
Beth Brooke from Ernst Young (1st in the Stonewall Top 100 Index) delivered a very personal inspirational speech explaining why we need a diverse organisation and reduce groupthink. We need inclusive leaders and one of the most powerful things she gave to me was 'authentic' leaders.
The session from Accenture (7th in the Stonewall Top 100) was about effective leadership which is critical to creating a workplace culture which acts as an enabler for all staff - including LGB staff - to make best possible use of their talent.
This session was very inspiring input. Accenture invested huge amounts ensuring their staff had understanding and maintained understanding.
They also instigated an ally system. This was a little badge on the end of an e-mail that indicated they were a straight ally. What a cheap and simple idea, this broke down barriers and allowed people to talk who may have been restrained in the workplace.
It also emphasised to me in broader society the best champions for minorities are the majority. I found another quote that I thought was apt for the fire service. "You don't get to choose if you are a role model. You are! Get over it!" To me the above should be adapted and placed in all our workplaces with immediate effect."
"Although the Stonewall conference was aimed predominantly at the LGBT community there were several overarching messages that struck me as relevant to all within the workplace and community in general.
Firstly, the term "Authenticity" appears to have been adopted as doctrine within some multi-national and highly successful organisations. This phrase promotes the importance of allowing people to be what and who they are without fear and prejudice. The outcomes are clear for any organisation that is even coming close to achieving this and the message is
'when someone is comfortable being "authentic" they are more likely to flourish and perform to a much higher level.'
The speakers all emphasised however that without authentic leadership and all of the open, honest and transparent desirables associated, this culture would probably fail to prosper. It is not necessary for our leaders to "bare all" but it is essential for them to be accessible and above all human.
Secondly, the term equality in some organisations seems to have been replaced or enhanced by the word "inclusivity". Instead of being "equal opportunities" which is a well-used but often misinterpreted phrase, the emphasis is on concentrating on the entire organisational culture rather than an individual's right to equality. If the culture "includes" everyone in its planning and delivery regardless of difference then it no longer becomes a negative issue.....this in turn allows "authenticity" and the free thinking and creativity will follow.
In the public sector all of these ideas could, if given a fair chance, enhance and improve the workplace, make it a place of industry and innovation and actually provide the foundation for the "sector led" improvements that we are under pressure to deliver."
The Fire & Rescue Service Equality Framework recognises and addresses equality and diversity objectives that are a priority for the fire and rescue service.
Chief Fire Officer Des Prichard said:
"This is fantastic news for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service as well as the community that we serve.
This official recognition shows just how hard members of staff have been working to mainstream equality and diversity in the work of ESFRS.
As a public service we will continue to ensure that everybody receives fair and equal treatment at all times, challenge discrimination, and make everyone feel valued."
Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority John Livings said:
"I am very proud for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service in achieving this national title which demonstrates a sound understanding of our staff and communities.
I know our staff are committed to ensuring we understand the different needs across our local communities and continue to deliver an excellent service whilst recognising the diversity that is foundacross East Sussex and the City of Brighton & Hove."
The framework is based on three levels of achievement:-
There are five performance areas within the framework, all five of these performance areas need to be achieved within each of the three levels.
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service underwent a Peer Challenge and has been successful in being externally assessed as Excellent Level of the FRS Equality Framework, at this level we have shown particularly good practice in the following:-
As a result of achieving Excellent, ESFRS will continue to be an exemplar on equalities issues across East Sussex and the City of Brighton & Hove and is working to an Improvement Plan to implement actions into the future.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has been successful in maintaining the Two Ticks symbol. The Service was first awarded the Positive about Disability Two Ticks symbol in 2006.
The symbol is awarded to employers who demonstrate to the Job Centre Plus that they have achieved, and are committed to continually achieving five commitments relating to the employment of disabled people.
The review was conducted by Jon Firth (the Job Centre Plus Disability Employment Adviser) who stated, "Job Centre Plus is extremely impressed with the continuing work that ESFRS is doing under its Two Ticks scheme, to bring about positive outcomes for employees with disabilities. There is clear maintenance and progress on all 5 of the key commitments to sustain the Two Ticks symbol.
I was particularly pleased to see the benefit and positive results of consultation with the Staff Disability Network, the plan to include disabled staff regularly in the internal magazine Let's Talk and the positive plan to create a 'job carve' opportunity for disabled people to work at ESFRS in order to support disabled people to gain employment. I was further encouraged by the equality objective that forms an integral part within the staff appraisal system. The mental health awareness training that will be delivered later in the year by Mind to ESFRS staff underlines the continuing commitment to highlighting and supporting hidden disabilities."
The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation.
Many from a younger generation feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy.
With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality.
The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices.
And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.
Each year around the world, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
Organisations, governments, charities and women's groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues.
For more information on events which are taking place across East Sussex and the City of Brighton and Hove go to: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/
(DIVERSITY PEER CHALLENGE)
On the 27th, 28th and 29th March 2012, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service will be audited against the Fire and Rescue Service Equality Framework. This audit will confirm whether ESFRS is performing as an 'Excellent' level Fire Authority following our 'Achieving' level attainment in March 2009.
The accredited auditors will be led by Becca Singh from Local Government Improvement and Development and will consist of:
The assessors will be interviewing over 100 staff, partners, councillors, community groups and representative bodies including visits to stations, the LIFE project, a school education visit, coaching for a safer community visit and discussions with community group partners.
In August 2011, Asha Pawar (accredited consultant) conducted a 1-day preliminary audit which involved interviewing over 40 members of staff and partners and a review of our corporate documents, policies and working practices.
Asha highlighted a series of good practices at ESFRS and also advised us of areas where improvements were necessary. ESFRS has been working to implement these improvements in order to attain the 'Excellent' level. Asha stated that, "it's evident that there is lot of good work going on and the most striking thing that came across to me (which is important for an excellent organisation) is the really healthy atmosphere and environment you have there."
It is important to point out that an 'Excellent' Fire Authority is not one that has 'ticked all the boxes' and has reached the pinnacle of success but it is an authority that recognises its achievements but understands that there is a lot more work to do!
We have identified several areas for improvement following national benchmarking, audits, public and staff survey results which have contributed to the following considerations:-
The results of the audit will be communicated to all staff in April.
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have been ranked 111th place in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index Top 100 Employers for 2012.
Although we have slipped 18 places from 2011 it should be recognised that competition to stay in the Top 100 gets more and more difficult. The entry point to be included in Stonewall's Top 100 Employers was 130 of a maximum 200 points. ESFRS scored 126, so missed out by only 4 points.
The 2012 Index was the most competitive to date, with tougher criteria and submissions from 363 employers. ( 378 organisations in 2011)
ESFRS are the 2nd most gay-friendly Fire and Rescue Service nationally behind Tyne & Wear FRS who were at 60th place. In total there were 20 Fire and Rescue Services nationally who submitted an application.
Stonewall will be meeting with the Head of Organisational Development and the Equality and Diversity Manager later this month to gain feedback on how ESFRS can improve for next year.
The Stonewall Workplace Conference - External Link, Opens in new tab. will be held in London on 20th April 2012 and will be attended by several staff from ESFRS.External Link, Opens in new tab. will be held in London on 20th April 2012
In November 2011 the equality & diversity team completed a review submission demonstrating that ESFRS are committed to the Charter for Employers who are Positive about Mental health.
ESFRS has proudly received confirmation that we can continue using the MINDFUL EMPLOYER logo.
ESFRS signed up to the Charter in 2009 and has made some steady and positive progress in raising awareness of mental health and in providing support for individuals who experience mental health issues.
Richard Frost is a Vocational Advisor for The Devon Partnership NHS Trust said "It was good to read about the good practice you already have in place and your plans for addressing those areas which you feel require improvement".
ESFRS will continue to make improvements in the area of Mental Health.www.mindfulemployer.net - External Link, Opens in new tab.
On Thursday the 1st of December members of the local Community will gather together to support World Aids day - External Link, Opens in new tab.. Those attending will be wearing a red ribbon and carrying a red balloon signifying awareness and support for people living with HIV. The Mayor of Eastbourne will lead a procession at 6.30pm from the steps of the Eastbourne Town Hall in Grove Road to Eastbourne seafront.
Once the procession has reached the seafront there will be some time for remembering and quiet contemplation or if people choose to they can celebrate the memories of their lost ones with applause, the procession will then make its way to the Hart Public House in Cavendish Place where the balloons will then be released and a non-denominational service of remembrance will take place.
Anyone wishing to join in with the procession will need to be at the Town Hall steps ready to leave promptly at 6.30pm, usually the procession will reach the Hart Pub by 7pm, at the latest. Everyone is welcome and red ribbons will be available for a donation.
On Monday 26th of September the Deputy Chief Fire Officer Gary Walsh attended the Hastings and St Leonards Town Conference held at the Azur in St. Leonards.
The Conference was held to consider the future of the community Strategy and the targets set by partners to deliver the agenda for Hastings and St Leonards at a time when there is a reduction in public expenditure.
The Conference was attended by a wide range of partners from the public and private sector supported by local residents associations and the voluntary sector bringing together the community to agree the way forward for delivering the priorities.
There was an interesting input on the coastal context from Professor Steve Fothergill who matched the Town against a number of statistics on employment etc. The most interesting being the statistics about educational attainment in coastal towns which was some 30% or so less than inland towns this was linked to deprivation and other community impacts including employment opportunities.
The Conference also included the signing of the Hastings and St Leonards Equality and Human Rights Charter by the 20 partner organisations pledging their commitment to promote and uphold equality and human rights in Hastings and St Leonards.
(From left to right):
On 23rd August 2011, Asha Pawar (accredited consultant) conducted an equality audit at ESFRS, interviewing over 40 members of staff from across the organisation and completing a 2 day review of our corporate documents, policies, procedures and working practices.
The audit was a preliminary gap analysis to identify whether ESFRS were in a position to progress in the Fire and Rescue Service Equality Framework (FRSEF) from "Achieving" level to "Excellent" level. There are only 2 fire and rescue services that are currently at Excellent level, West Yorkshire FRS and Merseyside FRS.
The equality team consisting of Simon Peel and Mick Feather produced a self-assessment document which described ESFRS' progress and outcomes since ESFRS were awarded "Achieving" level status in March 2009.
The criteria for the audit contains a set of 32 indicators of which only 6 indicators were seen as not being sufficiently met and where more work is required. Additional work was also required in a further 12 areas, however it was agreed by Asha that all of these improvements can be achieved by April 2012.
ESFRS have now formally applied for a Diversity Peer Challenge (through Local Government Improvement and Development) in March 2012. This formal challenge will involve 3 days of interviewing staff and partners and a full examination of ESFRS' documentation and evidence on how it is meeting its statutory obligations and making a difference to the communities which it serves.
Asha emphasised that having the action and the subsequent evaluation was the key to moving from 'Achieving' to 'Excellent and reflecting the local community is a good indicator and starting point for analysis.
To help move us forward as an organisation we need to be asking the following questions.
On Saturday the 13th of August 2011 the annual 'Pride Event' was held in Brighton & Hove, and as every year has had a theme, 2011 was to be no different, the 'Out Of This World' theme saw some fantastic and innovative creations that just seem to get better each year. East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service proudly joined in with the parade along with neighbouring Fire and Rescue Services from West Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire.
This year saw a whole host of different events that promote equality and diversity, and advance education to eliminate discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Gender (LGBT) community.
The day started with a pre-parade breakfast held at The Amsterdam Hotel, where guests could indulge in bacon rolls, pastries, muffins, tea & coffee before accompanying the appliances and other floats in the parade which would lead them from Madeira Drive to more celebrations in Preston Park.
The High Sherriff of East Sussex Kathy Gore said "I had never attended a Pride event before so I had no expectations, the food was excellent and the venue was cosy, I thought the pre-parade breakfast was very successful".
Borough Commander for The City of Brighton & Hove Keith Ring said "From my point of view the idea was a very good one. The venue was perfect, location just right, food brilliant and the staff were very welcoming and couldn't do enough for us".
Despite poor weather conditions at the beginning Chief Fire Officer Des Prichard and the Chairman of the Fire Authority Cllr John Livings lead the procession for the Fire and Rescue Services, whilst other Fire Authority members, Chief Executives and staff members from across all different parts of the organisation greeted the crowds that had come to support the event.
Chief Fire Officer Des Prichard said "Tens of thousands of people were out on the streets enjoying themselves, and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were delighted to be part of the parade, the Pride Event is an opportunity for the LGBT community to enjoy themselves and to celebrate their individuality, I would like to thank all our staff who took part in the Parade and those who were on our stand in Preston Park".
When the procession reached Preston Park the 'Community Fire Safety Teams' from all of the attending Fire and Rescue Services continued to provide an excellent opportunity for members of our community to find out more about how their service operates.
Steve Wright 'Head of Community Fire Safety' said "We had a very good response from the public, mostly in relation to recruitment". "The Black Museum provided an excellent source of information and a good way of delivering Fire Safety messages which we could back up with the Fire Safety literature, the joint approach with the four other services definitely improved the reputation of the Fire & Rescue Services".
The Equality and Diversity team would like to thank all staff who attended the parade and who also provided such a valuable link to our LGBT communities with the continued celebrations in the park, this year was yet again a real success and the pre-parade breakfast started the day off with a buzz, thank you again to everybody who participated and let's hope next year is just as entertaining.
21 & 22 July 2011
Iain Stewart (fire fighter from Hove and South East AFSA rep) and Vicky Thomas (Youth Intervention Manager) attended the Asian Fire Service Association annual general meeting and development day in July.
The event was held in Bristol and hosted by Avon Fire and Rescue Service.
The event was opened by the Chief Fire Officer from Avon, Kevin Pearson and included other presentations from Surinder Sharma (Department of Health) and Simon Fanshawe (writer, comedian, broadcaster and consultant making equality improvements in organisations).
The afternoon sessions involved a variety of development workshops on change management, improving equality outcomes and the business case for diversity.
On Friday 6th May a 'Men at Work day' was held at the Service Training Centre hosted by Andy Reynolds Director of Prevention & Protection and also Gender Champion for ESFRS.
The aim of the event was to find out about any issues directly affecting men within our organisation and how these could be addressed. A wide range of different roles within the service attended the morning event and a very open, honest and positive approach was displayed by all staff members.
As this was the first time an event like this had been held for men the structure of the day was led by the concerns of the group. There were many genuine and constructive issues raised that will be passed to the Organisational Development and Corporate Management teams for consideration.
Many of the issues discussed during the session had very strong links with those raised at the 'Women at Work day' held in April 2010 suggesting that it doesn't matter which gender you are the issues are consistent. It was also suggested by all those attending that perhaps in the future ESFRS would support an event where both sexes would be able to attend.
We would like to thank all who took the time to attend and hope that you felt it was worthwhile. A brief report on the event can be requested from the Equalities team.
On Sunday 1st May, staff from ESFRS gathered at The Brighton Pavilion to complete a 10km Equality Walk to help raise money for 'Stonewall' (the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Charity) in a continuing effort to raise awareness about the challenges they face in the workplace.
Over 500 participants met for a picnic in The Pavilion gardens before the walk giving our team the opportunity to talk to members of the public and other organisations that were joining in to show their support.
Despite the blustery winds on what was otherwise a beautiful warm spring day all members of the team and accompanying dog's completed the distance earning themselves a very well deserved medal and glass of champagne.
Last year's walk raised over £60,000 helping Stonewall to send an anti-bullying DVD and teaching materials to every secondary school in Britain.
Laura Doughty, Stonewall Deputy Chief Executive, said: 'The Brighton Equality Walk has always been a key event in Stonewall's fundraising calendar. This year we're continuing our focus on tackling homophobic bullying in schools, and helping make them an inclusive and supportive environment for all our children.'
Over £50,000 has been raised from this year's event and ESFRS is proud to have entered a team that has contributed to that, well done to all who took part and thank you.
More information about IDAHO Day
[pdf, 51K, opens in new tab]
The NHS Foundation Trust also recently hosted an LGBT event, the 'Follow Our Footsteps, Follow Our Dreams' conference was held in early April at the University of Sussex.
This event offered solutions to many of the major challenges organisations face regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, demonstrating how partnerships in this area can be the key to successful outcomes.
Richard Moore, Graham Gray and Yannick Dubois all felt this event to be of value and commented,
"I found the general content and delivery of the workshops/speakers to be informative and well structured.
It would be great if we can get more ESFRS staff to attend these types of events, particularly those who have had little exposure to LGBT issues"
Richard Moore M&CC Manager
"A very interesting and enjoyable day, the presentations on religion, sexual orientation and gender identity were very unusual and so current.
I found the workshops very useful and I am pleased that they were directed at all groups.
I enjoyed the day very much, definitely a good one for station managers to attend"
Yannick Dubois Watch Manager Fire Safety
On Friday the 18th March 'Stonewall' held a one-day conference at the Queen Elizabeth Conference centre in London, the aim of the conference was to supply all the tools organisations need to stay at the forefront of best practice in sexual orientation equality.
There were opportunities for attendees to listen to key note speakers and participate in topical debates and master classes, have access to Stonewalls latest research and workplace guides and discover the latest innovations and best practice on how to drive diversity strategies.
Gary Kavanagh, Nigel Cusack and Tony McCord attended on behalf of ESFRS and considered it to be a very positive, worthwhile and informative event.
"Thanks for the opportunity; by attending the conference I gleaned a huge amount of information relating to historical issues that have arisen. Attendance has definitely raised my awareness to ensure that every persons individuality is accepted and accommodated in future managerial decisions.
I would recommend ESFRS attend future conferences if the opportunity arises."
Nigel Cusack Training Delivery Manager
- External Link
"I found the conference enlightening, and as a result of attending I am far more aware of some of the issues that our LGBT staff may be faced with, and the role that I have as a manager in providing appropriate support"
Gary Kavanagh Head of Organisational Development
Building on the success of the recent Stonewall Top 100 Employers index and achieving 'Excellent' level in the Equality Framework for Local Government, Brighton & Hove City Council hosted their first lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) conference on 25 March 2011.
The conference was aimed at people and services that wish to learn more about working with community organisations, service users and staff to ensure services and policies are really making a difference.
Three members of ESFRS attended the event; who commented that the content of the day was aimed primarily towards the City Council but that there were good networking opportunities at various times. Other attendees from ESFRS expressed a view that many of the workshops were pitched at the wrong level and didn't provide much in the way of new information.
The workshop on LGBT staff mentoring was extremely useful and has now been adopted in principle at ESFRS.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have been ranked 93rd place in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index Top 100 employers for 2011.
Although we have slipped 26 places from 2010 it should be recognised that competition to stay in the Top 100 gets more and more difficult. The average score for the Top 100 for 2010 was 133 which has risen to 146 in 2011 and 378 organisations submitted an application this year - an increase of 26 from last year.
ESFRS are the 3rd most gay-friendly Fire and Rescue Service nationally behind West Yorkshire FRS and Tyne & Wear FRS who were both ranked at 60th place. In total there were 30 Fire and Rescue Services nationally who submitted an application.
Dave Small from Stonewall will be meeting with the Head of Organisational Development and the Equality and Diversity Manager on 31st January to gain feedback on how ESFRS can improve for next year.
The Stonewall Workplace Conference will be held in London on 18th March 2011 and will be attended by several staff from ESFRS.- External Link
The Disability Employment Adviser at the Jobcentre Plus, Suzanne Guest conducted a review of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service's use of the "Two ticks positive about disability" symbol on 14th January 2011 and can confirm that ESFRS can continue to use the symbol.
Suzanne was particularly pleased with the Disability Staff Network group, the more accessible website and the possibility of "job carving" opportunities for people with disabilities.
She would like to thank us all at ESFRS for our continued support with disability issues.
Chief Fire Officer, Des Prichard said, "I'm very pleased the audit confirmed we are able to keep the 'Two-ticks' award as we are trying to ensure ESFRS gives proper consideration to all our staff and their needs - this applies equally to our service delivery and we are working to ensure we deliver our services to all sectors of our community and where there are particular needs, then we try and respond to meet that need."
News story from 25 November 2010
A Fire Safety Awareness Day, aimed at the LGBT community, has proved a success resulting in twenty HSVs.
Jim Killick, based at Roedean Community Fire Station organised the event held over August Bank Holiday Weekend, at the Amsterdam Bar & Hotel.
Jim told LT: "The day went very well and there was a very positive response from both passersby and clientele.
"We managed to arrange about twenty or so HSVs within Brighton and will be doing a fire awareness evening for elderly gay men early next year."
Everyone was welcome at the event but he particularly wanted to target the elderly members of the LGBT community and those living in houses of multiple occupancies.
Jim said: "This is the first time that ESFRS has run this type of event and we feel that this needs to be addressed.
"I have attended fires in this type of property and want to ensure that we reach out to the occupiers and help them stay safe in their home and our community."
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service hosted its 1st LGBT Conference in Brighton ahead of the Brighton Pride March.
County Council Leader Peter Jones, Deputy Chief Constable Giles York and Chief Fire Officer Des Prichard joined together this week to fly the flag at the Council's headquarters - ahead of the main Pride celebrations in Brighton.
The one-day conference, which is being held at the start of Pride weekend, aims to develop and reinforce excellence in respect of LGBT culture and awareness.
Full details on how to attend [pdf, 621K, opens in new tab]
For further information on what's taking place during Pride this year visit the Pride website.
The voting and results of this year's Pink Paper Reader's awards 2010 can now be viewed on the PinkPaper website - External Link.
East Sussex Fire & Rescue service has maintained its position from 2009 of 3rd place behind Greater Manchester FRS(1st) and London Fire Brigade(2nd).
Brighton Pride also maintained its 2nd place award from 2009 behind Manchester Pride.
Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme is Britain's leading employer good practice forum on sexual orientation in the workplace.
The Workplace Equality Index is produced annually to audit the policies, practice and employee experiences of workplaces around the country. The Workplace team uses the index to help organisations develop more inclusive workplace environments for their lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have been awarded 67th place in the Index which shows a clear improvement on last year's position of 211th place in the 2009 Index. The Stonewall membership has grown to more than 500 employers, 317 of which took part in the Workplace Equality Index 2009.
Yannick Dubois (the co-ordinator of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender staff network) and Mick Feather (Equality and Diversity Manager) attended a reception to launch Stonewall's Top 100 Employers 2010 in London on 13th January. They were also asked to facilitate a 'best practice for Fire Services' session at the Stonewall Workplace Conference on the 8th March at the QEII Conference Centre in London.
Cllr. Ted Kemble, Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority said, "We are extremely proud to have been placed as 67th amongst the top 100 employers in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 2010. East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service actively promotes diversity in the workplace, which is reflective of the wide range of communities we serve. We are absolutely committed to providing a safe, inclusive and open working environment for all our employees and have a clear commitment to enhancing the working environment for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff."
Cllr. Phil Scott, Lead Fire Authority member for Equality and Diversity (employment) said, "This achievement supports East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service with its goal of creating a working environment where gay, lesbian and bisexual employees have no concerns about being open about their sexuality at work. Inclusive work environments encourage loyalty, teamwork and maximise personal contributions, which are key in top performing organisations."
Cheryl Rolph, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, People and Organisational Development said, "I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all our staff, especially the Equality & Diversity Team and our LGBT Support Network and their contributions and input towards how we can continue to recruit, retain and support people within our service.
The Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) is a staff network for Asian staff from across the Fire Service.
It has a range of objectives and membership is open to all staff who feel they would benefit from being part of such a network, or would wish to support such a network.
AFSA was officially launched as a national association in Birmingham on 18th November 2009 which formed part of a two day conference. Speakers included the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State - Shahid Malik MP, the president of the Chief Fire Officers Association - John Bonney and the Chief Fire Officer of West Midlands FRS - Vijith Randeniya.
There were also workshops and presentations from the Communities and Local Government (CLG), Southend Hospital and the NHS.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service attended the launch and were represented by Iain Stewart (AFSA membership secretary), Ken Moore (AFSA representative) and Mick Feather.
The "Ordinary People, Extraordinary Career" National Campaign is designed to raise awareness of, and change attitudes to, a career in the Fire and Rescue Service among currently under-represented groups.
The campaign focuses on 14-16 year old girls and people from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
The campaign will be brought in in various phases. The first elements of both parts of the campaign will commence in November 2009.
The website www.direct.gov.uk/extraordinary - External Link contains case studies, information about the roles available, videos, interactive games and items which people visiting the site can download.
From November 2009 onwards, the Communities and Local Government will be holding a number of local events in conjunction with the Fire and Rescue Service.
A number of areas around England with large Black and Minority Ethnic populations have been identified to host the events. The events will be a chance for local fire and rescue services to engage and interact with their diverse communities and tell them more about a career in the Service.
Support will be made available to other fire and rescue services who would like to run local events.
How support for disabled people can come from the most unexpected places. [pdf, 1.3M, opens in new tab]
Following the successful positive action events in Ely, Cambridgeshire, the team have just returned from supporting East Sussex in their recruitment programme.
Cheryl Rolph, Assistant Chief Officer, stated that ESFRS had 162 people going through the current selection process and they wanted to offer the candidates an opportunity to sample the fitness tests and be given fitness training advice prior to the actual physical selection tests early in 2010.
The event utilised the Firefighter Selection Unit (FFSU) on loan from Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service. Anne Waters stated that the beauty of using the FFSU is that it can be set up almost anywhere, events do not have to be run at a fire station with a drill tower. It is self contained, having everything you need to run all the physical National firefighter selection tests. The Eastbourne event was held at a community centre.
All the candidates, men and women really appreciated the opportunity to have a go at all the selection tests in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.
Many of East Sussex's own employees took the opportunity to try out the tests, indeed Gwyneth (ICT) and Vicky (HR)who may now be looking at a change in career!
A diversity event based around a forum theatre idea was delivered to ESFRS staff at Uckfield Civic Centre.
The event was delivered by actors supported by a facilitator. It explored issues around equality and diversity using the actors directed by the audience.
Participants explored a range of issues including banter, stereotypes, communication and team working.
The event was lead by a professional facilitator who challenged perception and ideas in a safe non judgmental environment.
Firefighters, support staff and Principal Officers from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and neighbouring Services took part in this year's Pride in Brighton & Hove carnival parade and finale gathering in Brighton's Preston Park.
Firefighters, LGBT network members and support staff from fire and rescue services across the region participated in the march from Madeira Drive to Preston Park.
Two highly visible and colourfully decorated fire appliances also took part and Preston Circus community fire station displayed a giant rainbow flag in support of the day's celebrations!
Over 50 floats participated in the parade, many of which were in keeping with the 'Pride Beside the Seaside' theme. East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's involvement in the march was greeted by many rounds of applause from the thousands of appreciative supporters who lined the streets of central Brighton!
At the parade's finale in Preston Park, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service's Community Fire Safety Team provided valuable home safety information and offered visitors the opportunity to arrange free home safety visits and smoke alarm fittings.
The Service's FireBike also drew great interest from Pride revellers.
Pride in Brighton & Hove promotes equality and diversity and advances education to eliminate discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community.
Pride's key objective is to develop an environment in favour of LGBT equality by providing information, advice and support.
Despite the grey skies and occasional rain shower, everyone involved had a fantastic day!
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has completed a satisfactory self-assessment against the criteria for level three of the Equality Standard.
This was confirmed following a two-day assessment by three external assessors, which took place at Service Headquarters on 24th and 25th March. The assessments involved input from a wide range of representatives from Service directorates, boroughs and departments.
The Chairman of the Fire Authority, Cllr. Michael Murphy passed on his sincere thanks and appreciation to all staff. He said, "The achievement of level three of the Equality Standard for Local Government is as a result of staff contributions and team work. Equality is about making our organisation a fair and open one where anyone who wishes can join and feel valued. It is also about reducing deaths and injuries by targeting vulnerable groups of people and improving the service we deliver to our varied communities." He continued: "Congratulations to all staff who have worked so hard in embedding Equality and Diversity across the Service."
The standard at level three focused on four main areas, which were, leadership and corporate commitment, community engagement, service delivery and customer care as well as employment and training. The assessors have outlined that they found a consistent evidence of energy, commitment and enthusiasm from all staff during their visit and identified areas of strengths within the Service, which included many examples of innovative projects which help to engage the community for community safety and recruitment.
Multiple initiatives engaging with young people were also highlighted as areas of strength as well as staff networks, the Fairness for All training and effective and sustained partnership working. Areas for improvement included greater prioritisation for Home Safety Visits to rural areas along with exit strategies from partnerships if appropriate.
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service took part in last year's (2008) Pride event and representatives from East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey and London all walked the mile long route from Madeira Drive to Preston Park.
A colourfully decorated fire appliance was highly visible throughout the journey and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service worked in partnership with neighbouring Fire & Rescue Services delivering fire safety advice during the festival at Preston Park.
Pride in Brighton & Hove promotes equality and diversity, and advances education to eliminate discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) community.
It raises awareness of these issues by facilitating and promoting a series of events including the legendary summer festival and parade. PRIDE's key objective is to develop an environment in favour of LGBT equality by providing information, advice and support.
There were almost fifty different floats that took part in the Brighton parade. Fabulous costumes represented countries and cities from all over the globe, which was the central theme.
The results are back from this year's Pink Paper Reader's Awards.
The Pink Paper is the free national LGB newspaper, which is distributed all over the UK and is the biggest lesbian and gay awards in Britain!
ESFRS were awarded 3rd place out of 5 Fire and Rescue Services nationally.
Stonewall's Diversity Champions programme is Britain's leading employer good practice forum on sexual orientation in the workplace.
The Stonewall membership has grown to more than 450 employers, 317 of which took part in the Workplace Equality Index 2009.
ESFRS were scored from 25 questions, evidence was submitted and we have been awarded 211th place in the 2009 Index.
A meeting will be held in March with our Stonewall Associate to discuss future improvements and benchmark our working practices with Brighton and Hove City Council who came 3rd in the Index.
In November 2006 the 1st Edition of the Religion, Belief and Culture in our Community Guide was produced for our staff and our communities of Sussex.
The Guide was compiled and designed in partnership with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and has received some very positive feedback from religious and non-religious groups in Sussex who have helped us to create a more informative document.
The 2nd Edition which has been updated and improved was printed in late 2008 and was sponsored by the South East Fire Improvement Partnership who felt it was a good example of best practice.
We would encourage religious and non-religious groups to contact us in order to improve the Guide and build strong relationships with all of the diverse religions and beliefs in East and West Sussex.
The Disability Employment Adviser at the JobCentrePlus conducted a review of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service's use of the "Two ticks positive about disability" symbol on 16th January 2009 and can confirm that ESFRS can continue to use the symbol.
More information about the Two Ticks Symbol - External Link
There are now 25 Fire and Rescue Services nationwide who have purchased the award winning Disability posters designed by Media students at Sussex Downs College.
The proceeds have now been presented to disability groups throughout East Sussex, Brighton and Hove as follows:-