Bedfordshire covers an area of approximately 123,500 hectares and has a growing population currently estimated to be approaching 620,000. The area consists principally of rural landscape and incorporates a number of market towns, including Ampthill, Biggleswade, Woburn and Leighton Buzzard. Larger towns include Bedford, Kempston, Luton, Stopsley and Dunstable. Bedfordshire and Luton borders with Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.
To protect our communities and respond to emergency calls we have 14 strategically positioned Fire Stations and an Emergency Communication Centre. For further information please follow the link:
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) are here to serve our communities and we are proud to embrace and support Bedfordshire, which is one of the most diverse counties in England.
We have embraced the Equality Act 2010 and Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). Our commitment and progress is mapped through our Single Equality Scheme (SES) action plan which sets our organisational wide objectives.
The SES demonstrates how BFRS will meet its legal duties within the Equalities Act 2010, notably to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act;
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it;
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
Good progress has been made as a consequence of the actions identified within the previous (2012 – 2016) scheme and significant progress is being made against the plan for 2016 – 2020 available here.
Every year we publish our PSED Annual Report, available here.
We also access and monitor our performance through the Fire and Rescue Service Equality Framework (FRSEF) with the intention to help:
- Deliver the best possible services to their communities and those who are most vulnerable or at risk;
- Employ a workforce that reflects the changing role of Services and the diversity of the area they are serving;
- Provide equality of opportunity for all staff and demonstrate due regard for and the value of difference;
- Ensure that all staff are treated with dignity and respect and have a workplace that is free from harassment and bullying.
The FRSEF has five priority areas of action and performance:
- Leadership, partnership and organisational commitment;
- Effective service delivery;
- Community knowledge and engagement;
- Employment conditions, health and wellbeing;
- Recruitment, training and progression.
Gender Pay Gap
We have a statutory requirement to report on our gender pay gap can be found in our latest PSED report here.
The latest information is also available to view on the Goverment’s Gender Pay website, here.
Purchasing and Procurement
Ensuring that our values and principles are integrated into our procurement approach is a key part of fulfilling our duty to advance equality of opportunity. We do this through a number of key strategies and frameworks for sustainable development and responsible procurement. We are aware of the direct contribution that procurement can make to achieve an inclusive Fire and Rescue Service.
Our procurement principles include:
- All bidders for contracts must have an equality policy and demonstrate that as a part of their tender;
- We discourage the inappropriate use of zero-hours contracts;
- Where the staff of a supplier will interact with us or the public on our behalf, they must receive equality and diversity training.
We actively promote equality and work to eliminate discrimination. One of the ways we do this is by conducting Equality Analysis.
The process involves considering the potential impact on different groups of people on the basis of the protected characteristics included in the Equality Act 2010 (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation).
Carrying out analysis allows us to determine whether there may be any adverse impact on particular groups and take appropriate action to mitigate this wherever possible.
We regularly screen all our policies and procedures, and consider the potential impact of any new initiatives, or when making decisions about current or future services.
Positive Action can be clouded by misunderstanding and misinformation. The term ‘Positive Action’ refers to a number of methods designed to counteract the effects of discrimination and to help abolish stereotyping. It is one of the Government’s measures aimed at ending discrimination in the workplace under the Equality Act 2010. Positive Action is not about giving more favourable treatment to particular groups in the recruitment process but raising awareness of employment opportunities that exist within our organisation. BFRS firmly believe and are committed to selection and promotion being based solely on merit.
Our findings currently show that we are under-represented by women and people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in certain areas of our workforce. As a result of these findings, we carry out Positive Action initiatives to attract applications from women and people from BAME backgrounds to become firefighters. Find out more information here:
Positive Action Plan
If you would like your name added to our Positive Action contacts list please register here.
Our LGBT+ Network meets every six weeks and is open to anyone who wishes to join the conversation on LGBT+ inclusion within the service and our wider communities. We particularly welcome involvement from our operational staff, BAME and Disability groups in order to reflect the Service demographic. If you wish to contact the Network group, please email: LGBTnetwork@bedsfire.gov.uk
We recognise that policies are not enough to tackle issues of bullying, harassment and discrimination. Therefore we are committed to providing suitable and adequate training to all employees, starting with a mandatory Introduction to Equality and Diversity course which forms part of our induction. We tackle unconscious bias by providing targeted training and development to all colleagues, with enhanced training for assessors and managers.
Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI)
BFRS is a member of Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (ENEI). ENEI is a leading employer network promoting equality and inclusion in the workplace. ENEI covers all the nine protected characteristics with specific objectives to influence government, business and trade unions, while campaigning for real practical change.
Women in the Fire Service UK
BFRS is a member of ‘Women in the Fire Service UK ‘who help fire and rescue services to develop a culture of equality to support all women in achieving their full potential within it.
Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA)
BFRS is a member of the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) and works closely with the association in order to promote equality in the fire and rescue services. AFSA is an independent, inclusive, employee-led support group with the aim to raise the profile of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic issues in the fire and rescue services.
BFRS are signed up to the Disability Confident Scheme which has replaced the two tick symbol. The Disability Confident scheme is designed to help employers in making the most of the opportunities provided by employing disabled people. The scheme was developed by employers and disabled people’s representatives.