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NFCC addresses Home Affairs Select Committee’s conclusions on fire and rescue services culture

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Home Affairs Select Committee findings

On 23 May 2024, the Home Affairs Select Committee released a letter to the Home Secretary outlining their conclusions following an inquiry into the culture within fire and rescue services.

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) responded, emphasising the need for urgent action to address poor culture and behaviour in the sector.

A spokesperson for the NFCC stated: “The findings of the Home Affairs Select Committee, following their inquiry into culture in fire and rescue services, drives home the urgency with which we must act to tackle poor culture and behaviour where it exists.”

NFCC culture action plan

The NFCC highlighted their recent update on the Culture Action Plan, showcasing the progress made within the sector to drive change.

However, the spokesperson acknowledged that more work is needed to create a safe and inclusive environment for all employees.

They said: “The recent update we published on the NFCC Culture Action Plan highlighted the work that has been undertaken across the sector and the impact this is having to drive change.

“However, it also emphasises that there is a significant distance to go to make the sector a truly safe and inclusive place for all people to work.”

Upcoming HMICFRS report

The Home Affairs Select Committee’s findings come ahead of an anticipated thematic report on misconduct from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS).

This forthcoming report is expected to reinforce the necessity for leaders within the sector to take decisive steps to eliminate poor behaviour.

The NFCC spokesperson commented: “With His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services also due to publish their thematic report into misconduct in the coming months, this, alongside the Committee’s findings today, reinforces the impetus with which all leaders in the sector must take concrete steps to root out poor behaviour.”

Leadership and accountability

The Committee’s letter emphasized the importance of leadership in fostering cultural change and recommended a review of current processes to address poor leadership within the fire and rescue services.

They suggested that enforceable standards may be necessary to ensure accountability and the implementation of the Core Code of Ethics for Fire and Rescue Services.

The Committee also pointed out the role of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in promoting a harassment-free workplace culture, highlighting the need for the FBU to actively oppose discrimination and ensure transparency in handling complaints.

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