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South Wales Fire and Rescue Service releases Independent Culture Review Report


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Chief Fire Officer Huw Jakeway QFSM of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) initiated an Independent Culture Review in January 2023.

This decision was taken to thoroughly examine the Service’s culture, discipline processes, and historical discipline cases.

Fenella Morris KC was appointed to lead this impartial and detailed review.

The methodologies included face-to-face and virtual interviews, group discussions, focus groups, an online survey, and desktop research.

The review was extensive, with over 450 staff participating in a survey, 60 exit interviews, 128 disciplinary cases reviewed, and 81 processes and procedures examined over seven years.

Comprehensive investigation methodologies

The review team’s approach was comprehensive, involving confidential emails from 200 current and former staff, 150 interviews, 15 site visits including 11 stations, and five focus groups with a total of 45 people.

This extensive data collection underlines the thoroughness of the review, providing a deep insight into the Service’s culture.

Independent Culture Review: Report publication and next steps

The SWFRS Culture Review Report was published on 3rd January 2024, as confirmed by Chief Fire Officer Jakeway.

In his open letter, Jakeway expressed profound apologies to those who had negative experiences and emphasized that there is no place for inappropriate behavior within SWFRS.

He fully accepted the report’s recommendations and stated that the Service would reflect on the report’s details to determine steps to address these recommendations.

He stressed the importance of developing a positive culture for the benefit of all employees and the communities they serve.

Acknowledging the Service’s strengths and challenges

While acknowledging the Service’s achievements, particularly in protecting communities during their times of greatest need, Jakeway also recognized that the report highlighted many instances that did not reflect positively on the Service.

He emphasized that this would be concerning for staff who uphold the Service’s values daily.

Leadership transition and future outlook

Jakeway, having served as Chief Fire Officer for over twelve years, leading the Service through various challenges, announced his intention to retire.

He expressed confidence that with a collective commitment and assistance from partners, SWFRS would emerge with a more positive and inclusive culture under new leadership.

The appointment of the next Chief Fire Officer will not detract from addressing the report’s recommendations, providing an opportunity for new vision and long-term planning to implement the findings of the Independent Culture Review.

IFSJ Comment

The Independent Culture Review of the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service highlights the importance of continuous introspection and improvement within emergency services.

The extensive methodologies used in the review reflect a commitment to transparency and reform.

This report is a significant step in acknowledging past shortcomings and setting a path towards a more inclusive and respectful workplace culture.

The leadership transition also marks a pivotal moment for the Service, offering an opportunity to embed the learnings from the review and foster a positive environment for all.

Such initiatives are crucial for maintaining public trust and ensuring the wellbeing of those who dedicate their lives to public safety.

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