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Welsh Fire Services engage in comprehensive culture and values review


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Welsh Government’s response to misconduct reports

The Welsh Government has taken decisive action in response to a critical report regarding South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Hannah Blythyn MS, Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, announced an extensive review of the workplace cultures within the Mid and West Wales and North Wales Fire and Rescue Services.

This follows the appointment of commissioners to South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, addressing serious management and staff misconduct issues.

Hannah Blythyn’s statement

In her statement, Hannah Blythyn MS said: “Last month, I took the unprecedented step to appoint four commissioners to take over the running of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

“This followed a damning report by Fenella Morris KC, which revealed persistent levels of staff misconduct, a dysfunctional workplace culture and serious and systemic failings in management at all levels.”

She elaborated on her efforts to ensure similar issues are not present in Wales’s other fire and rescue services, emphasising the need for a review and improvement of their organisational cultures.

Proposed review framework

The review aims to undertake a comprehensive assessment of workplace culture, staff satisfaction, engagement, and diversity.

Blythyn stated: “Both Mid and West Wales and North Wales fire and rescue services have agreed to carry out an independent review to … Identify and prioritise opportunities for improvement, with indicative timelines for implementation.”

This initiative includes engagement with current and former staff and relevant trade unions, with a final report to be published by autumn 2024.

North Wales Fire Service’s commitment

Reacting to this development, Chief Fire Officer Dawn Docx of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “We welcome Welsh Government’s decision to accept our proposal to review how we are progressing on our cultural journey.”

She added: “This is therefore an opportunity for continued self-reflection and improvement – a process which we began by conducting our own confidential staff survey and by also embracing the learning from other fire and rescue services.”

Docx also highlighted the importance of external input and the service’s dedication to transparency and continuous improvement.

IFSJ Comment

The move by the Welsh Government to assess and improve the cultural values within its fire and rescue services is a necessary step towards creating a more accountable and supportive work environment.

The commitment shown by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, especially, in embracing external scrutiny and assessment, speaks to a progressive approach towards addressing the concerns raised.

The transparency in the process and the involvement of various stakeholders are vital in ensuring that the reviews are comprehensive and lead to meaningful changes.

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