Equality and fairness at work

Striving to eliminate all forms of unfair treatment and discrimination.

We recognise that certain groups in society are still more likely to suffer from unfair treatment and discrimination. We, therefore, continue to strive to eliminate all forms of unfair treatment and discrimination, and are committed to the continued development of a working culture in which fair treatment of all is the norm.

We aim to set and to achieve high standards; to learn and improve continuously, and to work co-operatively.

We believe in openness, honesty and integrity; in responsibility and accountability; in mutual trust and respect, and in valuing diversity in our role both as an employer and as a public service provider.

We will seek to create an environment that maximises everyone's talents, to meet the needs of the organisation and those of the communities it serves.

We uphold the principle that all employees have both rights and responsibilities; these must be clearly understood and integrated into all aspects of our work in order that all employees are enabled to make their distinctive contribution to the service.

In dealing with each other and with the public, all employees are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner in keeping with our policy on equality and fairness and related standards.

All managers are expected to take positive steps to ensure this by exercising appropriate leadership through the challenging of all forms of prejudice and unfair discrimination, and by being positive role models.

To achieve this, we will take steps to:

  • encourage diversity and eliminate unfair treatment and discrimination through the full range of personnel and management procedures, in particular in the areas of recruitment, selection, assessment, development and promotion, and through its service delivery;
  • encourage and equip staff to welcome diversity and to respect the rights and contributions of others; and
  • measure progress by maintaining management information systems, and by talking to staff and trade unions, service users and partners about their views on the performance of the service. We will utilise such feedback to improve the service.

Campaigns

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service supports International Men’s Day 2020

Mens Day Nov 9 LOGO Master 4 PNGSuffolk Fire and Rescue Service is proud of its commitment to be an equal, diverse and inclusive organisation, and on Thursday 19 November 2020 we join together as a team to support International Men’s Day.

This year, the day focuses on the importance of encouraging healthy, positive conversations about men’s health and wellbeing. With this in mind, the service will be focusing on three areas:

  1. It is OK, not to be OK
  2. Challenging gender stereotypes and outdated ideology around masculinity, so that our children can grow up believing they can be who they want to be
  3. Together, let us support and encourage our partners, friends, family and colleagues to get health concerns checked over by a GP

Bryony: “As we grow and develop as an organisation, we aim to do so together, united, irrespective of our individual differences, thriving off collective intelligence. Male colleagues throughout the service have shown tremendous commitment and support in our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) advances with the Suffolk Women in Fire Together (SWIFT) network and the United Nations HeForShe gender equality movement. And not forgetting our very successful service football team, who use every opportunity to share EDI messages.”

Luke: “As an organisation it would be remiss of us not to recognise that our workforce is primarily made up of men and has been throughout its history. Our drive to address the gender balance in the service, never diminishes the incredible work of our male colleagues on the front lines and in support roles throughout the service in the past, present and what will continue in the future. International Men's Day is an opportunity to celebrate the hard work that men put in day to day, to promote the support that we can provide to each other to maintain both physical and mental health without stigma, or the requirement to 'man-up'.”

Our message is clear: whoever we are, whichever gender we each identify as, we move forward together as one team.

We will be sharing stories and conversations within the service, and you can follow our Twitter and Facebook accounts on International Men's Day to read more.

Bryony Clarke and Luke Wilkinson
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Working Group Co-chairs, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service


International Men’s Day November 2020 – Philip “My Journey”

I don’t often have the opportunity to talk openly about me as it unlocks my defences and the emotions which go with it, but with International Men’s Day being celebrated this month I decided to take the chance and share an insight into what has moulded me as a person both before I joined the service and the subsequent nineteen years with the service and a few observations along my journey.

Lesson one: Your loved ones are more important than wealth

A sepia photo of Philip's fatherSo, what drives me? Can I introduce my father, Fred, born in 1927 one of three children brought up in Essex and a link to the fire service was his father (also named Fred) who by day was a cobbler making shoes and boots, but spent his nights providing fire cover during the second world war in London. Dad spent his active national service towards the end of the war in India and Japan but never spoke about the things he saw, a typical male of that era.

Dad’s work ethic ‘gene’ was passed on to me along with a personality which best could be described as ‘a bit different’ by some. Those who know me will hide the caffeine and sugar to prevent the “Boycee bounce”. It is this work ethic trait that nearly took me to a dark place in my life as I spent all week driving around the UK with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Portsmouth, Shrewsbury, Reading, Sheffield, St Helens and dear old Anzani House (we called it Anxiety House) at Felixstowe. The period took me away from seeing a young family grow up.

Lesson two: Don’t inhale when you’re arranging the destruction of the cannabis plants

Leaving the Telecoms world behind me, I joined fire service in September 2001 with no experience in local government and the workings of a fire service. My induction with the Command Support team included a Christmas lunch being the only male out of 16 colleagues. Now that was scary, but what I was beginning to realise was how different the Fire Service is and the special relationships you build with colleagues both in and out of uniform. A two-year sabbatical with the constabulary in 2005 exposed me to the difficult task for police officers have of balancing law and order along with showing compassion to our vulnerable residents of Suffolk.

Lesson three: Don’t forget to have some fun

And so, 2007 saw me join the Fire Service back again as the H&S Adviser. And yes, it is true I fell off scaffolding the day before I re-joined the service and the embarrassment of making a call from my hospital bed to say I would be off for several weeks. I can also confess, there were occasions when the ‘child’ in me was released whilst working in Endeavour where I would go home with ribs aching due to laughing so much. Working in health and safety I was now beginning to understand how my colleagues dealt with the highs and lows in work with the saddest time of my career as part of the investigation team following the death of “Alan”. A part of the service also died following this event.

Lesson four: Please, please talk, your colleagues are your extended family, talk to them and look after them

And here we are in late 2020 with the challenges of the pandemic and the drive to whilst protect the workforce. We need to stop the hamster wheel sometimes and reflect on how the service has changed to reflect the changing world. During my nineteen years, I have built a passion in pushing forward equality, mental health and the tremendous pride I have in working with you, my colleagues. Which brings me to my last comment about International Men’s Day: please, please talk, your colleagues are your extended family, talk to them and look after them.

For me personally, 2021 will be a special year, as I have made the decision to hang up my high-vis jacket and join another great organisation, The Pensioners’ Club. It has been a pleasure, thank you.

We recognise the value that a diverse workforce and the importance of gender equality can bring to our organisation.

‘Gender equality is not just a women’s issue, it is an issue for all’ United Nations. HeForShe We are very proud to have committed to the HeForShe United Nations Gender Equality Movement.

‘Diversity and the collective intelligence it brings to organisations is the key to our success. HeForShe plays a really important part in that.’ Chief Fire Officer, Mark Hardingham.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service HeForShe Pledge film