West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

The Story

Following the Local Government Association’s Memorandum of Understanding on Equality, Diversity, Behaviours and Organisational Culture in the Fire Service, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service (WYFRS) committed to significant investment into ‘People Projects’ including work on Diversity and Inclusion. 

In 2018, 4.8% of people employed by the service were BAME and 17.3% female, however, in operational roles, these percentages drop to 3.9% and 7.7% respectively.

In order to provide the most effective service to the public, it is important a fire and rescue service reflects the diversity of the community it serves. In 2018, West Yorkshire had 22% BAME and 49% female inhabitants which set a benchmark for WYFRS to aim for in future.

The Solution

After a period of familiarising with the Service – data, reports, strategy, plans, policies, procedures and culture – we customised an Unconscious Bias in Recrutiment training programme to roll out to everyone involved in the recruitment process.

The programme was designed to help remove all influence from quick-thinking, assumptions, stereotyping and unconscious bias that can unknowingly influence decisions at every step of the recruitment and selection process, from the job ad to selecting the final candidate.

Our Impact

Increasing the diversity of a workforce depends on many factors, but the number of roles that need recruiting for each year is a primary limiting factor. This means for some organisations, progress will be slow, but hopefully sure. In the first instance, we gained great feedback from the delegates who attended:

Of the 60 number of people who attended the programmes:

  • 96% said they would recommend the programme to others
  • 94% said it would help them to perform their roles better 
  • 75% of delegates showed an increase in understanding of unconscious bias, and confidence to address unconscious bias, as a result of attending this programme

“Very good input that will impact the organisation and myself” – Lee Millon, Station Manager

“It highlighted areas I can improve on, gave me useful easy to use tools and the trainer was very confident and knowledgeable” – Steve Ross, Crew Commander

“Useful insight into the subject to make me think more consciously about the impact of my bias” – Adrian Sienier – ICT System Information Manager

“Well presented, informative, interesting and interactive” – Rob Long, CCBA Training

“The session covered everything that I wanted to know and more” – Rebecca Steer, Central Staffing Team Manager