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Fire Services: Equality

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what (a) targets and (b) guidance his Department has issued to fire and rescue authorities on diversity and equality in their employment of staff. (295694)

In May 2008 Communities and Local Government published the Fire and Rescue Service Equality and Diversity Strategy 2008-18 which provides guidance and direction for fire and rescue authorities on equality and diversity issues. The Fire and Rescue Service National Framework requires fire and rescue authorities to implement the provisions of the strategy.

The strategy includes the requirement for each fire and rescue authority to have recruitment, progression and retention targets for its service. The targets apply to women in the operational sector and to people from minority ethnic background across all sectors of the service. The targets to be met by each fire and rescue authority, as set out in the strategy, are:

By 2013 a minimum of 15 per cent. of new entrants to the operational sector to be women;

By 2013 recruitment of minority ethnic staff across the whole organisation to be at the same percentage as the minority ethnic representation in the local working population, and

By 2013 parity in rates of retention and progression between minority ethnic and white employees, and between men and women.

In December 2008 Communities and Local Government invited all fire and rescue authorities to submit proposals for their recruitment targets. Their targets were published by Communities and Local Government in the Fire and Rescue Service Annual Equality and Diversity Report in March 2009.