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by the NFCC

Where we are now

IO8: Retaining employees


An inclusive and welcoming place to work

Fire and rescue services are also still experiencing issues with their service culture, which can be seen as excluding by some. A number of independent studies (see Evidence sources), including the work of HMICFRS, indicate that some employees feel they are experiencing bullying and harassment in the workplace. This can happen anywhere but can flourish on isolated shifts in small fixed teams.  Employees working on the Retained Duty System (RDS) can face very similar issues due to the isolated nature of their work and bring with them all the dynamics, good and bad, from their local communities. Leadership needs to be strengthened across all fire and rescue services, supported by clear service values that make this behaviour abhorrent and unacceptable.

There are a number of areas where fire and rescue services could do more in terms of creating a welcoming place to work. These range from access to appropriate workwear and facilities as well a recognition that people’s needs change over time.  An example of which is the impact of the menopause on women firefighters. As more and more women reach their late 40s and early 50s prior to retiring, fire and rescue services need to ensure the workplace is flexible to their needs. 

Remaining a welcoming place to work throughout the entire career of employees will require fire and rescue services to be adaptable and sensitive to the needs of a range of groups of employees and not treating them all as one homogeneous cohort.