Fire brigade helps to ensure inequality goes up in smoke
Assessment North East is helping a North East fire and rescue
service to become one of the leaders in its field in the UK for its
commitment to promoting equality and diversity (E&D).
Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service has been ranked as the
joint top brigade in the country in the esteemed Stonewall
Workplace Equality Index, and is working with the Assessment North
East team to continue to achieve its E&D goals.
The service, which employs around 1,300 people across the
region, also actively promotes the need for E&D best practice
across its network of suppliers, in order for them to be considered
The Equality Act 2010 makes it a legal requirement for public
bodies to meet certain duties and obligations and to set at least
one equality objective. Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service has
been hailed as a 'beacon' organisation for its commitment to going
beyond its legal obligations by setting five obligations, one of
which includes working with their suppliers.
To promote the benefits of the partnership between the service
and Assessment North East, an event was held at Tyne & Wear
Fire and Rescue Service's headquarters in Washington to encourage
key suppliers to follow the service's lead in its commitment to
creating a fairer workplace and society.
John Hindmarch, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at Tyne & Wear
Fire and Rescue Service, said he took great pride in the
achievements that have been made in promoting E&D within the
organisation, and in the supplier chain and wider community.
"It doesn't take legislation for us to act - it is because we
believe in equality and diversity, and are passionate about it. We
will continue to strive to lead the way, and help E&D become
the norm and not the exception," he said.
Stephen Roberts, Deputy Procurement Manager with Tyne & Wear
Fire and Rescue Service, said the service receives many tenders for
its contracts, so ensuring E&D policies are adhered to is now
more important than ever before.
"What is legally required is the minimum acceptable standard -
we will certainly be looking for best practice in E&D when it
comes to awarding contracts to suppliers," he said.
"We are committed to making our tenders as open to small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as possible - for example, we have
harmonised documents with other fire services in the region, and
reduce contract sizes to smaller lots where possible - so we are
trying to be as accessible as we possibly can be."
Robert Macleod, Managing Director of Assessment North East,
praised Tyne & Wear Fire and Rescue Service for its commitment
"The service really is a beacon in terms of its promotion of
E&D, not just in its own workplace, but also in the community
it serves, and in its chain of suppliers and service providers. It
is really helping to lead the way in a field where many businesses
have yet to realise its importance. We are very pleased to have
worked with the service, and will help them to continue to achieve
their goals," he said.
"To be a fair employer, and have firm E&D practices in place
which are respected and followed, is now vitally important. Not
just because it is a legal requirement, and can help businesses win
new contracts, but because it is the right thing to do. Tyne &
Wear Fire and Rescue Service has shown great commitment to leading
the way, and we hope more organisations will follow."