Agenda item

To consider Item 16


The Lead Member for People and Equality and Diversity and Assurance thanked the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Group for their expertise, knowledge and willingness in bringing the report and objectives together.


The Head of Human Resources advised Members that this report was an update on the progress to set the objectives for the future, which aligned to the Public Safety Plan and Corporate Plan 2020-2025. In late 2019, employees from across the service met as the ED&I Group and looked at tangible 6, 12 and 18 month objectives and the action plan at Annex B was formed. There were regular monthly reviews to see what had been completed, what was in progress and what was still needed to be done to ensure the priorities were identified. For example, over the weekend a communication was sent out to the organisation regarding ‘Black Lives Matter’.


The Head of Human Resources advised Members that the Authority undertook a Culture Survey in early 2020 and that showed that the Service values and promotes employee diversity, 78% of the respondents were in favour: this was a marked increase of 17% from the last survey. Also, 79% of the 377 respondents were happy that they were treated with respect as individuals.


The Head of Human Resources also wanted to highlight the HMICFRS Inspection report People Pillar. The Service was commended on ED&I and was given a good rating. An improvement plan had been written and the Service strives to continue with the areas it did well on, to make sure there was continued improvement and also the areas where it may need some development.


The Head of Human Resources advised Members that the Authority was encouraging staff to disclose their protected characteristics. Members would see in the data that there were areas where employees hadn’t disclosed their protected characteristics. Employees tended to when they joined the Service, but if there were any changes, they were not so willing to update them. The ED&I Group would be carrying out a piece of work, to find out why people didn’t want to disclose this information, and to encourage them to do so, so they were supported and represented.


A Member asked why the Authority had to report on pay equality and was advised that it was a statutory requirement to publish the gender pay information in March every year. The Authority previously hadn’t recruited for over 7 years and over the last few years when recruiting Apprentices, it was working hard to reach all the different communities through different mediums.


The Deputy Chief Fire Officer advised Members that the gender pay gap and equal pay were different. Gender pay was around average pay, and the potential earning of different sexes, and equal pay was across all roles. Just because there was a gender pay gap, didn’t mean that males and females were not paid the same for the same role. Firefighters earn exactly the same salary irrespective of their background.

A Member asked that given recent events, was there equality impact assessment training available for employees and also Members of the Fire Authority, and was advised that this was one of the objectives, and the equality impact assessment guidance which had been refreshed, would be published.


A Member asked that given Milton Keynes Council’s focus on fostering and encouraging people to foster, was there an allowance available and were incentives available for employees who wanted to foster and was advised that the Maternity, Adoption and Parental Leave entitlements procedure had recently been refreshed and the Authority went over and above the statutory requirements.

A Member asked under the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign whether the Authority needed to change its strategy or take any special measures to improve its services and was advised that as this had happened very quickly, there had been communication with the whole organisation asking employees if they wanted to get involved with the ED&I group as this was the best way to help make a difference. It hadn’t changed the Authority’s strategy, as it was already within its strategy.




1.              That the contents of the report and workforce diversity data in Appendix 1 be noted.


2.              That the EDI objectives for 2020-2025 in Annex A and the six, twelve and eighteen month objectives in Annex B be approved.

Supporting documents: