Equality impact assessment helps fire service encourage applications from across the local community
Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service FRS recruits fire fighters once a year. The recruitment process has a number of stages and it can take up to six months. It involves a written application, psychometric tests, physical tests, a medical and an interview. The service carried out equality monitoring across all six equality strands to identify patterns of progress through the recruitment process. Monitoring and review of these stages has enabled the service to identify barriers to progress at each stage and to explore what can be done to redress them. For example, women disproportionately fail on upper body strength, and BME recruits disproportionately fail on written tests.
As a result of this review, the service now holds ‘positive action days’ before recruitment starts. On these days, potential recruits can test their strength and use simulators to experience working at height and in confined spaces. They have a chance to see and try out some of the written work that is involved. The focus of the day is to inspire and encourage applications. Some candidates will go away determined to build up strength to apply at a later date; others will be less stressed by the required written work after having had a chance to see what is involved. Others will understand that the service is not for them.
These actions are constantly under review to ensure improved diversity amongst fire fighters in the service.
* Source: Case studies: Equality Impact Assessments [EHRC: 2013]