Published 27 April 2023

Draft Culture Action Plan

NFCC Logo image

A Culture Action Plan to address issues relating to culture, inclusion and diversity in the fire and rescue service is being developed by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC).

The Culture Action Plan sets out our intentions to support fire and rescue services in delivering the change that is needed to ensure every fire and rescue employee and the public can benefit from a truly inclusive and positive culture.

The NFCC’s draft Culture Action Plan (PDF Download) sets out an ambitious programme of activity to improve organisational culture and end misogyny, racism, bullying and harassment across UK fire and rescue services.

Work to improve the culture within fire and rescue services has failed to deliver the positive outcomes that the public and our staff deserve. Recommendations made in the 2022 White Paper consultation ‘Reforming our Fire and Rescue Services’, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service’s Spotlight Report, ‘Values and Culture in Fire and Rescue Services’, the Independent Culture Review of London Fire Brigade, and a number of other key enquiries and reports reaching back over 20 years, highlights the scale of the issue.

Putting culture front and centre is the NFCC’s top priority and the NFCC Culture Action Plan has been developed to bring together outcomes from the Culture and Inclusion Conference held in March 2023.

NFCC Chair Mark Hardingham said: “Our fire and rescue services serve and protect the public, and our people are at the core of that. We strive to provide a positive working culture by inspiring leadership, embedding equality, diversity and inclusion in everything we do, finding and nurturing diverse talent, and supporting the health and well-being of our staff.

“Yet despite the hard work and commitment of many, both now and previously, the NFCC recognises that we have fallen short. We have failed to live up to the high standards that the public and FRS staff rightly expect of us. The criticism levelled at fire and rescue services for not doing enough to ensure a positive working culture is our reality and is having an impact on the public’s ability to put their complete trust in fire and rescue services.

“Now is time for a renewed call to action.  Everyone has the right to go to work feeling safe, supported and respected in an organisation that values diversity, aspiration and fair challenge. Developing and delivering the NFCC Culture Action Plan is our number one priority to ensure this happens.”

The Culture Action Plan includes the production of toolkits and guidance to support leadership and development, publishing research into health and wellbeing and equality, diversity and inclusion, developing a cultural dashboard for services to benchmark against and track progress, and putting professional standards first.

It includes the establishment of an independent Challenge and Support Panel to provide oversight of NFCC’s delivery against the action plan.

Mr Hardingham added: “Every member of the fire and rescue service has a responsibility to play their part in the culture shift and the change required. NFCC will continue to engage with members and stakeholders throughout the life of the plan to ensure that its ambitions translate into meaningful, tangible change, ensuring fire and rescue services are open, inclusive and welcoming for all, and really are fit for the future.”