Working smarter--not harder: a BEAMM view: the writer argues that the Service must work smarter if it is serious about making any progress towards creating a more diverse workforce.(Recruitment and Retention)

THE BRITISH FIRE SERVICE HAS always traditionally recruited white males into its operational workforce; most of these applicants had friends or family in the Service.

In 1996 20 years after the Race Relations Act 1976 it was estimated that the country only had less than 300 black and minority ethnics (BME) firefighters. It was not until 1999 that the Fire Service was forced to look at itself, after the thematic review criticized the make up of the Service.

The Home Office then set clear recruitment targets for all brigades, however no dear guidance was give on how to address this issue. Brigades across the country reacted immediately but they had no real plans or focus as to how they could pro actively encourage more minority ethnic individuals to look at the Service as a potential career.

We are now ten years on and ODPM statistics inform us that 2.5 per cent of the current workforce is from BME groups and only 2. …

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