Fire Control key for resilience: Neil Kinghan, Director General of the Fire and Resilience Directorate, began by reiterating the Minister's comments on equality and diversity, saying it is the most important issue facing society, the public sector and the Fire and Rescue Service. He pointed to the Select Comments criticism of the lack of leadership from both the Fire and Rescue Service and government.(Fire Conference 2006)

As well as emphasising the moral and business case for diversity, he also drew attention to the pool of talent not currently being used. "The make-up of the workforce is changing dramatically. By 2009 the working age of the workforce that are white men without a disability will only be 20 per cent. He said it was a challenge for all public sector services, but even more so for the Fire and Rescue Service.

In 2005 2.6 per cent of the operational workforce in the Fire and Rescue Service were women. That compares to 21 per cent in both the police and prison services. The advertising campaign run by the DCLG earlier this year had proved successful he reported, with over 2,500 requests for information from women. …

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