The Equality and Inclusion Officer introduced the report which provided a summary of key issues identified in the Service’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report 2019-20.
He explained that a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy would be developed for the period 2021-24 and would be submitted for approval to Members in Spring 2021.
He referred Members to the Key Accomplishments from the last six months, in particular:
· Stonewall Workplace Equality Index – retained the rank of third in the Stonewall Top 100 Employers list for a second year running.
· Addressing disproportionality in the workforce
· Staff Network Groups
· Visibility and Awareness Days
· Policy Development
· EDI Education and Training Review
· Equality Impact Assessments (EIA)
· Developing Community Partnerships
· Recruitment Communications and Attraction Strategy
He also provided an update on the priorities for the next 6 months which would include:-
· Covid-19 Recovery Planning following the recent thematic staff survey to identify any particular trends and/or concerns that would inform recovery plans;
· maintaining the momentum behind staff networks as well as establishing a disability staff network and ways in which to raise awareness and provide a higher level of support to staff with dyslexia;
· raising the profile of the BAME network and events being planned for October to recognise Black History Month;
· the #BLM campaign had put a strong emphasis on the need for the Service to be able to demonstrate what was happening from a BAME perspective and how it meets the needs of the community in respect of response, protection and prevention;
· Equality Impact Assessments (EIA) remain under review and were developed to highlight actual and potential risks to the different equality interest groups in Cheshire.
· Positive Action work had been commissioned to research and understand the viability of applying positive action to promotion processes in addition to recruitment.
· Preparation for Stonewall 2021 Submission. Work would continue to ensure that the Service remains committed to the fair and equal treatment of LGBTQ+ staff and communities.
A Member requested a regular update on all events in advance in the form of a forward calendar. The Equality and Inclusion Officer explained that there was an Events Calendar and he would ensure that this was circulated regularly.
A Member asked for an update on the restart of the business and staff working from home. The Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive explained that staff had found other ways of working since the start of the Pandemic and homes had now become offices. The Service was exploring options for the future, taking into account environmental and financial implications. Employees had found a number of benefits of working from home, including financial savings and well-being. Concerns had been raised about isolation and the Service was looking at a hybrid option where staff would be able to come into the office for some of the week. In addition, each department had carried out a risk assessment and the Service was looking at ways to provide staff with equipment that they may need to improve their home working situation, such as chairs, keyboards etc.
 the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report 2019-20 be noted.