Employment news

South Wales Fire and Rescue put under spotlight by comprehensive culture review

An Independent Culture Review of the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service commissioned in 2022 as a result of media reports of abusive behaviour has reported.   

The review looked at the overall culture in the Service, its disciplinary processes and procedures, and seven years of historic cases. Led by Fenella Morris KC the review undertook a series of location visits, one-to-one interviews with those volunteering to share their experiences, focus groups, an online survey and desktop research.

Whilst the report found that the Service has many positive aspects and was encouraged by some of the positive steps it had already started to take, there were also serious deficiencies. These included poor communications, systems, policies and procedures; insufficient role modelling by leaders and managers; a lack of transparency in recruitment and promotion procedures; a lack of diversity; the toleration of problematic behaviours, including: sexual harassment; negative assumptions about women; domestic abuse and physical aggression outside of work; the expression of negative views in relation to the protected characteristics of sex, race and/or religion; bullying; harmful ‘banter’; drug and alcohol abuse; improper interference with procedures; misconduct, including criminal conduct, that had previously gone insufficiently addressed; a lack of encouragement and support for people to speak up, and insufficient action when they do; and inadequate training, resulting in the problems identified.

The comprehensive and detailed recommendations, set out for implementation in three phases over an eighteen-month period, range from the re-setting of Values and Standards, improvements in senior leadership and communications to a full-scale review of policies and procedures and associated training.