Recruitment - positive action

‘Positive Action’ at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

You may have heard the term 'positive action' before and wonder what does it mean?

Positive action is a legal, acceptable and deliberate way of targeting people from underrepresented with the view of encouraging and increasing the number of applications for employment. Underrepresented groups mean different things to different organisations, but for us, we wish to widen access for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, people that identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender plus (LGBT+) and women.

Under the Equality Act 2010, organisations can attempt to address imbalances of groups that they can evidence are under-represented within the workforce and this will enables to ensure our workforce will always be able to meet the diverse needs of the community we serve.

How Positive Action supports our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) agenda.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is a golden tread that runs through all aspects of our work. We see the value in recruiting people from all backgrounds and positive action enables us to achieve this.

If a particular group of people, covered by the Equality Act 2010, is or has been under-represented in the workplace within the previous 12 months, then an employer can focus recruitment efforts on these groups, provide assistance and information to encourage applications for employment.

Positive action allows an employer to create targeted marketing and recruitment campaigns to generate interest in a career within the fire and rescue service. It enables an employer to provide training information and guidance to under-represented groups prior to any application for employment being submitted. This is in addition to the similar general training or guidance provided to the wider population in a community.

For example, since Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has a substantially higher proportion of white heterosexual males working in operational firefighting positions, positive action initiatives seek to encourage applications for operational roles from women, people from BAME backgrounds and those who identify as LGBTQ+.

Our service are committed to attracting the best candidates from all backgrounds to ensure we can represent our community within our workforce. Positive Action sets out to simply widen access and encourage people from underrepresented backgrounds to apply for roles.

Positive action is not positive discrimination

Positive discrimination is unlawful under current legislation and this could involve giving some candidates an unfair advantage in the recruitment process, such as lowering the entry requirements. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service does not adopt this type of initiative to recruit.

Positive action does not mean lowering or diluting standards to help under-represented groups to pass our tests and meet our role-specific entry requirements. We only select the best candidates based on their performance, skills and merit.

Last updated: Friday 28 August 2020

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