Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is the first fire and rescue service in the UK to be awarded the prestigious Gold Investor in People Award - one of the most widely recognised and respected marks of good practice for organisations and businesses in the UK.

To qualify for the Gold Award, the service had to meet a minimum of 165 criteria, which required a rigorous assessment to be undertaken, including interviews with a selection of staff from all levels and areas of the service. The assessment covered a wide range of areas, including team working, innovation in learning and development, and corporate social responsibility. The Gold Award is only given to those organisations which are able to demonstrate a degree of excellence in the way they develop and support their staff.

In their report, the IIP assessors praised the organisation for its 'shared passion for the organisation's vision and values in a workforce that is committed, motivated, enthusiastic and proud'.

Areas highlighted as good practice include effective communications across the service, the excellent learning and development opportunities available for staff, as well as well developed learning and development strategies. Also praised were diversity and equality being embedded as part of the service, a strong commitment to continuous improvement, partnership working and evaluation.

Chief Fire Officer Iain Bathgate, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Just maintaining the standard IIP award is a challenge given the current economic climate, so we are absolutely delighted to have gone even further and achieved the top Gold Award, and to be the first fire and rescue service to have done so.

"I have always believed that we are one of the best fire and rescue services in the country with some of the best staff; this external recognition reinforces that view. Our people are our greatest asset, without them we would not be able to achieve our mission of creating the safest community. It shows the rest of the UK what a good employer we are."

Alison Davies, Senior Business Solutions Manager for Investors in People North East said: "The assessors commented in their report that it was a genuine pleasure to work with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service; all those interviewed firmly believe it is a great place to work.

"We are delighted to see them using the Investors in People framework to help them manage the change in their organisation. They are a forward thinking, progressive organisation and their Gold recognition highlights this," she added.

In order to retain the award the service will be reviewed on a regular basis, not only to ensure that the service is still achieving the standard, but also to ensure continuous improvement.


Photo: TWFRS Gold IIP Award: Amanda Nichol; Peter Trevithick; Alison Davies, Senior Business Solutions Manager, Investors in People North E; John Hindmarch; Adrian Jackson and Eileen Armstrong


Posted December 15th.