One of the top awards for change management at this year's People Management awards run by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development went to West Midlands Fire Service.

WMFS recognised that a radical change in its internal culture was required to deliver better organisational outcomes and as a result, made fundamental changes in its approach to equality and diversity. A number of steps have been taken, which have included restructuring the equality and diversity team and completely revamping training provision in order to promote the core values of the organisation. 

An internal equality and diversity newsletter highlighting key campaigns and forthcoming events is circulated widely and employees can benefit from a full range of diversity events laid on throughout the year. These include an International Women's Day conference and a series of events marking the celebration of Black history month. Of the 120 people who attended the first IWD conference, which focused on personal development through shared experiences and a series of practical workshops, 98 per cent said the conference exceeded their expectations.

Conferences on gender equality, as well as a number of multi-faith events are also prevalent and many have become popular firm fixtures in the Services calendar. They are all proactively supported by the organisations management team.

Community engagement has been strengthened too and, with an ongoing series of initiatives, educational programmes and events, designed to raise awareness of the organisation and promote fire safety, especially amongst high-risk groups.  Notable successes include tailored safety messages on food packaging targeted at communities identified as being at high risk from fire.  WMFS also maintains a significant presence at many external high profile equality and diversity events such as Birmingham pride, currently the largest Free LGBT two day festival in the UK.

The CIPD accolade, which was presented at a formal ceremony in London recognises and rewards WMFS for its achievements in creating a diverse workforce which is now more representative of the communities it serves.

Preith Shergill, Equality and Diversity Manager for WMFS said: "Over the last three years, our employees have demonstrated that through effective leadership, communication and engagement we can deliver a positive and substantial change in organisational culture whilst at the same time improving our business performance." 

The award judges noted that the "targeted and innovative strategy", underpinned by strong and clearly defined business case had "ultimately saved lives".


Posted November 11th, 2011 at 1220 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: