Progress of Action 4.6

Action 4.6: Develop and continue delivering on inclusion and diversity initiatives: (a) Diversity and Inclusion Framework, Strategy and Action Plan; (b) Gender Equity Action Plan; and (c) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reconciliation Action Plan.

Action objective: FRV promote inclusion and diversity through fit for purpose strategies, plans and initiatives.

Lead agency: FRV

Year Two to Five Plan (November 2021) completion dateYear Two to Five Plan (updated May 2023) completion dateAgency reported status as at 30 June 2023
June 2022March 2023In progress – significant delays

Context

This action requires FRV to develop and deliver the following:

  1. Diversity and Inclusion Framework, Strategy and Action Plan.
  2. Gender Equality Action Plan 2022-2025.
  3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reconciliation Action Plan.

Progress summary

In the reporting period, the FRV Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy FY 2023 – 2032 (DEI Strategy) was developed and aligned to the FRV Strategic Plan. ELT endorsed the DEI Strategy in March 2023 and was currently in consultation with the United Firefighters Union. Following endorsement from the UFU, FRV will distribute the draft DEI Strategy to employees for their feedback prior to the finalisation and launch of the document.

FRV’s Gender Equality Action Plan 2022-2025 (GEAP) was completed and submitted to the Gender Equality Commission in August 2022, and implementation of the plan had commenced.

Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan December 2022 – June 2024 (RRAP) was completed, formally endorsed by the CEO of Reconciliation Australia and launched in November 2022.[54] FRV’s RRAP lays the foundations for future action plans and reconciliation initiatives in areas such as “Relationships”, “Respect”, “Opportunities” and “Governance and implementation of the plan has commenced.

The DEI Strategy, GEAP and RRAP provide FRV with a long-term plan for the delivery of actions. The transition of these actions to BAU via established and integrated delivery across the organisation has commenced. FRV’s key external stakeholders in developing the DEI Strategy, the GEAP and the RRAP include the Gender Equality Commission, Reconciliation Australia, and the UFU.

Governance of this large-scale work program across diversity, equity and inclusion (the DEI Strategy and the GEAP) is part of regular quarterly reporting to the ELT. Delivery of the work has shifted from a project-style team to an integrated delivery across the organisation. Executive leaders in FRV have accountability to sustain via their performance and development plans, ensuring the focus and sustainability of the actions.

A short overview of the delivery and implementation of the various deliverables is outlined below.

1. FRV Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy

ELT endorsed FRV’s draft DEI Strategy in March 2023. Progression of the draft DEI Strategy was placed on hold to prioritise developing and launching FRV’s GEAP to ensure compliance with the Gender Equality Act 2020.

FRV intends to align and streamline current diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives with the DEI Strategy, ensuring collaboration for delivery between the Women’s’ Support Coordinators, Multicultural Liaison Officers and other key stakeholders.

FRV identified six diversity groups for inclusion in the draft DEI Strategy:

  • Women
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • CALD people
  • people with disability
  • LGBTIQ+ people
  • children and youth and mature-aged people.

FRV advised the development of project and action plans for the implementation of actions under the draft DEI Strategy will commence following final endorsement from the UFU and subsequent ELT endorsement.

FSIM understands that FRV’s Diversity and Inclusion team established a regular meeting with CFA’s Diversity and Inclusion team with the intent to work on improving diversity, equity and inclusion across the fire services in Victoria. This intent includes alignment with FRV’s broader culture work. Outputs from this cross-agency collaborative approach are not yet available, however FSIM supports the development of the relationship between these teams to align (where appropriate) diversity and inclusion activities and support secondees who work between the two organisations.

2. Gender Equity Action Plan

FRV has three aims for the GEAP[55], which provides a roadmap of activity under three of the four pillars in the DEI Framework: leadership, culture and people.

  • build a strong foundational understanding of equality, equity and inclusion that enables the creation of a psychologically safe, inclusive and respectful workplace
  • identify barriers to systems and processes to enable equitable access to leave requirements, development opportunities, recruitment and promotion and a reduction in the gender pay gap
  • break down unhelpful gender stereotypes that prevent FRV from being a contemporary fire service that is reflective of, and responsive to, the community it serves.

To support activities aligned to obligations under the Gender Equality Act 2020, FRV’s Diversity and Inclusion Team has established a Gender Equality Action Plan Implementation Group, which consists of directorate representatives with actions allocated to them under the GEAP.

3. Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan

FRV has a long-term plan to develop and deliver reconciliation activities across the organisation, focusing first on “reflection”.[56] FRV is at the start of this journey with an 18-month action plan guiding the first delivery steps.

FRV’s inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RRAP)[57] outlines actions, deliverables, timelines, and leads, to ensure transparency and accountability to continue to advocate for strategies to support equity and equality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community.

FRV’s ELT is ultimately responsible for the RRAP’s implementation over the next 18 months. FRV’s Diversity and Inclusion Lead and those identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples led the work to develop the RRAP. Establishing a RAP Working Group, which will lead subsequent RAPs, is an action item for this RRAP.

Follow-up on FSIM-identified risks in FY 2021-22

A significant risk observed by FSIM and reported in FSIM’s Annual Report 2021/22 was that comprehensive employee experience data had not informed FRV’s Diversity and Inclusion Framework as MFB did not historically keep this data.[58] FSIM observes that FRV is addressing this risk through the draft DEI Strategy and associated activities. The draft DEI Strategy includes the capture of the following measures, which can be used to inform and refine activities:

  • numbers of employees undertaking Workplace Behaviour compliance training increase and complaints decrease over time
  • FRV’s workforce demographics gradually become more representative of the community
  • an ‘all-inclusive support network’ is established and becomes trusted as the key engagement mechanism for DEI at FRV
  • quarterly reporting of deidentified employee diversity data and other human resources metrics demonstrate a positive shift in workforce demographics
  • annual reporting of improvement in intersectional inclusion data broken down by each priority diversity group and compared with overall survey data
  • DEI needs of employees and Directorates are supported promptly and effectively.

In addition, and in line with requirements in the Gender Equality Act 2020, FRV undertook a baseline workplace gender audit for the first year of reform (1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021) to establish a baseline of workplace gender equality from which to build, measured against 7 indicators outlined in the Gender Equality Act 2020.[59]

Findings

FSIM finds action 4.6 is progressing, noting that FRV has significantly progressed these core foundational activities to promote inclusion and diversity activities across the organisation.


Footnotes

[54] Fire Rescue Victoria, 2022, FRV Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan 2022-2024, Fire Rescue Victoria, viewed 15 August 2023, https://www.frv.vic.gov.au/frv-policies

[55] Fire Rescue Victoria, 2022, FRV Gender Equality Action Plan 2022-2025, Fire Rescue Victoria, 15 August 2023, https://www.frv.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2022-09/FRV%20Gender%20Equality%20Action%20Plan%202022-2025.pdf

[56] There are four types of RAP (Reflect, Innovate, Stretch and Elevate), which allows RAP partners to continuously develop and strengthen their reconciliation commitment.

[57] Fire Rescue Victoria, 2022, FRV Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan 2022-2024, Fire Rescue Victoria, viewed 15 August 2023, https://www.frv.vic.gov.au/frv-policies, pg. 10-13.

[58] Fire Services Implementation Monitor, 2023, Fire Services Implementation Monitor Annual Report 2021/22, Victorian Government, viewed 8 August 2023, https://www.vic.gov.au/fire-services-implementation-monitor-annual-report-2021-22, pg. 104.

[59] Gender Equality Act 2020, S3 (definitions, pg. 4)

Updated