Case studies: Employment

Case study 1

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service use the disability equality duty to support dyslexic staff

Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service suspected a disproportionate number of staff were dyslexic. In order to meet the needs of these staff, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service brought together a working group representing all aspects of the service. This included human resources, training, health and safety, IT and dyslexic fire fighters. The group works to develop advice and guidance and it will enable the fire service to:

  • raise awareness about the impact of dyslexia across the service
  • identify where reasonable adjustments can be made
  • develop staff confidence to ask for adjustments
  • build a body of resources to support dyslexic staff, for example, in the application process for promotion.

Case study 2

Metropolitan Police overcome barriers to recruiting women as firearms officers by using positive action

A review of the Metropolitan Police workforce revealed that women were under-represented in the specialist firearms operational command unit. Consultation identified several barriers: the written application process, the job-related fitness test which disadvantaged women, a lack of information and guidance, myths about the department and, in some cases, a lack of support.

Actions to overcome these barriers included the development of a scheme whereby female firearms officers were trained to mentor female applicants and support them through the process when they expressed an interest in applying. This ensured that applicants had strong role models from the outset. It was acknowledged that the difference between men's and women's physiologies required different training techniques to achieve the high fitness standards.

The Occupational Health Department therefore arranged bespoke training programmes that equipped the women to pass the job-related fitness test. The test was not changed in any way: the women who passed did so under the same conditions as the male applicants.

Coaching was provided on how to complete application forms in accordance with the national competencies. Personal development courses were arranged to show the women how to compile and follow a personal action plan. This resulted in an increase in the number of women in the firearms team from 10 to 25 over a two-year period.

Last Updated: 04 Apr 2011