our workplace culture

We want everyone in the Brigade to feel valued, safe and accepted in their workplace and to put public service at the heart of what we do. We're working hard to achieve that.

We’re listening and talking as we improve

  • Our senior leaders are visiting every Watch and team to discuss our new values and what they mean. Our leaders also visited our people to discuss our culture after the publication of the review.
  • We run online all staff briefings every month,  focussing on important topics including culture.
  • Our Commissioner speaks at four in-person briefings at Headquarters every year, and also joins department meetings, joint training sessions and fire stations. 
  • Last February our staff conference, Your LFB Live, focused on culture change; hearing and responding to the experiences of those with protected characteristics
  • We introduced a briefing for staff – Your LFB Update – which is sent every eight days and gives regular information about culture-related and other changes in the Brigade.

The effectiveness of the work carried out so far was recognised in a letter to the London Fire Commissioner written by Nazir Afzal OBE in December 2023. Nazir is the author of the Independent Culture Review published in November 2022. You can read his letter commending the progress made here.

We’re moving forward

We’re focusing our work to improve our workplace culture in five areas:

Build a leadership model of trust

  • We’ve had conversations about culture with all frontline managers and leaders. These conversations have helped build understanding and a commitment to change.
  • Our leaders are meeting more staff through a new programme and are sharing their learnings with their peers. This gives leaders more insight into the daily working lives of our staff.
  • 130 of our leaders have completed inclusive leadership training.

Work with communities

  • We know that if we can better understand what matters to the people we serve, we can work with them to create better solutions together. That’s why our new community engagement strategy sets out how we will work with communities to shape services that meet their needs. This includes our annual engagement about our Assessment of Risk.
  • We’ve created Borough Risk Management Plans which are focused on the specific local risks and needs of each area. This focus on a local level means our plans are more closely aligned to the needs of our local communities and help us to increase trust.
  • Our new Community Forum meets each month and makes important contributions by providing insight directly from the people we serve.

Create a workplace where everyone is treated with dignity

  • We’ve made it clear that we don’t tolerate bullying, harassment and discrimination, and we launched our independent External Complaints Service. We’re also reviewing our discipline, bullying and harassment policies.  
  • 57 cases have been independently reviewed as part of our Historic Case Review.
  • We’ve introduced independent training for managers to help improve the handling of complaint hearings and appeals.
  • Work is underway to introduce individual restrooms, with specified male, female and gender neutral toilet and shower facilities, as part of our Privacy for All programme. This is a long-term initiative with significant financial and resource investment.
  • We’ve improved maternity pay provision to be among the best in the fire and rescue sector. Mothers receive 39 weeks at full pay and 15 weeks at half pay.    
  • We’ve set up a clothing board to improve uniform for all staff. As part of the improvements we’re rolling out blue shirts for all our uniformed staff, and are working to improve our undress uniform and the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worn by our firefighters.  
  • Our new People Dashboard provides leaders with better access to information about their teams. That includes data on sickness, staff turnover, transfer requests and more, which can be used to identify potential areas of poor workplace culture.
  • We’ve worked with hundreds of staff and community groups to develop new values for the Brigade. These values give us a shared understanding of what London Fire Brigade stands for.

Improve wellbeing

  • Additional support is being provided to trainee firefighters when they’re exposed to traumatic incidents. This includes counselling from our counselling and trauma service.
  • Mental health training is being rolled out to 800 leaders, to better raise awareness of stress, anxiety and depression, so that they can confidently recognise and offer support to their staff and peers.
  • We’ve commissioned detailed analysis to improve our wellbeing data, helping us identify mental health red flags and provide support earlier.
  • Peer-to-peer support has also been increased as we continue to train Mental Health First Aiders and have introduced peer trauma support training.
  • We’ve been working with Samaritans to better support those affected by suicide.

Transform People Services

  • We commissioned an independent review of People Services (our Human Resources department), and have begun to implement the recommendations that were made.
  • We’re now putting a new structure for People Services in place. In a first for a fire and rescue service, we have launched a Professional Standards Unit (PSU). This unit sets, monitors and upholds professional standards across the Brigade and report when these standards are not met.
  • We launched a new procedure for promotion which makes the process more transparent and consistent. We’ll continue to develop this in order to build trust with our staff.
  • We’re reviewing all our People Services policies, starting with disciplinary, grievance and promotion policies. 

What we’re doing next

We’re confident that culture now runs through all our transformation work and will continue to be a consideration in all the changes we’re making.  

Here is what’s coming up next:

  • A conference for leaders from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.
  • Expanding our mental health support for staff through our Mental Health First Aiders programme.
  • Transforming People Services (our Human Resources department) is one of the biggest projects within our culture change programme so there will be more improvements in this area that will support everything we’re doing. 
  • There will be further improvements to uniform, working environments and training and we’ll continue to seek feedback from staff and communities throughout.
  • Changing how we vet current and future staff, using new powers provided by the government. 

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