Crime Stoppers

NTPFES Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Monday 10-Apr-2017 15:22

Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner and CEO, Reece Kershaw APM, today announced a range of initiatives to help support greater diversity and inclusion across the agency.

Late last year, Mr Kershaw commissioned a voluntary, confidential staff survey to help the agency better understand the workplace environment.

The data collected was benchmarked against results from similar surveys conducted by the Northern Territory Government, South Australia Police, Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police.

“The staff survey was a key first year outcome of the NTPFES Diversity and Inclusion Strategy – and a key part of our Vision 2020 goals,” Mr Kershaw said.

“The results have been used to inform the development our action plan to improve the safety, wellbeing and equality of all PFES employees.

“The survey results show that broadly we are tracking well, however, there are clear areas for improvement particularly with regard to sexual harassment, bullying in the workplace, the withholding of information, and racial discrimination.”

The voluntary survey had a 34% response rate from across the whole agency. Some of the key findings included: 

  • 60% of respondents said they have experienced one or more of the negative behaviours listed in the survey within the past two years
  • 45% of respondents believe that if they make a complaint it will be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately
  • 28% of respondents said they have been discriminated against because of their gender, ethnicity, and disability
  • 20% of respondents felt that somebody in the organisation had deliberately withheld information which they required to perform their job.

“These types of behaviours have no place in our agency, nor anywhere else for that matter,” Mr Kershaw said.

“Put simply, we have to deal with this. I will not accept harassment, bullying and discrimination in our agency.

“We have already been doing a lot of work to improve workplace behaviours, diversity and inclusion, but there is still much more to do.

“We have developed an action plan to help guide us on our path forward, at the heart of which, is a reaffirmation of our commitment to the values of our organisation – Trust, Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Courage, Community and Accountability.

“These values guide us in all our decision making, and they underpin everything we are trying to achieve.”

The action plan will build on work that is already underway, including the recent appointment of a Manager for Diversity and Change Management. The recruitment process for a Diversity and Change Management Coordinator will commence shortly. 

NTPFES has enlisted the assistance of former Australian Fair Work Commissioner, Ms Dianne Foggo AM, who is a subject matter expert on diversity and inclusion in emergency services workplaces.

Ms Foggo will be leading facilitated workshops across the agency, which will provide further insights into some of the survey results.

NTPFES is also working to establish an independent Diversity Advisory Board, which will be chaired by the Commissioner and CEO. This forum would include Indigenous Territorians and representatives from multicultural and LGBTQI communities.

In addition, work is being undertaken to review the complaints procedures across the agency, with a view to making any changes necessary to strengthen and provide more confidence in the process.

“There is no switch we can flick, no simple answer, to changing workplace behaviours,” Mr Kershaw said.

“This is about long-range cultural transformation. I am committed to this journey, and we will work hard to get it right.

“Our success will lead to a better organisation, more representative of the community we serve.

“It will lead to a workplace with higher productivity, where people are happy to come to work and where they feel safe and included.

“It will lead to a workplace where we all feel valued and empowered, where we can all reach our full potential, and better protect and serve our community.”

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