AN independent cultural review of South Wales Fire Service will take place after allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour in the service.
A report that went before South Wales Fire Authority on Monday, February 13 said that, after ITV News coverage where three witnesses gave interviews highlighting alleged cases of historical sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour by serving and past personnel, the chief fire officer has committed to commissioning an independent review of the service’s culture, disciplinary policies and processes and historical disciplinary cases.
Members of the authority approved the setting up of an independent appointment board which will act as the appointment panel and an authority review board to receive progress reports and to assist the independent chair person.
Members of the authority also approved the draft terms of reference and the use of earmarked reserves to fund the review.
The estimated £340,000 for the review will go towards an independent chairperson (£80,000), the support team (£150,000), administrative support (£50,000), travel, accommodation etc (£40,000) and legal support (£20,000).
The organisation-wide independent review will cover both areas of strength and areas for improvement, the report said.
It added: “Whilst there are many examples of outstanding behaviours and services provided by our personnel, there can be no complacency regarding the level of poor behaviours and culture that may exist across the service as a whole.
“The independent review will also cover the service disciplinary policies and procedures and a review of historic discipline cases to enable lessons to be learned to deliver best practice in the future.”
Members of the independent appointment board and review panel will include the chair of South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority Councillor Steve Bradwick, chief fire officer Huw Jakeway, Rachel Williams an independent advisor and founder of SUTDA (Stand Up to Domestic Abuse), Aliya Mohammed – chief executive of Race Equality First and Councillor Lis Burnett leader of Vale of Glamorgan Council with support from Blake Morgan Solicitors.
The authority also approved the nomination of Councillors Su McConnel, Ceri Wright, Jen Morgan, Kate Carr and Steve Evans to the authority review board.
The next step is to appoint an independent chairperson and the report said a process will be used which is “impartial, open and transparent.”
Using the National Procurement Services Framework (NPS-PS-0098-19) Provision of Solicitors Services, the monitoring officer has brought in Blake Morgan Solicitors to provide guidance and help create a long list of suitably experienced King’s Councillors (KC’s) and other public service candidates with appropriate experience and backgrounds and draw up the draft terms of reference.