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GMFRS and GMCA mark first Race Equality Week

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) marked the first Race Equality Week from Monday 1 February to Sunday 7 February.  

The week allowed the organisation to unite with others across the UK to address race equality in the workplace.  

Brenda Warrington, leader for Age Friendly Greater Manchester and Equalities, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement have shone a light on the long-standing inequalities and the discrimination that exist in our society. 

“We have to do more to increase equity and to improve relationships across our communities and within public services.” 

The organisation is committed to taking a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of racism and to tackling inequalities. It engaged with the national organisation - Race Equality Matters - to develop ‘The Big Promise’. 

The Big Promise is an organisational and individual choice to show allyship by signing up to show commitment to Race Equality.  

During Race Equality Week, Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Dave Russel addressed staff and committed leadership across the organisations to engage with the agenda. He said: “The most important element which will drive the success of our organisation is our culture. Our success will be measured on what we choose to do, and act on, as an organisation. I want to galvanise an internal movement that provides a level of collaboration that delivers, and lands, a lasting change.” 

In 2018 Greater Manchester’s public sector employers became the first in the country working to tackling race equality in the workplace. Since then, the Northern Care Alliance has been appointed as the lead organisation to support Greater Manchester to deliver on this, supported by the Workforce Race Equality Steering Group.  

Since then, GMFRS have developed the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan (2019-2022). You can read the EDI Strategy on the GMFRS website (link opens new window). 

Across 2019-20, phase one of the EDI strategy has been focused internally on organisation and workforce: 

  • Embedding Greater Manchester level data
  • Developing and sustaining organisational and system cultures which are truly diverse and inclusive
  • Having visible senior leadership prepared to engage with the agenda and building a strong narrative for change
  • Enabling recruitment and talent management systems to address the issues
  • Sharing good practice and lessons learned across professions, organisations, and localities 

The second phase of the strategy will focus on collaborative work between partners and communities.  

This work has also been reflected by GMCA, which, in December, created a new Greater Manchester wide panel to tackle racism and discrimination on a city-region level basis by bringing together a set of experts and leaders from across the city-region's diverse communities

The panel’s 24 members were chosen for their skills, knowledge, connections into their communities and their willingness to use their own personal experiences to challenge and support public services to tackle systemic inequalities, racism and discrimination. 

Read more about the panel on the GMCA website (link opens new window).

In January the panel appointed a Chair, Elizabeth Cameron, and Deputy Chair, Jay Chara. Elizabeth Cameron spoke with employees during Race Equality Week and reflected upon the challenges people face and opportunities to make a difference within the workforce and beyond. 

Speaking about the work of the Greater Manchester Race Equality Panel, Elizabeth said: “The Panel brings together inspiring people from across our diverse communities, right across the varying active sectors in the city-region. We will explore how racism and discrimination impacts across these systems and hope to bring a fairness and equality across the board. 

“We all are all required to take responsibility to really make a difference around race equality and how this threads through all levels of society.” 



Article Published: 11/02/2021 12:33 PM