The final conference on the exciting Fire Station for all Project to encourage the employment of women as firefighters (or Brandmen as the Swedish people call them) has taken place. Over 250 people attended and i was able to contribute to five of the sessions. There will be a report from the academic who has overseen the project shortly
My involvement with the Swedish Government since 2009 has led to the concept of 'a fire station for all' - follow the link to the report that started this project.
I have been involved in all the conferences associated with this project, and in delivering the training programme for the whole Malmo fire service.
As the project ends this week in Malmo I will be contributing over the two days to the conference and a fuller report will be produced here.
This website is currently being re-written but it is still functional
The fitting-in site is here to promote our business and to help researchers and people who have an interest in the fire service - scroll down to find out about our commercial offering or go to our free academic reference
The team at Fitting-in
have extensive knowledge of working in and with the fire service, ocassionaly other
industries and in academia. We have specific expertise on employment in masculine organisations - particularly the fire service and the police.
I set out to improve the police and fire service by writing and leading the two Public Service Degrees at Anglia Ruskin University. These degrees, which aim at students who want to join uniformed public services (primarily the police), are now offered at Cambridge, Peterborough and Harlow.
WHO ARE WE?
Fitting-in comprises of two senior trainers/researchers/lecturers with considerable experience of the fire service and academia.
Sarah O'Connor (BA Hons. PGCE) who is currently writing up her PhD on fire service management.
Dave Baigent (FIFire E. FHEA. BA Hons. PhD) whose PhD on uniformed service culture and the process of fitting-in transformed understandings about informal cultures operating in uniformed public services.
We have worked in the UK and internationally for over 14 years. This has particularly involved helping fire services to understand their cultures. During this time we have published a number of research based reports on management and culture in the fire service AND we write from our own research.
WE SPECIALISE IN THREE AREAS, CULTURAL AUDITS, EQUALITY AND HELPING ORGANISATIONS TO UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES THROUGH RESEARCH, DISCUSSION AND TRAINING - all our work is researched based AND our hands on approach allows us to talk to and work with the fire service on its own terms.
OUR argument is that it is difficult for an organisation to study or change itself: there are too many agendas at play because managers and unions are part of the politics of the organisation. Our offering is to work with you to help you understand your organisation and implement practical solutions.
We have no agenda other than delivering what we are asked to do.
Our Research in your organisation
Fitting-in offers an outside view by two researchers with PhD level experience of researching the fire service, plus over 13 years of very real and grounded experience from working with managers, firefighters, support staff, politicians and the FBU. One of our researchers, Dave, also has over 30 years of experience as an operational firefighter and manager.
We look at old
problems, new ideas and your culture - We provide fully supported answers
and analysis, and can work with you on implementation.
It was brave of ECFRS to publish this report and it is difficult not to feel sorry for all of their employees
Fitting-in would like to offer our assistance to ECFRS so that they can fully understand their report and move forward - this is the sort of thing our expertise can help with.
September 2015 Dave is finalising two chapters for books on disaster and gender and Sarah is completing her PhD
LATEST FROM SWEDEN
We are preparing for the final conference on the "En
brandstation för all" project which has seen us working with the Swedish Government and Fire Service to help with the introduction of women into their fire service
Dave receives a recommendation from CFO of RSYD
Fittiing-in have now completed their training programme with all the staff at RSYD. This package involves an extremely interactive workshop on equality and has been enoromously successful. We are now ready to deliver it anywhere in the world. Contact us for further details.
This programme goes alongside a number of other deliveries to RSYD, in Sweden more generally and though the government. The latest of these was presenting at three workshops at the MSB conference in Stockholm 17th - 18 September 2013. See also
Fitting-in has also been involved in the Gender
and Emergency Services Project 2010-2015 at Karlstad University where Dave now holds Research Fellow status: see press release for talk at Karlstad)
The whole programme has developed from an original idea by Dave that featured in the Swedish Government Report on equality and has developed into "En
brandstation för all" 2012 (a fire station for all) at Räddningstjänsten Syd.
From our Swedish experience we have worked up a real life programme
providing strategies to fire services and employees so that they can challenge harassment and ask the questions so many want to ask but have yet to find a safe enough environment to do so. Fitting-in provides that environment.
These interactive workshops have also provided an environment for people to share their concerns and to develop their awareness.
At each workshop we have learnt something new and added it to the programme!
See a wider explanation of our work in Sweden
The four pictures below show us working in Sweden and Australia
Why not try a Snapshot
Audit to look at an existing problem or a plan for the future?
First we will meet with you, discuss your needs and agree our research plan.
If our plan is accepted then our snapshot audit allows
for two researchers to provide
three days of research and an immediate verbal report back: a written
report follows in seven days.
Our research team have PhD level experience of the fire service and post doc experience of researching in the fire service
Email now for further details or ring on 07802 495 328 to chat to Dave about what we can do for you.
Examples can be provided
from our work in Sweden, Merseyside, South
Government Association, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire. We have also carried out research in Australia.
We also have extensive knowledge of training and we have produced a national audit of initial training in England and a report of research that followed a group of trainees through their whole initial training.
We also work with other organisations but to date this work remains
Although our research is
based on academic standards we do not live in an ivory tower and we
are not 'long on rhetoric and short on answers'.
nut and bolts results that can be actioned by the experts – those
managers chosen for their decision-making skills who deal with the thorny
issues on the ground.
The team have offered their
work at LGA annual conferences and working groups, in individual fire
services, to Standing Committees of the House
of Commons, to the DCLG, at the fire service college and worked with the FBU.
Dave also has a very real experience of working in the fire service for over 30 years.
Fitting-in has just completed its 13th year and we recieved the following message from Greg Mullins who is the Commissioner of Fire and Rescue, New
South Wales (including Sydney).
Congrats on 13 years of "fitting in" Dave.
Your work still resonates with us in Sydney. Yesterday I trawled through your original paper to get material (suitably ascribed of course) for a presentation I'm doing in Canberra this Friday at the annual Women in Firefighting conference. My premise will be that all of the fire service talk in Australia re diversity and inclusiveness, including mine, is empty rhetoric. We've made very little progress and without affirmative action we probably never will. I intend (it looks like, with FBEU support!) having 50/50 recruitment for at least the next few years. The government also looks like it will back me in.
I don't know whether you were aware of our "annus horribilis" in 2010? 8 months of media scrutiny of historical work[place initiation rites and assaults etc. It led to some good reforms and changes, and was a wakeup call to the "boys' club". Some recent issues have made me realize though that the male culture and machismo is SO entrenched, that the only way to change it is to actually do something to change the mix.
A long diatribe, but I wanted to know that your work with us lives on and you still inspire me.
Internationally we are working
on a five
year research project for the MSB in Sweden and the Swedish Fire
Service. We continue
to retain links based on our work with the New South Wales and Melbourne
fire services and with the national and international scholars that
we have helped with their research.
- Commercial consultancy
service that draws on our extensive knowledge of workplace culture,
resistance to change, equality matters, change management and management.
- Free academic reference
point through this website:
- where we
papers for other students
- and are prepared to
comminicate with people studying the fire service. Largely these
people are undergraduate, masters and higher degree students from
the fire service who we freely mentor and advise.
acclaimed research, which helps organisations to understand themselves,
is completed to academic standards.
We only offer training that
is research led.
The fitting-in team
Principally the team consists
of Dr Dave Baigent (Phd, BA Hons, FHEA
and FIFireE) and Sarah O’Connor (CertEd,
BA Hons FDA). However, we are often assisted by an extensive
network of people who have expertise in the fire service, wider industry
and in academia. CV's
Dave's 17 years of working
as a consultant on the fire service, and as an academic researching
and lecturing on the fire service, other emergency services and industry
is supported by his over 30 year's experience of working in the fire
service. In 2012 Dave has been appointed Fellowship of the IFE (FIFireE)
by Main Board nomination.
Sarah's experience from 10
years of consultancy work, supported by her research and lecturing on
the fire service, is now extended by her PhD research on fire service
managers/management at the University of Kent.
To find out more about our
services read on or contact
Kerry Baigent It is impossible not to provide details on the recent finding by an employment tribunial judge that found in favour of Kerry Baigent's constructive dismissal claim again Cambridge Fire and Rescue Service. At this moment it is enought to say that the judge ruled that the decision was illogical and perverse, done behind closed doors, using the wrong information, with no consultation and was entirely without transparency. link to a growing band of literature on this constructive dismissal.
If you would like to comment on this constructive dismissal either anonymously, in private or for public consumption pleaes Email