Independent Review

Fire and Emergency New Zealand was formed in July 2017 and brought together 14,000 people across 40 different organisations, all with different cultures and ways of doing things.

In July 2018 we commissioned retired Judge Coral Shaw to carry out an independent review into our workplace policies, practices and procedures to address bullying and harassment.

This Review was our choice. It was our line in the sand – bullying and harassment have no place here.

Independent review of our workplace policies, procedures and practices to address bullying and harassment

In January 2019 we released the findings of the Review, and Chief Executive Rhys Jones publicly accepted all 33 recommendations from the review.

In summary, the Review found:

  • Bullying and harassment was a feature of Fire and Emergency at all levels and across all regions.
  • There were unacceptable levels of racism, sexism and discrimination towards particular groups of people.
  • People have a fear of speaking up – 53% of those who witnessed and/or experienced bullying or harassment did not report it.

In summary, the Review recommended:

  • Leaders from all parts of the organisation must commit to addressing the issue of bullying and harassment, to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to such behaviour, and aim to eliminate it from the organisation.
  • Fire and Emergency acknowledges and systematically addresses the barriers to reporting bullying and harassment.
  • Fire and Emergency develops and implements a system of capturing and recording all issues, complaints, grievances and/ or disputes regarding bullying and harassment.
  • Fire and Emergency must have clear values and develop a Code of Behaviour that all people accept and adhere to. They will both be incorporated into all aspects of Fire and Emergency life so people are fully accountable.
  • Policies, procedures and guidelines must give more detail around bullying and harassment to be fit for purpose.
  • Education and training and the complaints process need to be addressed.