The Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy was written by the former Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones, to ensure the pain and suffering of families affected by the Hillsborough tragedy is not repeated in future tragedies.
Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer and Paul Gittings, Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, signed the Charter and it has now been formally adopted by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS).
Adopting this Charter and honouring its principles will provide us with a framework to support bereaved families and the community in the aftermath of a major incident.
Through the Charter, Royal Berkshire Fire Authority is committed to becoming an organisation which strives to:
- In the event of a public tragedy, support the activation of emergency plans and deployment of resources to rescue victims, to support the bereaved and to protect the vulnerable.
- Place the public interest above our own reputation.
- Approach forms of public scrutiny – including public inquiries and inquests – with candour, in an open, honest and transparent way, making full disclosure of relevant documents, material and facts. Our objective is to assist the search for the truth. We accept that we should learn from the findings of external scrutiny and from past mistakes.
- Avoid seeking to defend the indefensible or to dismiss or disparage those who may have suffered where we have fallen short.
- Ensure all members of staff treat members of the public and each other with mutual respect and with courtesy. Where we fall short, we should apologise straightforwardly and genuinely.
- Recognise that we are accountable and open to challenge. We will ensure that processes are in place to allow the public to hold us to account for the work we do and for the way in which we do it. We do not knowingly mislead the public or the media.