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Service Achieves Disability Confident Leader Status for a Further Three Years 

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is pleased to announce that we have maintained our status as a Level Three ‘Leader’ in the Disability Confident scheme.  

The Disability Confident Scheme includes over 20,000-member organisations from across the country and, as a Leader, the Service ranks amongst the top 600 organisations in the Scheme. 

To become a Disability Confident Leader, organisations must demonstrate how they have pioneered disability inclusion. The accreditation process involved the submission of evidence of the Service’s disability inclusion work, and was validated by Business Disability Forum, an existing Disability Confident Leader organisation. This status lasts for three years before Leader organisations are required to resubmit evidence for further revalidation. 

Two people smiling at a camera and holding a certificate
Claudia Trott, EDI Lead, and Nikki Richards, Deputy Chief Executive, hold the Disability Confident Leader certificate.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum, said: “Many congratulations to our Member, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, which has once again achieved “Leader” status in the Disability Confident Scheme. RBFRS provides a comprehensive range of support for employees which is fantastic to see. The many and varied ways in which they are seeking to attract more disabled candidates demonstrates genuine commitment, and a great deal of thought has gone into creating an inclusive and accessible recruitment process.  

“We love the clarity of the Candidate Guide and the commitment to making bespoke arrangements for disabled candidates wherever possible. We particularly commend the range of collaborative work RBFRS is doing; truly embodying the spirit of Disability Confident by sharing good practice externally as well as within the service.” 

Over the past three years, the Service has proven its commitment to disability inclusion by undertaking several initiatives. It actively participate in Leonard Cheshire’s Change100 scheme, aimed at providing opportunities for university students with disabilities. RBFRS was the first fire and rescue service to sign up for the scheme in 2017 and has supported the programme every year since. 

The Service has also made progress in improving neurodiversity awareness across the organisation. To this end, a Neurodiversity Handbook has been produced to provide staff with an insight into several of the most common types of neurodiversity and guidance on how to support neurodiverse people. 

“We particularly commend the range of collaborative work RBFRS is doing; truly embodying the spirit of Disability Confident by sharing good practice externally as well as within the service”

Diane Lightfoot, CEO of Business Disability Forum

RBFRS continues to work with partner organisations and national networks to share further learning about disability inclusion. This partnership work has guided reform to its internal policies and procedures, which has helped reduce the institutional barriers faced by people with disabilities.  

Nikki Richards, Deputy Chief Executive of RBFRS said: “I am delighted that the Service has once again been recognized as a Disability Confident Leader. This latest accreditation stands as testament to the hard work undertaken by our staff to make our Service as inclusive as possible. 

“As we look ahead, it is important that we continue to build on the work that has gone into securing our status as a Leader. We must continue to find and dismantle potential organisational barriers and ensure that our Service best represents all our communities.” 

The Service became a member of the Disability Confident scheme in 2018, before becoming a Disability Confident Employer, the second level of the scheme, in 2019 and a Disability Confident Leader, the highest level of the scheme for the first time in 2021. 

To find out more about the Service’s commitment to equality diversity and inclusion, please visit