26 September 2023

Ambulance review finds more to get better

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The second and final volume of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s review into workplace equality in Ambulance Victoria (AV) has uncovered barriers to career progression for women and workers from diverse backgrounds.

Releasing Volume 2: Final Report of the Independent Review into Workplace Equality in Ambulance Victoria, the Commission said this volume focused on equality, fairness and inclusion, building on the earlier findings and recommendations of Volume 1 (published in November).

“Our Review found that whilst Ambulance Victoria has adopted a range of measures intended to ensure fair and inclusive attraction and recruitment efforts, there are ongoing barriers to progression inside the organisation for women and workers from diverse backgrounds,” the Commission said.

“There is a particular need to increase the representation of women in senior operational and specialist clinical roles and to increase broader diversity across the workforce as a whole,” it said.

“Similarly, our Review found that whilst Ambulance Victoria has trialled new ways of working flexibly, and made some progress in this area, systemic barriers to flexible work remain, particularly for operational staff, and with a disproportionate impact on women and workers with parenting and caring responsibilities.”

The Commission said AV did not have dedicated policies and processes around reasonable adjustments for workers with disability, or transition to retirement strategies to ensure respectful and non-discriminatory treatment for older workers.

It said there were significant opportunities for AV to strengthen its organisational capability to advance workplace equality and for it to strengthen systems and processes that would enable ongoing monitoring, oversight and improvement of workplace equality and safety.

The Commission made an additional 19 recommendations in Volume 2, aimed at breaking down systemic barriers; addressing gaps in policies and procedures; and improving individual and organisational capability to deliver, measure and monitor workplace safety and equality outcomes.

“The recommendations complement those made in Volume 1 – it is not possible to create an organisation that is safe, respectful and trustworthy, without having a culture of fairness, equality and inclusion,” it said.

“Over the next 18 months the Commission will remain engaged with Ambulance Victoria, providing expert guidance, support and external scrutiny, before conducting a final public audit in 2023 to assess the organisation’s progress.”

The Commission’s 762-page Volume 2 Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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