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Tag Archive

AFSA Spring Conference and Awards Dinner

SCE Solicitors were at the AFSA Spring Conference and Awards Dinner in May and held a very vibrant workshop discussing gender pay gap with significant delegate participation.

One aspect of the discussion was that those who attended were surprised at some of the pay gaps reported by fire services ie it was very small – the feeling was that most of the retained fire fighters tend to be women whose hourly rate is a lot higher and this skews the overall figures.

The workshop was well received and SCE Solicitors have been invited to offer a fire service informal advice on their pay gap report.

We again felt fortunate to be included in this positive event and supporting the Asain Fire Service Association.

For more information about AFSA please visit – http://afsa.co.uk/

Smoke and Mirrors Embedding Diversity Inclusion for real – AFSA

On the 30 November until 1 December 2017 SCE Solicitors were invited to the Asian Fire Service Association (AFSA) National Conference and Awards Ceremony, this time hosted by the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service. 

Samira and Courtney Janotta, a Paralegal at SCE, attended the event and were once again impressed with the positive action being taken and the energy and drive at the event. 

At the Awards Ceremony, both our ladies were moved and inspired by Bhanu Jadeja-Mahal, of Asian / Kenyan decent, who described her journey of life overcoming domestic abuse and rejection in 1970’s Britain, while being a mother to a young daughter, to pursuing a successful career in the police force.   

Courtney recalls her saying it was the police force that saved her when she had nowhere to go after she had been ejected out of her family home. Samira likened Bhanu to a Bollywood heroin, especially when Bhanu ended her story by telling the attendees that she married her childhood sweetheart (who was in the audience that evening) in her 70’s. 

On the second day of the conference Samira delivered a seminar on ‘Faith and Sexuality; the legal workplace perspective’.  Providing an overview of the law, explaining practical steps for employers, dealing with conflict between the two equalities and encouraged discussion and debate with case studies.  

The comments received from the delegates was positive and included “great explanation of case law with relates to work experiences in my workplace” and “the relevance of conflict between faith and sexuality in workplace and case studies which explored appropriate action of investigation team”.                                                                                                                 

This was a great opportunity to catch up with the AFSA management committee and other delegates they have met during their involvement and sponsorship of AFSA over the years.  

SCE Solicitors would like to, again, thank AFSA for the hard work they do to promote equality and diversity and run these remarkable events. Smoke and Mirrors Embedding Diversity Inclusion for real – AFSA 2017

AFSA AGM and Spring Conference

This month we are looking forward to attending the Asian Fire Service Association’s (AFSA) AGM and Spring Conference.  The focus of the event this year is valuing diversity and fostering community engagement and will be held at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service’s HQ in Birkenshaw.

SCE Solicitors has been involved with AFSA for nearly a year and we are excited to attend another conference and play an active role.  This will however be our first AFSA AGM.  The format of the conference involves a mixture of leading speakers and interactive workshops, with a key emphasis about the development for members. 

Last year in November we attended the AFSA Annual Conference and sponsored the award for Champion of Equality and Diversity (which went to Katie Cornhill of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service for her accomplishments).  We really enjoyed the two-day event and gained great value from meeting the members.

We also received fantastic feedback from the workshop that we delivered providing our top tips for avoiding employment tribunal claims, with a focus on discrimination.  The vast majority of attendees thought that it was very relevant to their needs and all delegates said that they would recommend the workshop to their colleagues.

Delegates found the case studies and interactive group discussions the most enjoyable part of our workshop with one person stating it was “very engaging and surprising cases and points to note.  Lots to think about”.  Another said, “questioning my knowledge, beliefs and understanding”.

We hope we can live up to expectations and deliver another thought provoking and engaging workshop.  This time our topic will be managing difficult conversations in the workplace.

AFSA annual conference and awards dinner is a huge success

As you may have read, last week we headed down to London to participate in the Asian Fire Service Association’s annual conference and awards dinner.  As a firm, we are committed to equality and diversity and it was a delight to be surrounded by so many people who share our passion for work forces that are culturally diverse.  

The event kicked off in style with a warm welcome from the hosts, London Fire Commission Ron Dobson and AFSA Chair Diane Dunlevey.  As the morning progressed, there was a thought provoking Q&A session with key personnel from the fire service which brought with it some challenging questions about how the fire service can achieve its desire for cultural inclusion.  

The afternoon brought with it a series of workshops and our very own Samira Cakali presented her top tips on avoiding employment tribunal claims, with a focus on discrimination in the workplace.  The interactive session led to some interesting discussions relating to the delegates own experiences and the feedback we received was excellent.  Delegates found our workshop relevant to their needs and rated the content and delivery as excellent.

The end of day one saw the evening come alive with culture as the awards dinner commenced.  The black tie event brought with it a burst of colour with many of the attendees donning beautiful cultural attire which left us speechless.  The awards nominees were truly inspiring and were recognised for their commitment to the promotion of equality and diversity.  We were honoured to sponsor and present the award for Champion of Equality and Diversity to Katie Cornhill of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service for her accomplishments.  The evening also saw West Yorkshire’s very own Balvinder Bains take home the award for Positive Action and Mohammed Ali the award for Outstanding Endeavour by an AFSA Member.  We would like to offer our congratulations to all of the award winners and nominees.

Day two began with the history of AFSA before moving on to discuss how the fire service could embed equality, diversity and inclusion at its heart.  The morning continued with a number of key speeches, including how human rights can be protected in Britain before an interactive session which showed why diversity is a reality but inclusion is a choice.  After lunch, four more workshops were offered up to the delegates before the conference was brought to a close.

Samira Cakali, Director of SCE Solicitors said of the event “It was a pleasure having been asked to present at the conference particularly as diversity is an issue very close to my heart. It was great to see so many people working towards a common goal”.

Mandy Walton, Associate Solicitor at SCE Solicitors said “I’ve always been passionate about equality and diversity and to be involved in the AFSA conference and awards was truly inspirational.  It’s encouraging to see so many people working towards such an important goal.”

We would like to thank the AFSA team for looking after us so well during the conference and for allowing us to be part of such a wonderful event.

SCE Solicitors head to London for the AFSA National Conference

We are looking forward to participating in our first Asian Fire Service Association National Conference in London next week, at the Wembley Holiday Inn on 24th and 25th November.  The event, titled “The changing role of the fire service – The role of culture and inclusion” will also include AFSA’s Awards Dinner. 

The event will be thought provoking and celebrate the many exceptional achievements of the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) and will share knowledge and best practice amongst the delegates and across the public sector.

A key emphasis for the conference is member development and there will be a mixture of leading speakers, including the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, and interactive workshops, one of which will be provided by SCE Solicitors.  

Our workshop at 2pm on Thursday 24th November will give an overview of Employment Tribunals.  We will be providing key insights and advice on how to avoid them by discussing the risk employers currently face, the cost to employers, the law and case law examples, together with our top tips on minimising claims.  The seminar will also have a keen focus on discrimination in the workplace.  

The Awards Dinner on Thursday evening provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contribution of the FRS staff and those from partner organisations that go about their work to ensure everything they do is personal, fair and advances the benefits of diversity.  SCE Solicitors is happy to announce that we are also sponsoring the award for champion of equality and diversity and are excited to present it to the winner.

AFSA now represents 32 fire and rescue services and non-fire services and has established a position as an important voice for inclusion within the sector by regularly collecting the views of the FRS and using opportunities to inform FRS reform.  They keep up-to-date with the latest thinking and expert opinion on key equality related matters for the FRS and other bodies with the public sector and beyond.

SCE Solicitors became corporate members of AFSA in August this year as it complements the firms desire for equality and diversity.  Samira Cakali founded SCE Solicitors in Leeds in 2011 because she wanted to provide clients with high quality legal advice, on time, on budget and in a personal and supportive manner.