Adoption of the Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy

Published 20th Sep 2023

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are pledging their commitment to the Charter for Families Bereaved through Public Tragedy.

Introduced in 2017 by the former Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones, the charter was created to ensure the pain and suffering of families affected by the Hillsborough tragedy is not repeated.

The charter which was signed by both Chief Fire Officer Jonathan Dyson and Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe,  states that the Service will:

  1. In the event of a public tragedy, support the activation of emergency plans and development of resources to rescue victims, to support the bereaved and to protect the vulnerable
  2. Place the public interest above our own reputation
  3. 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, materials and facts. Our objective is to assist the search for the truth. We accept we should learn from the findings of external scrutiny and from past mistakes
  4. Avoid seeking to defend the indefensible or to dismiss or disparage those who may have suffered, where we have fallen short
  5. 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
  6. Recognise we are accountable and open to challenge. We will ensure 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.

Chief Fire Officer Jonathan Dyson, said: “I am proud to pledge our commitment to the Bereaved Families Charter. I am dedicated to ensuring that we are a people centred service embedded at the heart of the community. This charter, alongside our values and the Core Code of Ethics provides a framework to enable us to meet the needs of people before, during and after a major incident.

Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe said: “I am very pleased to see the adoption of this Charter. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is making a public commitment to ensure that families affected by tragedy are treated with care and compassion at all times, by being open and transparent and by placing public interest above all other priorities.