Equality Bill prompts St John Ambulance recruitment policy overhaul

St John Ambulance stands to lose up to £35m worth of work unless it makes radical changes to its recruitment policies ahead of next year’s introduction of the Equality Bill, its HR chief has warned.

Martyn Lowe, national head of HR at the first-aid charity, told Personnel Today he was harmonising the terms and conditions, pay structures and HR systems for each of its 42 offices to create a more formal equal opportunities policy.

Under plans unveiled in the draft Equality Bill in May, which could come into force as early as 2009, employers bidding for government contracts will have to publish details of their diversity policies.

Currently, each St John’s office has a different way of carrying out HR activities, meaning there is no record of exactly how many staff work at the organisation, nor how many black or ethnic minority staff are employed.

Lowe said St John’s was a quasi-commercial operation, selling nursing, education and first-aid services to government bodies, and was concerned it could lose out on tens of millions of pounds if it did not adapt.

“There is now a business case scenario for equal opportunities; if you don’t have an equal opportunities framework, you can’t compete for government contracts,” Lowe said.

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