CODE 2, VOL 34, NO 39 : 13 august 2020


As we reported earlier this week, Fire and Rescue have recently decided to contract out a range of recruitment services that were previously provided in house, to a private recruitment consultancy.

The consultants have been heavily involved in the current Station Officer and Standing Order Station Officer recruitment process, which is set to proceed to the interview stage next week.

It has been confirmed to us that the consultants have been involved at every step of the recruitment process, from devising the questions, to creating the application “score sheets” to providing “assessment commentary and recommendations”. We are now also advised that Fire and Rescue plan to have these consultants present in the interviews.

From what we have gathered (having not been consulted at any stage) recruitment agencies give recommendations to their clients on the “types of people” it should hire, based on personality quizzes, statistical data, algorithms and AI robots.

This is how Fire and Rescue think they should select our station leaders.

On 12 August, your union formally notified Fire and Rescue that we dispute any and all involvement from the recruitment consultants in this recruitment process and in future recruitment processes, based on the following grounds:

1. The contracting out of existing Government Services is a colossal waste of QLD taxpayer money and is in breach of the whole of government policy;
2. Fire and Rescue are in breach of CA19 for failing to consult with the UFUQ about this change to employment; and
3. Fire and Rescue are putting staff at risk by disregarding the regional and operational expertise that we have always relied upon in determining Station Officer selection and recruitment, in favour of a consultant’s AI robot and its algorithm.
We have advised Fire and Rescue that we expect urgent action to be taken, and for the immediate cessation of all involvement from any recruitment agency in the current recruitment process.

You can read our correspondence to Assistant Commissioner Steve Smith here.


If you’ve been following the news in the last few weeks, you would have noticed that QPS has had a recent scandal regarding the bungling of a statewide recruitment process that was carried out by an external agency.

QPS officers are on record claiming that the recruitment criteria developed by the consultants had little to do with actual policing methods.

An internal review of the process found it to be flawed and recommended that the appointments be “lapsed”. QPS management are now dealing with the fallout from this, including having to spend hundreds of thousands on re-running the process.

Fire and Rescue’s non-operational workforce has ballooned out in the last decade, and now they’re seeking to contract out their work to consultants.

The idea that an external recruitment company knows what makes a Station Officer better than uniformed firefighters is as dangerous as it is absurd.

John Oliver - General Secretary

Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary 
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD