News & Media

CFA leaders meet at Core Leadership Conference

By: David Baker

  11.00 AM 7 June, 2012

Views: 4344

In mid-May a range of CFA leaders met at Creswick for the two day Core Leadership Conference including the CFA Senior Leadership Team (SLT) - CEO, Chief Officer, Executive Directors, DCO's, Regional Directors, Executive Managers - and their direct reports, DPC Chairs and members of the VFBV State Executive.

The Conference provided a great opportunity to get a sense of where CFA sits within the current economic climate, discuss the importance of leadership in ensuring our future and get clarity around the CEO and Chief Officer's mission and direction.

John Bertrand (Captain of Australia's winning 1983 America's Cup team) spoke of how they imagined what a winning team in 2003 would look like and then worked to make that team happen in 1983. Instead of striving to be the best amongst its competitors in that particular year, they wanted to be 20 years ahead of the game. The proof of their successful strategy is clear and is an approach CFA could adopt.

There was a panel discussion and facilitated table work looking at issues such as: our strategic environment, service delivery, financial environment, Mission Command, culture and the new structure. The table feedback will be valuable in shaping SLT's future efforts and directions.

Social demographer David Chalke presented data that challenged CFA to re-evaluate the approaches and programs we deliver to help protect Victorians. He also highlighted that there will be challenges in maintaining volunteer recruitment and enhancing a sense of ‘shared responsibility' with our communities. We have to think beyond measures utilised in the past with a society that no longer holds the values of the past.

Two workshops led by the leaders of Operational Training & Volunteerism and Community Capability asked tables to assist with answering issues around developing a ‘Statewide Training Strategy' and ‘Building Community Resilience'. The Training Strategy will focus on six aspects: Leadership, F&EM Training Priorities, How we Train, Facilities and Equipment, Flexible Learning Delivery and Consistency. A discussion paper will be released for broader consultation in June. CFA's contribution to creating community resilience is profound and cannot be understated. Our measures of success will include: good community functioning under stress, successful adaptation, self-reliance, good social supports, social cohesion and social capacity.

DCO John Haynes released the CFA Narrative Video which was created by the Communities and Communications department. The video does a great job of tracing our beginnings and charting our lessons along the way. It evokes a sense of pride in our organisation when you watch it and we encourage you to view it on CFA Connect. DCO Haynes also released a draft Service Delivery Model that will shape our service delivery based upon the notion of ‘creating public value'. We need to review our service delivery model given the many drivers upon the future of our service including: Fire Services Commissioner Reform Agenda, Government White Paper on Emergency Services, CFA Restructure, changed demographics, new legislation, ongoing requirements from the Bushfires Royal Commission and changing public demand.

DCO Steve Warrington challenged us to re consider what we mean by ‘Core Business' in CFA and painted, an at times uncomfortable, but thought provoking picture of the limitations of a response based service in the face of disastrous emergency events. DCO Warrington challenged a culture based on response as opposed to community resilience and implored us to continue to find a balance as we use public money to serve Victorians and help keep them safe.

As leaders we were challenged to take back to the field the thoughts and ideas presented throughout the conference and ensure change efforts continue - after all we need to ensure that CFA is best placed to continue to effectively serve our community and this means we need to adapt to our changing environment.

The Chief Officer suggested that in the future, a successful CFA would have the following attributes:
• Reduced asset loss
• A confident community and an involved community
• Optimal resource allocation
• A sustainable sector
• Value for money
• Confident CFA people.

In achieving this, the Chief encouraged us to ‘foster networks, practice interdependence and not just self-reliance.'

So what would CFA look like in 2032? The Chief envisages an organisation that is networked, managed by performance agreements, strong Emergency Medical Response service, stronger regulatory and penalty environment for fire safety outcomes, volunteers with many ‘career' options and enhanced leadership and initiative.

Above all, the Chief and CEO reminded us to do the following:
• Look after yourself and your people
• Stay positive
• Do your best

David Baker
Regional Director

Last Updated: 10 December 2015