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Introducing a new online rostering system
After successful trials and full consultation with all stakeholders, CFA will begin rolling out a new online rostering system from next month.
The system will reduce paperwork, speed up payment processing and make it easier for senior station staff to manage their stations.
The system is being rolled out to CFA’s 34 integrated stations initially and it will eventually be available to help resource strike teams and incident control teams with both volunteer and career firefighters.
CFA members will no doubt be glad to hear that the new system means the end of Variation Voucher (VV) forms - of which CFA currently processes around 40,000 a year.
The online rostering system is based on a computer application called Kronos. Kronos is a leading commercial application that was chosen from a number of systems as it best suits CFA’s rostering needs and the management of shift variations.
The new system calculates some shift entitlements (overtime, travel, meals, etc.) based on the roster variations worked and ensures they are paid to staff within a timely manner of the work being performed. The Kronos system is integrated with the CFA Payroll system so the approved entitlements are sent automatically for payment. Staff will be able to view their rosters online and see the entitlements that are due. They will see these entitlements itemised on their payslips and they will be able to check back again to the online rosters to validate that they were paid correctly.
The Kronos system has also been integrated with TRAIN. This makes it possible to incorporate skills and competency levels, staff availability, and overtime when rostering. It will also enable Station Officers to see the availability of additional qualified staff across the state.
The system was trialled at four integrated brigades in District 8 earlier this year to test the effectiveness of the system for the CFA environment. This trial took place during a period of extremely high operational activity in District 8, late January to late February, which allowed the project team to thoroughly test the system and business processes, and allowed the opportunity for refinement of these processes where necessary.
The system trial was followed up with a controlled parallel run at Frankston Fire Station in April and May this year to validate the accurate payment of VVs.
Industrial representatives have been briefed on the project and they have consulted with the project team extensively during the user testing and acceptance phase of the project.
CFA has consulted extensively with relevant stakeholders since 23 November 2011. CFA has met 16 times with the United Firefighters’ Union, and we have demonstrated the system and its functionality on at least 10 occasions. CFA has had robust, meaningful and frank discussions regarding the rostering system. CFA has carefully considered the feedback and made necessary amendments to the system.
Once the system is fully operational, CFA will be better equipped to roster our people through long running incidents and campaign fires – including the major, sustained incidents we saw last fire season. This is a significant milestone for CFA and addresses recommendations in the Victorian Auditor General’s Managing Emergency Services Volunteers report in relation to having a clear picture of our volunteer capacity at any given time.
This is an important initiative for CFA which has the potential to transform the ways in which we are able to roster our members in the dynamic environment in which we work. Chief Officer Euan Ferguson, along with the project team led by Steve Warrington, Tony O’Day and Robina Kennedy, will be keeping CFA members updated during the project roll out.
The Kronos system is one of a number of improvements to CFA online services. Once the system is implemented members will have faster and easier online access to their rostering, availability, training needs and more.