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May ELT and Board update
Earlier this year, I committed to do more to connect with our staff and volunteers by getting out and about, and talking to as many of you as I could.
I want to thank those of you who have shared your thoughts and insights with me so far, and offered your ideas about how we can do things better here at CFA.
One theme I discovered during these conversations was that some of you feel that the evidence behind our decisions at the executive level was not always clear. You told me you wanted to know more about what is happening in other parts of the organisation, and you asked me to be more open about the issues being discussed at Board and Executive Leadership Team meetings. In response to this, I have decided to start writing this as a regular blog, the ‘ELT and Board update’, which will keep all members informed about what is happening in these meetings.
In the May Board meeting, held in Falls Creek, we heard from ACO Garry Cook on some of the challenges and opportunities faced within the North East Region. There are certainly unique aspects to operating in the North East region and particularly in Alpine settings. Thank you Garry for your hospitality and the insights you shared with us.
Draft priorities for the CFA Plan 2015-16 were presented to the Board at the meeting. A number of priorities have been tested with ACOs to figure out how they would work at District level. Further discussion took place regarding State Budget Outcomes. We asked the Chief Officer for his view on the best fit for an additional 350 firefighters, and we hope to have greater clarity on this in coming months.
The CFA Budget for 2015-16 was discussed. Operating Budgets were approved which enabled managers to extend limited tenure contracts where necessary. We have also committed to the Board that we will seek a clearer picture of CFA’s workforce - permanent, fixed term, contract and casual. The CFA Budget for 2015-16 will be formally submitted to the June Board for final approval.
We received a brief status report on the Jones/VAGO Implementation Action Plan. This was discussed in the context of CFA’s newly-launched Volunteerism Strategy. The strategy has been officially endorsed by VFBV, with a letter sent to the Board confirming this.
In the ELT meetings throughout May, discussions took place in the context of end of financial year reporting and 2015-16 forecasting. An audit of our business has found many staff members do not have a PPR structure in place. This presents limitations for both CFA as an employer and employees so we are currently exploring options to improve this process, such as having all staff PPRs begin on the same date.
Two reviews have recently been conducted of the current security arrangements at CFA HQ. We are in the process of gathering advice from both groups, particularly in the area of potential improvements to the security levels at Burwood. Once this feedback has been considered we will provide you with more information.
Congratulations to all those involved in the completion of the CFA Volunteerism Strategy, which was launched in conjunction with National Volunteer Week. The report discusses strategies to encourage, strengthen and maintain the value of our volunteers for the long term.
We were also briefed on the current status of negotiations between CFA and the UFU for a new Operational Staff Agreement, following a meeting held on 21 May. A log of claims from the UFU and ASU has also been lodged during the month, commencing the formal bargaining process for a replacement PTA Agreement. A summary of these claims were discussed ahead of the first bargaining meeting on Friday 29 May at CFA Headquarters. They can also be viewed on CFA’s Intranet.
As part of my ongoing commitment to greater transparency in CFA, I will continue to provide you with these regular updates over the coming months.