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An update from Executive Director Volunteers & Capability Peter O’Keefe

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A/Chief Officer Garry Cook recently announced that the Annual Brigade Review (ABR) will continue in participating districts in 2020/21. 

An update from Executive Director Volunteers & Capability Peter O’Keefe

This Photo was taken prior COVID-19 restrictions

The ABR helps put brigades at the centre of our planning. It’s been a pleasure for me to join the ABR Project Control Group and work alongside DCO Trevor Owen and others from across the organisation to progress this important work. 

Through whole-of-business collaboration, we’re confident the program will also drive positive change across CFA, and over time, deliver on accountability, which was highlighted in the evaluation of the 2019/20 pilot stage. 

ABR to continue in participating Districts in 2020/21

The Annual Brigade Review enhances CFA's annual s29 inspection process by exploring every aspect of the health and capability of volunteer brigades, including the s29 criteria.  

The ABR Pilot commenced in July 2019 in 10 districts and four regions. At the end of March 2020, 60 per cent of the 240 sessions planned for 2019/20 had been implemented.

As sessions were postponed due to operational activity over summer and coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, the ABR will continue in 2020/21 to ensure continuity for participating districts.

This extension also provides time for stakeholder consultation and to initiate improvements identified through the evaluation of the first nine months of the pilot.

More than 50 per cent of participating staff and volunteers took part in the evaluation, generating a large amount of data. We are confident that the findings and recommendations represent an unbiased view of our staff and volunteer perspectives.

Overall, feedback indicates that the ABR is worthwhile, informative and a move in the right direction. Major benefits include the engagement, the breadth of information gathered and the enhancements to the traditional inspection process.

The evaluation has given us a solid foundation for improvements and to deliver efficiencies such as testing online sessions and developing integrated business planning solutions.

CFA Legal and Assurance have confirmed the ABR will fully comply with Section s29(b) of the CFA Act once recommendations are embedded into reporting processes. The ABR and Performance Improvement teams will continue to map s29 and ABR data whilst both processes are delivered in some Districts.  

More detailed results from the evaluation will be shared across the organisation over the coming weeks.

The ABR Team and Regional VST will work with participating Districts over the coming weeks about plans for the remainder of this Financial Year. For other brigades and staff interested in participating, please contact the ABR Team for further information.

As CFA is now a volunteer-focused emergency service, continuation of the ABR into 2020/21 provides an opportunity develop end-to-end process and deliver targeted programs to better support brigades.

Along with the Baseline Capability Profile Application (BCPA), the ABR is one of the suite of integrated approaches in development to better manage capability across CFA. Listening to our brigades and gaining new perspectives will accelerate our vision for 2020 and beyond and put volunteer support at the centre of our planning.

For further information, email abrteam@cfa.vic.gov.au

Supporting volunteers and their families

CFA has released new resources to support and welcome our volunteer members and their families following fire services reform.

The Volunteer Induction Program

The enhanced Volunteer Induction Program will create a more welcoming experience, provide improved guidance and support, and help new members transition into their new brigade. A selection of useful induction resources can be found on the CFA intranet.

Information for Families Guide

The Information for Families Guide is designed to support family members and/or caregivers of new members by giving them tailored information about what experiences and impacts volunteering with CFA may have on them and their families.

The Information for Families Guide can be accessed on the CFA intranet 

2021 AFSM Nominations are open

Each year CFA coordinates the AFSM award nominations on behalf of volunteers and staff. I encourage all members to put forward a nomination for anyone who has shown distinguished service as a CFA member. View the CFA Honours and Awards Nomination Guide on the CFA website.

You can also access the Honours and Awards Toolkit on the CFA Intranet

To discuss your nomination email cfa-awards@cfa.vic.gov.au