Emergency Services Commissioner
The Chair of the Board, Mr Greg Smith AM, welcomed the Emergency Services Commissioner, Mr Andrew Crisp APM, to his first meeting with the Board since taking on the role of Commissioner.
Mr Crisp outlined his approach to the role, and highlighted some specific areas where he would like to support CFA’s work, including work to improve diversity, and support for member wellbeing particularly as it relates to mental health. The Commissioner noted that he is looking to Emergency Management Victoria to have a collaborative role with other agencies such as CFA.
The Chair invited the Commissioner to meet regularly with the Board in future, and acknowledged the work of the previous Emergency Management Commissioner.
DCO Alen Slijepcevic gave a presentation to the Board about the seasonal outlook, noting the current Victorian landscape conditions, the long-range rainfall predictions, the long-range forecasts for extreme days, and the predictions for an el nino event.
The Board noted the comparisons with rainfall trends in previous fire seasons, and that fire restrictions have been introduced in Gippsland and are expected to be introduced in the north-west of the state in several weeks.
The Chief Officer noted that the drought in Northern Victoria may have social impacts as well as economic implications for CFA members, their families and broader communities. The Board will consider CFA’s role in supporting communities with various social challenges such as those caused by drought.
The Assistant General Counsel at the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), and the Director Integrity and Advisory at the Victorian Public Service Commission (VPSC) attended the Board meeting, and outlined relevant aspects of the caretaker conventions and the related guidelines produced by DPC and VPSC.
The Executive Director Infrastructure Services attended the Board meeting and provided an overview of CFA capital expenditure for Board members’ information.
The Board considered community alert sirens, and agreed that the Chief Officer and Chief Executive Officer should have further discussions with the Emergency Management Commissioner about the most appropriate approach to the installation, management and maintenance of the sirens.
Draft Corporate Governance Statement
The Board considered a draft of a CFA Corporate Governance Statement, and is looking forward to publication of the Statement in the near future.
The Chief Executive Officer spoke to his report, and highlighted:
- The CEO has conducted eight staff briefings of the People Matter Survey across the state, with 330 attending the sessions and 625 livestream views
- Foundational leadership development programs for new managers are being delivered across the state
- The Operations Officer Mentor Program has commenced, and the matching process for mentors and mentees has been completed
- CFA was well represented at the AFAC conference in Perth, with some excellent presentations being provided by CFA staff
- Consultation on the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy has commenced, and three out of five Inclusion and Fairness Coordinators have been appointed
- Round 2 of the Enhancing Volunteers Grants Program has closed and the assessment panel is meeting regularly.
Chief Officer’s report
The Chief Officer spoke to his report to the Board, highlighting the following matters:
- All Districts have identified priority volunteer brigades to receive the Low Voltage Fuse Removal training and equipment in 2018/19;
- Consultation with Districts is underway on the priority brigades to receive Safe Working from Heights training and equipment
- Implementation of EMR in District 7 is complete, with Geelong City, Belmont, Corio, Lara and Ocean Grove all having commenced EMR in August
- The Let Me Know App is due to be made available to CFA Firefighters in October
- Three additional chainsaw trailers are under construction to increase capacity, which will allow for one trailer to be located in each region
- The Aboriginal Engagement Guidelines have been launched
- The Community Engagement Framework was launched at the Community Engagement Forum.
The Executive Director, Volunteers & Strategy discussed work on operating models being undertaken in the context of the CFA Strategy and the approach to service delivery, and outlined various operating models that could be applied in different areas depending on the particular circumstances.
Young members at CFA
The Board noted that the Chief Officer’s Standard Operating Procedure relating to 16 and 17-year-old members (SOP 6.02) is being amended, and will be circulated soon following consultation.
The Board reiterated its firm commitment to engage young members safely at CFA.