Each meeting features a safety share as a standing agenda item, and Board member Hazel Clothier provided the safety share for March. Ms Clothier noted the potential impact of hazardous trees on lives and safety, and the importance of up-to-date information for CFA volunteers and staff on the safety risks associated with hazardous trees. The Chief Officer advised the Board about current work underway to improve safety around hazardous trees.
The Chairs of various Board Committees reported on the significant issues that had arisen at their recent meetings:
- The Chair of the Health, Safety and Environment Committee reported on the Committee’s discussion of the new Joint CFA/MFB Policy on Firefighting Foam;
- The Chair of the Community Engagement Committee noted the Committee’s recent work on the development of a Community Engagement Framework;
- The Chair of the People and Culture Committee reported on progress to implement CFA’s Child Safety Plan and CFA’s diversity and inclusion program; and
- The Chair of the Strategy, Planning and Governance Committee reported on the Committee’s recent 'kick-off' meeting and their discussion of a new Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy.
As part of its focus on improved governance, the Board considered the Terms of Reference for each of its seven Committees and made substantial improvements.
The Board also received a presentation from the Executive Director Infrastructure Services and the Executive Manager ICT Services, who highlighted current issues related to CFA ICT provision, including the governance of larger ICT projects, security of ICT, the redevelopment of the CFA ICT Strategy, ICT support for brigades, and the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) replacement program.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer Mr John Haynes introduced an agenda item on CFA’s relationship with Victorian Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV), and noted that CFA was currently discussing matters of governance. The Board discussed inviting members of the VFBV Board to meet with it following a regular Board meeting, and agreed that this would help foster a positive working relationship with VFBV.
The Board considered reports from the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Officer and the Chief Financial Officer.
The Board was very impressed by the report from the CEO on the launch by the Volunteer Support Team of a Facebook group titled 'CFA Brigade Trader'. This initiative was developed by the Volunteer Sustainability Team in SE Region, after identifying a need for brigades to have a forum where they can swap, give away or trade excess items between brigades across the state. Brigades can share resources or recycle items no longer needed, which will build capacity through supporting each other, strengthen relationships and establish a network among brigades across Victoria. The group currently has 785 members, and strict guidelines and procedures for use have been established.
Following the Board meeting, the Board held an in-house session on best-practice governance.
The session was facilitated by experienced board director and Victorian Public Sector governance expert, Mr Tony Nippard, who began with a highly informative “myth-busting” presentation on director’s duties.
The Victorian Auditor General, Mr Andrew Greaves, and the Senior Director of Financial Audit at VAGO, Mr Travis Derricott, also spoke about the role and expectations of VAGO.
The Board then heard from Mr Ken Lay AO APM. During a 'fireside chat', Mr Lay recounted some of the lessons from his distinguished career, and how he was applying these lessons in his current role as Chair of the Ambulance Victoria Board.
The Board also heard from Mr Shaun Condron, Deputy Secretary Finance Infrastructure and Governance, Department of Justice and Regulation, about key aspects of financial governance.