A range of initiatives as part of a package to better support volunteers are being delivered since 1 July, including:

  • Safety, health and wellbeing
  • Dispute resolution
  • Advocacy and support services
  • Model rules
  • Volunteer support year one initiatives
  • Strategy development

Here's the latest update on what's happening and where we're up to (as at 16 July 2018).

What are we doing?

Additional in-field Safety, Health and Wellbeing support roles.

Where are we up to?

Recruitment of 10 additional regionally-based safety, health and wellbeing personnel will begin following confirmation of the new model for safety, health and wellbeing service delivery and leadership.  This will ensure that the new roles are aligned with the Operating Model, sustainable and well supported, and able to reach our personnel across the breadth of the organisation and our wider mandate.  Dates for recruitment activity will be advised in due course.

 

What are we doing?

Working with volunteers who have submitted disputes into the Interim Dispute Resolution Process, and gathering input for the design of the permanent statutory dispute resolution scheme.

Where are we up to?

  • The Interim Dispute Resolution Process allows for disputes to be resolved with the assistance of FairWay Resolution Limited, a national dispute resolution service provider.
  • We are working with the UFBA to provide support to volunteers who are experiencing conflict or having a volunteerism-related dispute. See How do I: Resolve volunteer issue.
  • We’ve completed an internal review of the Interim Dispute Resolution Process and have commissioned an independent review which will feed into the design of the permanent statutory dispute resolution scheme.
  • The point of contact for this matter is Vidya Kurella, Manager Dispute Resolution.

 

What are we doing?

Providing advocacy and support services to all personnel, at no financial cost to the individual.
See How do I: Resolve volunteer issue or Seek safety, health and wellbeing support.

Where are we up to?

Since 1 July 2017, all volunteers have had access to free advocacy and support services for assistance in disputes, complaints or conflict. These new arrangements for advocacy and support are interim.

  • Advocacy and Support Services are available:  from the UFBA/FRFANZ via the UFBA Website where a confidential message can be left;  by phoning UFBA/FRFANZ at Freephone 0508 832 269;  or by email to UFBA Membership Support (where either Ceara Owen Perry or Jane Davie will respond to your request).
  • In situations where issues or disputes create stress for a person, support can be accessed through the Critical Incident and Personal Stress Support (CIPSS) programme

Planning for the development of the new Advocacy and Support policy has commenced.  A working group has been established and has met for workshops on March 6th, and July 14th. A discussion paper outlining the intent of the work and its broad direction is available on the Portal here: Advocacy and Support Discussion Paper - June 2018.

Further feedback will be sought from the broader Volunteer Working Group (about 45 people) from August 2018.

 

 

What are we doing?

Revised rules for brigades and fire forces.

Where are we up to?

  • A working group has been established and has met for 3 workshops, the most recent being June 16th.
  • The group is re-shaping the fire brigade rules and fire force constitutions into a principles-based ‘code’ applicable to all volunteers, accompanied by a suite of key policies that cover the more prescriptive content of the existing rules. A station ‘charter’ will set out the governance and management functions for a particular group of volunteers, and be accompanied by an operating plan for the fire brigade or fire force developed in consultation with area/district management.

 

What are we doing?

Coaching and mentoring, additional leadership workshops, and new roles

Where are we up to?

  • Coaching and Mentoring.  Additional funding has been provided to each Region for increased coaching and mentoring activity as part of enabling the wider leadership development framework.  Regional plans are being implemented with Area Managers and/or HR Managers being an initial point of contact.  Improvements to this important leadership development activity will continue to be implemented throughout 2018 and 2019.   The point of contact is David Dean, Principal Advisor Org Development.
  • Additional leadership workshops.  UFBA will again complete four Leadership and Governance workshops this financial year.  The next event is scheduled for 6-8 September 2018.   Also, UFBA will complete eight events of the Leading Psychological Wellbeing workshop this financial year, with the next two events scheduled for August 2018.   Further details are available on the UFBA website.
  • New Volunteer Development Manager  roles These ‘pilot’ roles are intended to focus on developing volunteer leadership capabilities, identifying wider volunteer development needs, and implementation of strategies to close identified gaps in desired capability.  Recruitment for these new positions is underway, with a view to filling the five regionally-based positions from circa September 2018.  The end date for these pilot roles is 30 June 2020 pending further decisions.

 

 

What are we doing?

Streamlined reimbursements/payments processes, and advancement of the reward and recognition project.

Where are we up to?

  • Following a review in June 2017, the reimbursement processes for urban volunteers were retained, and can found on the Portal (Payments and Claims - Urban)
  • Standard processes for rural volunteer payments and expense claims, including relevant forms, were developed, and can be located on the Portal (Payments and Claims - Rural)
  • These processes were further reviewed as part of the project to reduce the administration workload, with implementation of refinements ongoing.
  • Also, the review of Reward and Recognition arrangements across the gambit of volunteer arrangements was commenced in April 2018.  The point of contact is Rowena Brown,  the Principal Advisor Reward and Recognition in the People, Capability and Leadership Workstream.

 

What are we doing?

Projects to reduce administrative workload and/or provide quicker, simpler processes.

Where are we up to?

  • Findings from the investigation and analysis phase were presented to the Volunteerism Workstream Control Group in February, where approval was gained to proceed with implementation of solutions.
  • Two ‘problem areas’ relating to volunteer recruitment processes have been addressed:
    • Management of transfers
    • Reducing the number of recruitment steps
  • 13 other problem areas have been selected for remedy by 30 June 2018, in collaboration with core business teams. These will be managed through four initiatives (technology, training, process improvement and policy/communications) and comprise:
    • Upgrades to the Portal search function
    • Changes to SMS 
    • Provision of additional laptops/tablets to stations to enable remote access
    • Training certificates
    • Planning for participation in training
    • Training forms and processes
    • Expense claims and loss of income processes
    • Management of personnel folders processes
    • Acquiring new uniforms processes
    • Cleaning of uniforms processes
    • Pagers processes
    • Contractor access to stations
    • Use of Annual Grants
  • Five other problem areas will be considered for longer-term remedy, potentially as pilots, as part of further Volunteer initiatives, including:
    • 'Volunteer hours' support (e.g. call centre)
    • Training responsiveness
    • Financial management training and support
    • Training for operational support roles
    • New ways of providing local noticeboards
  • Please contact Brighid Jamieson, Principal Advisor Volunteer Resilience, for further information.

 

What are we doing?

New roles to support volunteer recruitment, and new approach to attraction.

Where are we up to?

  • Additional personnel were added to the volunteer recruitment team in late September 2017.
  • Subsequent work completed under the Improving Volunteer Administration initiative has resulted in two volunteer recruitment processes (i.e. management of transfers, and reducing the number of steps in a recruitment) being improved as part of the initiative to reduce administration workload.
  • The Volunteer Resilience team has recently completed trials of a new, social media-facilitated approach to recruitment support, with good results achieved in Taumaranui and elsewhere.  Ongoing support to volunteer brigades and fire forces will be prioritised, with the point of contact being Jon Kneebone.

 

What are we doing?

Increased regional training – additional people and new courses to facilitate local and flexible arrangements, and provision of financial management support.

Where are we up to?

Capability Training:
  • The 12 additional regionally-based urban capability trainer positions and the five new rural Regional Training Coordinator positions have been filled.
  • A further initiative has seen the first five of up to 10 additional trainers in place to support local and flexible rural outcomes, with the final five being recruited throughout 2018.
  • The new Station Training Coordinator (STC) modules for rural environments were piloted in early March 2018 with positive results, and scheduling of STC training events has commenced.  The additional Volunteer Learning Advisor position has been filled with a view to further improving local training opportunities.  Respective Regional Training Coordinators, Deputy PRFOs and local Business Services Coordinators are key points of contact in respect of rural training schedules.
 Financial Management and Support:
  • The UFBA is running a pilot programme for volunteer fire brigades and fire forces, providing training on how to use Xero accounting software.  The pilot has a tiered approach, with seven brigades/fire forces initially engaged to get a better understanding of needs, and to test the programme in a controlled environment. 
  • Testing has been completed, and over 100 brigades/fire forces have now registered interest in completing the transition to Xero software and related training and support through 2018.  The pilot continues through to June 2019, and over 100 brigades/fire forces are expected to have transitioned to Xero software by that time.  Ongoing participants now exceeds 50.
  • For anyone who is interested in being part of this excellent pilot opportunity, we ask that you contact Jane Davie at UFBA.   Those registering interest will be added to the database of potential participants.  Priority will be given to those with the greatest need, and will be selected from a variety of geographic regions and capabilities.
  • Those who are involved in this pilot initiative will receive the training, templates and subscription at no cost to their brigade/fire force.  Assuming the pilot is deemed to be successful, the intention is to continue to centrally fund ongoing costs for subscriptions beyond June 2019.

What are we doing?

New roles established to support leaders and volunteers.

Where are we up to?

  • VSOs.  14 additional Volunteer Support Officer positions have been filled.  The 13 Areas that gained extra VSO support are: Muri Whenua (x2); Whangarei Kaipara; Waitemata; East Waikato; Bay of Plenty Coast; Taranaki; Whanganui; West Coast; Canterbury; South Canterbury; Central North Otago; South Otago; and South West Southland.
  • Additional rural support roles.  This initiative to provide one additional rural support person per Region was placed on hold in June 2017 pending confirmation of requirements.   The initiative has recently been re-initiated, with recruitment activity now underway with a view to on-boarding circa August/September 2018.
  • Additional In-field support pilots.  The analysis has been completed for additional initiatives that could potentially be implemented during the next two years of Integration as pilot activities.  Decisions are being progressively taken, and the approved activities will form part of a wider package of volunteer initiatives to be delivered as part of implementing the Volunteer Strategy.

 

 What are we doing?

Engaging our people to assist understanding of recognition and other requirements

Where are we up to?

Two key engagement initiatives are being conducted to ensure that our volunteers are directly engaged, and have the opportunity to have their voice heard on a wide variety of matters, including in respect of recognition requirements.  The insights gained will prove important for informing the refinement of two key Strategies: Reward and Recognition Strategy as part of the People, Capability and Leadership Workstream activities; and the Volunteer Strategy as part of Volunteerism Workstream activities. Results will also inform the wider Target Operating Model deliberations and selection of further Volunteer Initiatives.

  • Crowdsourcing.  The crowdsourcing ‘pilot’ initiative, known as “beacon”, was launched on 06 June 2018.  Using a cloud-based internet tool (Crowdicity), Fire and Emergency NZ will directly engage with personnel across the organisation, via pc, tablet and mobile devices.  The intent is to pilot a new way of directly engaging our people, harnessing the best ideas from our incredible 'crowd', and selecting the best ideas for implementation.  The Innovation Manager, Neil Meekin, and Innovation Advisor, Caitlin Mackay, will guide us through this exciting new opportunity.  You can get started at this link .
  • Ask Your Team.  “Ask your Team”, is an engagement survey of all personnel to better understand the desire and need for recognition, confirm the value placed on existing services, and inform future decisions about how recognition is best achieved. Planning for this survey is well advanced, with implementation currently planned for September 2018. It is noted that information from this initiative will also inform potential topics for ‘framed challenges’ in the crowdsourcing initiative.  The point of contact is Sue Sherburd in the Implementation and Change (Engagements) Team.

 

 

What are we doing?

Developing a Volunteer Strategy that describes how volunteering will change in New Zealand through to 2030, and how we sustain respond to our changing society and sustain volunteering as a core part of how we work.

Where are we up to?

We have developed a draft Volunteer Strategy that we will consult on with all personnel between August and October 2018, as part of the consultation process for the new Fire and Emergency NZ Operating Model.  Our Strategy will guide the approach to providing future support to and training for volunteers.

Our draft vision is that: “By 2030, we have a thriving unified volunteer workforce that feels valued, safe and supported. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, and undertake a range of roles that include but are not solely firefighting. They operate in flexible brigades tailored to the needs of communities, from different locations, and with different time commitments, but all use their skills and life experiences to serve and strengthen our organisation and our communities. They help ensure our organisation is deeply connected to New Zealand’s communities so that they turn to us with confidence in times of crisis, and for help to reduce risk and to prepare for, and recover quickly from, emergencies.”

 

 

 

 

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