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).

 Given the amount of change across Fire and Emergency NZ to create our unified organisation and the significant volume of planned initiatives we need to carefully manage the impact on our people.  It is also important to allow everyone the time and opportunity to engage in our consultations for the proposed Operating Model.

To minimise the impact, the Strategic Leadership Team have recently undertaken an organisation-wide prioritisation exercise of work planned for 2018/19 from both the Integration Programme and wider organisation.  As a result of prioritisation, some work has been deferred until 2019/20 and some is being re-planned to minimise the impact on our people in 2018/19.  

The Strategic Leadership Team has paused work to develop and implement new Advocacy and Support services.  The project will be reconsidered for delivery in 2019/20 as part of the next prioritisation exercise.

Since 1 July 2017, all volunteers have had access to free advocacy and support services for assistance in issues, complaints and disputes. These arrangements are provided on an interim basis while Fire and Emergency NZ work with the UFBA/FRFANZ and other stakeholders to develop an advocacy and support policy and services that are fit to support volunteers’ long term needs.  Valuable scoping work of future services has been done by the Working Group and this will be further developed in the future.

Volunteers have continued access to the following free advocacy and support services:

  • UFBA and FRFANZ will provide advocacy and support services to all volunteers, but cannot provide rulings on any conflict or dispute. Freephone 0508 832 269 (Monday to Friday business hours), or send a confidential message at http://www.ufba.org.nz/about/contact(external link)
  • Volunteers can also use an alternative advocacy services by application to Fire and Emergency New Zealand for your case to be managed on a 'by exception' basis (considered case by case).  If you would like more information on how to access this please email independent.advocacy@fireandemergency.nz   

What are we doing?

Working with volunteers who have submitted disputes into the Interim Dispute Resolution Process, and designing input for 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. As an alternative volunteers can seek Advocacy & Support by exception.
  • We’ve completed an independent review of the Interim Dispute Resolution Process 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.

 

Given the amount of change across Fire and Emergency NZ to create our unified organisation and the significant volume of planned initiatives we need to carefully manage the impact on our people.  It is also important to allow everyone the time and opportunity to engage in our consultations for the proposed Operating Model.

To minimise the impact, the Strategic Leadership Team have recently undertaken an organisation-wide prioritisation exercise of work planned for 2018/19 from both the Integration Programme and wider organisation.  As a result of prioritisation, some work has been deferred until 2019/20 and some is being re-planned to minimise the impact on our people in 2018/19.  

As part of this the Strategic Leadership Team has paused work to develop and implement the in-house rules framework.  The project will be reconsidered for delivery in 2019/20 as part of the next prioritisation exercise.

Developing and implementing an in-house rules framework and direct relationship for volunteer brigades and forces (the Model Rules project) will give further effect to the Cabinet decision for volunteers to have a direct relationship with Fire and Emergency NZ.  Under the Fire and Emergency NZ Act 2017, existing Agreements/Constitutions for all volunteer brigades and forces were carried over to Fire and Emergency NZ on 1 July 2017, and remain in place until such time that those agreements are replaced.  

The Working Group has made excellent progress on the framework and drafting the new documents ready for wider consultation, along with the supporting policies.  These will remain ready for when the organisation has the capacity to start the consultation process for this work. 

In the meantime, it is important that all our brigades and fire forces continue to apply the range of existing agreements/constitutions and transitional processes.

We are advising volunteer brigades and forces not to put local effort into re-writing their own rules or constitutions as we will ultimately provide Fire and Emergency NZ documents that are fit for our new organisation.

If advice is required in the interim, please contact John.kingsbury@fireandemergency.nz for Urban model rules or Kirsty.percasky@fireandemergency.nz for VRFF agreements.

What are we doing?

The purpose of this initiative is to enable engagement, harness the best ideas, and to achieve real innovation.

Where are we up to?

  • 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 directly 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 

 

 

What are we doing?

Coaching and mentoring, leadership development workshops and new Volunteer Development Manager roles

Where are we up to?

  • Coaching and Mentoring.  Additional funding has been provided to each Region to facilitate leadership development, including through an increased focus on additional coaching and mentoring.  Regional plans are being implemented, with respective Volunteer Development Managers being an initial, local point of contact.  Improvements to this important leadership development activity will continue to be implemented throughout 2018 and 2019.  Additional information and guidance can be found here. The point of contact is David Dean, Principal Advisor Organisational Development.
  • Leadership Development Workshops.  United Fire Brigades Association of NZ (UFBA) will complete four Leadership and Governance workshops in financial year 2018/2019.  UFBA will also complete eight events of the Leading Psychological Wellbeing workshop in the financial year.   Details of dates and contents are available on the UFBA website.  Your respective regional Volunteer Development Manager (VDM) is a good point of contact to discuss the value and opportunity provided through these opportunities (see names and email link below).
  • Volunteer Development Manager roles.  These ‘pilot’ roles have been implemented to focus on developing volunteer leadership capabilities, identifying wider volunteer development needs.  Volunteer Development Managers (VDM) will work with current and emerging leaders, and oversee  implementation of strategies to close identified gaps in desired capability across a selected portfolio within each Region.      All five positions have been filled as follows:  Region 1 – Linda Jarrett;  Region 2 – Tania Brittain;  Region 3 – Pani Herekiuha;  Region 4 – Hamish Peter;  Region 5 – Lucy Hardy-Allen.

 

 

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.  Possibilities have been considered by Strategic Leadership Team in November 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?

  • Fourteen  identified ‘problem areas’ were selected for remedy by 30 June 2018, in collaboration with core business teams and volunteers. The following have been implemented:
    • Management of urban/rural transfers – process changes
    • Reducing the number of recruitment steps – process changes
    • Upgrades to the Portal search function – easier to find details
    • Changes to SMS – changes to screens to make info more obvious
    • Training certificates – increased opportunities for recognition and policy revision
    • Planning for participation in training – assisted via Station Training Coordinator (STC) and Regional Training Coordinator (RTC) roles
    • Training forms and processes – new forms, including for groups
    • Expense claims and loss of income processes – updated for volunteer-related activity
    • Management of personnel folders processes – process changes
    • Acquiring new uniforms processes – assisting Area Stores project
    • Cleaning of uniforms processes – process changes
    • Pagers processes – process changes
    • Contractor access to stations – process changes and use of Zendesk
    • Use of Annual Grants – clarification and guidance issued

 

  • Also, Areas were offered the opportunity of Temporary Administration Support during 2018.  This was subsequently extended to 30 June 2019, with 18 Areas continuing to receive support with meeting local administration needs.

Please contact Brighid Jamieson, Principal Advisor Volunteer Resilience, for further information.

What are we doing? 

We are recruiting additional people  to support volunteer recruitment and creating a new approach to support attraction of volunteers to brigades. 

Where are we up to? 

After a successful 3-month pilot of targeted attraction campaigns we are now trialling an area-wide attraction campaign on the West Coast. It concludes Thursday August 23 with all 27 urban and rural stations having an open night from 6-8pm.   

The reason for this approach is the message we want to share about volunteering is the same across regions.  Print, media and radio stations are regionalised and broadcast right across regions and there are benefits in all brigades and fire forces being part of the same promotion. We expect to have a much bigger impact in raising awareness of the need for volunteers right across the area.  Anecdotally we are aware of people approaching different brigades and fire forces to find out more about volunteering ahead of the open night. We will take what we learn from this trial and use this to keep shaping and improving the attraction support we provide.    

Toolkit of attraction resources 

We expect to launch a toolkit of resources to all brigades and fire forces by Octobter. The toolkit will be available on the Portal. there will be a variety of resources that can be tailored to make them appropriate for your brigades and fire forces. If you have suggestions about what you would like included in the toolkit, please email anna.griffiths@fireandemergency.nz for consideration.  

 

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:

  • Twelve additional regionally-based urban capability trainer positions and the five new rural Regional Training Coordinator positions were filled from late 2017.
  • Ten additional capability trainer positions were filled during 2018 to support local and flexible rural outcomes.

The 22 additional trainers are integrating their rural and urban activities, and further requirements continue to be evaluated as part of Operating Model considerations for the future structure of the Training component of the wider organisation.

New Training Modules:

  • The new Station Training Coordinator (STC) modules for rural environments were piloted in early March 2018 with positive results, and training events for STC roles have since been scheduled.  The Volunteer Learning Coordinator position has been filled by Lisa Marie Hamilton, with a view to further improving scheduling of 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.   Also, Niamh McNamara can be contacted for policy-related matters.

Financial Management Training and Support:

Xero Accounting Software

The United Fire Brigades Association of NZ (UFBA) continues to implement the pilot programme for volunteer fire brigades and fire forces, providing both training on how to use Xero accounting software and financial management support.  Fifty Brigades/Fire Forces were fully involved by June 2018, and provided an excellent understanding of needs and to test the programme.  This initiative will continue as a pilot until 30 June 2019.  Arrangements from 1 July 2019 are under development.

How to get involved

If your Brigade/Fire Force is interested in being part of the pilot opportunity, then contact Jane Davie at UFBA.  Those registering will be added to a database of potential participants and from this list there will be a selection process based on need and capability. 

Ongoing Support 

Those signed up will receive training, templates and subscription to the Xero platform, with funding provided by Fire and Emergency NZ.

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?

New roles established to support leaders and volunteers.

Where are we up to?

  • Volunteer Support Officers.  Fourteen additional Volunteer Support Officer (VSO) positions were filled late in 2017.  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 was re-initiated mid-2018, with all positions having been filled as follows:   A ‘District Support officer in Regions 1 and 2recruitment 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?

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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