From July 1, a range of initiatives are being delivered as part of a package to better support volunteers. Here's the latest update on what's happening and where we're up to (as at 16 May 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. Recruitment is likely to start from August 2018.

 

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.
  • 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.

 

What are we doing?

Providing advocacy and support services to all personnel, at no financial cost to the individual.

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 and FRFANZ via the UFBA website where a confidential message can be left,
    • by phoning UFBA/FRFANZ on freephone 0508 832 269,
    • by email, where 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 party has been established and met for the first time on 6 March. A high level design was commenced in March and will be progressed through 2018.

 

What are we doing?

Revised rules for brigades and fire forces.

Where are we up to?

  • A working party has been established and met for the first time over the weekend of 10-11 March.
  • The group is considering re-shaping the brigade rules and fire force constitutions into a principles-based ‘charter’ or 'code', accompanied by a suite of key policies that cover the more prescriptive contents in the existing rules.
  • Support has been gained for the concept of a single document for brigades and fire forces.

 

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 HR Managers being an initial point of contact. Improvements to this important leadership development activity will be implemented throughout 2018 and 2019.
  • Additional leadership workshops. UFBA has added a fourth Leadership and Governance workshop per year to their training calendar. The next event is scheduled for late May 2018. Also, four events of the new Leading Psychological Wellbeing workshop will be completed this financial year, with the next event scheduled for June 2018, increasing to eight events in FY2018/2019. Further details are available on the UFBA website.
  • New VDM roles. These 'pilot' Volunteer Development Manager roles are intended to focus on developing volunteer leadership capabilities, identifying wider volunteer development needs, and implementation of strategies to close gaps in desired capability. The positions have been advertised on 13 May with a view to filling the five regionally-based positions from August 2018 onwards. The initial tenure of the roles is 2.5 years from the date of commencement.

 

What are we doing?

Streamlined reimbursements/payments processes.

Where are we up to?

  • The reimbursement processes for urban volunteers were retained, and can found on the Portal.
  • Standard processes for rural volunteer payments and expense claims, including relevant forms, were developed and can also be located on the Portal.
  • These processes are being further reviewed as part of the project to reduce the administrative workload, with implementation of any changes due by 30 June 2018.
  • The review of Reward and recognition arrangements across the gambit of volunteer arrangements was commenced in April 2018. The point of contact is Adrian Tocker, 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 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 (completed)
    • 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

Feel free to contact Daniel Vena, Business Analyst/Project Manager, if you have any questions about the work being undertaken through to June 2018.

 

What are we doing?

New roles to support volunteer recruitment.

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 (management of transfers, and reducing the number of steps in a recruitment) being improved.
  • The Volunteer Resilience team has recently commenced trials of a new social media-facilitated approach to recruitment support, with good results achieved in Taumaranui. The point of contact is Jon Kneebone.

 

What are we doing?

Increased regional training – additional people and new courses to facilitate local and flexible arrangements.

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 will see up to 10 additional trainers in place to support local and flexible rural outcomes, with the first five being recruited during March and April 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. 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 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.
  • 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 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. Fourteen 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 position descriptions now being developed and on-boarding estimated for July 2018 onwards.

  • 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 will soon be taken, and approved activities will form part of a wider package of volunteer initiatives to be delivered through 2018 and 2019. The point of contact is Hamish McDonald, Volunteer Investment Team

 

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 planned to ensure that our volunteers are directly engaged, and have the opportunity to have their voices heard on a wide variety of matters, including in respect of recognition requirements. The insights gained will prove important for informing the development 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 the Volunteerism workstream activities. Results will also inform the wider Target operating Model deliberations and selection of further Volunteer initiatives.

  • Crowdsourcing. The crowdsourcing ‘pilot’ initiative will see Fire and Emergency New Zealand use a cloud-based internet tool (Crowdicity) to 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. The application, to be known as "Beacon", is ready for use. Engagement decisions are ongoing, and communications about this new approach to innovation and ideas management will ramp up during May. The specific crowdsourcing 'framed challenges' are scheduled to be formally launched in late May 2018.
  • 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 June 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 in association with the Operating Model deliberations.

Where are we up to?

We will continue to work closely with our volunteers to develop a longer term Volunteer Strategy. This strategy will guide the approach to providing future support, and to training for volunteers over the next three years, along with new initiatives to implement that strategy. Early concepts have been considered that will help further improve the volunteer experience, including a flexible and modular approach, tailoring of localised support to brigades/fire forces, and delivery of better cross-organisation support. The initial draft of the strategy is due mid-June 2018.

 

 

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