From the Board

  Comment Banner Image Aug 2009

Update from the July SAFECOM Board Meeting.

Corporate Services

The Board considered the financial performance of the sector for the 2008/09 financial year and noted the success of the sound systems in place. The sector has achieved a balanced budget outcome. The Board was particularly pleased with the result for the capital budget, and congratulated all staff involved in achieving our capital investment targets. The Board was also informed that the SES and CFS building programs have been accredited by DTEI to enable them to work under the current SAFECOM/Agency partnership model. SAFECOM, CFS and SES are only the second agency group within South Australia that has been awarded accreditation, reflecting the skill, experience and commitment of the staff engaged in managing these projects and programs. It is estimated that the internal management of these projects will lead to savings of at least 25%. These savings are invested in the building program, enabling more building, upgrading and redevelopment, to provide improved facilities for staff and volunteers.

The sector non current asset policy was also considered by the Board. The revised policy, which confirms the Board's role as the approving body for ten-year and three-year capital programs was approved by the Board. Annual capital programs will be drawn from the approved three-year program. The policy also confirms the sector's commitment to complying with the State Procurement Board Disposal Policy.

Consistent with the Board's commitment to increased integration, improved communication and stronger partnerships, the intent of principles guiding the co-location of services was discussed and endorsed. The potential for co-location initiatives to extend to other services, notably the South Australian Ambulance Service and SA Police, was also raised.

The Board also noted the Shared Services e-Procurement Strategy, which will provide a public sector wide electronic procure to pay system. The Board fully supported the intent of improving procurement systems and intelligence. When fully operational, the system is expected to result in procurement savings of at least 2%. In applying the savings to this sector, Shared Services were asked to consider the effectiveness of the high quality procurement systems that are currently operational and the necessity that Brigades and Units continue to engage with and support their local communities. Shared Services supported the claim and have provided concessions accordingly.


Strategic Services

Strategic Thinking Committee
The Board has endorsed the plan of work for the Strategic Thinking Committee which was established to ensure that strategic thinking and planning occurred in a coordinated fashion across the sector. The work to be tackled includes:

  • Compiling a decision matrix - which will make the decision processes clearer by documenting who needs to be consulted, who endorses recommendations and who makes the final decisions.
  • Developing an improved template for Board papers.
  • Developing a nominations committee charter and a code of conduct to be part of the Board's Governance Policy.
  • Reviewing the reports provided to the Board and the Minister.
  • Developing a SAFECOM Strategic Plan.
  • Researching a single cross-sector consultative policy process/framework and supporting matrix.
  • Reviewing the 2009 workforce plans against Office of Public Employment (OPE) standards and guidelines and the sector's workforce planning policy.
  • Improving the performance reviewing process.
  • Improving how information flows across the sector.

Sustainable Budget Commission
The Board has determined that it will consider a range of options to put to the Sustainable Budget Commission. In putting forward options, the Board is keen to demonstrate to the Commission how the sector compares with other jurisdictions, recent cost savings made and the benefits and risks of any changes. A project brief will be put together for the Board's approval.

Policies and procedures
The Board has adopted a new framework for establishing and amending SAFECOM and across sector policies and procedures. The new framework clarifies and formalises the templates and approval process. Specific templates have been created which enable all policies and procedures to be in a consistent format and style.

To ensure that policies are both maintained and reviewed, a central register of SAFECOM and across sector policies and procedures has been created and will be monitored by SAFECOM Strategic Services. The information about the framework and the templates can be found on the intranet. Contact Sally Woolford for more information on 08 8463 6561.

Board performance
Board members will undertake the next self assessment on their performance in order to improve their effectiveness. This will be supplemented by Board members being interviews regarding their view on the Board papers and reports provided to them. The Board also agreed to ask regular attendees of the Board meetings for their views on the Board's performance.

Audit and Risk Management Committee
The Board has appointed two independent members to the Audit and Risk Management Committee. They are Aaron Chia, SA Ambulance Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director Corporate Services and Lena Grant, Managing Solicitor with the Crown Solicitor's Office.

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