From the Board

  Comment Banner Dec 2009

Update from Board meetings

Sector Strategic Planning
Thirty-two people across all agencies took place in the recent sector Strategic Planning Session which is the first step towards putting together a new strategic plan.

The session built on the already agreed emergency service planning framework and its vision, mission, six key focus areas and service delivery and efficiency goals.

Discussed at the session were:

  • The question of who our main stakeholders are, what they want from us and what risks they face
  • The environment we operate in and the top 7 factors critically important to the sector
  • Risks facing our sector under the key focus areas of Leadership, Prevention and Community Preparedness, Operational Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Business Excellence.

Some of the findings were that participants thought staff and volunteers wanted the following:

  • Physical and emotional support and recognition
  • Direction and leadership
  • Resources
  • Good conditions
  • Good communications (in and out), engagement and genuine consultation.

Participants also thought that the hardest expectations of our stakeholders to meet would be:

  1. Providing timely information to the community
  2. Making the community more resilient/accountable
  3. Matching our services to the needs
  4. Breaking down the agency silos (already improving)
  5. Funding technology changes
  6. The media - managing them.

One task that was identified and has been referred to the Board's Strategic Thinking Committee is how we can go about truly understanding community expectations.

Board members and their deputies, key Board committee members and other senior staff as nominated by agencies will be invited to the next sessions including a workshop on key performance indicators. Agency strategic plans and the action plans of Board committees will subsequently be modified to reflect the sector's new strategic plan with reports provided to the Board measuring performance against the newly developed KPIs.

Board Manual
A new Board Manual was approved by the Board. Developed to help Board members and the sector understand the complex relationships, roles and responsibilities that exist, the manual also clarifies the roles and responsibilities for the Board and its members under the revised Act. The Board Manual can be found on the SAFECOM intranet under SAFECOM/SAFECOM Board. The Board also noted the SAFECOM Charter is being updated.

Governance Policy
The Board approved a new Governance Policy which includes a decision matrix. The matrix sets out who approves what - from documents to budgets, capital plans, land purchases and workforce plans. It also sets out who needs to be consulted and who needs to endorse the decision. The decision matrix are located at Policies/General Policies on the SAFECOM intranet.

Board Calendar
The Board also approved the Board Calendar which outlines when key activities around plans, budgets and reporting to the Board need to occur. As part of this discussion, the Board decided that agency highlight reports were no longer needed but quarterly reports against plans were. The Board Calendar can be found on the SAFECOM intranet at SAFECOM/SAFECOM Board.

New Board Paper template
A new Board Paper template has been approved and can be found in Word. The template includes a confidentiality rating, prompting the Board to make a decision on whether the paper can be made public. This is expected to increase the number of Board Papers available for wider circulation.

Board performance survey
Following a recent survey of its members, the Board will meet in December to work through some of the issues raised, including communication, Board reporting and driving sector outcomes.

Regional visits
The Board will visit the following regions next year:

  • Southern Metro (March)
  • Upper Yorke Peninsula (May)
  • Ceduna/Streaky Bay (August)
  • Kangaroo Island (November).

Financial performance
The Board received an overview of the sector's financial performance to 30 September, 2009 and was advised that agency performance reflects sound financial governance, trends are consistent with expectations and budgets are being well managed.

Three-year capital plan
A three-year capital plan, which responded to previous concerns expressed by the Board, was approved at the meeting. It indicated the sector will continue to be challenged maintaining and replacing assets. It also emphasised the importance of ensuring capital funds are committed to ensure those assets critical to service delivery receive priority. The Board also noted the excellent work that had occurred across the sector in developing the plan.

State Government's Facility Management Plan
The Board was provided with information about the State Government's Facility Management Strategy which underpins a consistent cross-government approach to managing and maintaining built facilities. The strategy is designed to enable:

  • competitive rates
  • better management and planning
  • quality-assured contractors
  • DTEI contractual management support, including defined performance standards, etc.

Initially, the emergency services sector was exempt from this strategy. However, the exemption expired on 30 June 2009 so the Board has requested a business case be prepared to underpin a possible request for an extension of the exemption.

Links between socio-economic status and fire deaths and injuries
The Board was provided with an update on work being undertaken in SAFECOM Strategic Services (Mark Dawson and Sharon Morris) about the links between disadvantage and fire deaths and injuries in SA. The research has shown that those who are disadvantaged have 2.5 times the injury rate of the rest of the community and 2.2 times the death rate. The highest injury rate is for children aged between 0 and 4, and elderly people are also over represented.

The Board has referred this work to its Community Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery Committee to assist with its work in preventing fire deaths and injuries.

Audit and Risk Management
The Audit and Risk Management Committee's recommended three-year internal audit plan was approved by the Board. Audits to be conducted this financial year include:

  • A Bonafides review
  • Business continuity for critical emergency management functions undertaken at 60 Waymouth St
  • Review of purchase cards
  • Review of the implementation of the accepted Wangary recommendations
  • Human resources review to improve staff and volunteer recruitment and retention.

In 2010/11 key reviews will be the services provided by SAFECOM to the agencies, incident and response reporting and the impact of community safety programs.

Strategic Thinking Committee
The Strategic Thinking Committee reported to the Board that it had delivered the following work packages - development of a Board decision matrix, amendment of the Board reporting template, revising the Governance Policy and Developing a Board Manual. The committee is currently assisting with the sector's Strategic Planning process and analysing the Workforce Planning approach in order to assist with future planning.

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