From the Board

  Comment Banner March 2010

Emergency Services Delivery Standards Project

A presentation on the project was provided to the Board by Cathie Brown (SAFECOM), Mark Dawson (SAFECOM), Chris Smith (MFS) and Neil Wallis (CFS).

The Board endorsed the approach for developing Emergency Services Delivery Standards and confirmed the project as its number one priority. Under the legislation, the Board is responsible for the effective allocation of resources across the sector and the Board stated that it needed to have policies and benchmarks in place from which to make decisions about resources.

The Standards will provide:

  • a defendable rational basis for decisions about levels of resources required in each location
  • clarity around gaps and duplication - based on risk
  • clarity about where we need to focus prevention
  • sector performance measures based on community outcomes.

The approach to the project includes developing broad hazard categories and determining how we will measure risk for those hazards, determining area profiles and categorising local government areas by risk level. A treatment menu will be developed across Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery (PPRR) and treatments will be assigned depending on area profiles and the risk levels - this will form the Standards. More in-depth risk assessments will occur on those communities with the highest risk levels to develop more specific treatments for these areas to reduce their risk.


ComCen issues

As part of good governance, the Board needs to ensure:

  • whether the governance and reporting structures are adequate and working well
  • any issues that need to be addressed prior to the introduction of SACAD.

Accordingly, it will deal with these matters as part of its Internal Audit Program.


Sustainable Budget Commission (the Commission)

The Board was presented with an overview of the sector's response to the Commission's information gathering phases and informed of the Commission's recommendations following its initial report.

Among these recommendations is the importance of returning and maintaining the budget to a sustainable position. The Board were advised that the Commission has recommended that when assessing future submissions with net funding requirements, that the most influential factor will be the ability to maintain a sustainable budget and alignment with government policy.

The Board agreed to adopt a proactive approach to the challenges the sector may be presented with by the Commission and requested that a list of possible strategies be developed for the Board to consider.

An overview of the sector's financial performance up to 31 January 2010 was also received by the Board with  all agencies, except the CFS, forecasted to balance their budgets. The CFS anticipates that the State's aerial fire fighting capacity will need to be retained beyond the budgeted timeframe (in addition to its early commencement) and as a result, expenditure is expected to exceed budget. Consistent with recent years, this likelihood has been raised with the Department of Treasury and Finance and represents a proactive risk management strategy.

The Board also noted that the sector continues to expect that investing targets, as outlined in the capital budget, will be achieved.


Learning and Development Committee

The Board was provided with an update on the development of a unified training model as requested by the Board in December. The Board agreed to the following immediate actions:

  • each agency to audit its training program with a view to reducing the impact of training on employees and volunteers
  • publishing training schedules to provide across-agency training where appropriate. This will be supported by developing a competency matrix highlighting opportunities where skills/competencies/knowledge are common between agencies
  • development of a cross sector trainers web site to assist local trainers with the sharing of training resources
  • to seek grant funding to deliver qualifications for trainer assessors in regional areas.

The Terms of Reference of the Committee were approved by the Board.


Volunteer Statistics

The Volunteer Strategy and Support Branch advised the Board that the total number of volunteers in the sector as at September 2009 was 16,547. Over 70% of volunteers are male. The majority of CFS volunteers are aged between 41 and 55 years. In the SES 23% of volunteers are aged between 18 and 25 years with the average age for females being 39 and for males 57. For more information contact Mark Groote on 8463 4100.

Audit and Risk Management Committee

The Board was advised that an audit of business continuity for critical systems at 60 Waymouth St, including the CFS Airdesk, Bushfire Information Hotline and Logistical Functional Services is underway. The Board was also advised that the cost of not using logbooks throughout the sector to minimise fringe benefits tax was also being explored by the Committee.

Strategic Thinking Committee

The Board approved the Terms of Reference for the Strategic Thinking Committee and supported its suggestion of having subject-matter experts attend Board meetings where required to provide more in-depth information to the Board.

Next meeting

The Board's March 25 meeting will be held in the southern suburbs including visits to SES Noarlunga, Seaford MFS and CFS Seaford with a Volunteer and Employer Recognition barbecue at CFS Aldinga in the evening.
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