From the Board

  Comment Banner September 2009

Update from the Board meeting held in August.

Review of our Act
The Board was advised that the Fire and Emergency Services (Review) Amendment Bill 2009 would be tabled in Parliament on 8 September 2009. David Place informed the Board he had met with Members of Parliament and other stakeholders to discuss the main changes.

Strategic Planning
The Board has decided to renew the sector's Strategic Plan and will discuss the approach at its next meeting. The Board will look at each agency's risks and will also conduct a risk assessment and environmental scan from its perspective. The Board has sought the involvement of senior management across the sector.

The Board will use some of the outcomes of this planning process to prepare the sector to respond to the work of the Sustainable Budget Commission. Corporate Services will also conduct some analysis on how savings can be generated across the sector for the Board's consideration.

The Sustainable Budget Commission is one of many significant challenges the Board is considering. The Board will continue to review options to improve efficiency with the objective of improving services. The Board also reflected on the extent to which integration of common services has occurred across the sector and the remaining potential. A progress report has been requested by the Board.

The Board received an abridged version of the Operating and Capital Performance Report for July 2009. The Finance team has been focusing on completing the 2008/09 financial reports which limited the availability of information for July. The Board was advised that while it is very early in the year, trends are consistent with expectations. A comprehensive report will be provided for the month of August to the next meeting.

Workforce Plans
The CFS, SAFECOM and SES workforce plans have all been approved by the Board. The Board asked for some further changes to the MFS workforce plan.

MFS reserve fund
The Board was advised that the MFS reserve fund will be used to contribute to fund the increased wages budget required as a result of the MFS Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

CFS overtime and relief factor
A working group will be established by Corporate Services to examine the issues surrounding overtime and relief factors in the CFS.

3-Year Capital Plan
The draft three-year capital investment plan was tabled for the Board's comment. The document was particularly well received and provided a detailed understanding of the proposed allocation of capital resources. The three-year plan is a key element of the capital planning framework, which adopts a ten-year strategic view. From this, the three-year and annual programs are derived. The long-term plan and sector-wide perspective enables the Board to identify opportunities to improve service integration, economies of scale and efficiencies.

SES Cultural Climate Assessment
The State Emergency Service has requested SAFECOM undertake a state-wide consultative process to assess the SES' cultural climate following concerns raised about the increased demand for SES services, and the impact on both volunteers and paid staff.

As it is important the SES leadership team provides support to volunteers and staff, and understands the issues being faced in SES units, all staff and volunteers will be given an opportunity to provide feedback on issues such as:

  • communication systems and processes
  • leadership
  • governance systems
  • financial and human resource management.

This process is scheduled for September/October and the SAFECOM Board will receive the final report. Consultation forums will commence shortly and will be conducted at regional and metropolitan locations with separate forums being held for staff and volunteers.

SAFECOM (David Norton, Lyn Lambert and Mark Groote) will conduct the assessment and provide a report with recommendations to the Board.

Board Confidentiality
The Board discussed ways to improve the flow of information regarding its decisions across the sector. It was determined that the current policy of all Board papers being confidential hampers staff understanding of Board outcomes. It was resolved that after discussing each paper, the Board will determine if the paper can be available for staff to access.

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