An update from Executive Director Volunteers & Capability Peter O’Keefe

A/Chief Officer Garry Cook recently announced that the Annual Brigade Review (ABR) will continue in participating districts in 2020/21.

An update from Executive Director Volunteers & Capability Peter O'Keefe

This Photo was taken prior COVID-19 restrictions

The ABR helps put brigades at the centre of our planning. It’s been a pleasure for me to join the ABR Project Control Group and work alongside DCO Trevor Owen and others from across the organisation to progress this important work.

Through whole-of-business collaboration, we’re confident the program will also drive positive change across CFA, and over time, deliver on accountability, which was highlighted in the evaluation of the 2019/20 pilot stage.

ABR to continue in participating Districts in 2020/21

The Annual Brigade Review enhances CFA’s annual s29 inspection process by exploring every aspect of the health and capability of volunteer brigades, including the s29 criteria.

The ABR Pilot commenced in July 2019 in 10 districts and four regions. At the end of March 2020, 60 per cent of the 240 sessions planned for 2019/20 had been implemented.

As sessions were postponed due to operational activity over summer and coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, the ABR will continue in 2020/21 to ensure continuity for participating districts.

This extension also provides time for stakeholder consultation and to initiate improvements identified through the evaluation of the first nine months of the pilot.

More than 50 per cent of participating staff and volunteers took part in the evaluation, generating a large amount of data. We are confident that the findings and recommendations represent an unbiased view of our staff and volunteer perspectives.

Overall, feedback indicates that the ABR is worthwhile, informative and a move in the right direction. Major benefits include the engagement, the breadth of information gathered and the enhancements to the traditional inspection process.

The evaluation has given us a solid foundation for improvements and to deliver efficiencies such as testing online sessions and developing integrated business planning solutions.

CFA Legal and Assurance have confirmed the ABR will fully comply with Section s29(b) of the CFA Act once recommendations are embedded into reporting processes. The ABR and Performance Improvement teams will continue to map s29 and ABR data whilst both processes are delivered in some Districts.

More detailed results from the evaluation will be shared across the organisation over the coming weeks.

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