Annual report – acknowledging change, diversity and transparency

  Posted on 24th October 2018 by Nick Cottrell in UFBA blog, UFBA News

Annual report – acknowledging change, diversity and transparency

By now all member groups should all have received the latest UFBA Annual Report & Financial Statements sent to all stations. This covers the period from beginning of July 2017 to end of June 2018. As a registered charity we report on the year’s activities and so the annual report helps present a transparent picture of all that we have achieved with the funding we receive through memberships and our grant from Fire and Emergency NZ.

We’d love to know what you think of this year’s report where we aimed for a fresh new look in line with the direction of the sector. President Joe Manihera nicely uses the analogy of a strict colour palette used in kowhaiwhai patterns to reflect the structure of the organisation. He mentions how extra colours bring a new element and perspective to the design to represent change.

Here we see how diversity can lend itself to growing an organisation under shared values at the heart of an organisation. By the end of June this year we had 544 member groups in total which covers 388 volunteer fire brigades, 73 career brigades and 59 voluntary rural fire forces. Added to this are the FENZ Operational Support Units and Communication Centres plus Defence, Industry and Airport fire brigades. These present a very diverse membership base, albeit represented in the majority by volunteers, who each contribute their own diversity.

The report is a snapshot in time, taken during a period of great transition. New directors have come and gone and we have a new Chairman. At this year’s upcoming Conference and AGM we’ll see a new President and Vice President and a change to the team of Directors. There have been staff changes and with such a small team of only 10 people, each staff member brings a unique and valued contribution. Change has been a constant for the organisation and yet we maintain a continuity that has allowed us to reach 140 years old! That’s no small feat.

While the FENZ Integration saw the coming together under the new umbrella of the multiple fire services, the UFBA was there from the start. We’ve represented the multiple viewpoints and perspectives throughout the years and continue to do so. We’ll hold FENZ accountable to its staff – whether volunteer or paid. And we’ll continue to deliver the services we’ve established over the years as we look forward to years to come.

It is these services that were most evidently important to our members from the feedback from the nation-wide co-design roadshows. We saw how the UFBA is different things to different members - the more than 3,000 recipients of UFBA service honours in the one year alone; the hundreds of competitors that enjoy our challenge events; the 60+ brigade members able to resolve conflict through our advocacy service; the recipients in dire need able to get support from our support services; the teams of volunteers on working parties, working as officials or as support people; the hundreds of individuals able to grow professionally and personally through development workshops. As we continue we’re providing new services such as supporting the role out of Xero in brigades.

We also provide an overarching view point through submissions to ensure any legislative or policy changes factor in a volunteer and broader role lens. That’s our role – to act as a lens to ensure all different viewpoints are taken into account and feed this directly into the ears of influencers and decision makers. And so in that respect we’re still just as relevant in 2018 as we were in 1878 in bringing people together to give them a stronger voice at the top table.

Read the annual report and ask yourself – how can you be a part of next year’s report and say, ‘You were there. You took part!’.

You can download a copy of our annual report here.

Nga mihi and best regards.

Bill Butzbach

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