As we follow a very successful conference – our largest ever – we can now share the updates presented by UFBA Board Chair Richie Smith on how we’re progressing the merger.
2017’s conference gave the UFBA Board the directive (with FRFANZ Exec) to progress the merger with FRFANZ in 2018. However the roadshows that took place throughout May, June and July this year showed we need to spend more time better understanding the needs and desires of our combined memberships. We’ve already commented on how this needs to be a merger of equals to ensure we can provide a range of services and representation to a more diverse membership. The Board is committed to getting it right first time round. It will take the time to get it right on your behalf.
Richie clarified how we must not get confused or bogged down at this stage between ‘function’ and ‘form’. Function focuses on what we will actually do. High level functions are those that reflect the needs of the sector, the goals we are funded to support by FENZ and the areas where we have opportunity to grow. This is then further ironed out into low level functions which are essentially the actuals, the individual services such as free advocacy and support, Leadership and Governance Workshops and the individual challenge events.
This differs to form which is about what we are called or what our identity looks like or our structure in place to deliver the services.
It’s clear that both function and form are important to people in varying degrees and we’ll be spending some solid time over the next year looking at these two different elements that make up our combined associations.
This weekend Richie presented our UFBA/FRFANZ Merger roadmap. This is our plan for how we’ll continue to progress the merger over an extended period into 2019. Crucially the feedback on the roadshows allowed us to develop our ‘Core Pillars’ which we’ve presented previously in our newsletters a couple of months ago those being: recognising the importance of Provincials, Service Honours, Challenge Events, Reflecting the FENZ Operating Models (sub regional structure), being keepers of history, representing volunteerism, providing benevolent services, maintaining all membership types.
The core pillars are the sum of our roadshow feedback which shows overarching themes of what is important to those who provided feedback. These are a mixture of ‘form’ and ‘function’ but help us identify some parts to ensure consistency. Getting the right balance between consistency and change will be both challenging and important to allow us to evolve but honour our purpose and history. Also, these things need to reflect our high level strategy developed already over the past two years (since we’re not starting from scratch here).
So,we encourage you to keep the conversations going about our services and our changes within your brigades. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook and your inbox (and tell your colleagues to sign up to register so they are in the loop). We’ll be running consultations with our members to further co-design the combined associations.
We’ve heard the comments and concerns… how can you provide representation for some of the private companies under FRFANZ?, we don’t want to lose the name!, why not just keep things the same and so forth. Our core pillars at least help us show that we have a number of services that are valued and will remain and we can expand these out to a larger, more diverse audience – that’s the function. We’ll also be able to add other functions such as our work developing a youth programme that can support you and FENZ to recruit new future members. But change is inevitable for survival and we ask you this….in 140 years do you think the organisation has never experienced change? We wouldn’t be here still if we hadn’t have been adaptable over the years. This is just the next step in our evolution and we’ll have you all by our side in the oncoming co-design. Watch this space, play your part.
Bill Butzbach, UFBA CEO
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