Message from George Verry, Chief Executive Officer
The UFBA Board (in particular, Director Bill Butzbach), management, members and FRFANZ representatives are continuing to work closely with the FENZ Transition Team on projects relevant to our members.
Considering the proposed implementation date for FENZ is 1 July—less than three months away—there is considerable pressure on all personnel involved to meet the timelines set out for a number of key projects. It is critical that viable and workable decisions are made on policy and process to ensure these are fit-for-purpose for our members to serve and protect their local communities.
We have noted the NZFSC confirmation that establishing FENZ is a large task which will take a number of years to fully achieve.
They have now divided the work into three key phases: amalgamation of urban and rural fire (1 July 2017), integration into a single organisation (1 July 2017 – 1 July 2020) and unification (from 2020 onwards). This does give a more realistic timeframe for implementing such major change.
Volunteer Strategy ‘Four Pillars’
UFBA/FRFANZ are currently working with FENZ on the co-design of ‘four pillars’ of the Volunteer Strategy:
1. The new relationship volunteers may have with FENZ: The relationship with the volunteer will be based on modern volunteer principles with a primary focus on:
- Improving support for volunteers
- Enabling them to communicate directly with FENZ
- Developing policy and organisational arrangements that strengthen the capability of FENZ volunteers.
We are part of the initial discussions with personnel who likely to be involved in managing the direct relationship between volunteers and FENZ.
2. Day One Initiatives: These are close to being finalised including a volunteer support package—UFBA/FRFANZ are closely involved in planning the details of this initiative.
3. Dispute resolution: The Government has made it clear there must be good avenues for volunteers to access if they have issues. An interim process to which we are contributing will be ready on 1 July.
4. Future advocacy and support: UFBA/ FRFANZ will continue to strongly advocate for a positive culture in the new FENZ organisation that is based on supporting communities and volunteer sustainability.
UFBA/FRFANZ Strategic Planning
With a vision of Better, more sustainable emergency services for New Zealand communities, the current UFBA Strategic Plan released in May 2015 summarises the main activities we planned to focus on for three years from then to make sure our members’ needs are independently represented at a local and national level.
See more details of our Strategic Plan here
With the new FENZ environment rapidly approaching and the shape of the new organisation becoming clearer, we considered it timely to review our Strategic Plan to make sure we can represent all our members with one strong, united voice and effectively meet the needs of all firefighters from 1 July—volunteer, urban, operational support, rural, career, industrial and defence.
In early March, UFBA board members and senior staff along with Kevin Ihaka from FRFANZ took part in a very constructive forward-thinking strategic planning session on our vision, purpose, objectives and strategies. We will keep you informed of progress as we confirm our strategic direction for the near future.
UFBA and FRFANZ are also working closely together on practical strategies to communicate with rural fire forces—particularly those that are neither UFBA or FRFANZ members—on how we are representing and supporting rural firefighters during the transition to FENZ and also to gather their views and ideas on issues and concerns.
FENZ Volunteer Working Group
The FENZ Volunteer Working Group consisting of experienced and expert volunteers from a wide range of volunteer brigades and rural fire forces met for the first time in Wellington on 25 and 26 February to provide input and feedback to FENZ on proposed strategies and initiatives. UFBA Director Bill Butzbach also attended this meeting.
See more about this Working Group and members’ views about the outcomes of the workshop here. We thank all the participants in this group for the time and commitment they are giving on behalf of other volunteers.
Leadership and Governance
We ran the 11th UFBA Leadership and Governance Workshop in Wellington from 16 to 18 March bringing the total number of graduates to 169 personnel around the country. Participants from urban, composite, rural and industrial brigades attended this workshop—proving this course is beneficial for every kind of firefighter.
Our satisfaction surveys show 100% of workshop attendees are very satisfied/ somewhat satisfied with this course, saying the skills and tools learned will help with their personal development, contribute to the operation of their brigades and assist in their paid employment.
We are now planning a Leadership and Governance Workshop from 22-24 June in Wellington catering for rural fire forces to offer our rural colleagues this valued experience as they meet the challenges of the transition to the new FENZ environment.
If you are keen to take up this opportunity (or if you know of a rural colleague who would be) please email me. Or you can find out more and complete an Application Form here.
4 April 2017
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