Chief Executive Officer Blog: 31 January 2018

  Posted on 31st January 2018 by Loralee Hyde in UFBA blog, UFBA News

Ramping up UFBA/FRFANZ actions

As we head into the second month of 2018, UFBA/FRFANZ are ramping up our actions to make sure we complete the work we have committed to during the 2017/18 financial year.

Bill ButzbachEverything we do to serve and represent our member brigades/rural fire forces links to the strategic priorities set out in the Fire and Emergency NZ Phase Two mandate for integration.

UFBA/FRFANZ are strongly focused on key projects and initiatives including:

UFBA and FRFANZ Merger

Following unanimous support by both UFBA and FRFANZ membership to merge our two organisations at their respective AGMs last year, work has begun on the detailed arrangements to make this happen.

This is an opportunity for all of us to rethink how we can reorganise as a collective group to maximise the benefits of our Associations together in the modern fire and emergency services sector.

Our goal is to have proposals around a new merged organisation with the respective Boards by April this year and then to commence a period of membership consultation immediately following in late April.

We held a workshop in mid-January with representatives of the FRFANZ Board to advance arrangements for the merger. We have:

  1. Clarified who our respective membership groups are—FRFANZ has a very diverse mix of members within the forestry and land management sector
  2. Identified core membership services and other services
  3. Identified key steps and milestones for the merger programme.

As well as combining the two organisations, the UFBA Office is providing FRFANZ with administrative and financial support during the transition phase of the merger.

Our recent quarterly satisfaction survey of the FRFANZ Executive showed a very high level of satisfaction with the support we are providing. I am very appreciative of the excellent work my team is contributing to make sure the merger runs as smoothly as possible.

Co-design with Fire and Emergency NZ Integration Workstreams

Carl Mills is now on board at Fire and Emergency NZ as Workstream Lead, Volunteerism. I and Kevin Ihaka from FRFANZ are now liaising with Carl at a high level and participating in co-design work to make sure the needs of our volunteers are met including:

Working Groups will be formed in February to do this work together. Keep an eye out for opportunities to participate.

Targeted Operating Model

We are also participating in the co-design of the Targeted Operating Model which involves working together with the Fire and Emergency NZ Strategic Leadership Team, a selection of people from across the organisation and our other Associated Agencies.

The fifth co-design workshop was held on 20 December where we discussed the draft High Level Design including:

UFBA/FRFANZ will be involved in consultation with our members on sharing the initial thinking from the co-design workshops.

Volunteer contributions to co-design

As well as UFBA personnel, expert volunteers from around the country are contributing to Fire and Emergency NZ Projects, Working Parties, Integration Workstreams and Workshops—see the current details below. We thank these representatives for their commitment to making sure the unified voice of volunteers is heard.

Two recent reports from representatives are to hand. I included an update about the development of an Availability and Messaging System (AMS) solution from Nigel Lilley in my December Blog.

Matt Jones who is on the Health, Safety and Wellbeing National Committee has reported psychological wellbeing support is a key focus. This aligns with the UFBA/FRFANZ emphasis on providing easily accessed advocacy and support services to members along with developing our Leading Psychological Wellbeing Workshop for brigade/rural fire force leaders.

UFBA/FRFANZ Advocacy and Support Services

As independent organisations, UFBA/FRFANZ are well-positioned to represent members and provide sound advice when needed.

Individual firefighters and member brigades/rural fire forces can access advocacy and support services provided by UFBA/FRFANZ for any dispute, complaint or conflict, free of charge.

We have a small number of ongoing cases where we are providing advocacy and support to members. Our aim is to resolve issues before they escalate to Fire and Emergency NZ dispute resolution processes. I am pleased to report we are meeting this goal in the great majority of cases.

Christmas and the New Year period can be a challenging time of year for our people, their families and communities. Over the 2017 festive season, members could access psychological wellbeing support they needed for themselves or their family by contacting UFBA support services at any time.

This service was well-received by our members and we were pleased we could assist firefighters in need of support.

Rolling out Xero will reduce volunteer administration

Reducing the burden of administration in brigades/rural fire forces is a key Fire and Emergency NZ Year One Initiative.

Fire and Emergency NZ has engaged the UFBA to provide financial management training and support for a pilot using Xero financial software—a cloud-based system.

Working together with our accounting consulting firm Grant Thornton, we plan to convert the current financial system of 50 brigades/rural fire forces to Xero with standardised general ledgers, accounting practices, and financial reporting during the next 12 months.

Click here to find out more about the Xero Rollout Pilot and how to express the interest of your brigade/rural fire force in taking part.

Participation in UFBA Leadership Development Workshops continues to grow

Enhancing the leadership capability of current and emerging leaders in fire and emergency services is a key strategy of UFBA/FRFANZ.

UFBA Leadership & Governance Workshop

Around 220 personnel from around the country have now graduated from our highly valued Leadership & Governance Workshop following the 14th course in December.

Participants (shown above) came from volunteer brigades, rural fire forces (both UFBA and FRFANZ members) and Operational Support. See how they regarded this course

I am delighted with the number of applications we are getting for the UFBA Leadership & Governance Workshop with the next course from 22-24 March being oversubscribed.

UFBA Leading Psychological Wellbeing Pilot Workshop

We have now analysed the feedback from the urban and rural volunteer participants at the Leading Psychological Wellbeing Pilot Workshop held in October. We very much appreciate the time these volunteers have taken to both attend the pilot and provide their input as this has given us many worthwhile suggestions and ideas to further develop this topical workshop.

Again, I am very pleased our next UFBA Leading Psychological Wellbeing Workshop from 16-17 February is oversubscribed.

UFBA Secretaries Workshop

Does your brigade/rural fire force have a new Secretary? Or would your Secretary like to enhance their skills?

Our comprehensive UFBA Secretaries Workshop strengthens skills and gives insights into the role. We have five UFBA Secretaries Workshops, each running from 10am-3pm, scheduled around the country over the next few months—in Te Atatu, Ngaruawahia, Waipawa, Greymouth and Gore.

If you are a Secretary in or near these areas and are keen on developing your skills through a UFBA Secretaries Workshop, click here to find out more and apply online

Events and Challenges Programme

Outstanding feedback on the Australasian Rescue Challenge!

Hosted by the UFBA, the Australasian Rescue Challenge (ARC17) at Claudelands in Hamilton from 20-23 July was an outstanding success. Kiwi teams did us proud, taking out eleven accolades at the presentation dinner on Sunday night.

The ARRO Executive conducted a survey of all teams at the Challenge to gauge their thoughts and opinions across all aspects of the Challenge. I am thrilled to report that Mark Roche, President Australasian Road Rescue Organisation, (pictured at the left with Whitianga Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Australasian Overall Champions) has given me outstanding feedback about the UFBA’s management of the event including:

“In brief, ARC17 was rated as the best rescue challenge we have ever held with an overall score of 5.7 out of a possible 6. This overall score is the result of many aspects assessed across the ARC including catering, symposium, scenarios, team briefings, timetabling, etc.

“The success of the ARC quite clearly must be attributed to the management of the event by Ms Ceara Owen-Perry and her 'can do' team.”

Along with the UFBA Board, I am immensely proud of the work of our Stakeholder Manager Ceara Owen-Perry, Events Team, the then Challenges Committee Chair Nigel Lilley and Technical Panel for their superb organisation that resulted in the success of this major event. Well done team!

See a summary of the successful ARC17 here

UFBA 140th Annual Conference & AGM

Save the date now—in Wellington, 16-18 November

With the merger of UFBA and FRFANZ proceeding and the second year of the Fire and Emergency NZ Integration Phase underway from 1 July, our Conference will be the prime learning and networking forum of the year for firefighters from across New Zealand.

One delegate from each Fire and Emergency NZ Brigade/Fire Force that is also a member of the UFBA is funded for Conference registration, accommodation and travel. I urge your brigade/rural fire force to start thinking now about attending Conference.

UFBA North Island Waterway Challenge

In the scorching hot conditions of this year’s summer, hosts CFO Rod Triplow and his Havelock North Volunteer Fire Brigade team put on a great track for the UFBA North Island Waterway Challenge held in Havelock North on 27 January.

See the results and a link to a great NZ Herald article here

Our next event is the UFBA South Island Waterway Challenge in Mataura on Saturday 24 February.

UFBA Firefighter Combat Challenge

This Challenge provides an outstanding spectacle for the public and an opportunity for Fire and Emergency NZ to promote fire safety, recruitment and volunteerism.

Our programme is:

Register online now for the North and South Island Combat Challenges here

Serving our members for 140 years

Through the strength of our united members, the UFBA has served firefighters throughout New Zealand for 140 years.

Together with the UFBA/FRFANZ Boards, our partner Fire and Emergency NZ and the Associated Agencies, I and my team are continuing to work hard to make sure the needs of our fire and emergency services members are met.


31 January 2018

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