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2014 VFBV Volunteer Survey - Conclusion

The 2014 VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey results have provided valuable information direct from CFA volunteers which is vital to informing the emergency management sector on what volunteers need to remain viable and valuable contributors to community safety.

Key observations from the survey results that may warrant further investigation and possible actions include the following.

Training needs and expectations.

The 2014 survey results identify training by CFA as the biggest issue, with the survey gap at 3.0. This remains the most important issue for CFA volunteers and the issue least meeting volunteer expectations.

Variation between brigades.

Brigades with an integrated volunteer/career mix of personnel are more concerned with performance in relation to people management within their brigade, cooperation, respect and professionalism.

Equity, diversity and workplace behaviour.

Survey results show that equity and diversity across gender, race and religion are important issues to volunteers. When tested against gender – female respondents rated both importance and performance lower than male respondents in relation to the statement “there are no barriers to the roles women can occupy in my brigade”, and the gap between importance and performance for female respondents was higher than male, signalling that male respondents are more optimistic about how gender, equity and diversity issues are being managed and may not realise areas of deficiency. Whilst CFA performance in this area is scored comparatively well against other areas, it remains an area that will require ongoing support.

The importance of consultation with brigades.

The value volunteers place on consultation both within their own brigade and with CFA, is expressed in the survey results where statements referring to consultation within brigades receive good performance scores whilst conversely, statements regarding effective consultation at CFA District, Region or Corporate level, receive the lowest performance scores and high gaps.

Written comments from survey respondents refer to issues where inadequate consultation may be the root cause, further suggesting that more work is required to improve consultation between CFA and volunteers.

The influence of volunteer length of service.

Volunteer length of service has created a distinct pattern across the question responses. Volunteers who have served with CFA for less than one year are the most positive about the organisation and their brigade on nearly every question. The gap sharply increases after their first year of service, i.e. their level of satisfaction drops sharply after one year and then again after more than five years’ service.

This warrants further investigation to determine the causes of the change in expectation.

Satisfaction.

80% of 2014 survey respondents are satisfied with their role as a CFA volunteer and 87% intend to continue their membership. The overwhelming reasons for being a CFA volunteer are “to help protect the community I live in” or “a sense of fulfilment in supporting my community in a meaningful way” (total 94%).

Only 59% of volunteers are satisfied with the way they are treated by CFA, this comparatively low satisfaction score suggests that the greatest potential impact on future volunteer welfare and efficiency sits with CFA in the success or otherwise of their partnerships with volunteer brigades.

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Read 13508 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 May 2015 12:00
CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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