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Monday, 19 December 2016 12:25

FireWise - VFBV's December Column

In This Edition

- Editorial – Reflecting on a Challenging Year

- Fire Awareness Award for Kids Program

- VFBV Welfare Fund helps 1,000 Volunteers

- 10,000 Scanners save Brigades $3 Million

- Fiskville – Action Still Needed

- Introducing VFBV Support Officer Peter Sharman

- Vale Former State Councillor Barry Pyke

- Fundraising Still Important

- Cancer Law – Remind Your Local MPs

REFLECTING ON A CHALLENGING YEAR

By Andrew Ford, Chief Executive Officer

As we look back on 2016, I am sure most people will agree it has been a very challenging year.  And this year, more than most, I am looking forward to Christmas and focussing on the important things of family, friends, neighbours and enjoying the community I live in.

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of our members, friends and supporters a very happy and safe Christmas.

As always I wish for a quiet Christmas and summer but we only need to reflect on this time last year to know how unpredictable things can be.  And as always I know that this is a good time of the year to remember why volunteers do what they do, how incredibly valuable that is for our communities and how good it feels to focus on why we joined CFA rather than the frustrations.

So I am not going to talk much about the latest developments in the CFA and UFU ongoing industrial dispute, other than to say it seems to be far from resolved.  CFA is seeking to have the proposed EBA considered by the Fair Work Commission under the amended Fair Work Act, and the UFU is pushing to stop this from happening. 

For CFA volunteers one of the great successes of 2016 came in the form of the changes to the Federal Fair Work Act that now provide a truly fair umpire and clear respect and protections for volunteers.

We have said all along that volunteers and VFBV have no interest in paid firefighters’ pay increase negotiations, so it can only be hoped that in addition to the recent pay increases announced by CFA, any further matters that are still outstanding can be agreed quickly.

By now CFA Brigades right across Victoria are well into gearing up and preparing for summer so, from a VFBV perspective, let’s keep this and protecting our communities as the big CFA focus for now.

Once again thanks for the tremendous activity and support over the past year.  From any turmoil there is often good to emerge and it has been extremely pleasing to see the exponential growth in the numbers of volunteers who are now deeply connected and active within VFBV.

Brigades across Victoria are more connected with VFBV than ever; our VFBV State, District and Brigade delegates are more informed and active than ever and doing a great job. We have made great progress in establishing our VFBV Multi-Agency Youth Network and we have substantially raised the profile of volunteer issues. Thank you!

Our VFBV affiliation levels for this year are at a new record high, with just under 95% of Brigades affiliated with VFBV and 90% of Brigades subscribing to the VFBV Welfare Fund.

On a sadder note, the year saw the departure of some very respected people and I want to recognise and thank once again those who suffered the consequences of standing firm on their principles; Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett, CFA Board Members, CFA CEO Lucinda Nolan and CFA Chief Officer Joe Buffone, others including MFB Chief Officer Peter Rau, and many other senior CFA volunteer and paid personnel.

To all CFA volunteers and the paid staff who work with, and in support of us; to our families, employers and supporters, thank you, well done for what you do and have a safe and happy Christmas.  I am going to head into Christmas looking forward to next year and hopefully a rethink by some who need to stop and think about just how good the CFA can be if everyone is respected and respectful.  

 

AWARD FOR KIDS’ PROGRAM

A VFBV-supported project for secondary students has won the Education Award at this year’s Fire Awareness Awards, thanks to local CFA volunteers and the Maryborough Education Centre.

The Emergency Services Journey takes Year 9 students to their local brigade, Police and ambulance station to see how each service operates and learn practical skills.

What began as a Brigades in Schools program run by Maryborough Fire Brigade volunteers in 2004, has been developed into an innovative course at the Maryborough Education Centre by teacher and CFA volunteer Samantha Rothman.

There’s a camp in the Mallee, sessions at a surf life saving club, activities like open water swimming and fire brigade competition events, and the students achieve certificates in Life Saving skills and First Aid.

The Fire Awareness Award judges said the project goes beyond the basics in building resilience, with a range of partner organisations and reaching great numbers; over 40 students participate each year, and several have become CFA volunteers.

Principal David Sutton says the school is proud of the Emergency Services Journey program and students for doing so well, and particularly Samantha Rothman for her work in developing and championing the program.

Pictured: VFBV’s Andrew Ford, Maryborough CFA Captain Darryl Wagstaff AFSM, teacher and CFA volunteer Samantha Rothman, and Maryborough Education Centre Principal David Sutton at the Fire Awareness Awards.

 

 

VFBV WELFARE FUND HELPS 1,000

Since its creation by the urban Brigades association in 1913, the VFBV Welfare Fund has helped 1,079 volunteers in need, with more than $1.4 million in small assistance grants.

VFBV Welfare Fund grants are financed by Brigade subscriptions and the interest earned on the Fund’s invested capital, which provides the income necessary to pay grants and at the same time maintain the Fund’s asset capital base to ensure it can provide support to CFA volunteers in need for generations to come.

VFBV funds all operating and administrative costs of the Fund – so every dollar earned by the Fund’s investments and subscriptions goes to assisting volunteers in need.  Typical cases involve volunteers who are facing significant financial difficulty because of prolonged illness or a sudden death in the family.  An average individual grant from the Fund is just under $3,500.

The VFBV Welfare Fund is run as a government-approved charity by a VFBV Committee of Management under Australian Taxation Office rules, with its books independently audited every year.

Individual volunteer applications are considered by their Brigade before an application is made to the VFBV Welfare Fund Committee of Management, and over the past five years 92.5% of applications have been approved.  VFBV has also negotiated discounts on some of the volunteers’ bills, worked with their Brigades to monitor the situation in case the family needs additional assistance, and referred volunteers to sources of financial planning.

For more information, visit the VFBV Welfare Fund page.

 

10,000 SCANNERS DELIVERED - $3M SAVING FOR BRIGADES

The Digital Scanner subsidy program advocated by VFBV and run in partnership with CFA is an overwhelming success, with 10,478 digital scanners delivered to Brigades and Groups so far.  The savings to members represent over $3 million.

More than 970 Brigades and 80 Groups have received their Tier 1 & 2 orders, and CFA is still accepting Tier 3 orders, from Brigades, Groups and individual members.

Tier 3 units are available at cost price, which has been significantly reduced due to the bulk orders placed during the subsidy program.  Members can order units for $446.75 plus postage and handling, while stocks last.   Download an order form here.

 

FISKVILLE FINAL REPORT – ACTION STILL NEEDED

The State Government has responded to the Fiskville Inquiry’s final report, endorsing all recommendations either fully or in part – you can download a copy of the response here.

VFBV now hopes it will be the trigger for urgent Government and CFA action on replacing Fiskville’s vital training capacity, ensuring properly monitored water quality standards for all CFA training sites, and maintaining ongoing support to all of those affected by exposure at the Fiskville site.

The announcement follows years of work from VFBV since the issue was first raised in the media in December 2011.   VFBV has consistently called for urgent remedial action at the site, independent, expert monitoring, ongoing support for everyone affected, and the urgent replacement of Fiskville’s lost training capacity. 

The closure of the site came in 2015 after the surprising discovery that water quality problems were persisting in spite of the reassurances of WorkSafe, the EPA, technical experts and CFA.

The State Government’s response to the Inquiry is not the end of the issue, but a cue for action to resolve the problems left in Fiskville’s wake.

 

VFBV SUPPORT TO BRIGADES

Newly arrived at VFBV is Support Officer Peter Sharman. 

Peter is an experienced volunteer who will work with District Councils, Brigades and volunteers in Districts, 4, 5, 6 and 7 to facilitate strong VFBV engagement with volunteers, assist District Councils with issues resolution at the local level, and support ongoing consultation with volunteers on all matters affecting them.

Peter has been a CFA volunteer since 1987.  He is an ex Captain and a currently serving Group Officer, and has served as a VFBV State Councillor, and on the VFBV/CFA Joint Volunteerism Committee and the Joint Communications and Technology Committee.

You can contact Peter Sharman on 0428 751 652 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

VALE BARRY PYKE

We were sad to learn of the recent passing of former VRFBA District 12 State Councillor and VFBV Life Member Barry Pyke.

Barry was a 50 year CFA volunteer and a long time member of the Whanregarwen Fire Brigade.  He served volunteers and the community for many years, and was an active participant in the creation of a single association in District 12 as part of the move towards the creation of VFBV.

Our sympathy goes out to Barry’s family, friends and fellow volunteers.

 

FUNDRAISING IS STILL IMPORTANT

VFBV’s work to defend the volunteer based and fully integrated CFA continues, and VFBV is still actively fundraising.

The new Federal Legislation has changed the legal ground rules to protect fire and emergency service volunteers from industrial interference, but it must be supported in the Fair Work Commission and possibly Federal courts, so we still look to the public for their support.

The public, corporate donors, community organisations and volunteers can donate to the VFBV Valuing Volunteers Fund, BSB 633 000, Account number 157 728 221, send a cheque to the Valuing Volunteers Fund, PO Box 453, Mt Waverley 3149, or make a donation by visiting www.mycause.com.au/cfa

Note that VFBV is a non-party political organisation: it does not accept donations from political parties.

 

CANCER LAW

In the last edition of FireWise, we urged volunteers to remind their local Members of Parliament of the commitment the Government made to Victorian volunteers and paid firefighters two years ago.

Sadly, nothing has happened since then, Parliament has closed until February 2017, and this important issue for all firefighters remains unresolved.

Labor’s commitment just before it took power in 2014, said “Victorian legislation for career and volunteer firefighters will reflect the cancers covered and timeframes for duty of service as in the Tasmanian legislation”. Importantly, this promise explicitly contained no reference to unequal treatment or extra eligibility requirements for volunteers.  The Government has since hinted at imposing a discriminatory extra requirement for volunteers to prove an arbitrary number of turnouts before they become eligible for compensation and VFBV will be extremely disappointed if this eventuates.

Your local MPs need to know volunteers won’t accept second best just because they are not paid. Click here for more information on the firefighters' cancer law.

 

MORE FOR ONLINE SUBSCRIBERS

More than 1,000 subscribers now receive this page as an electronic newsletter.  You can also sign up to receive VFBV’s popular Two Minute Briefing from the VFBV/CFA Joint Committees. 

Register here to receive these and other VFBV updates.

Our Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/cfavol and you can follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/vfbv or on Instagram @volunteer_fire_brigades_vic

Published in VFBV News

For the benefit of your Brigade and volunteers

Renewal notices for your Brigade/Group’s VFBV Affiliation and Brigade’s VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund subscription have been mailed and should be with your Secretary now, with a due date of 30 June, 2016.

The modest cost of $77.50 for VFBV affiliation is the same for all Brigades and Groups, and VFBV’s representation of CFA volunteers continues to win growing approval and support, with a record 94% of Brigades affiliating in 2015/16

By renewing your membership or signing up as a new member you not only demonstrate support for the important work VFBV does on behalf of all CFA volunteers, you also help build the strength of VFBV’s influence, your Brigade or Group will be entitled to participate in VFBV forums and decision making, and your Brigade’s members will be eligible to be supported by VFBV’s Welfare Fund.

We also strongly encourage Brigades to subscribe to the VFBV Welfare Fund in the interests of supporting your members in times of personal hardship. The VFBV Welfare Fund operates under Australian Tax Office rules for charities and is independently audited. It can provide small grants to assist volunteer members, their immediate family members and long servicing ex-members, who are suffering significant financial hardship. Over the past five years, the Welfare Fund has distributed over $550,000 to 170 CFA volunteers in need.

It should be noted that in order to access the VFBV Welfare Fund, your Brigade must be affiliated with VFBV, since the association pays all of the VFBV Welfare Fund’s operating costs. For full details visit the VFBV website www.vfbv.com.au and go to the Member Services area. You can download the VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund brochure here.

If you would like to speak to someone from VFBV about your affiliation please contact one of your District’s VFBV State Councillors or call the VFBV office on (03) 9886 1141.

Published in VFBV News
Friday, 05 February 2016 00:00

2 Minute Briefing - HR, Welfare & OH&S

Issue 15: December 2015

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 29/11/2015)

ROLE OF GROUP The committee was advised that the new Chief Officer has requested that the Role of Group publication that was due to be distributed to brigades be put on hold whilst he conducts a review. The committee has been provided with a much condensed version for feedback. Whilst members will no doubt be disappointed with yet another delay, the committee will work with the new Chief Officer to try and resolve the current impasse affecting this long delayed project.

SECTOR COMMANDER COURSE

The Sector Commander course was developed by the IMTTP team and originally released for delivery in 2014. The course was written with the assumption that a student undertaking the course has no prior knowledge of the subject matter. Feedback from students is that the course is quite lengthy and duplicates material that is covered in earlier courses such as crew leader. Exacerbating the problem, there were restrictive pre-requisites to undertake the course. CFA has decided to conduct a full review of the course, with the State Incident Management Training Delivery Project Steering Committee to oversee the course review.

The committee has highlighted to CFA that the course was originally designed to be delivered in unique modules, yet all CFA delivery to date has been to deliver all modules consecutively which has frustrated students, and led to courses running over consecutive 3 or 4 full weekends, causing understandable member backlash. CFA has agreed to rework and rewrite the course, with the intent to break the course into four distinct modules, with duplication to be removed. This will assist members who may already hold existing units that can be mapped to parts of the new course and allow members to undertake just those parts they do not currently hold. A reworked assessment will ensure all members exit the course with standardized learning outcomes. It is anticipated that this may reduce the Sector Commander course to one night and 2 days. Piloting of the new course is anticipated early in 2016.

FATIGUE MANAGEMENT

The Committee has for some time been reporting the District and Regional variances in how fatigue management is implemented, especially for larger incidents. Examples of two neighbouring districts implementing completely different fatigue guidelines for strike teams dispatched to the same job provided a case study of the issue. The Committee has requested state-wide guidelines be developed and communicated to the field which amongst other things outline crew changeovers, appropriate rest periods between deployments and long haul strike team travel arrangements, including the use of coaches and/or fresh drivers to return appliances to their home locations.

VOLUNTEER UTILISATION IN IMTs

The committee has reinforced the need for proactive and deliberate action to be taken to encourage, and strengthen the use of volunteers in IMTs. The critical importance of planning and the effects of poor or last minute planning on volunteer utilisation are well known and the committee has requested that the Chief Officer lead this work amongst the agencies this fire season. The view amongst some senior leaders over previous seasons has been that there is very little volunteer interest, yet discussions with the field constantly highlight not only high interest, but that many volunteers were either unaware of any requests or only requested on extremely short notice (sometimes with less than four hours’ notice) which makes it difficult for them to arrange availability with their employer. Short notice also ignores that many volunteers qualified in IMT roles will commit to other Brigade or District roles in the absence of any request for their services in IMT roles. The committee has requested a robust system be developed to ensure transparency and accountability is maintained in requests for resources, including sufficient planning and flexibility that supports volunteer participation.

The 2015 CFA Wellbeing Research Survey is now under way.

The survey is open to all CFA members and can be completed online at https://secure.insyncsurveys.com.au/surveys/CFAWellbeingResearch2015/ up until 20 December this year.

The survey only takes about 15 minutes to complete and your feedback will help to improve CFA’s mental health and wellbeing services for all members.

Psychological health and safety is a key part of CFA’s new ‘Safety’ value.  The 2015 wellbeing survey aims to support mental health and wellbeing in CFA thereby supporting Safety for all our members.

Responses to the survey will remain anonymous.

For more information or if you would like a paper based version of the survey, please contact CFA’s wellbeing intake line on (03) 9262 8409.

Published in CFA News
Friday, 23 October 2015 00:00

2 Minute Briefing - HR, Welfare and OH&S

Issue 14: October 2015

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 18/10/15)

 

VOLUNTEER CODE OF CONDUCT & CFA VALUES

A considerable amount of work & consultation has been undertaken by CFA in developing the new CFA Values (STAIR – Safety, Together, Adaptive, Integrity and Respect).

CFA has been actively promoting these values through presentations to Brigades, Groups and to Regional/District staff to promote a clear understanding and encourage their active implementation at all levels.

VFBV has agreed to a request by the Chief Officer to consider minor adjustments to the Volunteer Code of Conduct to incorporate the new values that complement the Fire Star Virtues which will be maintained. A draft update will shortly be published to seek volunteer feedback before the changes are formalized.

CFA and VFBV have agreed to use this refresh as an opportunity to remind members and staff of the importance of the volunteer code of conduct, and the corresponding code of conduct for Victorian public sector employees which covers paid staff. Anecdotal evidence continues to suggest that some members struggle in how to “call out bad behaviour” and manage it effectively.

Across all districts a great deal of time is taken up dealing with issues at all levels of the organisation as a result of non-adherence to the Volunteer Code of Conduct, the Employee Code of Conduct & CFA Values. VFBV encourages all brigades to engage with all members to further inform them about the CFA Values, thereby promoting the importance of them living out the values and demonstrating them when dealing with members and issues that they encounter in their roles.

CFA is undertaking similar discussions with its employees including line managers such as OMs and OOs to highlight the importance of leaders demonstrating and living by our new values. Brigades, Groups & VFBV District Councils wishing to arrange a presentation can contact CFA’s Michelle O’Sullivan at HQ for further information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

Volunteerism Coordinators Fiona Martin (District 13) and Terri Johnson (District 22) were tasked with similar projects by their respective Operations Managers – Development of Leadership & Management Skill Development for Volunteers.

The Committee invited and received an update from each as to how their programs were progressing, and discuss scope for wider rollout. Both were able to build on work undertaken previously. Fiona spoke about the program that has been developed for Captains and Lieutenants that can be delivered in “a pipeline” that builds on their experience but uses similar concepts and language. The program is delivered using volunteer facilitators who have been very keen to be involved in developing current and future leaders. Funding has been provided to trial & test the model developed enabling any adjustments to be made before it is rolled out to other Districts. Online options are also being explored.

Kris spoke about the Captains’ Peer Mentoring Program. This program was initiated in District 14 four years ago. 2015 sees the expansion of the program to six districts. Many Captains have reported that they have more concerns about HR management rather than operational concerns, and the program has been built to provide them this support. Very careful pairing of a mentor with a mentoree with close monitoring & support from Operations Officers limits this program to 6 partnerships per District.

It is hoped that the professional development of volunteer leaders in CFA continues to expand, and the volunteer delegates to the committee commend the work thus far undertaken and encourage brigades to be on the lookout for future opportunities as these programs are refined and rolled out on a wider basis. Interested brigades should contact their Catchment Officer to discuss what opportunities there are to bring these programs to your District.

Issue 13: July 2015

A quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 28/06/15)

VOLUNTEER LOSS OF INCOME COMPENSATION FOR OVER 65s

A recent injury on the fire ground which resulted in a volunteer member over the age of 65 years being hospitalized and unable to work and thereby suffering a loss of income, highlighted a matter of serious concern to VFBV. An interpretation of CFA regulations that is linked to the Workers Compensation Act resulted in the claim initially being rejected by CFA as the member was over the age of 65 and therefore deemed to be of retirement age.

An active campaign was conducted by the District 23 VFBV District Council & VFBV State in support of the members claim. As a result, CFA has subsequently reversed its decision and provided the full income compensation claimed, back to the date of the incident.

CFA has recognised that this matter is of very high importance to the organisation and its volunteers and as requested by VFBV are now commencing the process of implementing the necessary legislative changes to ensure that this situation is not open to interpretation in the future, thereby providing confidence to volunteers who continue to work past the age of 65. VFBV has requested that CFA base their legislative amendments on the Western Australian model which recently made changes to their own legislation to ensure volunteers working past the age of 65 were covered for loss of income.

DISTRICT OH&S COMMITTEE REPORTING

Most Districts / Regions have an OH&S committee which regularly meets to discuss issues of concern within the District or Region. It is apparent to the State Committee that much of this information is not compiled at a central point to help identify state wide issues of concern as well as trends and best practices etc. The Joint Committee has requested CFA look to start collating information fed into the District Committees and bring it together to enable a more holistic view of OH&S issues across the state.

FISKVILLE PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY RECOMMENDATIONS

The Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry Interim Report into the CFA Training Ground at Fiskville was handed down on the 24 June, and announced three interim recommendations. The only recommendation to directly impact on volunteers is recommendation (2) which requests the Department of Health assess the feasibility of providing free voluntary testing for PFOS to a number of groups including volunteers.

As the Inquiry as heard, PFOS is also found in everyday products like makeup and non-stick cookware, and thus the opinion of scientists has been that most people will have levels of PFOS in their system. In order to provide a higher degree of confidence to volunteers who may wish to have their PFOS levels checked, and to contextualize the results, VFBV has requested CFA advocate for the inclusion of a non-CFA family member or householder be provided free testing also, in order for volunteers to compare their levels with someone in their own household that will act as a control group. The inquiry also heard evidence that the testing of all CFA Fiskville based staff has been completed, and none have returned high or abnormal results.

VFBV VOLUNTEER WELFARE & EFFICIENCY SURVEY

This year’s volunteer welfare & efficiency survey opened on 13th July. Once again this survey provides CFA Volunteers with a great opportunity to provide honest feedback on how they perceive both the importance and the performance of CFA on six key themes. The results of this survey have a very high level of credibility within CFA, the Emergency Services Sector and with Government. Please do not leave it to others to speak on your behalf. Sign up now by going to www.vfbv.com.au and encourage others in your Brigade/ Group to also sign up to receive the survey electronically. It only takes approximately 15 minutes to complete this very important task. If you prefer a hard copy please contact the VFBV Office: Ph - 03 9886 1141. The survey closes on the 31st August.

Wednesday, 09 September 2015 00:00

VFBV Survey Attracts Record Numbers

More than 2,500 volunteers have taken the 2015 VFBV Volunteer Welfare & Efficiency Survey and the new VICSES version of the survey this year.

Volunteers’ responses are being studied for the survey report, which will go to VFBV and CFA Boards, CFA’s senior management, VICSES, the Emergency Management Commissioner and the Minister for Emergency Services.

You can see the 2014 report at www.vfbv.com.au

Each year’s results are compared with previous years' figures to show trends in how volunteers feel on each issue.

It is a co-operative process; VFBV and the CFA Board studied the first three years' results and continue to use the survey to highlight aspects of volunteer support that need attention.

The annual survey is making your association’s representation more effective and giving every volunteer the chance to be heard.

You can sign up for the 2016 survey by sending your name, Brigade/Unit and District or Region to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or request a posted survey on paper by calling (03) 9886 1141.

Published in VFBV News

The 2015 Volunteer Welfare & Efficiency Surveyis now open until 31 August - to complete the survey now click here.

The Victorian Emergency Service Association (VESA) invites all VICSES volunteers to take part in a volunteer-run survey that will better equip your association to advise VICSES and Government on what’s most important to volunteers.

The survey as designed and road tested with emergency management volunteers, so it gets straight to the point on issues that matter to the people on the front line.  The survey includes 33 questions on those issues, and takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete.  Each question asks how important the issue is to you, and how well you feel it is being handled by VICSES. 

Why a volunteer survey?

This annual survey began with the CFA volunteers’ association, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) three years ago, and VFBV is how hosting the VICSES volunteers’ version on behalf of VESA.

The results will be compared year to year, to show trends in how volunteers feel on each of the issues.  It is a co-operative process; VFBV and the CFA Board both study the CFA volunteers’ version to highlight aspects of volunteer support that need attention.  VESA will put our survey to the same use, providing reliable facts and figures to support the association’s representation of all VICSES volunteers.

Your individual answers will be confidential, but the overall results will go straight to the decision makers.

The survey is designed to identify the factors that volunteers feel have a key impact on their welfare and efficiency, to establish ways of measuring whether things are getting better or worse, and to develop a process that uses these measures to ensure better support for VICSES volunteers and Units. 

Open to all VICSES volunteers

This survey is making our representation more effective and making sure every volunteer’s voice has the chance to be heard, whether you and your Unit are actively involved with VESA or not.

Last year’s survey drew more than 1,600 responses.

The survey will give VESA facts and figures we can use in working for the benefit of volunteers, Units and the communities they protect, so we urge all VICSES volunteers to take part. 

To complete the survey now, click here.

If you would prefer a paper survey sent by post, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or email the VESA Secretary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  The survey will remain open until 31 August 2015.

 

Published in Uncategorised

Issue 12: April 2015

A quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 12/04/15)

VFBV VOLUNTEER WELFARE & EFFICIENCY SURVEY REPORT

The results of the 2014 VFBV Welfare and Efficiency Survey have been analysed and the report released. The report contains a great deal of information on issues affecting the Welfare & Efficiency of CFA volunteers across the state. As in previous years the 2014 data has been compared to previous years to determine trends and changes. Some of the areas of particular note from the 2014 survey include: 1/Training – This issue remains the most important one for CFA volunteers and is the issue least meeting volunteer expectations. 2/Variation of volunteer experience between Brigades – CFA Volunteers at Integrated Brigades were more concerned with issues related to people management, cooperation, respect and professionalism, indicating that these issues require further attention in these brigades.   3/ Equity, Diversity & Workplace Behaviour – this area indicated differences in response between Male & Female as to the level of importance of these issues and also how they were handled at Brigade, District & Corporate levels within CFA.

It is pleasing to see that 80% of survey respondents are satisfied with their role as a CFA volunteer and that 87% intend to continue their membership. However 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 & efficiency sits with CFA in the success or otherwise of their partnerships with brigades.

The results of this survey are closely examined by Government and CFA (Board, Regional and District level). A detailed hard copy of the report which analyses the survey results is being mailed to each brigade in the quarterly VFBV mail out. Alternatively a copy can be found on the VFBV website: www.vfbv.com.au

The results of the VFBV Welfare & Efficiency survey are used by VFBV to bring the frontline volunteers’ opinions and advice on matters that affect their welfare and efficiency direct to the State’s decision makers. Your opinion matters, so please register to have the 2015 survey sent to you as soon as it is available.

Registrations for the 2015 VFBV Welfare & Efficiency Survey are now open, and you can register for the survey by going to the VFBV website, or emailing your name, district and email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Alternatively, a hard copy can be mailed to volunteers by contacting the VFBV Office Ph 03 9886 1141.

CFA VALUES

The CFA Values Review is a key component of the CFA Broader Culture Program. Its aim is to clearly articulate the “do’s” and “don’ts” within the organisation, and provide a framework for how we treat one another and our community.

Commencing October 2014, CFA embarked on a consultation process across HQ and the Regions to review the organisational values, with the aim being to identify three to five values that could unify us in the way we work and how we serve our communities.

Following feedback, CFA is now considering the following five organisational values; Safety, Together, Adaptive, Integrity and Respect.

The Committee was advised that CFA is now developing a plan to articulate and monitor the multiple efforts to embed these new values. Further information explaining these values and the way in which they will be applied will be communicated by CFA in the coming months. The Committee has requested that more effort be made to communicate directly with members and brigades, as feedback suggests many members are still unaware that this work was going on.

The survey is now open until 31 August - to take part now, click here.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) invites all CFA volunteers to take part in a volunteer-run survey that will better equip your association to advise the CFA Board and State Government on what’s most important to volunteers.

We designed and road tested the VFBV Volunteer Welfare & Efficiency Survey with volunteers, so it gets straight to the point on issues that matter to the people on the front line.  The survey includes 33 questions and takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete.  Each question asks how important the issue is to you, and how well you feel it is being handled by CFA. 

Why a fourth survey?

This year’s survey results will be compared with the first three years' figures, to show trends in how volunteers feel on each of the issues.  It is a co-operative process; VFBV and the CFA Board both studied the first three years' results and will continue to use the survey to highlight aspects of volunteer support that need attention.  Your individual answers will be confidential, but the overall results will go straight to the decision makers.

The survey is an important step forward in volunteer representation.  VFBV is established under the CFA Act to represent volunteers on all matters that affect their welfare and efficiency, and the VFBV Board commissioned this project to identify the factors that volunteers feel have a key impact on their welfare and efficiency, to establish ways of measuring whether things are getting better or worse, and to develop a process that uses these measures to ensure better support for volunteers and Brigades.  By repeating the survey periodically, VFBV can track trends in volunteers’ opinions.

Open to all CFA volunteers

Most Brigades are affiliated with VFBV, its officials are CFA volunteers and VFBV represents volunteers in dealings with CFA, the State Government and Opposition, and official inquiries, on everything from routine equipment and procedures to the future of the emergency services as a whole.  This survey is making our representation more effective and making sure every volunteer’s voice has the chance to be heard, whether you and your Brigade are directly involved with VFBV or not.

Last year’s survey drew more than 1,600 responses.

The survey will give VFBV facts and figures we can use in working for the benefit of volunteers, Brigades and the communities they protect, so we urge all CFA volunteers to take part. 

To take part in the survey, click here.

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The report on the 2014 VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey is now available - you can read it online here or download it below.

We encourage volunteers to read the report, and to register for the 2015 survey now (see below, the survey starts in July).

This annual survey looks at trends in volunteer opinion, and would not have been possible without the more than 1,600 CFA volunteers who took part in 2014.

The survey began in 2012 and is put to work as a productive tool by both VFBV and CFA.  This year’s results once again confirm some strong trends that are clear pointers to paths for improvement by CFA. 

VFBV will soon run several Drill Down Workshops with groups of volunteers, looking at the outcomes, the causes and possible courses of action.  To add your comments, talk to your District’s VFBV Delegates or call Cliff Overton at the VFBV office on (03) 9886 1141.

Please encourage your Brigade members to sign up for the 2015 survey - send your name, district and email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and you will receive an invitation by email.  Call (03) 9886 1141 if you require a printed copy of the survey by regular mail.

You can read the full report on the 2014 survey here or download a PDF copy below.

 You can sign up for the 2015 survey here.

 

 

Published in VFBV News

The 2014 VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey is the third annual survey of Victoria’s CFA volunteers conducted by Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria.

Whilst there are areas for improvement, it is pleasing to see a trend of gradual improvement against many of the survey aspects. The survey’s intent and main benefit is in guiding effort and focusing energy on just such improvements.

The survey is a practical starting point for conversation and continuous improvement, and with the cooperation of all involved it continues to fulfil the hopes we had for it when we launched it three years ago.

The survey is run by VFBV, informed by growing numbers of volunteers and being put to work as a productive tool by both VFBV and CFA. This year’s survey results once again confirm some strong trends that are clear pointers to paths for improvement by CFA.

A practical and productive document, this survey would not have been possible without the support of CFA volunteers, and our special thanks go out to the more than 1,600 members who participated in 2014.

To all of the volunteers who read this report, I urge you to take part in the 2015 survey and to encourage other members of your Brigade and Group to do the same. By registering now, you can receive the survey by email or by post when it begins in July, and by doing so, you add your own voice to those of the more than 1,600 CFA volunteers who had their say last year.

Andrew Ford
Chief Executive Officer
Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria

 

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The Country Fire Authority (CFA) is a community and volunteer based emergency service, consisting of 60,000 volunteers and 1,300 paid operational and support staff. CFA Brigades protect 60% of suburban Melbourne, regional cities and all of country Victoria every day and night of the year.

CFA’s volunteer based resource model is the only approach capable of economically and practically dealing with the quantum, scale, spread and simultaneous occurrence of fire and other emergencies experienced in Victoria while still providing day to day emergency response.

CFA’s unique integrated volunteer and career staff operating model is fundamental to the surge capacity required to deal with large scale incidents while still providing professional standards of emergency response in Brigade service areas across the state.

The CFA volunteers’ contribution to the community is incalculable – the value of their labour alone is estimated at one billion dollars a year, without considering the replacement cost of their expertise, local knowledge, fundraising, leadership and the substantial losses that would be suffered through fires and other emergencies if the volunteers were not there.

CFA volunteers work at all levels of emergency response, from the frontline crews, through experienced volunteers in specialist and support roles, to the highest of senior incident management roles.

The need for that resource of trained, experienced volunteers is growing. Already one of the most wildfire prone areas in the world, Victoria faces the twin challenges of a rapidly growing population and increased urbanisation within an expanding metropolitan Melbourne and regional cities.

In 2012, the Victorian Parliament unanimously supported changes to the CFA Act to enshrine the requirements for volunteer support and recognition in legislation. 

These important changes recognise that CFA is first and foremost a volunteer-based organisation, in which volunteer officers and members are supported by career staff in a fully integrated manner.

Sections 6G, 6H and 6I of the CFA Act also reinforce the requirement for Government and CFA to encourage, maintain and strengthen the capacity of volunteers to provide the Authority's services, and to consult with VFBV on all matters which may impact upon volunteers.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) is the voice of CFA Volunteers. It is established under Victorian law, the Country Fire Authority Act, to represent the volunteers on all matters that affect their welfare and efficiency.

As an organisation made up of the CFA volunteers it represents, VFBV works in partnership with the State Government, Emergency Management Victoria, the CFA Board and Management, Members of Parliament, official inquiries, municipal councils and instrumentalities, business and the public to proactively shape the future of emergency management.

VFBV is active in partnering with Government and emergency management agencies to ensure that volunteers remain actively involved in emergency management decision making at every level; through day to day practical work in VFBV/CFA Joint Committees, through the Ministerial level Volunteer Consultative Forum, and in working to ensure positive, practical results from reviews such as the Jones Inquiry and the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) report on Managing Emergency Services Volunteers.

The VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey takes this important work another step forward, by addressing a significant gap in the information available to the state’s decision makers.

The VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey, now in its third year, is designed to better understand the issues as volunteers see them, and is used by VFBV to bring the frontline volunteers’ opinions and advice on matters affecting their welfare and efficiency directly to the state’s decision makers.

The purpose of the VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey is to ensure that volunteers’ needs and expectations are sought, analysed and available to Government and CFA so the very foundation of this volunteer-based emergency service continues to be recognised and supported to meet the future emergency services needs of the Victorian community.

The VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey presents an opportunity for Government and CFA to embed performance measures linked to volunteer welfare and efficiency into CFA organisational, departmental and individual work plans, to the benefit of the Victorian community.

Because volunteers are fundamental to Victoria’s emergency management capability, fundamental to community resilience and at the core of communities sharing responsibility for their own safety, it is vitally important to measure and deeply understand how satisfied volunteers are with arrangements in place to support, encourage and enable them to do their work.

If the CFA and State Government wish to retain what is a highly valuable volunteer fire service, the expectations of volunteers, identified by them through this survey, need to be understood and acted upon. A commitment must be made by CFA, VFBV and State Government to meet or exceed the expectations of volunteers on all 33 items. This is fundamental to ensuring the welfare and efficiency of volunteers and their continuing availability as an unpaid emergency service.

Sign up for the 2015 survey

Notes on Data Collection

Notes on Data Integrity

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Observations from the survey results that may warrant further investigation and possible actions include the following:

  1. 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.

  1. 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 and respect and professionalism. Survey comments point to ongoing issues at integrated brigades that require further attention.

The integrated volunteer/career survey responses consistently scored lower on importance and more so on performance. Integrated brigades scored poorly on performance in relation to workplace bullying, conflict resolution, volunteer consultation, morale and supporting new volunteers. These particular statistical results point to ongoing issues within integrated brigades that require specific attention.

  1. Equity, diversity and workplace behaviour.

Survey results show that equity and diversity across gender, race and religion are important issues to volunteers. Generally, female survey respondents rated CFA respect, professionalism, volunteer support and brigade support more highly than males across both importance and performance. The differences occur when the questions relate to CFA’s performance in conflict resolution, bullying and harassment, in which case, females rate the management of such issues lower than males.

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”. 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 deficient approach.

Whilst CFA performance in this area is scored comparatively well against other areas, it remains an area that shows that a gender perception gap still exists in brigades and will require ongoing support.

  1. 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. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Overall.

Overall results across the survey themes (see the graph to the right) show the greatest gaps to be in the training and cooperation themes, and the smallest gap in the recruitment and retention theme. Specific responses within each theme are explained in greater detail in the body of this report.

The analysis of the survey results shows that there are still differences of opinion between genders as to how women are treated in CFA, between volunteer and integrated brigades on how CFA staff treat volunteers, and difference of opinion on how well CFA is performing depending upon how long the volunteer has known CFA.

These differences point to an ongoing need for CFA to improve its culture. The attitudes and norms across CFA need to become more inclusive and more respectful – in terms of volunteer value to the organisation.

Sign up for the 2015 survey

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This report provides comment and detail on matters considered to be important to CFA Volunteers' welfare and efficiency, as measured through the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey.

The report uses survey data provided by a series of statements rated by volunteers for importance and performance. The report also uses information gathered from written response comments against the survey statements.

Observations against the 2014 survey results are presented by survey theme, with comments on both the survey scores and the written comments received.

As with the previous two years, survey data is collated and analysed for trends, outliers and exceptions that guide us to particular issues warranting further analysis. The survey results are compared against demographic profiles that include gender, age, length of time as a volunteer and brigade type.

The survey data is also compared to previous years' results to determine if changes have occurred and whether reasons for these changes can be identified.

Click on the links below to see each of the detailed sections of the 2014 VFBV Volunteer Welfare & Efficiency Survey report;

The 2015 survey will open in July - you can sign up to take the online survey here or request a paper copy of the survey by calling (03) 9886 1141.  Your comments will be confidential.

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To all participants in the 2014 VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey, thank you for taking part.

The Survey Report is available for download at the bottom of this page (Note: the top of the first page is white - if it looks blank on your screen, scroll down a little).

Now in its third year, this survey continues to grow in importance as it captures trends in CFA volunteers’ opinions on matters affecting their welfare and efficiency.

VFBV and the CFA Board have both studied past years' results and will use the survey to highlight aspects of volunteer support that need attention.

The survey would not have been possible without the support of CFA volunteers, in particular the 1,652 – another record number - who participated in 2014.

Please consider the trends revealed in the survey report and encourage your fellow volunteers to do the same. Printed copies are available by mail if you need them, call (03) 9886 1141.

Please also encourage the volunteers around you to sign up for the next VFBV volunteer survey, by emailing their name and Brigade to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling (03) 9886 1141 if they would like the paper version of the survey posted to them.

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Issue 11: December 2014

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 30/11/14)

HEADS UP – MANAGING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

CFA have launched a new web portal that provides information and education on mental health for all CFA members. It has been designed to be accessed from any internet-enabled smartphone, tablet or computer, and can be accessed from http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/headsup

The portal provides information on Bullying, harassment & discrimination, potentially traumatic events, mental health, and interpersonal conflict. It includes useful tools and contact details for immediate assistance.

A new guidebook has also been launched called “Manage your mental health action plan” which is a small A5 sized easy to read guide aimed at CFA members, designed to gather information about the nature of the main challenges, issues, or problems facing CFA members. It helps members understand what triggers you and causes you stress in particular situations, and how you can communicate what your limitations are around your personal wellbeing.

For more information on what tools and guides are available, members can contact the Wellbeing pilot. Contact details are available rom your District office or via the CFA website Brigades Online.

CFA PEOPLE CAPABILITY FRAMEWORK

Recognizing that over the years, CFA’s role has broadened to encompass emergency management and multi-agency response, and that this has resulted in a significant change to the roles CFA members play and the skills they need to develop to support service delivery, CFA is refreshing its People Capability Framework.

The framework intends on developing an enhanced understanding of the capability profile of the CFA workforce that will allow CFA to identify skill and capability gaps, particularly for critical job roles & recruitment strategies.

Whilst workforce planning sounds like it only deals with paid roles, the reality is CFA is a volunteer and community based organisation, and all members contribute to the organisations culture and workforce arrangement, which should be pay status blind.

The committee has been requested to provide feedback on the framework which covers; thinking capabilities, personal capabilities, people capabilities and practical capabilities. The committee has requested volunteer feedback be sought from the regional and district level.

CFA CULTURE SURVEY RESULTS

CFA has provided a high level overview of results from its culture survey. The results show a decline in organisational culture away from CFA’s preferred culture. The preferred culture as identified by members in 2012 was a vision of strong focus on constructive styles such as encouraging & supporting others, resolving conflict constructively, helping others to grow & develop, treating people as more important than things, using good human relation skills, cooperating with others, and working to archive self-set goals and enjoying work. The results from the 2014 survey shows an increased reporting of Passive/Defensive and Aggressive/Defensive styles such as pushing decisions upwards and taking few chances.

The CFA Executive Leadership Team has taken personal responsibility for the culture results, and have embarked on a state wide roadshow to explore the recent culture survey results. Each ELT member has been allocated to regions and will be visiting each of the five CFA regions. A current schedule of locations and dates is available on Brigade online. The committee has requested assurance that volunteer friendly times will be incorporated into the schedule.

Issue 10: August 2014

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 31/08/14)

WELLBEING PILOT EVALUATION

The Wellbeing Pilot Program has been progressively rolled out to CFA Brigades in recent months. Contact with the Wellbeing Field Officers who are able to provide support for issues such as Mental Health concerns and Relationship Issues (which may be related to Interpersonal conflict within a Brigade) can be initiated at a number of points, including individual referral, through the Brigade and CIS Peers. The initiatives being implemented support CFA members to be better able to operate in a psychologically healthy and safe environment and as a result support the ongoing viability of Brigades. Anecdotal feedback to VFBV at this point in time has been positive.

CFA has agreed to the Committees request for it to be actively engaged in the Pilot Program’s evaluation, and delivered upon that commitment with a briefing on how the program is being evaluated. VFBV is keen to ensure that the Pilot Program is developed in a manner that delivers the best results to members and it is important that broad ranging and rigorous evaluation of the program is conducted in an ongoing manner.

Depending on the circumstances of each contact with the Wellbeing Field Officers the evaluation process will have the flexibility to be sensitively undertaken according to the needs and appropriate follow up for each case’s ongoing health and progress. Evaluation will in most instances not be limited to one opportunity to provide feedback as it may be that initially the outcomes of the support from the Wellbeing Field Officers may not be known for some time or that events at a local or personal level may require that implemented strategies are reviewed.

OH&S POLICIES AND PROCEDURES REVIEW

CFA has undertaken a review of many OH&S policies and procedures as a result of recent and ongoing changes in Legislation. The Committee has been provided with draft copies of the changes, and had a productive discussion surrounding the purpose and objectives of the procedures.

Delegates have raised their concerns that many of the organisations OH&S Policies and Procedures are written very much in the context of a CFA Office location, and are extremely difficult to understand within a Brigade context. Given the vast majority of CFA workplaces are in fact Fire Stations, and volunteers operate in a far more complex and dynamic environment than administration offices, the Committee has urged CFA produce far simpler, practical and easier to read guidance for Brigades use.

CFA has agreed to investigate an alternate strategy that would still ensure member and community safety is maintained without Brigades incurring an unnecessarily onerous burden of paperwork and training in procedures that are rarely used and/or are not applicable. An example used by the Committee was the requirement for all locations to conduct a fire drill once a year. There are 1,219 CFA work locations that would find this requirement humorous to say the least.    

VOLUNTEER EQUAL OPPORUNTIY OFFICERS

CFA has advised that they will no longer be supporting the voluntary EEO Officer network that was established in the early 90’s. CFA data indicates that in recent years there have been very few contacts made by members with these Officers, and that training and skill maintenance has been progressively scaled back over the years as the complexity of legislation in this field has increased. CFA feels this role can now be better managed through the Wellbeing Field Officers and specialist support available through the Wellbeing Pilot. The Committee has cautiously accepted the decision, but has raised its concern with the sustainability of a paid only model. Delegates still see value in a voluntary network similar to the CIS Peer Program, which would embed these skills and knowledge within Brigades.

VFBV/CFA Joint HR, Welfare and OH&S Committee

2 Minute Briefing

Issue 9: May 2014

WELLBEING PILOT

The committee received a briefing on the Wellbeing Pilot that is being funded through the Volunteer Support Program. This pilot will see 10 specialist people hired to provide brigades with direct support for mental health & relationship management. This encompasses aspects such as physiological first aid, and includes assisting with behavioural and interpersonal conflict issues which sometimes arise within brigades.

The Wellbeing Pilot Project is not designed to replace the very important role of CIS Peers but will operate at a higher level of support for CFA members. In conjunction with the member concerned, Peers may in fact choose to make a referral to the Intake & Triage Support Officer to provide more specialist support. It is anticipated that this specialist support will enable Operational Leaders to be more focused on their role of protecting lives and property.

The discussion provided the committee the opportunity to discuss VFBV concerns around the centralized model proposed by the pilot, and the philosophical argument that member welfare and wellbeing should be seen by the organisation as core business. VFBV is very supportive of this program and its outcomes but consider the care of members to be at the core of CFA’s business and funding, and not (as is the case currently) to be the subject of opportunistic funding through the Volunteer Support Program. The committee will be closely monitoring the evaluation of this program and have requested to be actively & regularly engaged during the pilot period in order to inform the final evaluation of the pilot early next year.

All cases will be managed confidentially, and CFA will shortly be advertising the service and contact number. VFBV delegates have requested CFA to ensure all brigades are included in the communique, and not to rely solely on the CFA intranet to make members aware of what is available.

VFBV WELFARE & EFFICIENCY SURVEY

The VFBV Welfare and Efficiency Survey will be conducted for the third time in June. The survey should be live by the time this edition goes to press, or shortly thereafter.

This very important survey is an opportunity for volunteers to be able to provide feedback on how they perceive many aspects of their involvement as a CFA volunteer. The results of this survey are taken very seriously at all levels within CFA and are used in most Districts to guide change and improve performance and relationships across the organisation. The committee has agreed to work together to monitor the results, and champion initiatives aimed at addressing the concerns raised by Volunteers.

There are 33 questions in the survey which takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Your answers are confidential and are used to advise both the CFA and Government on a range of issues that affect volunteers.

Please encourage as many volunteers as you can to visit the VFBV website at www.vfbv.com.au to complete the survey.

Alternatively members can choose to contact the VFBV Office on (03) 9886 1141 for a hard copy to be posted to you.

HR, Welfare and OH&S

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing

Issue 8, March 2014

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 02/03/2014)

PRESUMPTIVE LEGISLATION
VFBV is preparing to step up it’s campaign for presumptive legislation, the firefighters’ cancer law.

The VFBV Board this week resolved to set up a trust account and seek donations to support the campaign.

The VFBV Presumptive Legislation Campaign Trust Account will be a specific purpose trust account to meet the costs of VFBV’s campaign for presumptive legislation for firefighters, including;


• Provision of information to members and the public
• Research and analysis
• Legal support, and
• Legal representation costs relevant to the pursuit of presumptive legislation, including but not limited to test cases as deemed necessary.

VFBV will be advertising broadly to encourage public and internal support for this fund raising effort.

The VFBV Presumptive Legislation Campaign Trust Fund is clearly aimed at supporting our pursuit of presumptive legislation and fair protection for firefighters.
Funds raised will assist our campaign efforts and test case pursuit, but will not extend to covering personal illness related compensation as we clearly see this as an obligation for the CFA volunteer Compensation arrangements.

What volunteers can do;
- Brigades, Groups and District Councils, as well as the public, will soon be invited to donate to the fund – details of how to donate will be posted on our website later this week
- Raise the issue of presumptive legislation/the firefighters’ cancer law at any opportunity with Members of Parliament, local media and online

You can download VFBV’s Notes for MPs and Notes for Volunteers by clicking here

 

MEMBERS IN RECEIPT OF DISABILITY PENSION

As reported in Edition 7 of this 2 minute Briefing, CFA is developing a Position and Policy for CFA members currently in receipt of a Disability Pension. This may include the introduction of a “reasonable adjustment” policy that CFA could impose to introduce controls & restrictions on members who are assessed medically to be at risk due to their illness or condition.
State Councillors were provided a detailed VFBV Information Paper, and a CFA Information Paper that outlines the issue, impacts and perceived risks. State Councillors have been requested to brief their respective District Councils & seek member feedback.

The Committee will use this feedback to progress the issue, and members (especially those that may be in receipt of a Disability Pension) are urged to discuss the paper with their State Councillors so that feedback can be used to help guide the committee in providing advice back to CFA, as the Policy is developed.

HR, Welfare and OH&S

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 10/11/2013)

PRESUMPTIVE LEGISLATION

VFBV calls on volunteers to write to State MPs calling for support for the firefighters’ cancer law.  VFBV is receiving copies of Brigades’ and volunteers’ letters, and the MPs’ replies.  The issue will be raised in Parliament in December, but lacks Government support and Victoria lags behind; Tasmania now has presumptive legislation and the SA and WA Governments have begun putting through legislation.  See www.vfbv.com.au for how to get involved.

CFA PEOPLE STRATEGY 2013 - 2015

CFA is progressing the development of a People strategy to guide the work under five (5) key areas:  Leadership, Culture, Health Safety & Environment, People Sustainability and People Capability.

As part of the development of this strategy, CFA is intending to conduct a further round of their CFA Culture Survey to examine trends and shifts in responses from the first survey in 2013. The findings from this research will be built into the design and implementation of the CFA People Strategy.

MEMBERS IN RECEIPT OF DISABILITY PENSION

The issue of members on a disability pension who make an injury compensation claim requires some careful consideration by CFA and VFBV. CFA has formed no definitive position or policy to condone a person undertaking firefighting activities; morally and legally there is a need for some processes and rules to be introduced to ensure the welfare of the member and of the crew they may be part of.

The development of a CFA Position /Policy is in its early days, however VFBV is engaged in the progression of draft documents that explore the options for the management of members who have illnesses or conditions (recognised by the receipt of disability pension support) and how CFA may require medical and fitness for duty assessments of any member current or future that is in receipt of a disability pension. This may include the introduction of a reasonable adjustment policy that CFA could impose to introduce controls and restrictions on members who are assessed medically to be at risk due to their illness or condition.

VFBV would indicate that CFA membership is typical of the general population, thus with the many thousands of CFA volunteers engaged in firefighting activities, a similar percentage of volunteers may be impacted by the introduction of a CFA policy/position on this matter.

VFBV delegates will discuss the matter in more detail at the December 2013 meeting

OH&S CLAIM STATISTICS

Regular quarterly snapshot reports are considered each meeting on injury / OH&S statistics with interesting trends in the number, severity and cause of injuries across CFA.

Not surprisingly the vast majority of injuries are soft tissue, sprains, strains and minor abrasions with around half of all claims occurring in non-response or non-emergency situations. The recent NSW support deployment triggered 12 injury reports, all relatively minor.

The Committee members have recommended that CFA communicate to members some typical examples of injury causes with many being the result of careless / unwise behaviours and actions that could be avoided or minimised with greater awareness.

CFA reported that the Member Healthwatch Program is gaining high recognition as an industry innovation leader and is shortlisted for Fire Awareness Award consideration. CFA has embraced this program building it into the ongoing business and service to member’s arrangements.

HR, Welfare and OH&S Joint Committee 2 Minute Briefing 

Issue 6, 11 August 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 11/08/2013)

CREATING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER

The committee discussed the Creating our Future Together project. Feedback regarding the recent round of presentations included:

  • Timeframe is not sufficient for consideration of proposal.  It is difficult to align feedback timelines with Group meeting schedules, some groups only meet once every 2 months.. 
  • There have been concerns raised that Ops people might be put under additional pressure with the structure.
  • Implementation of the helpdesk concept will be critical to its success. A helpdesk might delay or duplicate issues if not implemented well.  There need to be clarity about what the issues that go to the helpdesk.  Need to make sure Districts are not left out of the loop with queries going to a help desk. 
    • Proposed model will need to incorporate support required during fire season.
    • Need to move decision making authority to the districts consistent with mission command principles.

 

CFA’s LEADERSHIP FRAMEWORK

Draft Leadership Framework was tabled for feedback. To date feedback has been positive with discussions including the role of situational leadership and the need to be adaptable as leaders. Committee members saw the value in integrating the framework into processes including succession and development. Discussion included the concept of Leaders at All Levels and the group identified key areas to integrate the framework into including Forums, skills maintenance and mentoring and coaching programs. There was acknowledgement that “Leadership” has been raised in many areas ie Jones Report/Royal Commission etc.  Feedback included:

  • Strong agreement that it needs to reflect CFA member’s views and not be just a theoretical model. 
  • Need to embed this in how we work - a person appointed to the role may not be the role they always perform, eg: a Brigade Captain or Group Officer could be a crew member on a strike team during a major incident.  Leadership roles vary and are contextual. Good leaders need to be able to be led by others in certain situations
  • Delegations need to align to situational leadership.
  • People need to be able to step in & out of leadership.
  • Developing leaders for the future as a focus.  

 

OHS&E RESOURCES CONFIRMED AND ONGOING

CFA have advised that additional ongoing OHS&E positions have been approved for the deployment of dedicated OHS&E specialists across the CFA network. These much anticipated roles have been supported in some of the most difficult financial management times, yet these appointments are testament to the importance that Occupational Health, Safety and Environment must play in any organisation, including CFA.

VFBV was notifed of CFA’s decision recently and welcome the investment in dedicated resources to work with all members, much of the role requiring field presence and interaction. VFBV’s District Council networks will have specific interest in developing stong working relationships with these OHS&E personnel and look to integrate their own District and Council safety and environment work into the strong state network this initiative will offer.

The third VFBV Volunteer Welfare & Efficiency Survey will be online in the middle of 2014. To pre-register to receive the 2014 survey via email, click here.

The survey is a total of 33 questions chosen by volunteers and takes about 15 minutes to complete. Your answers are confidential.

Last year’s survey was a great success with more than 1,400 participants. VFBV examined the results in detail to guide its own actions and briefed the CFA Board.  Download the full report below.

The third survey will show trends in volunteer opinions on issues chosen by your fellow volunteers and if you register today you’ll receive the survey automatically as soon as it opens.

Download the full report below

VFBV’s role under the CFA Act is to ‘consider and bring to the attention of the Authority (CFA) all matters affecting volunteer welfare and efficiency (other than questions of discipline and promotion).

Earlier this year, VFBV conducted its second survey to measure volunteer perceptions about key matters that volunteers feel impact on their welfare and efficiency.

There was again a tremendous response, with more than 1,450 participants – an 80% increase over the 2012 survey – with more volunteers responding from every District, and greater percentages of female volunteers, younger volunteers and newer volunteers.

The survey gave volunteers the chance to improve the future welfare and efficiency of CFA volunteers and to better equip VFBV for its work.

You can download the full results of the 2013 survey below.

The first survey was well received by CFA’s Board and senior management in 2012, and VFBV now looks to working with CFA in moving from identifying areas needing attention to actively working to achieve improvements in those areas.

Every person who has completed the survey and provided contact details will be sent a full copy of the survey.

The survey is designed to provide a benchmark assessment of CFA volunteers’ perceptions about key factors affecting their welfare and efficiency.

Ongoing surveys will allow us to compare results with the earlier surveys and identify ongoing trends.  To pre-register to receive the 2014 survey via email, click here.

VFBV will now continue work with CFA to explore reasons behind key performance gaps; recognise and promote good practice; find solutions to address identified weaknesses; and provide the starting point for future trend analysis and continuous improvement.

 

Published in VFBV News
Monday, 01 July 2013 14:20

24/7 CFA member assistance program

The CFA member assistance program is now available 24 hours a day and has a new phone number – 1300 795 711.

The program has been upgraded to provide a more tailored service for CFA members and their immediate families.

Closer links with other CFA support services such as peer and chaplaincy support and compensation programs, as well as short-term counselling support across the state, will make it easier for members to access the support they need.

Around 100 counselling sessions are taken up each year by CFA members and their immediate families about a range of issues including relationships, parenting advice, depression, anxiety, addiction and trauma.

Information cards will be distributed through regional offices, peer support coordinators and sent with the spring edition of Brigade magazine to promote the new 1300 795 711 number.

Contact the organisational wellbeing team on 9262 8836 for further information about the program or other wellbeing initiatives.

See https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/new-member-assistance-program.html for some useful links on CFA welfare for members.

Published in CFA News
Monday, 11 March 2013 00:00

VFBV Publications

This page is a resource for volunteers, with a wide range of useful documents for download, including;

To find VFBV's monthly newsletter, our Page 2 column in FireWise, click here.

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Published in Library

The Fund began its long history of helping volunteers in need in 1913, when it was first established by urban volunteers as the VUFBA Welfare Fund.

On 1 November 2008, the newly formed Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria, with generous support from the Victorian Government, launched the VFBV Welfare Fund and extended that offer of support to all CFA volunteers.

Over the years, the Fund has helped close to 1,200 volunteers, with more than $1.8 million in grants, and today more than 1,000 CFA Brigades subscribe to the Fund each year.

For the 2018/2019 financial year, the VFBV Welfare Fund distributed a total of $96,735 to assist 30 volunteers in need.

The Fund works as a capital fund and offers small grants to CFA volunteers, long serving former volunteers and their families, who are experiencing significant financial hardship.  Typical cases involve prolonged illness, bereavement, loss of earnings, or the accommodation and travel costs associated with supporting a relative in hospital.

The Welfare Fund is run under Australian Tax Office rules, independently audited, uses only State Government approved investments, and the welfare grant and investment decisions are made by a committee of long serving CFA volunteers. Investments are managed to provide an enduring fund that has existed since 1913 and ensures volunteers now and in the future are protected by fund income that outperforms inflation and minimises annual brigade subscriptions for each member brigade. 

To subscribe to the Welfare Fund, Brigades must be affiliated with VFBV, which covers the operating costs so that any money the Fund receives is used entirely to help volunteers in need.

You can download the VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund brochure here.

Public and Corporate donations are welcome. If you would like to donate to the Fund please contact the VFBV office on (03) 9886 1141.

Click on the below link to make an online donation via GiveNow:

Or Direct Deposits can be sent to the following account: 

Account Name:

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria Welfare Fund

Account Number:

135 312 478

BSB Number:

633 000

Published in Welfare Fund
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 00:00

Natural Disaster Fund

CFA/VFBV Natural Disaster Relief Fund

Emergency Service volunteers are often victims of the disaster too, losing homes, businesses and other assets while they work to protect their communities.

Funds are in place to assist volunteers who have been directly impacted by natural disasters.  The funds are volunteer run, and are designed to respond quickly to help volunteer firefighters in need.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How to Donate

To help Victorian Volunteer firefighters, CFA & VFBV modified our existing Drought Relief Fund that has been operating since 2007 to update it to a Natural Disaster Support Fund. All funds collected will be used to support Victorian CFA volunteers and their immediate families affected by Natural disasters such as Flood, Drought and Fire.

Branch: Bendigo Bank Account name: CFA/VFBV Support Fund BSB: 633-000     Account number: 132 481 060

The fund is administered by a sub-committee of the VFBV Board, which makes it low on red tape and quick to help those in greatest need. The fund operates in the same way that the CFA/VFBV Drought Support Fund operated, every cent donated will go directly to volunteers. No administration costs are deducted from the Fund - they are borne entirely by CFA and VFBV.

Donations can be made to VFBV's fund by visiting any Bendigo Bank branch and using the following details:

Account name: CFA/VFBV Support Fund  BSB: 633-000 Account number: 132 481 060

Or by posting a cheque made payable to;

"CFA/VFBV Support Fund" and mailed to:

CFA/VFBV Support Fund  C-/ Adam Barnett, Executive Officer  PO Box 453  Mt Waverly VIC 3149

Published in Other
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 00:00

Welfare Fund Frequently Asked Questions

VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund

Download the VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund brochure here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my brigade use part of their CFA allowance to pay the annual welfare fund contribution fee?

Yes. Each brigade can decide to use funds from their own resources to make the welfare fund contribution payment. Brigade allowances are one source of available funds that may be used to cover the annual contribution fees. Membership of the VFBV Welfare Fund is a brigade decision, as is the use of funds from whichever source including the annual CFA Brigade Allowance, to pay the contribution fee.

How is the annual brigade contribution fee decided upon, and will it alter from year to year?

The Welfare Fund Committee of Management will seek advice on the level of activity of the fund, the resilience of monies invested and the ability of the Fund to sustain itself without eroding the invested capital. This advice will be sought every six months.

The annual contribution will be set in the last quarter of each financial year and will be based on the return on investments, take-up of brigades electing to contribute as Welfare Fund members, the number of claims and their value. Every attempt will be made to keep brigade contribution fees as low as possible, and affordable for all brigades.

Our member is incapacitated by illness or a medical condition. Do we send originals of medical reports or certificates to support our application?

No. Copies that may support the application are useful. The Committee of Management members make their decisions based on the information available in the application, so provide plenty of detail.

Does the VFBV Welfare Fund cover long serving ex members?

Yes. Any ex member of a contributing CFA Brigade who was a registered member for 20 years or more is covered by their former brigade's membership to the fund.

How are payments (grant/monies) paid to the claimant?

In the majority of cases, grant monies are paid directly to the member brigade via the Brigade Captain or Brigade Secretary.  There are occasions where the Welfare Fund will make direct payments to organisations to clear outstanding debts or arrears. The Welfare Fund Secretary can advise.

Can the VFBV Welfare Fund accept donations and provide receipts?

Yes. Our taxation status as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) allows the VFBV Welfare Fund to accept cash donations and provide a receipt for taxation purposes to the donors.

In the claim process, does the Brigade send originals or copies of bills or invoices as part of the application?

No. Be as detailed as possible in the items and amounts that are sought in the application, on the application form or any attachment. If originals are sent, please include a self addressed envelope for their return.

What are some examples of financial help sought in past applications for Welfare Fund support?

A - Members who find themselves in severe financial hardship due to illness/injury.  - Unable to make payments on utility and household bills and accounts, mortgage repayments, rent.  - Help to meet funeral expenses.  - Purchase specialist medical equipment.  - Assist with travel expenses during family crisis, hospitalisation etc.

Why do brigades have to affiliate with VFBV before they can join the Welfare Fund?

The administration costs associated with managing and operating the VFBV Welfare Fund are being met from VFBV funds. This will ensure that costs will not erode the funds available for claims to support brigade members.

Can individual brigade members make a direct Welfare Fund application?

Generally no. Brigades are the Fund members and in devolving the responsibility to brigades to manage any funds awarded, confidentiality and governance of member funds is maintained at this level. Should any individual not wish to approach their brigade management, they should consider speaking to their District Council representatives or State Councillors for advice.

Who is eligible for support for Welfare Fund grants?

Registered CFA members of brigades that contribute to the VFBV Welfare Fund are eligible to make application. Also immediate dependent family members of a brigade member, are eligible to make application. Ex members of a Welfare Fund member brigade are also eligible subject to the member having been a registered CFA volunteer for 20 years or more.

Will the applicant be contacted about the claim?

Unlikely. In most cases, contact is made between the Brigade Captain and / or Secretary and the Welfare Fund Secretary. Should additional information be required to clarify details of an application, the Welfare Fund Secretary will contact the Brigade Captain and / or Secretary.

How does the Brigade manage the funds if a welfare grant is made?

VFBV will provide payment to the Member Brigade by cheque, payable to the Brigade. Most grants are untied funds and thus, we expect the Brigade to dispense the funds to meet the application criteria ie. payment of accounts in arrears, to cover funeral expenses etc.

The letter accompanying payment to the Brigade from the Welfare Fund Secretary will explain how the grant monies have been awarded, and for what specific purpose they are to be used.  However, we understand Brigades are in a much better position to assess their member’s immediate needs particularly at the time of the grant being received. Ultimately, brigades provide the support most appropriate at the time.

Is there an appeal process should the Brigade disagree with the Committee of Management’s decision?

No. The decision of the VFBV Welfare Fund Committee of Management is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Important: the level of detail supplied in the application is critical to provide the Committee members with a comprehensive picture of the circumstances and the assistance sought.

Does the Brigade need to report how any grant funds are spent? Do we provide receipt?

No. The strength of the process lies with the VFBV and the Brigade managers jointly managing the application and the grant. Most grants of monies are untied, thus VFBV entrust the Brigade to dispense the funds to the benefit of their member. VFBV Welfare Fund does not require a receipt(s) for the untied monies granted to the Brigade.

Is there a limit to the funds that are granted per application?

Initially Yes. Although there are exceptions allowed by the Welfare Fund Rules – adopted in October 2008, the Committee of Management can make grants to a maximum of $5,000 for any application. On average most grants are around the $2,000 to $2,500 mark. A grant in excess of $5,000 would need to be referred to and approved by the VFBV Board.

Are personal fund financial details of the application required to be provided?

No . Although the application pack is made up of 3 parts. Part 3 is a budget calculator that not only assists claimants to prepare their own personal/family budget, but if submitted may provide the Committee of Management with a clearer picture of what level of assistance is required.

It is important to note that the clearer the picture presented to the Committee of Management in the application form, the easier it will be for an informed and quick decision to be made.

Many applications have been received with an attached statement by the brigade that explains the member’s circumstances and clearly indicates the type and level of support sought. This can assist the Committee to arrive at an informed decision.

What privacy provisions relating to the applicant and their personal details have been established?

Ideally, Brigade OIC’s/Secretaries along with the Welfare Fund Secretary process the claim, with all details contained to protect the privacy and details of any claim. Every effort is made by VFBV staff and Committee of Management to be discrete and to keep details of the claim strictly confidential. No external reporting of details occurs.

Will full details of claims and personal details be divulged or published?

No. Details of the applicant, the Brigade, or the circumstances surrounding the application or processing of a claim are NOT communicated or reported. The VFBV Welfare Fund Committee of Management reports broadly to the VFBV Board, the number of claims processed and total value of claims on a monthly basis.

Is GST payable on the Welfare Fund Contribution?

No. VFBV Welfare Fund brigade contributions do not attract GST.

Download the VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund brochure here.

 

Published in Membership
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 00:00

Welfare Fund

VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund

Download the VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund Brochure here

Introduction

The VFBV Welfare Fund offers small grants to CFA volunteers, long serving former volunteers and their families, who are experiencing significant financial hardship. 

Typical cases involve prolonged illness, bereavement, loss of earnings, or the accommodation and travel costs associated with supporting a relative in hospital.

The Welfare Fund is run under Australian Tax Office rules, independently audited, uses only State Government approved investments, and the welfare grant and investment decisions are made by a committee of long serving CFA volunteers.

To subscribe to the Welfare Fund, Brigades must be affiliated with VFBV, which covers the operating costs so that any money the Fund receives is used entirely to help volunteers in need.

Public and Corporate donations are welcome. If you would like to donate to the fund please contact the VFBV office on (03) 9886 1141.  For more information see the VFBV Welfare Fund Brochure.

The number of CFA Brigades subscribing to the VFBV Welfare Fund has risen steadily in recent years.

Funding

In May 2008, The State Government committed to providing a one off capital injection of $2m. These funds, combined with funds held by the VUFBA Volunteer Welfare Fund which has been providing support to urban volunteers since 1913, have been invested and the return on these investments together with annual subscription fees are used to provide ongoing support to volunteers in need.

The annual contribution fee for Brigades is set annually by the Welfare Fund Committee of Management and approved by the VFBV Board. The setting of the fee may be adjusted either up or down each year to ensure the Fund’s capital base is not eroded.

Key Funding Principles are:

•  The Fund must maintain its capital value in real terms

•  Brigade contribution fees are essential to the Fund but need to be affordable

Public and Corporate donations are welcome. If you would like to donate to the fund please contact the VFBV office on (03) 9886 1141.

Eligibility

Unforeseen emergencies such as loss of work, family illness or death, accidental injury or even drought or floods, can place significant financial burden on our volunteers.

Brigade membership entitles coverage through the VFBV Welfare Fund to provide assistance for:

• members

• their families, and

• any ex-member of a brigade who was a registered volunteer for 20 years or more

For more information, download a copy of the VFBV Welfare Fund Brochure.

Affiliation and Fees

To be eligible to subscribe to the Fund, each Brigade must be affiliated with VFBV.  This is because VFBV meets all of the Fund’s running and administrative costs, so every dollar in subscriptions or donations can be invested, with the earnings from those investments used to help volunteers in need.

Each Brigade receives annual invoices for the VFBV Affiliation Fee and the VFBV Welfare Fund contribution.

BRIGADE CONTRIBUTION FEES

The VFBV Welfare Fund Committee of Management set the brigade contribution fee for 2022/23 year at $70.00 per brigade. No GST is payable.

Brigades wishing to make EFT payments (as opposed to Cheque) should contact the VFBV office on (03) 9886 1141 before initiating the transfer.

Under the Fund's rules, the period of subscription is from 1 July to the following 30 June, with subscriptions required to be paid by 31 December each year to avoid a waiting period.

Application Process

Application for a welfare grant must be completed by the Brigade Captain and the Brigade Secretary on behalf of the claimant.  Particulars of the case should be clearly described to enable the Committee to make an informed decision.

Both the Brigade Captain and Secretary are required to finalise the application by providing their recommendation, verification and signature.

Verified applications along with all supporting documentation must be forwarded to the Fund Secretary by the Brigade Secretary.

Applications for welfare grants are determined by the Committee of Management and every decision is final and without appeal.

All applications are kept confidential and processed with the utmost discretion.

APPLICATION FORMS are emailed/posted to the Brigade Captain or Secretary only, in accordance with the Fund Rules, and the accompanying information pack also contains instructions and support information.

Please Note: Application Forms cannot be downloaded from this site.  As it is a controlled document, they can only be obtained through contact with the Fund Secretary.

 

For more information on the Welfare Fund, contact the Welfare Fund Secretary via the VFBV Office on (03) 9886 1141 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Published in Membership
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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