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Tuesday, 21 April 2015 00:00

2014 VFBV Volunteer Survey - Conclusion

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

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

Training needs and expectations.

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

Variation between brigades.

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

Equity, diversity and workplace behaviour.

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

The importance of consultation with brigades.

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

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

The influence of volunteer length of service.

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

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

Satisfaction.

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

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

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015 00:00

2014 VFBV Volunteer Survey - Observations

Strengths.

 In 2014, the ‘top three’ smallest gaps (i.e. highest satisfaction levels) between importance and performance, were for the survey statements listed above. When compared against importance scores for statements, the equal highest importance score was against the statement “there are no barriers to the roles women can perform in my brigade”.

For the performance scores, the two highest scores were against the statements “there are no barriers to the roles women can perform in my brigade” and “people from all cultural backgrounds, different religious, political and personal beliefs are all made welcome at my brigade”. 

This is consistent with 2013 survey results where the same questions scored highly in importance and performance, as well as having small gaps.

Written comments from respondents support the overall CFA approach to encouraging diversity and addressing poor workplace behaviour, but some of the comments refer to ongoing workplace behaviour issues at specific brigades that are being poorly managed or ignored.

The statement “I feel the time I devote to CFA is productive and worthwhile” scores consistently high on importance and performance and records the third smallest gap across the last two surveys. This is reflective of the survey results for volunteer satisfaction with their role in CFA.

 

 
Weaknesses.

In 2014, the ‘top three’ largest gaps (i.e. lowest satisfaction levels) between importance and performance, were for the survey statements listed above.

The largest gap between importance and performance for a single statement was a score of 3.0 for the statement “CFA provides enough training opportunities in formats, at times and locations that make it easy for me to participate”. This is consistent with 2013 survey results for the same statement having the largest gap and low satisfaction levels.

The two statements considered as the worst performing by 2014 survey respondents were “CFA provides enough training opportunities in formats, at times and locations that make it easy for me to participate” and “volunteers are effectively consulted and involved in decision making at CFA corporate level”. Both statements scored below 6 for performance, the only two to do so in 2014.

The biggest improvement in gap, between importance and performance for a statement from 2013 to 2014 survey results, was the decrease in gap for the statement “volunteers are effectively consulted and involved in decision making at CFA corporate level”.

Whilst this may be seen as a positive, this is the only statement to score below 5 in importance in 2013 and the improvement to a score of 5.8 in 2014, the improvement is coming from a very low base and remains an issue for volunteers.

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To take part in the 2015 VFBV Volunteer Survey, send your name, Brigade and email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The first survey in 2012 attracted responses from 805 CFA volunteers. Subsequent surveys using the same format have seen the survey result increase to 1,652 volunteer responses in 2014.


Given the high number of survey responses against the number of CFA volunteers, this represents a very robust sample of the views of CFA volunteers and can be treated as a ‘statistically significant’ response.


Sample size calculators indicate that 1,652 valid survey responses from a CFA volunteer ‘population’ of 60,000 provides a 95% level of confidence (getting the right answer 95 times out of 100) in the survey results, as representing the views of CFA volunteers.


Previous survey analysis for VFBV by Dawson McDonald demonstrated the statistical significance of the survey results against well-known Australian surveys. The VFBV survey results in 2013 achieved a 95% confidence level with a confidence interval of +/- 2.6%, considerably greater than many national surveys.

Confidence interval comparison table - VFBV 2013 Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency report.

Survey respondents were given the option of responding anonymously or leaving their email address if they wished to be kept informed on progress with the survey results. This ensured that the survey respondents could provide their honest and open opinions in their written responses to the survey statements.


For security purposes, all online survey responses are entered into a securely encrypted electronic survey record system. All physical survey responses are also entered into the online system and destroyed once the data is recorded.

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Notes on Data Collection

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The VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey was from the outset, designed and detailed by CFA volunteers.

In 2012, with the assistance of a professional survey development consultancy, VFBV workshopped with volunteers from across Victoria, to identify key issues considered to be the key factors underpinning their welfare and efficiency. Key recurring themes emerging from the workshop with this group were then used to construct the survey.

The survey consists of 33 statements addressing the welfare and efficiency of CFA volunteers. Survey respondents are asked to score each statement twice: firstly on how important it is for the statement to be true and secondly, how they perceive performance against that statement. Scores are applied to a 0 – 10 sliding scale where for importance, 0 is ‘not at all important’ and 10 is ‘very important – and in the case of performance, 0 is ‘strongly disagree’ and 10 is ‘strongly agree’.

Scores for importance are regarded as the expectations of CFA volunteers. Where scores for performance are lower than those for importance, the result suggests that expectations are not being met. The difference between importance and performance in the survey results for each question is referred to as the gap.

The chart below indicates a typical survey response against a given statement, where the total number of responses to the statement produce an average gap between importance and performance (in this case ‘2’).

 


The 33 survey statements are grouped into seven themes for analysis of the results. Statements are randomly listed in the survey to avoid leading the results. The results are then re grouped under seven themes for analysis purposes.

The seven survey analysis themes are:

  • Respect and professionalism
  • My role as a volunteer
  • Cooperation
  • Support from CFA
  • Training by CFA
  • Recruitment and retention
  • People management – my brigade

The survey design allows each theme to be explored for variations between respondents, including brigade service/risk environment (rural, urban or integrated), gender, volunteer age and length of service.

The results can also be analysed from Region to Region, with CFA’s Regional structure allowing for the identification of examples of good practice or conversely, areas where a lacking performance needs most attention.

Whilst the survey collects quantitative data that is easily expressed in results that measure importance, performance and gap, the survey also provides the respondent the opportunity to reply to any of the statements with their own thoughts and opinions.

In this way the survey also collects some qualitative data than can be used to gain insight into what sits behind the numerical results.

With survey results from the past three years, VFBV is now able to observe trends over time.

Recently, further work has also been undertaken with the assistance of university researchers with expertise in quantitative survey analysis to drill down into the survey results and explore specific demographic trends or patterns that emerge.

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Notes on Data Integrity

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Monday, 20 April 2015 00:00

VFBV Leadership Course in Demand

Places in this year’s VFBV Leadership Program course have been in demand, with 92 applicants for 50 positions.

The program is funded by VFBV, with additional funding from the Department of Justice to assist with our multi-agency approach, but with such strong demand we were able to make a successful application to Emergency Management Victoria for top up funding sufficient for an extra 10 participants for this year’s course, taking the total to 60.

This is the sixth course, and includes volunteers from CFA, VICSES, Lifesaving Victoria, the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, Ambulance Victoria CERT and St John Ambulance.

The successful applicants have been advised and the Lilydale and Werribee groups have had their first session.

The VFBV Leadership Program has equipped more than 200 successful participants with Certificate IV in Frontline Management, a nationally recognised qualification provided under the auspices of Chisholm Institute of TAFE.

Published in VFBV News

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.

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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.

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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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Tuesday, 07 April 2015 00:00

Last Call for ESF Volunteer Leaders Forum

The Application deadline for this year’s Emergency Services Foundation’s Volunteer Leaders Forum is this Friday, 10th April.

There are a few spots still available, and it’s all free.  All you have to do is get yourself there.

Again, it will be based at the St Kilda Novotel on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May 2015.

Delegates will meet top people in emergency services, from the Victorian Minister for Emergency Services to the Director-General of Emergency Management Australia.  And they’ll also hear from some pretty amazing people, volunteers who’ve achieved great things in their sector.

They will also visit the State Police Operations Centre, Airservices Australia’s training centre at Tullamarine and the Department of Environment’s special Equipment Development Unit.

The full program is contained in the flyer, which you can download at http://www.hpe.com.au/esf/esfvols.html

Delegates will receive free accommodation at the hotel (generally twinshare) on the Friday and Saturday nights.  All meals are provided on Saturday and Sunday, including the BBQ and USAR display on Saturday evening.

If you have ‘leadership potential’, complete the Application Form in the flyer, and get it back to the secretariat immediately.  We expect more applicants than places, so make sure you get in quickly.

Successful applicants will be advised by Friday 17th April.

 

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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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Tuesday, 09 December 2014 00:00

Female Fit PPC Update

Members would remember in the October edition of our Newsletter & the Fireman, the advice that elastic waisted bushfire PPC was available that had been specifically designed to suit female members who may have difficulty wearing braces. This advice followed discussions between VFBV and CFA’s CEO and Chief Officer, who assured us that female members could exchange their existing PPC as a basic entitlement and that it would not be subject to District approval.

Following our article, VFBV received calls from female members who had tried to access the new PPC from their local CFA stores, only to be turned away. Advice given to members has ranged from – it is only available to new members, it is only available if you can demonstrate your existing PPC is unserviceable or damaged, or that it is not available due to budget cuts.

VFBV has been advocating for female fit PPC since 2004, and our position has always been female members are entitled to garments that have been specifically designed to cater for their needs and comfort, and they should not need to justify nor fight for what should be a basic entitlement. The Chief Officer has agreed, and was shocked at what was occurring in some Districts.

VFBV knows that it often takes time for CFA policy messages to filter down through Regions and Districts. We also know that sometimes volunteers get the run around at the local level when Regions or Districts put their own interpretation on corporate policy and apply their own extra barriers and red tape. This is not acceptable to us, and thankfully nor to CFA Executive. After hearing VFBV’s concerns, the Chief Officer has reissued a Memo to all District Offices and OM/OO’s instructing that female fit bushfire PPC is available to all new members, and current members may exchange their existing ensemble. Current members do not have to wait until their current PPC reaches end of life.

A copy of the Chiefs memo is available below. Any members who have difficulty accessing female fit PPC through the Districts are invited to contact the Chief Officer directly, who has promised to follow up any instances personally. You can email him directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Details can be found http://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/reminder-of-female-ppc.html

Published in VFBV News
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 00:00

Volunteer Open Forums - Book Now

THIS SATURDAY AT BENALLA: There are still some places available at VFBV’s Open Forum for Volunteers at Benalla this weekend - see below for details and how to book - and plenty for the forums at Hamilton and Burwood East.

This is your chance to talk shop with senior CFA and VFBV personnel, raise an issue, ask a question or make a comment.

Dates and locations are;

THIS SATURDAY, 4 October - Benalla Bowls Club, 25 Arundel St, Benalla, with lunch at noon and forum at 13.00hrs.

Saturday 18 October – Hamilton Performing Arts Centre, 113 Brown St, Hamilton, with lunch at noon and forum at 13.00hrs.

Saturday 22 November – Whitehorse Club, Burwood Highway, Burwood East, with lunch at noon and forum at 13.00hrs.

Book now by contacting VFBV on (03) 9886 1141 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in VFBV News
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:00

CFA ADVERTISING FOR SESSIONAL TRAINERS

CFA is advertising jobs for sessional training instructors - qualified, experienced volunteers are encouraged to apply.

The new positions are good news for volunteers, as they mean more capacity to train at times and places to suit the needs of volunteers. VFBV and volunteers pressed for these roles during the Jones Inquiry.

For details of the sessional trainer roles, visit;

http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteer-careers/jobs-at-cfa/

Published in VFBV News
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 00:00

CFA ADVERTISING FOR SESSIONAL TRAINERS

CFA is advertising jobs for sessional training instructors - qualified, experienced volunteers are encouraged to apply.

The new positions are good news for volunteers, as they mean more capacity to train at times and places to suit the needs of volunteers. VFBV and volunteers pressed for these roles during the Jones Inquiry.

For details of the sessional trainer roles, visit;

http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteer-careers/jobs-at-cfa/

Published in CFA News
Sunday, 15 June 2014 00:00

CFA Volunteers Launch Cancer Petition

MEDIA RELEASE - Sunday, 15 June 2014

The CFA volunteers’ association is calling on all Victorians to sign a petition to help firefighters to get fairer and simpler cancer compensation.

Speaking at a rally of hundreds of CFA volunteers at Scoresby on Sunday, Andrew Ford of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (pictured) said the volunteers are campaigning to get rid of an unfair barrier that prevents firefighters from getting the compensation they have been promised.

“We have been working with the Government and opposition parties for several years, but firefighters who suffer from cancer that’s related to their firefighting services are still facing an almost impossible barrier, right when they are sick and most in need of help,” Mr Ford said.

“The problem is in proving the cancer was work related, whether it be for a volunteer firefighter or one of their career colleagues,” he said.

“Unlike a broken bone, cancer can take many years to appear, leaving the firefighter with the nearly impossible task of proving that one particular incident caused the cancer.”

“It effectively says you are entitled to the compensation, but when you get sick, you can’t have it,” Mr Ford said.

The CFA volunteers are now collecting signatures for a statewide petition, calling on the Victorian Parliament to change the law so the onus of proof is reversed.

“Certain types of cancer are known to be more common in firefighters, and we need Victoria to follow the lead of the Australian, Tasmanian, West Australian and South Australian

Parliaments in recognising those 12 cancers and presuming them to be work related if the sick firefighter has sufficient years of service,” Mr Ford said.

“The firefighters’ cancer law would relieve the sick CFA volunteer of the almost impossible task of proving the cancer was work related, and would allow them to concentrate on their treatment and recovery, instead of a lengthy court case,” he said.

“As the CFA volunteers’ association, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria is distributing the Firefighters’ Cancer Petition to every district in the state, and we call on every Victorian to sign the petition and show support for the volunteers who do so much to protect the community.”

The Firefighters’ Cancer Petition calls on the Victorian Parliament to introduce legislation based on the Australian Parliament’s legislation, listing 12 known firefighter cancers, with equal coverage for volunteer firefighters and their career colleagues.

You can download the petition and learn more about presumptive legislation, the firefighters’ cancer law, at the CFA volunteers’ website; www.vfbv.com.au

CFA Brigades protect 60% of suburban Melbourne, regional cities and all of country Victoria, every day and night of the year.

CLICK HERE to download a copy of the petition kit, including instructions for its use and a leaflet explaining the issue to the public.

CLICK HERE to read more about the Firefighters’ Cancer Law and how you can help

 

Published in VFBV News
Thursday, 01 May 2014 00:00

CFA AND VFBV BOARD VACANCIES

UPDATED 13 MAY 2014

A CFA Act amendment Bill currently before Parliament will refine the appointment process for CFA Board Members to give CFA a skills-based Board rather than one based on representation of stakeholders.

<See below for official advertisements and role statements for nominees>

The changes to the CFA Act are designed to ensure the CFA Board has the skills and expertise required to operate as a high performing Board.

They recognise and reinforce the importance of the Board possessing strong knowledge, expertise and understanding of CFA volunteerism.

Significantly, the changes also recognise VFBV’s crucial role, by retaining our role of submitting a panel of names from which four of the nine CFA Board members will be selected by the Minister.

Retaining volunteer involvement at CFA Board level is important for all CFA volunteers and a terrific achievement for VFBV, signifying respect for the role that VFBV performs.  VFBV and the Government are the only bodies named in the proposed amendments to the CFA Act as nominating CFA Board members.

The proposed change to the CFA Act reaffirms the role of volunteers at every level of CFA’s decision making, and is in line with VFBV’s thinking that an extensive knowledge and experience of volunteering and working with volunteers is one of the essential skills for any potential CFA Board Member.  A CFA Board with strong volunteer knowledge and experience is essential.

The change in the CFA Act would look for a number of skills and abilities in CFA Board members, including; “knowledge of, or experience in, commercial, technical, operational, legal or financial matters;” and “expertise in fire services, emergency management, land management or any other field relevant to the performance of the functions of the Authority.”

In introducing the Bill, Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells has told Parliament;

“The bill will transform the existing CFA board appointment process by requiring that board members have one or more of a series of critical skills, knowledge or experience, while continuing to recognise that the CFA is essentially a volunteer based emergency service.

“It is important that the CFA board has strong volunteer expertise, knowledge and an understanding of CFA volunteerism.

"To guarantee such familiarity, knowledge and understanding of CFA volunteerism four members of the CFA board will be nominees of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria.”

The Bill provides for four CFA Board members, being “two volunteer members of brigades predominately serving urban communities;” and “two volunteer members of brigades predominately serving rural communities”, “to be appointed from a panel of names nominated by the Board of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria”.

If you or someone you know has the skills, experience and knowledge to make a difference on the CFA Board, now or in the future, please contact VFBV on (03)9886 1141 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

CFA AND VFBV BOARD VACANCIES

 

VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADES VICTORIA

ADVISES OF CFA BOARD VACANCIES

CFA legislation provides for four of the CFA Board’s Members to be appointed from a panel of names submitted by Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria.

A CFA Act amendment Bill currently before Parliament will refine the appointment process for CFA Board Members to ensure the CFA Board has the skills and expertise required to operate as a high performing Board.

The changes recognise and reinforce the importance of the Board possessing strong knowledge, expertise and understanding of CFA volunteerism, and also seek to ensure the CFA Board has skills knowledge and expertise in commercial, financial, legal, public administration and emergency services, with the requirement that nominees have one or more of the skill requirements outlined in the legislation.

The terms of CFA Board Members Paul Denham and Don Robertson expire in August 2014, creating two vacancies on the CFA Board to be nominated by VFBV, one being a representative from a brigade predominantly serving urban communities and one being a representative from a brigade predominantly serving rural communities as per the CFA Act.

CFA volunteers who believe they have the skills, experience and capacity to make a contribution to the CFA Board, and ensure that the CFA Board has strong volunteer expertise, knowledge and an understanding of CFA volunteerism, are invited to apply to fill these vacancies.

From applications received and following interviews, VFBV will submit a panel of names to the Minister for Police & Emergency Services.

The CFA Board meets on a monthly basis and also operates a committee system which could require a commitment of one half day per month.  Attendance at official functions is also expected.

The appointment to the CFA Board would be for a period of up to three years; the retiring members are eligible for re-appointment.

Remuneration for a member of the CFA Board is $17,314 p.a.

A Role Statement is available on the VFBV website or available from the VFBV office. For other relevant information, interested volunteers should contact VFBV – contact details below.

Applications including a current resume must be lodged with VFBV by COB on Monday, 16th June 2014, to:          

VFBV, P O Box 453, Mt Waverley Vic 3149 

Tel:  9886 1141; Email:  j.laingThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Board Members of Volunteer

Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV)

 

Invitation to apply

Four VFBV Board vacancies – for a 2 year term until 1st October 2016

Closing date for written applications is Monday 11th August 2014

VFBV advances the interests of all Victorian fire brigade volunteers and advocates on their behalf to CFA and other key stakeholders. The VFBV Board drives policy development based on volunteer input and is involved in management of issues of central importance to all CFA volunteers.

Vacancies for Four Board Members will arise when the terms of Andy Cusack, Nev Jones, Bill Maltby and Bruce Pickett expire on 1st October 2014.  

The term of appointment will be for two years and applications are invited from interested volunteers to be considered for these vacancies.  The retiring members are eligible for re-appointment.

The role of a VFBV Board Member involves contributing to VFBV direction, performance and policy discussion at Board Meetings, networking with others about policies and issues management, and not only making decisions but being prepared to actively advocate for the benefit of all CFA volunteers and ultimately the Victorian community.

A Board Member Role Statement including the key selection criteria is available from the VFBV office or website www.vfbv.com.au

This is an honorary position; no honorarium is paid.

If you are motivated by the prospect of making a difference for CFA volunteers, then send your written application addressing the key selection criteria in the role statement, plus an outline of your CFA activity including the names of two referees.

Applications must be lodged with VFBV by Monday 11th August 2014.

to:        VFBV, P O Box 453, Mt Waverley  3149

            Tel:  9886 1141;    Fax:  9886 1618

            Email:  j.laingThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Published in VFBV News

Applications now open for CFA Challenge 2015 - a 12 day leadership development program for members aged 16 and over. Apply by 30 June. 

The Challenge 2015 program is conducted over twelve days from Saturday 10th January 2015 to Wednesday 21st January 2015 and provides CFA members with the opportunity to realise their leadership potential.

The initial three day classroom based personal development program will equip participants with personal skills that will enable them to understand communication preferences, personal emotions, reactions in people, and accept individual differences within their teams. By setting goals, understanding stress reactions and setting team values, the program enables participants to bond as a team and operate in a safe environment to maximise their learning potential and make the most of their time on the Challenge program.

Participants will then spend seven days in the Victorian bush completing a demanding, adventure based leadership and team development program, consisting of team building and adventure based activities including:

  •              Bushwalking
  •              White Water Rafting
  •              Abseiling
  •              Caving
  •              Orienteering
  •              Rock Climbing
  •              Canoeing

The Challenge 2015 program will provide participants with the opportunities to:

  •              Clarify personal values, and discover more about their potential;
  •              Develop leadership skills and attributes;
  •              Confront and overcome self-imposed limits;
  •              Learn how to better relate to others;
  •              Enhance self-motivation and personal performance; and
  •              Be a supportive and creative team member.
Published in CFA News

This year’s Emergency Services Foundation – 3rd Volunteer Leaders Forum, will be held in Melbourne on Saturday and Sunday 3 and 4 May.

Volunteers who wish to attend can be current volunteer leaders or prospective volunteer leaders - download the application form and details below.

The format for this year’s forum will include Day 1 at the Novotel St Kilda and Day 2 with a tour of the new training facility at Craigieburn.

The event offers;

  • „„ New Technology
  • „„ Meet Industry Leaders And Agency Chiefs
  • „„ Leadership Training
  • „„ Key Site Tours
  • „„ Emergency Management Updates
  • „„ Networking

 

CFA has the opportunity to have 40 members attend, funded by the Foundation.

Members who wish to nominate to attend can do so by forwarding their nomination direct to the Emergency Services Foundation as per the contact details on the last page of the attachment.  Applications close on the 31st March 2014.

Published in VFBV News
Monday, 24 February 2014 08:35

VFBV Junior Urban State Championships

2014 VFBV Junior Urban State Championships at Swan Hill, 22 and 23 February.

FINAL RESULTS

Sunday 23rd February

EVENT 1

UNDER 14 YRS HYDRANT RACE

WANGARATTA                   10.6

MARYVALE A                      10.81

SALE A                                 11.02

EAGLEHAWK                       11.08

HAMPTON PARK                  11.24

EVENT 2

UNDER 17 YRS

Y COUPLING TWO COMPETITORS

BENALLA A                              11.85

TATURA A                                12.52

MELTON A                               12.78

SALE B                                     13.16

PAKENHAM A                          13.45

EVENT 3

UNDER 14 YRS

WET HOSE - STRIKING SECOND DISC- FOUR COMPETITORS

MOE B                                    18.76

DROUIN BUNYIP                    18.89

MELTON A                              19.01

SWAN HILL A                          19.28

SALE A                                     19.41

EVENT 4

UNDER 17 YRS

Y - COUPLING FOUR COMPETITORS

TATURA A                             8.21

 WA KELLERBERRIN A        8.29

BENALLA A                           8.45

MOE A                                    8.52

SALE A                                  8.72

EVENT 5

UNDER 17 YRS

WET HOSE STRIKING FIRST AND SECOND DISCS

SWAN HILL A                          16.92

TATURA A                               18.38

BENALLA A                              18.39

MAFFRA A                                18.46

SALE A                                     19.01

EVENT 6

UNDER 14 YRS

MARSHALL - ONE COMPETITOR

TATURA A                                   29.67

SALE A                                         31.53

KOOWEERUP A                          31.74

BENALLA A                                   32.14

SEYMOUR                                     33.23

EVENT 7

UNDER 14 YRS

WET HOSE STRIKING FIRST AND SECOND DISCS

TATURA A                                    18.52

BENALLA A                                  21.01

MORWELL                                   21.06

SALE A                                         21.64

WANGARATTA A                         21.84

EVENT 8

UNDER 17 YRS

MARSHALL ONE COMPETITOR

BENALLA A                                 27.46

ROWVILLE A                               28.89

PYRAMID HILL                            30.60

THE BASIN A                               30.99

DROUIN/BUNYIP                         31.00

EVENT 9

UNDER 17 YRS

WET HOSE - TWO COMPETITORS

TATURA A                                 9.98

BENALLA A                              10.26

 MELTON A                              10.46

EUROA A                                  11.21

WARRACKNABEAL                   11.23

EVENT 10

UNDER 14 YEARS MARSHALL

TWO COMPETITORS

WERRIBEE/HOPPERS CROSSING A     20.41

TATURA A                                                 20.78

ROWVILLE A                                             21.10

KOOWEERUP A                                        21.34

MAFFRA A                                                 21.46

EVENT 11

UNDER 14 YEARS WET HOSE

TWO COMPETITORS

TATURA A                               11.78

MOE B                                     12.10

MORWELL                               12.19

KANGAROO FLAT A               12.57

SWAN  HILL A                         12.58

EVENT 12

UNDER 17 YEARS HYDRANT RACE

ONE COMPETITOR

KOOWEERUP B                      12.46

TATURA A                                12.86

SALE A                                     12.92

SWAN HILL A                           12.97

KOOWEERUP A                       12.98       

EVENT 13

UNDER 14 YEARS  Y COUPLING

TWO COMPETITORS

SALE A                                     12.88

SWAN HILL A                           13.44

BENALLA A                              13.74

TATURA A                                13.90

MOE B                                      14.74

EVENT 14

UNDER 17 YRS

WET HOSE STRIKING SECOND DISC - FOUR COMPETITIORS

MOE A                                      15.68

SWAN HILL A                            15.82

MILDURA                                  16.29

MAFFRA A                                 16.51

TATURA A                                 16.69

EVENT 15

UNDER 14 YRS

Y COUPLING FOUR COMPETITORS

BENALLA A                               10.11

THE BASIN A                             10.34

MOE B                                        10.81

EUROA A                                    10.83

MARYVALE                                 10.89

EVENT 16

UNDER 14 YRS

WET HOSE STRIKING SECOND DISC TWICE - FOUR COMPETITORS

TATURA A                                 15.55

BENALLA A                               16.15

MAFFRA  A                                17.22

SWAN HILL A                            17.59

BENALLA A                               17.82

EVENT 17

UNDER 17 YEARS MARSHALL

TWO COMPETITORS

MELTON A                      17.36

MILDURA                        17.39

SALE A                           17.55

KANGAROO FLAT A     18.49

MORWELL                      18.55

EVENT 18

UNDER 17 YEARS

WET HOSE STRIKING ONE DISC TWICE

FOUR COMPETITORS

TATURA A                         14.60

SWAN HILL A                    14.86

TATURA B                         14.91

SALE A                              15.21

MAFFRA A                        15.32

 

FINAL AGGREGATE RESULTS

DRY AGGREGATE

1ST       TATURA A                  33 POINTS

2ND      BENALLA A                 32 POINTS

3RD      SALE A                        23 POINTS

WET AGGREGATE

1ST       TATURA A                   46 POINTS

2ND      SWAN HILL A              23 POINTS

3RD      BENALLA A                 18 POINTS

UNDER 14 YEARS AGGREGATE

1ST      TATURA A                    39 POINTS

2ND     BENALLA A                   23 POINTS

3RD     SALE A                          19 POINTS

UNDER 17 YEARS AGGREGATE

1ST      TATURA A                     40 POINTS

2ND      BENALLA A                  27 POINTS

3RD      SWAN HILL A               20 POINTS

GRAND AGGREGATE

1ST       TATURA A                   79 POINTS

2ND       BENALLA A                 50 POINTS

3RD       SWAN HILL A              30 POINTS

2014 - CHAMPION BRIGADE MEMBERS - TATURA A

COACHES: MARTIN RENNI,DARREN RENNIE & DAMIEN BRIESE

COMPETITORS: JOSH BERRY

BILLY BROWNING- BRIESE

HARRY BROWNING BRIESE

GUILZ MEOLA

MATTHEW RENNIE

NATHAN RENNIE

GRADY TYSON

TIM WILSON

Published in VFBV News

VFBV Media release - 22 November 2013

VOLUNTEER FORUM TO ADVISE POLICE & EMERGENCY SERVICES MINISTER

The CFA volunteers’ association has welcomed the announcement of a Ministerial volunteer
consultative committee to provide direct input and advice to the Minister for Police and
Emergency Services on major changes to the emergency management sector.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) CEO Andrew Ford said the new Volunteer
Consultative Forum will give the Minister direct access to the valuable practical knowledge
of the people at the front line.

It will provide a forum for volunteers to provide direct advice to the Minister, on;

  • Issues affecting Victoria’s emergency management volunteers 
  • Matters relating to the capacity of volunteers to deliver emergency management services in Victoria 
  • Strengthening the culture of volunteerism in Victoria 
  • Maximising the capacity, capability and utilisation of volunteers 
  • Monitoring the health and wellbeing of the volunteers, and 
  • Volunteer views about how to achieve changes proposed for the Emergency Management sector 

The State Government’s announcement of the new Forum follows many discussions
between VFBV and the Government, and comes with the endorsement of the Fire Services
Commissioner.

“The new Forum is being initiated at an important time; with the move towards a more
joined-up emergency management network,” Mr Ford said.

“For the new arrangements to work it will be extremely important that decision makers
listen to the volunteers on the ground, and take advice from volunteers about what it will
take to achieve improvement on the ground,” he said.

“It’s a matter of common sense; when making major decisions, nothing works as well as
listening to the people at the front line.”

“Engaging with volunteers should not be seen as a burden. Engaged and empowered
volunteers are tomorrow’s volunteers. Engaging and empowering volunteers must become
a core mindset of everyone in Victoria’s emergency management sector,” Mr Ford said.

 

“VFBV has committed its support to help the State Government to engage with volunteers,
and have regard to their practical advice about what works on the ground, what has or has
not worked in past, and what needs to be factored in to make sure things keep working into
the future,” he said.


The Volunteer Consultative Forum will include volunteer representation from the CFA, SES,
Life Saving Victoria, Australian Red Cross, Ambulance Victoria, Volunteer Fire Brigades
Victoria, St John Ambulance, Volunteer Coast Guard, Salvation Army, Volunteer Emergency
Service Association and the Victorian Council of Churches, plus management nominees from
the various agencies.

“The decisions being made now will have a strong influence on the capability and capacity
of volunteers to contribute to emergency management in Victoria into the future,” Mr Ford
said.

In addition to the establishment of the Volunteer Consultative Forum, the State
Government introduced the Emergency Management Bill 2013 into Parliament earlier this
month. The Bill continues the move towards a more joined-up emergency management
network, co-ordinated by an Emergency Management Commissioner.

In introducing that legislation, Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells said
“Volunteers play a critically important role in the emergency management sector, and the
Bill recognises this by including specific measures to ensure volunteer capacity and
capability is encouraged, strengthened, and maintained.”

The Bill requires both the Emergency Management Commissioner and Emergency
Management Victoria to have regard to this important feature of Victoria's emergency
management arrangements in the carrying out of their functions. The Bill requires that
agency work plans include specific actions and measures to encourage, strengthen and
maintain the capacity and capability of volunteers and the community.

Minister Wells said, “Volunteers have been and will continue to be fundamental to
emergency management service delivery in Victoria. They do a magnificent job for this
state. Equally, they will be fundamental to the successful implementation of these reforms”.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria, the Victoria Emergency Service Association and the
Volunteer Coast Guard made a joint submission on behalf of their volunteer members, to
the Government’s White Paper on Victoria’s Emergency Management reform and amongst
other things requested the establishment of a Ministerial-level Volunteer Consultative
Forum. VFBV’s representatives will be President Hans van Hamond AFSM and CEO Andrew
Ford, the SES volunteers’ association is represented by President Neil Hedger and David
Rowlands, and the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard volunteers by Richard Burgess and
David Goldfinch. All of those representatives are active emergency service volunteers.

Ends…

Published in VFBV News

Joint Training 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)

WHO CAN TRAIN & ASSESS – CLARITY BY CHIEF OFFICER & OTV

In an article published in the August edition of the Fireman, the Chief Officer and Lex deMan have issued a clear directive to all members of the Chief Officer’s and CFA’s intent for the delivery of training and assessment to volunteers, particularly a clarification and re-affirmation of the advice to all members contained on the ‘Who Can Train & Assess’ poster distributed widely in 2012. Raised as a question at VFBV’s Open Forum in July, both the Chief and Lex in their Fireman article have made it abundantly clear that there is a clear distinction between Skills Maintenance and Skills Acquisition and that the responsibility for the delivery and conduct of routine and skills maintenance training in Brigades lies with the Captain / OIC. This simply means that any member who has the confidence and endorsement of the Captain/OIC and who holds the competency and experience to do so, can deliver and facilitate training at Brigade level.

Equally in the provision of foundation skills (minimum skills), while acquisition training, where appropriate mentoring is in place, brigades are able to conduct their own training under the approval of the Brigade Captain /OIC. There are specific requirements for the assessment of skills acquisition courses and these rules provide consistent application of training outcomes ie  everyone is assessed against a standard and qualifies based on merit. Members should read the August Fireman article for further details.

_____________________________________________________________________

CREATING OUR FUTURE TOGETHER – TRAINING

Recently the Fire and Emergency Management (F&EM) Strategy was approved. CFA aims to unify the

operating model and the way we work to ensure the most effective and efficient service delivery is

established and achieved.

Guiding Principles    The following principles guiding CFA training are designed to assist with                                                     standardisation across the state;

  • Empower brigades, groups and districts by giving them ownership of their own learning through

increasing volunteer and staff capacity to deliver and assess training.

  • F&EM at a district level will be responsible for determining the training and planning needs within a

district (includes brigades, groups, and catchments).

  • OT&V at a district/ region level will be responsible for the coordination and delivery of training to

brigades, groups and catchments.

  • OT&V at a state level will be accountable for the provision of training services to districts and

provision of standardised systems and application of frameworks, procedures and processes across

the state.

  • Further develop the use of technology in the design and delivery of training.
  • Ensure we have training infrastructure that is accessible to all both mobile and fixed.
  • Greater focus on the development and monitoring of our training management systems to ensure

quality and standardisation of outcomes.

  • Develop operational support capacity within the OT&V Structure.

Proposed changes   OT&V are proposing:

  • To refresh the OT&V service delivery model, taking into consideration member feedback and comments provided.
  • CFA’s aim is to implement this throughout 2014 and have a consistent and standardised approach in every district for the planning and delivery of training and assessment.
  • To operate CFA service delivery across regions and districts.
  • A training services function that would be based regionally and work with operational leaders at a regional level.
  • To create the role of Senior Instructor to work across districts.
  • To centralise some aspects of current business (for example: first aid bookings, data entry and regional training finance).
  • To have greater connectivity to FE&M service delivery, with Operations determining the training needs and OT&V delivering to their specifications.

Members are encouraged to discuss the directions for Training and the impact of the proposed changes.

Published in Training Committee

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
Friday, 19 April 2013 12:43

Fire Volunteers form National Body

Volunteer firefighters in every State have united to form a new forum, the Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations (CAVFA), to promote the interests of a quarter of a million members nationwide.

See the attached media release and communique to members for details.

Published in VFBV News
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 00:00

Who can train and assess?

CFA’s new Operational Training Fact Sheet includes four words in bold, red type:  volunteers can train volunteers.  It also says “not all training has to be delivered by CFA staff”.

The fact sheet is the result of direct co-operation between VFBV and Operational Training and Volunteerism staff at CFA.

The Fact Sheet also says formal competency training and assessment can be undertaken by suitably qualified and experienced Brigade personnel.

Formal Competency Training requires a qualified trainer, using the current training package.

Formal Competency Assessment requires a qualified assessor and can take place at the Brigade.

Brigade training that does not involve a formal competency or assessment can be carried out by any Brigade member approved by the Brigade Management Team.

An Operational Training Fact Sheet has been sent to all Brigades and Groups, and you can download a copy by clicking on the link below.

Published in Training Committee
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

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
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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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