Progress of Action 4.8

Action 4.8: Identify new opportunities to recognise and value the contribution made by both volunteer and career firefighters to delivering fire services (e.g., communications and collaboration).

Action objective: CFA and FRV identify and improve the mechanisms and processes that acknowledge and value their firefighters.

Lead agency: CFA and FRV

Year Two to Five Plan (November 2021) completion dateYear Two to Five Plan (updated May 2023) completion dateAgency reported status as at 30 June 2023
June 2023June 2023Completed

Context

The action requires both agencies to deliver complementary activities to acquit the action objective. CFA is focused on addressing the identified gap following reform implementation to recognise secondees and their service via nominations for national awards, including the Australian Fire Services Medal and National Emergency Medal. CFA also focused on ensuring FRV secondees can be recognised for their service and contribution to CFA via CFA service awards.

FRV focused on establishing an honours and awards process which includes an Honours and Awards Committee, an Australia Fire Services Medal Committee, developing a draft Honours and Awards Manual, a suite of FRV internal medals and certificates, and recognition of FRV fallen firefighters at both State and National Memorial sites.

Progress summary

As at 30 June 2023, CFA reported this action as completed and acquitted in April 2023.

1. CFA implementation

As a result of Fire Services Reform, seconded operational employees became ineligible for nomination or receipt of CFA Honours and Awards, including service awards, due to definitions for eligibility identified in the CFA Honours and Awards Manual.

CFA worked collaboratively with FRV to support nominations for national awards and has enabled FRV secondees to have their service with CFA recognised through the CFA Service Award. Through the Awards and Recognition Officer, CFA is working with FRV to support the development of processes to identify and deliver recognition opportunities. These include providing prior service forms for personnel to assist FRV to establish eligibility for FRV staff for national medals.

CFA and FRV have also agreed that FRV staff seconded to CFA, upon request, can receive their National Emergency Medal through a CFA presentation. In those instances, CFA invited FRV to attend.

Three award presentation ceremonies presenting both internal and external awards occurred between April and June 2023.

CFA Executive and the Board approved amendments to the CFA Honours and Awards Manual to ensure that the secondee’s service to CFA can be formally recognised by CFA. These changes were communicated to seconded staff and CFA members in February 2023.

2. FRV implementation

As a new organisation, FRV created a new recognition program unique to FRV, which “demonstrates the professionalism of all FRV employees and… promote[s] harmonisation and a positive organisational image”.[60]

To deliver against this scope, FRV developed and delivered an honours and awards program, which includes:

  • an Honours and Awards Committee to provide governance oversight of the Honour and Awards programs and represent a cross-section of FRV operational personnel
  • an Australia Fire Services Medal Committee
  • the draft Honours and Awards Manual
  • a suite of FRV internal medals and certificates and
  • recognition of FRV fallen firefighters at both State and National Memorial sites.

To acquit this action, FRV is also developing a new recognition program to include informal recognition as part of its delivery. Examples provided by FRV of these more informal recognition activities include:

  • FRV officers attend morning tea or similar at stations after significant events to acknowledge service delivery.
  • Weekly recognition of FRV employees for various contributions highlighted in the weekly online FRV News communication.

FRV also note a link to their ‘Values in Action’ program (additional detail at action 4.4), recognising opportunities to develop awards based on recognising an individual or team's input into FRV values. FRV has developed a range of resources to enable leaders and employees to recognise their team members. These resources include meeting templates, “Values Shoutouts” proformas, a dedicated honours and awards intranet page, regular communications from the Fire Rescue Commissioner via email and newsletter articles on awards and recognition.

Findings

FSIM finds action 4.8 is implemented.

FSIM observes that CFA focused on establishing awards and recognition for seconded staff, and that formal recognition for volunteers, staff and secondees (e.g., Spirit of CFA award and the CFA Service Award) and informal recognition (e.g., via the monthly CFA Volunteer Forum) play important roles in valuing the contributions made by CFA members. FSIM observes that at the end of the reporting period, CFA was actively promoting award schemes to volunteers and was undertaking work to identify, understand, and address barriers to women nominating or being nominated for awards.

FSIM observes that integrating informal recognition as part of FRV’s everyday culture will assist FRV in successfully integrating their values (e.g., valuing teamwork, being accountable, and showing respect).

FSIM also observes that FRV has taken steps to ensure secondees receive notifications via a dedicated email group. This email group makes sure seconded employees receive the same information as their FRV counterparts, at the same time. This is a positive step in assisting seconded employees to navigate between the two agencies, a risk identified in the FSIM's Annual Report 2021/22.[61]

As this action was completed in the reporting period, FSIM has not yet completed an effectiveness assessment of this action against its objective.



Footnotes

[60] Draft FRV Honours and Awards Manual, pg. 2

[61] Fire Services Implementation Monitor, 2023, Fire Services Implementation Monitor Annual Report 2021/22, Victorian Government, viewed 8 August 2023, https://www.vic.gov.au/fire-services-implementation-monitor-annual-report-2021-22, pg. 96-97.

Updated