Progress of Action 1.7

Action 1.7: Review CFA’s brigade operating model to ensure brigades are appropriately structured and provided with the required capabilities to deliver contemporary services that meet community expectations and needs.

Action objective: CFA’s brigade and group operating model remains fit for purpose to enable the delivery of capabilities that meet community needs.

Lead agency: CFA

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 2025June 2025In progress - on track


This action requires CFA to review its brigade operating model to ensure it remains fit for purposes to ensure CFA has the capabilities and capacity to deliver contemporary services that meet community expectations and needs. CFA determined to expand the original scope of the action (a brigade operating model review) to a much broader review of the organisation’s operating model.

CFA consulted with volunteers in 2022 to develop a comprehensive, six-year program of work to build a contemporary organisation. The operating model review covers all aspects of CFA’s service delivery approaches including, structure, governance, and accountabilities; systems and processes; people and skills; partners and co-producers; equipment and location; and culture and leadership.

Progress summary

The CFA Board endorsed the Operating Model Program in March 2023. This program comprises a six-year roadmap of 29 initiatives to modernise the organisation. CFA consulted key external stakeholders, DJCS, FRV, FSIM, and VFBV to develop the program.

The Operating Model Program focuses on how CFA delivers services (under the CFA Operating Model) that inform CFA’s ongoing vision and strategy, as well as CFA’s business model that enables operational service delivery in the CAoV. The program contains a suite of guiding implementation principles and outlines initiatives to enhance volunteer roles, strengthen brigades, and improve operational performance. The CFA Executive is accountable to the Board for the overall delivery and outcomes of the program.

CFA has identified the first tranche of initiatives for FY 2023-24 and is in the process of project initiation. The program of initiatives for year one addresses operational challenges under the following themes:

  • Service delivery tiers, offerings, standards, and roles and responsibilities
  • Organisational, Role and Function Review
  • Volunteer membership model
  • Training Enhancement Program
  • Policy, processes and doctrine.

CFA advises that it continues to consult with its members, staff, and stakeholders including VFBV, DJCS, FRV, Forest Fire Management Victoria and State Emergency Services, as this work progresses. This program provides further opportunities for CFA to work with the emergency services sector, community partners and stakeholders in shaping the delivery of services.


FSIM finds action 1.7 is progressing.

FSIM notes that the CFA Operating Model is an essential mechanism to enable CFA to adapt and improve its operating practices, given the significant changes brought about by the reform. CFA are undertaking this work to employ new strategies to build the appropriate operational capacity and attract diverse volunteers. CFA has identified the need to diversify its volunteer base and attract new members while retaining and supporting current members. CFA has also highlighted risks associated with an ageing volunteer workforce and challenges in retaining the knowledge, leadership, and skills they possess.

This action has a key interdependency with Year Two to Five Plan action 5.1, for CFA to develop a secondment strategy outlining CFA’s capability and capacity needs. To deliver action 5.1, CFA prepared a Capability Statement, which it intends to update annually. CFA plans to incorporate any changes arising from work on the operating model into the CFA Capability Statement over time.

FSIM notes that action 1.7 provides the framework and delivery program to acquit action 4.7. In addition, this action has also interdependencies with Year Two to Five Plan actions:

  • Action 5.2: Review of fire services sector operational capability and capacity requirements.
  • Action 5.4: FRV Strategic Workforce Plan with a strong focus on regional and remote delivery of services.
  • Action 5.7: Financial sustainability assessment update of CFA and FRV.
  • Action 5.8: Long-term funding plan for CFA and FRV.