Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey Results Now Available

VicSESVA, VICSES, EMV and Government study the survey report for trends in volunteer opinion on how well they are being treated and how well they are being supported by VICSES. The EMV website has details of the 2017 sector-wide report (https://www.emv.vic.gov.au/how-we-helpvolunteers/emergency-management-volunteer-welfare-and-efficiency-survey), which identified that a high percentage of volunteers are satisfied with their volunteer role at the local level and intend to continue. The report states that volunteer expectations are most closely met within their local teams, with strong results around teams being volunteer-friendly and welcoming, and in relation to diversity, equality and not tolerating bullying.

Opportunities for improvement were identified as well, with the results identifying that emergency management volunteers would like to see increased access to and flexibility of training, and greater and more meaningful engagement in corporate decisions that impact them.

The sector reports are available for government and agencies to better understand volunteers’ perspectives and to continue to work to ensure volunteers are valued and supported.

The Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey began with the CFA volunteers’ association, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) seven years ago, and now for the fourth year VFBV is hosting the survey on behalf of VicSESVA. VicSESVA appreciates the support by VFBV and our common aim of supporting volunteers.

Each year, there are more participants in the survey – which means a steadily growing influence with the State’s decision makers.

To obtain a copy of 2019 survey results (or previous versions) VicSESVA survey results please email [email protected] or login via the website, vicsesva.org.au and browse to Library > Documents.

https://vicsesva.org.au/login 

AGL support for Volunteer Firefighters and SES Volunteers

AGL is a electricity and gas retailer and generator in some states and territories.

AGL will support active volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers by providing them with a $150 credit per customer on their electricity or gas bills. The support is available to small business and residential customers.

Registered and active volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers should provide their volunteer ID number to AGL customer service staff and the credit will be applied to their next bill.

We know that at a time like this, energy bills are probably the last thing on the minds of volunteers.

But when they have time to think about their own position, they can contact AGL at their convenience on 131 245 at any time before 7 July 2020 to claim the credit. Our customer service centres are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For further information please follow this link

https://www.agl.com.au/bushfires

SES Minifigures Coming Soon

A new SES minifigure has been developed and is in production by the BigBrick company. SES minifigures should be ready in about 2-3 weeks time. Every minifigure sold helps raise funds for the Emergency Services Foundation, which works to assist all emergency service workers in Victoria.

The BigBrick SES minifigures are designed to work perfectly with building sets and parts from the world’s best known brands. $20 each with $5 from the sale of each unit going to the Emergency Services Foundation.

Order your personalised minifigures here https://www.thebigbrick.com/en/102-ses-victoria

Other emergency service minifigures are in development and coming soon!

Closure of the Volunteer Association Shop

For over two decades, the Volunteer Association has operated the VESA Shop with a primary focus of supplying all VICSES members with the approved non-uniform items listed within the VICSES Clothing Catalogue (such as polo’s, beanies, volunteer uniform items) and associated memorabilia (e.g.: plaques, etc.) in collaboration with VICSES.

Processes have remained largely manual and reliant on a small cohort of volunteers to administer the Shop. Changes with suppliers requiring larger quantities before orders could be filled, long lead times for adhoc items and pre-payment requirements have proved challenging. Servicing member needs became difficult when the shop ran out of most stock and had to receive orders from customers and retype them into purchase orders, which were then forwarded to the supplier where changes in staff and fluctuating availability of stock led to delays in orders being received and items being backordered without the Shop being advised. Whilst the VESA Shop had explored online ordering systems, this had become cost prohibitive to fully integrate this with suppliers.

In an effort to continually improve the Volunteer experience VICSESVA and VICSES have worked together to streamline the process to obtain VICSES casual wear. VICSES and VICSESVA have recently reached agreement to close the VESA Shop with VICSES supporting the buy-out a small amount of existing stock along with transitioning key approved product items within the VICSES Clothing Manual (e.g.: polos, shorts, etc.) to our VICSES Buy Online arrangements. VICSES will leverage its existing supplier contracts to now provide these items ongoing through existing Uniform and PPC&E contracts.

On behalf of all members, I wish to thank the VICSES Volunteer Association (VICSESVA), and in particular, those who have run the VESA Shop on a voluntary basis including the final shop manager Chris Patton, for providing this valuable service to our members over many years.

Tim Wiebusch
Chief Officer Operations

To view the full operations update, please visit the link below to download the update from the VICSES Hub.

https://hub.ses.vic.gov.au/documents/127828/153992/Operations+Update+-+19-2019-+Closure+of+the+VESA+shop%2C+key+items+soon+to+be+in+VICSES+Buy+Online.pdf/d1fc7ff2-e9a4-57a0-8b24-6c0f28955e69

 

2019 Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey Now Open

To all VICSES volunteers:

Many of you have taken part in VicSESVA’s Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey in previous years. These surveys have been a great success and you are now invited to take part in our fourth survey which opens this week and runs until October 14.

You can also help us by spreading the word and encouraging other volunteers to respond to the survey – the more responses, the more impact the results will have, so please encourage other volunteers to take part.

VicSESVA, VICSES, EMV and Government study the survey report for trends in volunteer opinion on how well they are being treated and how well they are being supported by VICSES. The EMV website has details of the 2017 sector-wide report (https://www.emv.vic.gov.au/how-we-helpvolunteers/emergency-management-volunteer-welfare-and-efficiency-survey), which identified that a high percentage of volunteers are satisfied with their volunteer role at the local level and intend to continue. The report states that volunteer expectations are most closely met within their local teams, with strong results around teams being volunteer-friendly and welcoming, and in relation to diversity, equality and not tolerating bullying.

Opportunities for improvement were identified as well, with the results identifying that emergency management volunteers would like to see increased access to and flexibility of training, and greater and more meaningful engagement in corporate decisions that impact them.

The sector reports are available for government and agencies to better understand volunteers’ perspectives and to continue to work to ensure volunteers are valued and supported.

The Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey began with the CFA volunteers’ association, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) seven years ago, and now for the fourth year VFBV is hosting the survey on behalf of VicSESVA. VicSESVA appreciates the support by VFBV and our common aim of supporting volunteers.

Each year, there are more participants in the survey – which means a steadily growing influence with the State’s decision makers. To obtain a copy of previous VicSESVA survey results please email [email protected] or login via the website, vicsesva.org.au and browse to Library > Documents.

All responses are confidential and will be analysed independently of VicSESVA, who will be provided with aggregated results. VicSESVA will utilise the survey results to advocate on behalf of VICSES volunteers.

If you do not have access to the internet, we can send you a paper copy, please request this from the secretary Faye Bendrups on 0435 964 455.

Members who have registered in previous surveys will have received an email direct from VFBV with a custom link.

Survey is available until close of business on Monday 14 October 2019.

Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019sessurvey

Victorian Volunteer Strategy

Victorian Volunteer Strategy – consultation open

The Victorian Government has a 2018 Election commitment to develop and implement a Volunteer Strategy to support and enhance volunteerism in Victoria.

The strategy will be informed by extensive consultation across the Victorian public and volunteering community, seeking deep insights into the challenges and opportunities for volunteers, community members, and managers of volunteers and organisations.

Online consultation is open on Engage Victoria until 24 November 2019, and we encourage you to have your say – as community members, volunteers, or leaders of community organisations. There are two surveys to capture insights from different groups with an interest in volunteering:

  • Volunteering leadership and support – seeking input on the strategic or operational leadership of volunteering, and feedback on how we can support and strengthen volunteering.
  • Community life and volunteering – seeking all views and experiences from the Victorian public, from a wide range of perspectives, including if they have never volunteered.

Phoenix Journals from 2005 to 2019 are now available

The VA has just uploaded Phoenix Journals from 2019 to 2005. They are available on the VA website for members to download at anytime. The older editions are available under the phoenix menu (labeled previous editions) and appear once logged in. Work is still continuing to upload the remaining issues from 1987 to 2004. For any assistance please email [email protected]

Wear Orange Wednesday 2019

On Wednesday 22nd May, all Australians are encouraged to wear orange in a united show of thanks for the tremendous work done and commitment shown by SES volunteers.
Wear Orange Wednesday (WOW Day) is a national day of thanks for the many Victoria State Emergency Services (VICSES) volunteers who support their local communities during flood, storm, landslide, road rescue, search and rescue, and more.
In Victoria, SES volunteers responded to more than 31,000 calls for assistance last year, equalling a total of 302,623 operational hours.

Show your support for SES volunteers by wearing something orange on Wednesday, 22 May.

Landmarks in Melbourne and across the country will be ‘flooded’ in orange this WOW Day in support of SES volunteers, including the MCG, AAMI Park, Bolte Bridge and the Melbourne Star.

  • Events and morning teas will also be held throughout the state.
  • Take a photo and tag it with #thankyouSES
  • Change your profile picture to support WOW Day.
  • Send a message of thanks to SES volunteers on social media include the #thankyouSES hashtag.

Marong Unit becomes 103rd VICSES Principal Road Crash Rescue…

It has been very busy for the members from Marong SES, with plenty of big news items to share.

It’s official! Our unit yesterday became the 103rd Principal Road Crash Rescue Provider from VICSES, the 133rd in Victoria.

Our Unit also witnessed a changing of the guard, with our outgoing Unit Controller Kevin standing down after 10 distinguished years at the head of the Unit. Members welcomed Daniel into the position, we look forward to working with you to take the unit to the next level. Our members would like to thank Kevin for his time at the helm, his guidance and mentorship.

Before handing over the reigns, Kevin delivered one final gift. Our generously donated equipment from AAMI, helping us to fill our lockers with equipment to assist with keeping our members, and the wider community safe.

We’d like to thank our Chief Officer Operations, Tim Wiebusch for coming up to meet the members, facilitate the handover of leadership and the presentation of our certificate from our first Road Rescue Capability Assessment. We’d also like to thank the staff from our Regional Office for coming out for the special event.

Finally, we wouldn’t be here without the hard work from our volunteers. Hold your heads high team, it sure is an amazing accomplishment over the past couple of years to get where we are now, here’s to the future.


Article and images courtesy of Marong Unit Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MarongSES/

From the Chair

This is my final column as the outgoing Independent Chair ofVicSESVA, but I remain in VicSESVA as Secretary and will continue the work of representing and advocating for volunteers in Victoria and at the national level. I thank all the volunteers and colleagues who have supported me in this role; it has truly been a team effort. At the recent VicSESVA Annual General Meeting new officers were elected: I welcome the new Chair David Rowlands, Treasurer Ann Hinsch, Central West Director Ray Desem and East Director Mitch Darragh. Chris Brown and Chris Patton continue their excellent representation as Director North East, and VESA Shop Manager and task force delegate respectively. 

There have also been recent changes to leadership at Emergency Management Victoria, with Commissioner Craig Lapsley being replaced with incoming Commissioner Andrew Crisp. VicSESVA welcomes the opportunity to work with the new Commissioner and acknowledges the significant legacy left by Craig Lapsley. Craig Lapsley has been a positive force for change in Victorian Emergency Management and has always put volunteers in the centre of operations and planning. His close involvement with and respect for volunteers has been evident in their inclusion in numerous consultative processes. For VicSESVA, this has included representation and contribution to committees, working groups and advisory bodies and being able to make the voice of the SES volunteer heard in multiple forums. VicSESVA officers have been welcomed as influential members of groups which developed the Victorian Volunteer Statement, the Volunteer Consultative Forum, the 3Vs Project and advocacy for the sector-wide expansion of the VFBV Volunteer welfare and Efficiency Survey. These opportunities have been facilitated by Craig Lapsley. Further, many of the sector changes since Black Saturday have been led by the determined vision of Mr Lapsley with a steady and direct sense of privileging action over bureaucracy. A social media campaign acknowledging the work of Craig Lapsley (www.change.org/p/victorianpublic-your-support-for-craig-lapsley) refers to his significant contribution to the safety of the Victorian public, wishing to show gratitude, respect, support and appreciation for his work, a sentiment that has been echoed by many SES volunteers around Victoria in recent weeks. VicSESVA acknowledges the achievements of Victoria’s first Emergency Management Commissioner Lapsley and looks forward to an equally productive relationship with the incoming Commissioner Crisp. 

Faye Bendrups 

Independent Chair, VicSESVA