SES Volunteer's Association of Western Australia Incorporated

One Association - Many Values

22/04/2024 – SES Fitness for Role – must read

Introduction

The SES Volunteers Association of WA hosted an online meeting for SES units on 14 March to enable a clear understanding of how the Fitness for Role (FFR) Research Project would impact SES WA if it was to be implemented. The Project has been supported in principle by AFAC SES Operations Group and Australian Council of SES (ACSES). DFES is now in the process of consulting with the SESVA to deter- mine a collective position on behalf of Units/Members.

33 of the 64 SES WA units were present along with SESVA Management Committee members to hear from FES Commissioner Darren Klemm and DFES Manager Mental Health and Wellbeing, Mitchell Sewell, who provided a presentation and answered question from unit representatives. Guest presenters from VIC SES and QLD SES also provided information and answered questions about the project which is in its early stages of implementation in those states.

In opening the meeting, FES Commissioner Darren Klemm, acknowledged the challenges of the work needed to be undertaken in rela- tion to developing this project and the necessity to attain a national position.

“While not everyone will embrace the proposal, there are many positive outcomes that will be significant particularly in the context of interstate deployments and SES volunteers being sufficiently trained, prepared for and being fit for their role in those circumstances,” confirmed Commissioner Klemm.

“Of equal importance is the suitability of a person’s capabilities to match a particular role, given they are going to volunteer their time, and to remain safe in doing so.”

Collective Position

For the SESVA to determine a collective position on behalf of the members units, voting by the membership was conducted (one vote per unit) following the meeting. Most of the units voted in support of the Fitness for Role Program being introduced in WA, but only by a very small majority, however almost all units made it known that they remain cautious of how it will be rolled it out.

It was clear from the concerns expressed during the meeting and in follow-up communications that units would prefer a focus on development of consistent national training and competencies, with fitness included in the annual currency assessments. The extra workload for managers and uncertainty in relation to liability were also raised for clarification, as well as the preference for implementation across all services in DFES, including staff.

What’s next?

A detailed report of the meeting along with a copy of the PowerPoint presentation provided by Mitch Sewell is being circulated to all member units, with feedback being encouraged before an update is provided to the FES Commissioner on the SESVA position relating to the adoption and implementation of the FFR Program and Framework. Send emails to sesva.secretary@ses-wa.asn.au

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