Implementing Strategy and Managing Change
Vision and strategic aims as fundamentals in a fire service safety plan
Vision is an important tool that fire and rescue services organization can use to obtain better strategies of improving performance. A vision provides the future of such organization and this helps develop the present resources to fit in the prevailiong conditions. Vision can be described as the ability to configure what the future looks like and to plan for it. In the case of a company it refers to the picture of how a company should look like in the future (Dooley, 2005). Through a vision the main ideology and purpose of existence are formulated and these provide the basic direction to achieving the desired company development. Towards employees vision helps to fulfill an identity function and an identification function as well as mobilizing function. A vision describes the picture of the company in the future which makes it unique and distinctive. This serves as a sign of identity to the employees. Furthermore, a clear vision provides the staff with a sense and importance of their work. As a result, they are able to identify with the company which results in commitment towards their work and towards the vision as a common company objective (Sabrautzki, 2010).
Strategic aims refer to the goals and objectives that will enable an organization achieve its desired future state. For objectives to be strategic they need to have three characteristics, suitable, whereby they address the main issues and are able to provide the desired results; feasible, whereby they can be achieved with the potential resources of the organization; acceptable, whereby they are supported by those with authority. Vision and strategic aims are important to a fire brigade Company in developing and achieving an effective fire safety plan. London Fire Brigade has a vision, which explains that it intends to become a world-class fire and rescue service for London, Londoners and all those visiting London (Dooley, 2005).
To achieve this vision the Organization has come up with a three-year safety plan which outlines strategic aims and objectives of how the vision will be achieved. Prevention involves interacting with the London communities to educate and train them on ways of minimizing the risk of fires and other potential emergencies. Responses; whereby they plan and prepare for emergencies in advance, hence, are able to respond with effectiveness and resilience. Resources; whereby they avail and plan for the required resources, hence they will be able to apply the resources effectively and efficiently. Lastly, they have principles which involve defining rules that will ensure that safety sustainability as well as diversity and partnership are key principles that drive their activities. This demonstrates the need for a clear vision and strategic aims in developing and achieving a fire service safety plan (London Fire Brigade, 2010).
Good leadership and management are fundamental to community based fire and rescue services. Good leadership and management, from the elected councilors and other senior officials, are important to a fire and rescue service provider that is community based. As a result, the leaders need to have effective qualities of leadership and management which will ensure that they are able to provide leadership and management expertise necessary for achievement of safety objectives. The first one is responsiveness and accountability whereby the leaders need to be responsive to people’s concerns and be accountable to them (Moyles, 2006). The Local Government White Paper: Strong and Prosperous Communities describe the expectations that the central government has on the Fire and Rescue Service and the local government. As a result, the leaders must be able to meet these requirements and explain any deviations from expectations (HM Government, 2010).
The leaders and the senior officials need to demonstrate flexibility in addressing challenges related to fire control and safety. For instance, the leaders need to allocate resources for expansion of fire-rescue service systems as a way of dealing with changing priorities. In adapting to the Fire Resilience Program the local authority has allocated more resources for training and acquisition of up to date equipments. Visionary is another leadership quality that is fundamental to the progress of the community-based fire and rescue service (Moyles, 2006). The leaders need to anticipate future changes and provide mechanisms that will enable the organization to meet its objectives of fire control and safety in an effective way. Moreover, the fire brigade will be equipped to handle new risks. For instance, initiating the three-year safety plan will ensure that the organization’s vision is set out and a common goal is shared among all members of the community. In addition, it provides a framework through, which everyone can determine, his or her role (HM Government, 2010).
How risk management objectives are monitored by the use of key performance indicators
In 1999, the central government established a requirement for local authorities to seek continuous improvement in their service delivery. It therefore, introduced best value performance indicators that would be used to measure performance. As the local authority seeks to achieve success it would need to deliver against its risk management objectives. As a result, the performance indicators would be used as standards to determine whether the objectives were actually met based on the local conditions. Therefore, each risk management objective would be tied to a specific performance indicator that would determine how effectively each objective was achieved (Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, 2010).
One of the risk management objectives is to reduce the number of emergency accidents and their consequences. There are four Key Performance Indicators (KPI) of the objective. The first one is fire incident outcomes which measure a wide range of events such as all types of building fires and deliberate fires as well as the casualties from these fires. It seeks to find out whether there was an increase or decrease in primary, secondary and deliberate fires. It also determines if there was a reduction in death and casualties as well as wrong fire signals. Therefore, it compares the current findings with the set objectives and determines if there is progress based on the results (Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, 2010).
The other performance indicator is critical incident response standard, which measures how fast the brigade responds to the fire reports and other emergency incidences. It is measured by checking the time taken for the fire engine to arrive at the area of fire from the time they received a call. Cost of fire is another performance indicator, which measures loss on the community because of fire. It is determined by the economic cost incurred due to different types of fires as well as the resultant casualties. Progress is measured by establishing if the economic costs increased or decreased. The last KPI is risk map profile, which shows the level of the risk of fire in a given region broken down to neighbourhood level. This measures the risk level of each separate neighbourhood in a region as updated regularly. It seeks to find to whether there was reduction on the risk level of each neighbourhood (Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, 2010).
Why a 3-year lifespan?
The fire and rescue service documents what the government requires of it in a national framework. According to the current fire and rescue service national framework, this document has a lifespan of three years so that it reflects the government’s plans for the whole of the designated comprehensive spending review period. However, the framework must continue to remain current and meaningful so the government will review whether change need to be made to the document after two years of the three have elapsed. The government intends to leave the document in place for the whole three years lifespan if possible. If that is not possible, the government will consult on any proposed revision, prior to implementation (Communities and Local Government, 2011).
The aims of the national framework document is to enhance the Fire and Rescue Authorities to prevent, protect and respond to risks and emergencies affecting the communities, develop resilience, enhance diversity and workforce and to improve governance within the authorities. The national framework document has a framework of three years because there is need to renew the plans of the Fire and Rescue Authorities with time. There are many changes in the society and this requires the authorities to adjust their management strategies (Communities and Local Government, 2011).
Why the community needs to be engaged when implementing change
Community engagement is key priority for any fire and rescue service. In its safety plan for 2008/2011, London fire brigade has stated that they wish to work more closely with people across London, and with a range of other stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors to explore with them what they expect from London fire and rescue service. They also asked the community to say what they think about current performance, and how they would like to London fire brigade developing and improving our service in the future.
By engaging with local communities, fire and rescue service will be better placed to determine local needs and discover how service can be best deliver to address those needs. The communities also provide information about changes which are required to enhance fire safety in the localities. Collaboration between the Fire and Rescue Authorities and the local people is very important especially in reporting cases of accidents promptly. This enhances quick response to the emergencies that may affect the people. There is need to have a good connection between the communities and the authorities so that the quality of service delivery can be improved (London Fire Brigade, 2011).