Implementing Strategy and Managing Change
Vision and strategic aims as fundamentals in a fire service safety plan.
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 fulfil 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. Protection, which involves taking measures to influence and regulate the built environment and hence protect people, their property and the environment from harm. 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 is fundamental to community based fire and rescue services.
Good leadership and management from the elected councillors and other senior officials is 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. This will enable them to meet the ever changing and growing needs. 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. The performance indicators provided the importance of the objective, its aim as well as how effective it achieved the set targets 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) for this objective. The first one is fire incident outcomes, which measures 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).
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