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LEADERSHIP ACCOUNTABILITY INTEGRATION www.firecommissioner.vic.gov.au

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FIRE SERVICES COMMISSIONER

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Victoria’s fire services have worked together in the past and do so now. However, there is capacity and potential to improve the way they operate together, plan together and engage with communities together. This was a common theme highlighted throughout the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. The establishment of the Fire Services Commissioner adds a different capacity and capability to fire management in Victoria. By working toward one collective vision, set of principles and behaviours, we will ensure the untapped potential is realised as real and lasting benefits to the Victorian community.

Contents Background P3 About us

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The change

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Progress

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Reform P15

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BACKGROUND. Why change? The events of Black Saturday - 7 February, 2009 - are forever etched in the memory of all Victorians, Australians and the global emergency management community. The Final Report of the 2009 Royal Commission into Black Saturday identified major changes needed to the way fire services in Victoria operate. The Royal Commission acknowledged the long history of fire agencies. The events of 7 February 2009 tested arrangements and it became apparent that some organisational factors inhibited the fire services response on the day. There were issues with organisational structure that meant the full potential of the fire services operational capability was not utilised because of differences in processes and procedures. The Commission heard evidence of examples of successful management of resources across agencies. There were, however, also instances of existing arrangements hindering operational performance, demonstrating that change is required. The community now rightly expects that the changes recommended will happen, and that there is a single level of accountability for major fires in Victoria. The role of the Fire Services Commissioner will ensure that community needs and expectations are at the core of changes to planning and delivering fire services in Victoria. This accountability also ensures the fire services are connected to each other through interoperability principles, to other emergency service organisations, to local government authorities, state government departments and communities.

What the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report said: • The Commission does not consider that the flaws identified in connection with Black Saturday can be overcome simply by doing more of the same, even if it is done better. •

The Commission sought an approach that would facilitate and provide clear and decisive leadership to achieve these goals while preserving the best aspects of each of the fire agencies and their current governance arrangements. It decided on three areas on which to focus organisational effort and change in the short and longer term:

- promoting operational improvements and reform - better management of level 3 fires - accommodating the potential for future change.

The immediate priority must be to lift baseline operational capacity and interoperability in all of Victoria’s fire agencies. A clear commitment and a concerted effort are needed now. Leadership is required to create the environment and impetus for continuous improvement and to build capacity, resilience and operational fire management expertise in recognition of Victoria’s status as the most fireprone state in Australia.

Administrative approaches to coordination have often proven ineffective, so the Commission considers that an organisational structure is needed to strengthen operational integration and establish a source of authority to ensure that change happens. To avoid parochialism, which can compromise reform, the source of authority needs to rest outside the individual fire services.

“administrative approaches to coordination have often proved ineffective, so the Commission considers that an organisational structure is needed to strengthen operational integration and establish a source of authority to ensure the change happens” Ref.2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report

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“173 people died as a result of the fires. This far exceeded the loss of life from any previous bushfires – including Ash Wednesday, in February 1983, when 75 people died in Victoria and South Australia.” Ref.2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report

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ABOUT US. Our purpose

Our focus

To lead an ongoing program of improvement, reform and change with the Victorian fire services.

Interoperability is a foundation and mechanism to achieve better outcomes and effectiveness for how fire services work together, connect to the community and work with a wide range of partners, before, during and after a fire.

Our vision Fire Services in Victoria operate as one integrated force.

Our role The Fire Services Commissioner has primary responsibility to oversee and work with Victoria’s three fire services. Leading, enabling and facilitating changes to the way fire services work together with partners and the community to prepare for major fires and operate as one. Interoperability is a key principle, foundation and mechanism to achieve better outcomes, unity within different organisations and cultures , efficiencies in the sector and overall benefit to the community. The responsibility to promote and direct reform aimed at increasing the operational capability, capacity, interoperability and resilience of Victoria’s fire services, are key areas of work. This will ensure the longer-term needs of the Victorian community are understood, represented, acted upon and the foundation for improving the integration and performance of the three fire services. The Fire Services Commissioner is an independent statutory officer and works with Victoria’s fire services (Country Fire Authority, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Department of Sustainability and Environment) to achieve continuous improvement and reform. The Fire Services Commissioner is the State Fire Controller for major fire in Victoria and the most senior operational firefighter in the state. A small team of specialists provide support, expertise and leadership across the functions of fire service delivery, performance and standards, fire policy and planning, strategy and innovation, government and stakeholder relations.

‘Strong connections between fire services, the community, local government, state government departments and the range of other organisations are critical to our success’

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Strong connections between fire services, the community, local government, state government departments and the range of other organisations are critical to ensure interoperability exists not only between the fire services, but a much larger group of people and organisations that are involved before, during and after a fire. A joint understanding of each others strengths, limitations and plans is a critical foundation for improving the ways that individuals, communities and the fire services plan for and respond to fire. Building capacity, capability and resilience is important not only within the fire services, but among community networks and the range of other organisations, agencies, local and state government departments.

2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report Recommendation 63; establish a Fire Services Commissioner Appoint a Fire Commissioner as an independent statutory officer responsible to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and as the senior operational firefighter in Victoria The Fire Services Commissioner should have responsibility for the following: •

Promoting and directing reform aimed at increasing the operational capability, interoperability and resilience of Victoria’s fire services.

Developing and building operational capacity to prepare for the days of highest bushfire risk and exercising control over level 3 fires as the permanent State Controller.

Providing to government periodic advice on fire management.

Representing Victorian interests on operational matters in national committees.

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‘Interoperability is a foundation and mechanism to achieve better outcomes and effectiveness.’.

Our responsibilities – work with the fire services to enhance their individual and collective capability – develop and maintain standards for the performance of functions by CFA, DSE & MFB – develop and maintain incident management operating procedures, endorsement and accreditation processes

– have overall control of the response to major fires – issue warnings and information to the community about fires in Victoria – have regard to the importance of CFA volunteers with respect to Victoria’s firefighting management and capacity – promote and lead reform to improve operational capability

– encourage and oversee joint initiatives of the fire agencies

– manage the State Control Centre – make recommendations to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services in relation to fire management – lead and facilitate statewide policy and planning – represent Victoria on national committees and coordinate interstate/international deployments from Victoria’s fire services.

Our partners include: Victorian Government Victoria Police Victoria State Emergency Services Ambulance Victoria Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority Bureau of Meteorology VicRoads Local councils Municipal Association of Victoria Department of Justice Department of Human Services Department of Health Department of Primary Industries Department of Planning and Community Development Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner Parks Victoria Tourism Victoria.

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lead, facilitate and enable change

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THE CHANGE. The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recommended the establishment of a Fire Services Commissioner. The new role commenced in September 2010 and was enshrined in legislation on 1 December 2010. The Fire Services Commissioner Act provides the legislative framework for the new role and amends the Country Fire Authority Act 1958, Metropolitan Fire Brigades Act 1958, Forests Act 1958 and the Emergency Management Act 1986, to reflect the change.

‘We will need to ensure that everything we do in the future is measured by the value it ultimately adds to community safety’.

The Fire Services Commissioner Act 2010 provides for the appointment, powers and functions of the Fire Services Commissioner and amends Victoria’s emergency management arrangements so the Fire Services Commissioner is the State Fire Controller of the response to major fire. The Act outlines the responsibility for ensuring the capacity, capability and interoperability of Victoria’s fire services, is enhanced.

The foundation for the future

MFB

Th eF ire

The past

missioner Com s e c rvi Se

DSE MFB

CFA

The Community The

CFA Emergency management partners

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Emergency Management Act Section 16 Control of response to major fires (1) The Fire Services Commissioner has the overall control of response activities in relation to a major fire(a) which is burning; or (b) which may occur; or (c) which has occurredin any area of the State. (2) The Fire Services Commissioner may take overall control of response activities from any one or more of the fire services agencies in relation to a fire if the Fire Services Commissioner considers the fire has become, or reasonably believes has the potential to become, a major fire.

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(3) A chief officer of a fire services agency may transfer overall control of response activities in relation to a fire to the Fire Services Commissioner if the chief officer considers that the fire has become, or reasonably believes has the potential to become, a major fire. (4) The Fire Services Commissioner may appoint a chief officer or another officer of one of the fire services agencies to have the overall control of response activities referred to in subsection (1) (5) The Fire Services Commissioner, or a chief officer or any officer appointed under subsection (4), may(a) appoint one or more assistant controllers for the major fire; or (b) transfer control of any response activity to one or more other persons.

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PROGRESS. Command and Control In December 2010, CFA, DSE and MFB together with the Fire Services Commissioner, approved the new Command and Control arrangements. The new arrangements provide for clear and unambiguous command and control of, preparedness for, and response to bushfires in Victoria. Specifically, this document describes the arrangements for: • State Fire Controller, State Fire Control Team and State Emergency Management Team • Regional Controller, Regional Fire Control Team and Regional Emergency Management Team, and

The establishment of a Fire Services Commissioner drives a stronger emphasis on the links between command and control for fire and planning within communities at local, landscape, regional and state levels. This will ensure the fire services, local government authorities, state government departments, partners and the local community are connected and work together to achieve their maximum potential.

• The links between State, Region and Incident Control. The State Fire Control Team supports the State Fire Controller. It is lead by the Fire Services Commissioner and comprises the Chief Officers of CFA and MFB, the Chief Fire Officer of DSE and a senior Victoria Police officer representing the State Emergency Response Coordinator function. This new model is similar to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) model where the three military agencies have responsibility to Raise, Train and Maintain an operational capability. The Chief of Defence provides the over- arching strategy and interoperability to enable an integrated multi- agency force that is ready and capable for deployment. Victoria’s fire services have a unique opportunity to become the Victorian integrated fire ready force. The Fire Services Commissioner has gained the support of the Australian Chief of Defence to work together in a cooperative approach to learn from the ADF and assist in developing the next generation fire service model for Victoria.

Appointment of Regional Controllers Regional Controllers have now been assigned across the state from the three fire services. The Regional Controller function is a critical element to planning for major fire and ensures that they are positioned and prepared to be activated in the event of major fire or the prediction of weather and fire conditions where the State Controller can activate these roles before any event.

State Control Centre State Control Centre standard operating procedures have been reviewed and initial changes to process and systems have been implemented for this bushfire season to integrate the role of State Controller and the State Fire Control Team. Administration and management of the infrastructure, people and systems in the State Control Centre has been delegated to DSE to ensure continuity for this bushfire season.

State Fire Controller

Agency Commanders MFB, DSE, CFA Victoria Police

State Fire Control Team This diagram shows the structure of the State Fire Control Team

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PROGRESS. Line of control LINE OF CONTROL FOR BUSHFIRES

(State Command and Control Arrangements for bushfire in Victoria)

State Emergency Response Coordinator

State Controller

Agency Commanders

State Duty Officers

What the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report said: • There was no single agency or individual in control of the emergency response on 7 February.

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Regional Agency Commanders

MFD, DSE Areas, CFA Regions

Incident Controller

DSE & CFA District Duty Officers

Local level

• Command of each fire agency’s resources remains the responsibility of the agency’s Chief Officer, who must provide advice to the State Controller on agency readiness, capability and operational activity.

Regional Controller

Regional level

• The lack of a single individual with clear responsibility for control of the response to major bushfires has been redressed through the revised State Command and Control Arrangements for Bushfire in Victoria, adopted by the CFA, DSE and the MFB in October 2009 following a review of command and control arrangements led by Chief Commissioner of Police Mr Simon Overland. The purpose of the new arrangements is to provide ‘clear and unambiguous command and control of, preparedness for, and response to, level 3 bushfires in Victoria’.

State level

One of the key command and control improvements initiated for the 2010/2011 fire season was the introduction of line of control. The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission was adamant that there needed to be clear lines of control and accountability visible to all the agencies and individuals involved and the community in general. The line of control clearly establishes who is responsible in a major bushfire at every level of control, the incident, the region and the state level.

Line of Control *

Chain of Command

(Incident Management)

(Management of agency business)

Joint Command and Control reporting

Agency reporting

* The State Emergency Response Plan refers to this as Chain of Command

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‘The new strategic control priorities focus on primacy of life and the issuing of community information and community warnings that are timely, relevant and tailored to assist community members make informed decisions about their safety’.

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PROGRESS. Strategic control priorities The focus on primacy of life and the issuing of community information and community warnings is the new direction.

The Fire Services Commissioner recently issued Strategic control priorities which provide guidance to Incident Controller/s, Regional Controller/s and the State Controller. These will often be referred to as the “State Controllers Intent” and will inform the development of the Incident Strategy and Incident Action Plan (IAP).

The new strategic control priorities focus on primacy of life and the issuing of community information and community warnings that are timely, relevant and tailored to assist community members make informed decisions about their safety. The strategic control priorities are also underpinned by protection of property, the economy and the environment.

The strategic control priorities are: – protection and preservation of life is paramount. This includes: - safety of emergency services personnel, and - safety of community members including vulnerable community members and visitors / tourists located within the incident area – issuing of community information and community warnings detailing incident information that is timely, relevant and tailored to help community members make informed decisions about their safety – protection of critical infrastructure and community assets that support community resilience – protection of residential property as a place of primary residence – protection of assets supporting individual livelihoods and economic production that supports individual and community financial sustainability – protection of environmental and conservation values that consider the cultural, biodiversity, and social values of the environment.

To assist the incident management team and emergency management team achieve the strategic control priorities, focus should be placed on the following activities: - continuous situational awareness - issuing of community information / warnings - incident intelligence (behaviour) - incident prediction - dynamic risk assessment - weather prognosis - mapping - resources - incident management structure * Field Command, Incident Control, Regional / State Control

- understand community impact and consequences – discuss with EMT - communications. * maintain two-way communications with IMT, EMT & Regional/State Control

The strategic control priorities have also been adopted for flood and storm by the Victoria State Emergency Service under the leadership of the SES Director of Operations.

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PROGRESS. Fire danger ratings review The Victorian Fire Danger Rating system has been modified to better reflect the fire risk and fire intensity. The key elements of the modified system are: • alignment of Bureau of Meteorology weather districts with total fire ban districts and municipal boundaries • adopt the “half circle” as the standard signage for the fire danger rating sign and update current signs • modify the FDR messaging focusing on “what does this mean?” and “what should I do?” • discretion by the State Fire Controller to determine “Code Red” days • Clarify the adoption of the national Prepare-Act-Survive framework. The review also included considerations arising from the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and the National Fire Danger Rating Review. The document titled Victorian Fire Danger Rating (FDR) Review was produced and outlines the current whole of Victorian Government approach to fire danger ratings, advice and warnings relating to bushfires across the state.

The discussions focussed on: • capability frameworks • interoperability • relationships • cultures • Command and Control • intelligence • effective State Control • philosophy and systems • continuous improvement • change management and change strategies .

Information interoperability review An audit and review is underway of all information systems and processes involved with issuing timely and accurate warnings and information that enables the community to make informed decisions. This naturally involves understanding what barriers exist within the current fire management systems used to gather information and issue warnings to the community.

What does this mean, what does it look like, how do we build it?

This review will establish how to maximise the benefit of multiple sources of effort, funding and technology toward single systems, processes and technology that enables faster and more accurate information to the community and also to Incident Controllers.  

Fire services across the world are looking at interoperability as a key principle and measurement of success. The principle is fast becoming a tool for fire services leaders driving change and improvement in how the fire services connect with other emergency services, Government services and the community. Interoperability can be applied across data or technology solutions, fire management planning frameworks, command and control arrangements or strategic planning.

Technology has changed substantially over the last five years and with the advent of 3G data communications, smart phones and increasingly sophisticated users there are significant opportunities to utilise information from the general public to improve the intelligence gathering process. There is also growing recognition that on major fire days, there is information available from other parties that is important to the public and to the effectiveness of the fire services.

Benefits often include:

Victorian Bushfire Safety Policy Framework

Integrated, interoperable capability

• Reduced barriers to effectively working together • Better utilisation of specific strengths and expertise • Effecient use of limited financial resources • Enabling seamless operations and information sharing between agencies, departments and the community. In other words, it is about being joined up, connected and working toward a single vision of success. The Chief Officers/Chief Fire Officer and other senior leaders within the fire services, recently spent time testing the collective understanding around key words, concepts, principles and ideas. Strategic discussions were set up to create an opportunity to begin framing joint thinking and collectively start to define the new space we now operate within. It is critical that we begin to collectively define what the key words we use, the concepts, ideas and their application to fire services in Victoria.

The protection of life and the safety of individuals is paramount. This key principle underpins the framework. The framework provides guidance and direction for the use and application, where relevant, of each of the bushfire safety options. One document now outlines the broad strategic framework and provides guidance and direction for the use and application, where relevant, of a range of bushfire safety options. The framework was finalised in October 2010 with appendices in December 2010, and is designed to improve bushfire safety options for all Victorians. The State’s fire services and emergency management agencies will develop guidelines and procedures to give effect to the framework to support and enable its appropriate application across the community. The Fire Services Commissioner will oversee the implementation of this framework and will conduct a review and evaluation after each bushfire season. The Victorian Bushfire Safety Policy Framework is designed to improve bushfire safety for all Victorians and helps to ensure the range of partners ( eg Tourism Victoria ) are connected into bushfire policy across the state .

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‘Interoperability principles can be applied across data or technology solutions, fire management planning frameworks, command and control arrangements or strategic planning’

‘Fire services across the world are looking at interoperability as a key principle and measurement of success’

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REFORM. Unity, efficiency, decisions

Opportunities

There must be a strong momentum created and maintained. There must be an absolute commitment to challenge ourselves and to create a new story that people will want to tell in the future. A story about people that drove unity, interoperability, efficiency and change. A story that took the lessons of the past and made the changes required to avoid an event like Black Saturday ever happening again.

Building capacity, capability and resilience of fire services. To do this will require innovative approaches to do some things differently and do some things in a completely new way. Effective partnerships with local government, state government organisations and agencies, other emergency service organisations, representative bodies and the private sector are critical to successfully developing an integrated and innovative approach to bushfire safety in Victoria. But that is not enough. The story must offer the Victorian community evidence of change. We must provide compelling reasons to the community to believe that fire services have put aside boundaries and jurisdictions and focus on the best way to do business together as one. A new way of doing business that draws on strengths, and reduces duplication of old models where boundaries and jurisdiction got in the way of operational planning, decision making, seamless engagement and leading behaviour change in communities. The community needs to see, hear and experience the change in a way they can engage with and understand.

Challenges •

develop statewide competency standards for Incident Management Teams and individuals

achieve a sustainable community behaviour change program in relation to fire, and in particular, bushfire

build a common vision for the delivery of fire services across the state

achieve cultural change within the fire services to achieve full interoperability

develop single systems, technology and processes that deliver people the information they need to make the most effective decisions in a timely manner

there are high expectations that issues will be fixed and barriers to effectively working as one integrated force will be removed

complacency

measuring everything we do by the value it ultimately adds to community safety.

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• • • • •

‘use’ the clear mandate, broad agenda and catalyst for change within Victoria’s fire services create a common vision and foundation for fire services delivery in the next 10—15 years remove systems and cultural barriers that affect the interoperability of the fire services delivery to the community work with the technology industry to deliver sustainable, innovative and interoperable technical solutions. engage with and partner with communities to build resilience examine state capability options across the fire services.

What the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission said about reform The four goals of reform: • • • •

improved common operational policy and standards stronger coordination and unambiguous command and control improved interoperability a strengthened capacity for agencies to provide an integrated response.

To achieve reform outcomes, the Fire Services Commissioner would work closely with the CFA and MFB Board’s and CEO and Secretary of DSE. In turn, the Board’s would be expected to lead organisational, cultural, systems, technology and operational change within their respective organisations. Alignment of the agencies’ and the Fire Commissioner’s priorities would maximise the output from the invested effort and resources, allow for the establishment of priorities for resource allocation, and strengthen bids for joint initiatives and investment needs. To advance operational improvements and reform, the Fire Commissioner would develop a rolling three-year action plan that would be endorsed by the Minister and would set out the priorities and outcomes to be achieved. The plan would be supported by a work program that is assessed and updated annually. Crucially, during development of the priorities the Fire Commissioner must consult the CFA and MFB boards and CEOs and the Secretary of DSE, with the aim of obtaining support for the priorities.

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‘barriers to interoperability are understood and removed. The untapped potential and capacity within the fire services will be realised as real and lasting benefits to the Victorian community’.

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Message from the Fire Services Commissioner The Victorian Black Saturday bushfires left significant ongoing impact : 173 deaths, over 2000 homes destroyed and long term consequences for communities and fire services. The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission provided three reports with one of the recommendations detailing the establishment of a Fire Services Commissioner. As Victoria’s first Fire Services Commissioner, I am acutely aware of the significance of the appointment and the importance of a generational and evolutionary approach to change while leading, influencing and modernising Victoria’s fire services. The Fire Services Commissioner Act 2010 provides the legislative basis for my role as the most senior operational firefighter in Victoria, to lead change, build capacity and set the standards across Victoria’s fire services. We will need to ensure that everything we do in the future is measured by the value it ultimately adds to community safety. As the 2010/2011 bushfire season comes to an end, we now move our focus to the bulk of the work that remains in front of us. How do we shape the future and the change that we have to deliver? I look forward to working through this period of improvement and change with the three fire services, the Victorian Government and the community. To guide us through this period, I am required to present the fire services reform action plan to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and again I look forward to working with all parties to develop this plan that will lead us toward real change in the way we do business as one integrated team. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the communities, individuals and the fire services that remain impacted by the fires of 7 February 2009. It is this and the needs of the community that we must keep front of mind as we tackle the bigger challenge of reform within Victoria’s fire services.

Craig Lapsley

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Our vision of success Working as one integrated and unified team, we lead and influence real and lasting change in the way our fire services operate. This team is aligned by common accountability, principles, behaviours and is making decisions that provide the best value for the community. The change we deliver will be sustainable,understood, implemented and embedded within the three fire services and the community see, understand and acknowledge that change has occurred.

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LEADERSHIP ACCOUNTABILITY INTEGRATION

This publication has been produced by the Fire Services Commissioner, L26, 121 Exhibition St, Melbourne 3001. Enquiries about this publication can be directed to:

www.firecommissioner.vic.gov.au

Fire Services Commissioner, L26, 121 Exhibition Street Melbourne VIC 3001, or email to admin@firecommissioner.vic.gov.au Š Fire Services Commissioner, Victoria. This publication is copyright. No part may be reproduced by any process except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968. Photographs courtesy of CFA, DSE and MFB. Version 2. March 2011.


Building new foundations - Fire Services Commissioner, Victoria