The Fire Service restructure that is underway will provide more support for many volunteer brigades and more consistency in staffing and administration within its five regions.
As part of the restructure, the Fire Service has already reduced its administrative structure from eight regions to five, each with its own Region Manager. This was done to standardise the size and workload of each region.
In this next stage, the Fire Service is ensuring that resources are evenly spread, that job descriptions are standardised and some roles and functions are centralised.
Project manager Assistant National Commander Paul Baxter said "This is not a cost-cutting exercise and can only improve the operation of the Fire Service and its relationships with communities across the country.
He said the changes include taking some functions, such as managing vehicle and property maintenance off volunteer support staff to give them more time to focus on their brigades. "We want front line staff and managers to focus on their core roles; managing fire risk and supporting their staff and brigades."
The project has involved extensive consultation with staff and volunteers around the country and much of the feedback has led to changes in the initial proposal. This includes addressing concern that it could lead to an increase in volunteer brigade administrative workloads.
"We started out with the clear intention of making sure the volunteer brigades were supported on an equitable basis. We have allocated almost one million dollars more to providing that support , so no brigade should end up having to do additional paperwork."
In theTasman/Nelson area, brigades had historically been funded to pay for a few hours a week office support. This arrangement is being kept for the time being while further work is done to see if it is a model should be adopted elsewhere, or replaced with the model being used in other districts.
The restructure does not result in any widespread loss of jobs. A handful of people have been offered similar positions in other locations and a few who may not wish to take up alternate positions in the new structure, have been offered the opportunity to take early retirement or redundancy
Overall, around 50 new positions have been created, 45 have been dis-established and 70 positions have been refocused to enhance our service the community and brigades, he said.
Contact: Karlum Lattimore, National Media Advisor