Report 17

Support and Preparedness of Fire and Emergency Services Volunteers

Audit focus and scope

This audit looked at whether the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is effectively recruiting, preparing and supporting fire and emergency services volunteers. We focused on the following lines of inquiry:

  • Does DFES effectively recruit and retain fire and emergency services volunteers?
  • Does DFES effectively train and equip fire and emergency services volunteers?
  • Does DFES provide sufficient support to fire and emergency services volunteers?

The Guidelines for Successful Partnerships between Public Sector Agencies and Volunteers Fifth Edition – March 2014 developed by the Department of Local Government and Communities informed our audit plan.

We conducted an online volunteer engagement survey. The survey closed on 6 March 2015 with 1 316 responses. A summary of the survey results is shown in Appendix 1.

The audit conduct did not include the Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS), Education and Heritage Volunteers or the Emergency Services Cadet Corps. However, we did invite VMRS volunteers to respond to our online volunteer engagement survey.

The audit primarily focused on DFES management of volunteers during 2013 and 2014.

We attended the WA Fire and Emergency Services Conference 2014 to hold focus groups with volunteer attendees from all services.

We also visited three regional locations and met with volunteer Brigade, Unit and Group Leaders, DFES and LG staff and held focus group discussions with both DFES and LG volunteers.

We reviewed DFES documentation, sampled membership, training and equipment records, and interviewed relevant DFES staff.

We conducted the audit in accordance with Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards.

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