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2018 VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey Pre-Registration Now Open

The 7th annual, VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey will open on Friday 31 August 2018 and run until 22 October 2018.

The survey continues to be an important and reliable method to capture the views of volunteers and track what has been achieved and is improving, as well as addressing areas that are the cause of dissatisfaction for volunteers.

Click here to register to receive the survey when it opens.

The VFBV Volunteer Welfare & Efficiency Survey is an annual snapshot of volunteer opinion, which includes 33 questions on issues chosen by volunteers. Each question asks you how important the issue is to you and how well you think CFA is performing. They survey takes around 10 – 15 minutes to complete.

Last year a record number of volunteers completed the survey with over 7,700 volunteers taking part through our interstate surveys. Your comments are confidential, but your input will assist VFBV, CFA and EMV to plan for the future.

Download a sign-up sheet at the bottom of this page and get your whole brigade or group registered to take part in the survey.


Snapshot of the 2017 VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey Results

Survey Participation

  • The number of CFA respondents continues to be high (2,653) and statistically robust, and has been identified as a valid representation of the wider CFA volunteer population.
  • The highest percentage of female respondents (18%) since the survey commenced in 2012.
  • The demographics profile of respondents largely represents the overall CFA volunteering population. The only exception is the under-representation of volunteers with less than 1 year of service.
  • All CFA districts are represented in the responses.
  • There is only a small group of respondents who identify as being under 25 (approximately 3%). This is consistent with previous years.
  • 30% of all respondents provided additional comments to support or add to their views

Understanding the Survey Results

The survey using a Likert scale (a scale used to represent people’s attitudes to a topic) of 1 to 10 for the Importance that a particular factor represents for the respondent, and then the respondent’s view of Performance for that particular factor.

Determining the Gap and VolWEL Outcome

The relative measure of how closely performance meets the expectation of Importance, is referred to as the Gap. The illustration below, demonstrates the calculation of the Gap derived for each statement, which is then averaged to provide the Gap for each theme.

The Gap then determines the Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Level (VolWEL) is a way that is easy to interpret and understand.

A high VolWEL outcome is a sign that things are not working well and that volunteer expectations are furthest from being met.

A low VolWEL outcome is a good sign that things are working well and indicates volunteer expectations are closer to being met.

Overall Results

The results from the 2017 VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey are largely consistent with previous years – the areas that had the biggest gaps when the survey was introduced in 2012, are still areas causing the highest levels of dissatisfaction amongst volunteers – the areas where volunteer expectation are closest to being met, remain at this level.

Changes to results since 2016:

The VolWEL outcome has improved for the following themes:

  • Cooperation Across CFA
  • Training by CFA
  • Support From CFA

The VolWEL outcome has worsened for the following themes:

  • Respect and Professionalism
  • Recruitment and Retention
  • People Management – My Brigade

The VolWEL outcome has remained steady for My Role as a Volunteer theme. 

  • Members are most satisfied with their role and activities at brigade level
  • Members are least satisfied with activities which are the responsibility of CFA corporate / management level
  • The views on the performance of Training by CFA is the most improved of all themes – but still rates as one of the areas where there is the biggest gap between expectations and performance
  • Recruitment and Retention continues as one of the more positive areas, but results highlight the recruitment and retention of young volunteers as an ongoing concern
  • People Management – My Brigade received the highest scores for both importance and performance
  • Cooperation across CFA received the lowest scores for performance

Areas identified as in need of significant improvement

  • Volunteers do not feel they are effectively consulted in decision making at corporate level or regional level
  • CFA corporate policies and leadership do not support an effective volunteer based and fully integrated organisation
  • There is an issue with the lack of respect for volunteers by paid personnel, respect and value for the contribution of volunteers by CFA, and CFA does not do enough to promote community confidence in the role and professionalism of volunteers and their brigades
  • CFA does not provide enough training opportunities in formats, at times and at locations that make it easy to participate nor is it provided within a reasonable distance of the brigade
  • CFA does not support its workforce arrangements which allow paid staff and volunteers to work cooperatively as an integrated team. This is view least favourably by volunteer members of integrated brigades
  • Recruitment and retention, particularly retention, of younger volunteers continues to be a challenge for brigades.

Areas identified as performing well

  • There are no barriers to the roles women can occupy within a brigade
  • Diversity is accepted and welcomed at brigades
  • Volunteers are effectively consulted and involved in decision making at brigade level
  • Volunteers feel the time they devote to CFA is productive and worthwhile
  • There is a friendly environment within brigades, which welcomes new members and has good morale
  • New volunteers, are actively supported to allow them to turn out to incidents within a reasonable time of joining
  • New volunteers in non-response roles are actively supported to allow them to contribute within my brigade within a reasonable time of joining

Results by demographic

  • Volunteers who identify as being in a leadership role at a level broader then their brigade give higher importance scores in all areas, than brigade members and leaders within brigades
  • Overall, it appears volunteers in leadership roles at level broader than their brigade, are most satisfied with their role, however are more critical of performance, generally indicating a bigger gap between expectation and performance for the survey statements than was seen with brigade members or brigade leaders
  • Volunteers in brigade leadership roles are the most satisfied with activities at brigade level
  • Female respondents tend to give both higher importance and performance ratings than male peers. However, overall results when reviewed by the different gender categories the gap in meeting their expectations is similar.

The only exception being in the areas of equal opportunity, welcoming diversity and a lack of tolerance for bullying, where females had slightly lower levels of satisfaction.

  • Volunteer members of Integrated brigades had the biggest gap between expectations and performance when comparing their results with members of other brigade types. The only exception was for volunteer members of Urban brigades who indicated lower levels of satisfaction in relation to the location of, accessibility to and lack of opportunity for training
  • Members of Rural brigades appear to be the most satisfied across all areas of welfare and efficiency
  • A comparison between volunteers with different lengths of service history shows that the longer a volunteer remains with CFA, the bigger the gap between expectation and performance widens. Satisfaction continues to show improvement generally after 16 years of service
  • In previous surveys, the youngest cohort that responds (18 – 25 years of age) tended to be the most satisfied. Concerningly, this cohort in 2017 have the biggest gaps for the themes of Training by CFA, Recruitment and Retention and People Management – My Brigade, when compared with other age groups.

Overall Satisfaction

  • Overall satisfaction with CFA volunteer role continues to decline
  • Ratings for both intention to continue volunteering and recommending CFA to others has increased when compared with 2016 results
  • For all satisfaction related statements, Integrated brigade volunteer members rated satisfaction the lowest, compared to Rural and/or Urban brigade volunteer members

Motivation to volunteer

The 2017 results show there continues to be a shift in the reasons for volunteering. “A sense of fulfilment in supporting my community in a meaningful way” is the main reason for 33% of volunteers in 2017 compared with 46% in 2012.

“To help protect the community I live in” has continued to increase and in 2017 accounts as the main reason for volunteering for 61% of responding CFA volunteers – this is compared with 48% of volunteers in 2012.  

2017 Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey – other fire and emergency management agencies

In 2017, volunteers with fire services from around Australia once again participated in the same welfare and efficiency survey, as did many other volunteer emergency management organisations in Victoria. Overall, including CFA participants, 7,714 volunteers took part.

The results for the 2017 Victorian Emergency Management Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey and the results for fire services nationally are currently being presented to the agencies.

Read 11870 times Last modified on Thursday, 30 August 2018 17:39
CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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