A report examining the welfare and satisfaction of Victorian emergency service volunteers has been published by Emergency Management Victoria, capturing sector-wide data and identifying common trends and issues, directly from frontline volunteers.
The report is based on results from a 2016 survey, which was open to volunteers from:
- Ambulance Victoria;
- Country Fire Authority;
- Australian Volunteer Coast Guard;
- Life Saving Victoria;
- Red Cross – Emergency Services;
- The Salvation Army – Emergency Services;
- St John Ambulance;
- Victoria State Emergency Service; and
- Victorian Council of Churches – Emergencies Ministry.
Summarising responses from 4185 emergency service volunteers, the report captures a sector-wide view of the opinions of volunteers and also provides individual emergency service agencies with a valuable insight and validation of their volunteers’ expectations and whether they are being met.
The report identifies and provides information on common themes around reasons for volunteering and satisfaction with the experience, with key findings including:
- Overall higher levels of satisfaction with performance of matters important to volunteers at the local team level.
- Encouraging diversity and creating a welcoming environment to new volunteers was rated as being extremely important.
- General consensus that there are no barriers to the roles women can occupy and that people from all cultural backgrounds, different religions and differing political and personal beliefs are all welcome.
- A welcoming environment, with no tolerance of bullying, consistently rated as highly important.
- Areas for improvement included consultation in decision making at management/corporate and regional/district levels, as well as making it easier for volunteers to participate in training.
It is envisaged that the survey results will provide the Minister for Emergency Services, government and emergency service organisations with a direct volunteer perspective, as well as facilitate sharing of good ideas, learning and improvement initiatives. It also provides baseline data, which can be used to measure improvements and close gaps.
The ‘opt in’ survey was open from 15 July until 6 September 2016 and with the volume of volunteer responses received, it is considered the largest and most comprehensive sector-wide welfare and efficiency survey in Victoria.
Emergency Management Victoria provided support for the 2016 survey, as well as delivery of the overall sector report and reports to individual emergency service organisations.
Preparations are now being made for a 2017 survey.
The full 2016 survey report is available at: http://files.em.vic.gov.au/Backups/EMV-website/Emergency-Management-Volunteer-Welfare-and-Efficiency-Survey.PDF