What are the FirePRO workstreams?
What is the aim of the workstreams?
The aim of the workstreams is to reflect the work and priorities of FirePRO members and offer support, insight and development opportunities in those specific areas.
While the workstreams are being co-ordinated by FirePRO, each of the projects is reliant on volunteers to shape and guide the work in that area. To create or be part of something that all FirePRO members can benefit from, get involved with one (or more) of the workstreams.
How were the workstreams decided?
The workstream subjects came about via the feedback of FirePRO members at the 2014 conference.
Members were asked what they wanted and expected from FirePRO as an organisation. All the ideas and suggestions were collated and formed five distinct catagories.
What are the workstreams?
The five workstreams are:
- Digital engagement
- Membership development and training
- Emergency planning
- Research, insights and evaluation
How do I get involved?
Each of the workstreams is headed up by a member of the current FirePRO committee. Simply get in touch with the workstream lead to express an interest in joining and shaping the work.
Digital communication is a fast growing area and this workstream is to look at ways we can work together better to enhance our use of digital engagement tools.
The first meeting of the group will take place on 24 March in London. It will include a demonstration of the Gov Delivery email communication system, with Kent FRS explaining how they are using it, their plans for the future and what they are finding so far.
We will also be looking at how to make engaging content and looking at where we can collaborate with this – especially with the use of video, animations and photos.
The future direction of the workstream will become more clearly defined after this first meeting.
If you are interested in becoming part of the group please email email@example.com.
The issue of campaign development has been the subject of many conversations over many years. We have made some progress but there is still a lot more to do.
The campaigns work stream will focus its work on two areas:
- At a senior / strategic level working to influence campaign planning with CFOA and DCLG (amongst others) and working towards a common understanding and approach to how to best use resources and influence locally and nationally to bring about the behaviour changes we need to see incidents, deaths and injuries reducing.
- At an operational / tactical level working to develop resources, ideas and activities locally, regionally and nationally to take advantage of the creativity that exists across the FRS network, encourage and facilitate better sharing of materials, campaigns etc. to reduce silo working and help realise cost savings.
We have started by looking at how we develop the ideas generated at last year’s conference into a co-ordinated work plan and are also looking at how we can start to have more influence strategically with CFOA.
Volunteers for this work stream so far are:
Philip Gillingham – Staffordshire FRS
Tim Bevington – Cheshire FRS
Sian Corrigan – Cheshire FRS
David Barlow - Hertfordshire FRS
James Bladon - Avon FRS
Leanne Ehren - Cambridgeshire FRS
Hayley Douglas - Cambridgeshire FRS
Catherine Bellamy – Nottinghamshire FRS
Tom Embury – CFOA
Rebecca Wallis - CFOA
For more information and to get involved contact Philip Gillingham at Staffordshire FRS on firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership development and training
The public relations and communications industry has for many years grappled with its reputation and worked hard to increase its professionalism. It’s no accident that the Institute of Public Relations now has Chartered status, putting it on an equal footing as many other professions; raising standards.
Setting out and developing core competencies for all communications staff within central Government has been key to Alex Aiken’s role as the Executive Director for Government Communications. And as the cuts bite we are under increasing scrutiny as to our value; as FirePRO it is key that we help members with that challenge, helping us all to develop and agree key skills to enable us to meet the expected demands placed on us.
This work stream will review existing professional standards and competencies and see how we can use these, and if necessary supplement them for the FRS. It will also look at ways of demonstrating to senior officers the value, contribution and professionalism of communications within the FRS; and supporting them where required.
At the FirePRO conference many of the suggestions for this work stream were closely linked to member training; in particular for major incidents so this work stream will work very closely with the Member Development and Training work stream.
If you have any other suggestions and/or would like to join us we would love to hear from you.
Volunteers for this work stream so far are;
Michelle Atkinson, Tyne and Wear FRS
Bridget Aherne, Nottinghamshire FRS
Clare Robinson, Durham and Darlington FRS
To join us or forward your welcome suggestions and ideas, please contact Michelle Atkinson on 0191 444 1542 or email her at email@example.com
Our ability to warn and inform the public about the public safety consequences of our emergencies isn’t just a nice thing for us to do - under the Civil Contingencies Act, it’s law! Whatever other functions we deliver in our departments, handing media and public relations for our incidents is always likely to be a core part of an FRS communications function and for this reason, the emergency planning workstream is unlikely to be developing anything new that we’ve haven’t all got in some shape or form.
But it will be about setting up a system to encourage better sharing of what we have; identifying a toolkit guide that a new starter could use to familiarise themselves with the basic of managing a communications response to a major incident; sharing of warning and informing key messages – (why reinvent the wheel on a risk if someone’s already covered it!) and perhaps producing something more specifically on weather-related risks (it rains everywhere!).
Other suggestions have included looking at our role in building community resilience, closer working within our resilience forums; tabletop exercises and the creation of a national network of “go to” contacts.
Kathy Stacey will co-ordinatate this workstream and volunteers for this work stream so far are;
James Morton - Hampshire FRS
Leanne Ehren - Cambridgeshire FRS
Heather Challinor – Staffordshire FRS
Work hasn’t started yet, so there’s plenty of opportunity to be involved from the outset. Contact Kathy on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01772 866787 if you need more information or want to get involved.
Research, insights and evaluation
There is lots of discussion in the fire and rescue service at the moment about "measurement" and "targetting"- and communication teams can really lead the way on this.
From the comments posted by delegates at the conference in November, there were three main areas of work emerging:
- Identification of a single research project or national behavioural insights study which we would all benefit from. Work has already started on this, with the work Steve Chu from South Yorkshire FRS and others are leading in conjunction for Communities & Local Government. You can read more about that work in this newsletter
- Production of a very short, clear paper which outlines some key steps on evaluating our work to make sure we are all measuring the right things. This might also tie in to London’s work around social media metrics, which was presented at the conference
- Individual FRSs are already doing pockets of good quality, individual research projects and well evaluated campaigns, but the findings are not always shared effectively so that they can benefit and feed into work nationally. We need to develop and promote ways of fixing this, for example through the FirePRO newsletter, on the portal and at future FirePRO events.
The following people expressed an interest at the conference in taking this work forward:
Dan Sims, Greater Manchester FRS
David Barlow, Hertfordshire FRS
Steve Chu, South Yorkshire FRS
James Bladon, Avon FRS
Hayley Douglas, Cambridgeshire FRS
Would you like to get involved in one or more aspects of this work? If so, contact Alex Mills at South Yorkshire FRS on email@example.com