National Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey

The Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey is an initiative of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV), the volunteer association formally established in the CFA Act to represent CFA volunteers in Victoria. The initial survey tool was developed and designed by volunteers, for volunteers, and launched in Victoria in 2012. In 2016, the Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations (CAVFA) endorsed an expansion of VFBV’s Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey and fire service volunteers across Australia were given the opportunity to participate. 

The survey is offered to volunteers through their respective state level volunteer association. The associations then work independently and collectively in providing the results to key stakeholders within and beyond each fire service, and more broadly across each State, Territory or at a national level. The survey provides evidence-based, quantitative and qualitative data on matters of importance to volunteers. Expansion of the survey across Australia provides a valuable opportunity to volunteer representatives and volunteer organisations to harness direct feedback from volunteers on the issues shared among fire service volunteers right around the country. It can help focus work on matters of significance on behalf of the entire fire services volunteering population. 

The survey was designed with expert, independent organisational and people performance consultants, informed by broad consultation with volunteers on what issues were most important to them. Following this a series of statements were developed that were identified as being most critical to volunteer welfare and efficiency. These statements form the core of the survey and were grouped into seven key themes, within which are several questions. 

There are also specific statements relating to volunteer’s overall satisfaction levels and future intentions. Participants are also invited to provide additional comments as feedback, and these form a valuable insight into the quantitative results, the formation of observations and possible improvement ideas. The national survey results provide CAVFA with the ability to discuss, influence and advocate about the views of fire service volunteers across the states. The results provide the emergency management sector, governments and fire services with a direct volunteer perspective. Identifying common themes across the county will facilitate the sharing of good practice, new learnings and initiatives which improve volunteer satisfaction.
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