The Best Practice Sharing & Networking meeting were attended by 12 FRS and you can find a summary of the discussions, developments and challenges in our Assessment Forum.
“It was all helpful, a great opportunity to discuss the work we are undertaking and share ideas and materials to assist with collaborative working and learning from each other. It felt as if we were part of a team, rather than all of us working in isolation which was uplifting!”
We met some fantastic colleagues at the Emergency Services Show and were inspired by so many of the talks. Plenty of exciting developments to come!
Join us and over 24 other FRS to receive these updates and details of future events here. We’ve spoken to 4 new FRS this month about adopting the CPG and dramatically reduce the burden on internal resources. Not to mention save money – Shropshire FRS completed their evaluation and let us know that using the CPG had saved then £120k since 2020! This month is all about Wtach and Station Manager CPGs, and Crew manager feedback sessions.
“It’s the first time someone has gone through my feedback report for any situation in the Fire Service, its good to hear from a professional what I do well and also not so well. Also recommendations on how I could develop myself further whilst still in the Service.”
Best Practice Sharing networking meetings booked for September 21st and 22nd at H&W and Oxfordshire FRS’s. Looking forward to welcoming 8 FRS on each day to talk about a broad range of topics covering recruitment, development, coaching, culture, high potential, succession planning and more. But before then, we have been invited to attend the NEC Emergency Services Show with Katherine Lamb on her Effective Command stand Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th of September, a very exciting opportunity!
A quieter month with many of our FRS colleagues on leave, but we have been reviewing the Direct Entry project and contributing to the ‘lessons learnt’ process,. Plus we completed a Strategic Manager CPG assessment process for a FRS recruiting for an Area Manager post. VCA also completed personality psychometric testing, delivered in-depth psychological reports and used these insights to contribute to the final interview panel.
With 7 FRS’s committed to the Direct Entry scheme, VCA has this month assessed 33 candidates using our on-line behavioural assessment system, the CPG. Our remote platform meant we could support FRS’s to assess their short-listed candidates across the breadth of the country, with many of them not needing to leave the comfort of their own homes, and taking less than 2 hours out of their day! The CPG identified the top candidates to demonstrate the mix of behavioural and values-driven criteria, who were then invited to Service for a final interview (which we supported the NFCC to design).
A busy month preparing to support the NFCC and 7 FRS’s (including two existing clients) with the Direct Entry recruitment process. Plenty of meetings and liaison with our whole team from IT, project management, admin and Occ Psych input to make sure it all runs smoothly, from Reed’s initial sifting to our comprehensive behavioural assessment. Online evening briefing session for candidates went well, and training of internal admin underway (with a new service created where our team facilitates the entire CPG process from start to finish created, a welcome solution to reduce internal workloads). Plus Station Manager CPG assessments for promotion- business as usual!
We’re delighted to announce that VCA’s Career Progression Gateway (CPG) assessment tools have been chosen to support the NFCC with the Direct Entry project. We will be assessing a range of key behavioural characteristics using our online platform and look forward to working with 5 new FRS’s in addition to the 2 who are already using the CPG for their promotion assessments.
Assessment season is back! Group and Area CPGs this month, plus a summary of the Oxfordshire Leadership Succession trial project. If you aren’t a member, contact us to join 20 other FRS’s in our Best Practice/ assessment forum to be in the loop on future meetings, and other relevant FRS assessment/ development news.
The NEW version of the CPG- the CPG feedback LITE is ready to go! Plus some interesting conversations with NFCC teams on future plans and what help VCA can offer.
Two venues (on different sides of the country!), 2 days, 10 FRS’s, 18 participants and plenty of topics later and this year’s first Best Practice Sharing meetings are all done! With thanks to Shropshire and Cambridgeshire FRS’s for hosting, the meetings were an informal look at the challenges and successes in areas of assessment, development, promotion, recruitment, culture, coaching & mentoring. The open exchange of views and information was appreciated by everyone involved.
Following on from the Developmental Coaching training in September with Oxfordshire FRS, this month was the CPG part of this trial, with GM candidates completing an on-line Case Study and Video Roleplay.
Two Watch Manager assessments back to back. Having supportive colleagues is not only crucial to how well a business can run but also the wellbeing of individual team members. Thanks to the team for making sure we could meet our commitments under personally difficult circumstances this month.
Shropshire FRS run their assessments for promotions every autumn, making it predictable for candidates and straightforward to plan wider development activities. This month we completed a Station Manager CPG, including providing the trialled and revised e-learning training for CPG preparation, and developmental feedback calls between our psychologist assessors and Shropshire’s candidates.
This month we ran a NEW course for one of our FRS clients on ‘Developmental Coaching’. Group and Area Managers spent 2 days learning the skills they need to fairly assess their new Leadership Quality Portfolio (to replace the traditional application for promotion). This assessment uses the NEW coaching techniques to explore performance and deliver constructive, evidence-based feedback and identify developmental direction and options. The benefit of this new approach to accessing promotions opportunities is that it shifts the conversation from ‘pass or fail’ towards a more inclusive and collaborative approach focusing on wellbeing and development.
We hosted a Midlands region networking meeting for 10 FRS, with 8 attending in person at Shropshire FRS and representatives from four FRS joining via Teams. The day was a big success, with colleagues across the services sharing best practice, challenges, solutions and future plans. Contact us if you’d like a copy of the minutes or to learn about upcoming events in your region. Next Midlands event Jan 19th 2023.
More clients are now choosing video roleplays via MS Teams as an alternative to the telephone roleplay. This month we have also switched the CPG feedback with our psychologist assessors to video call too, which candidates tell us they prefer.
We’re close to launch for our CPG Feedback LITE! More information coming soon.
With more FRS’s thinking about support staff assessment and development, we’ll be providing a Community Safety Manager CPG as well as an on-call CPG project.
This month is about CPG re-sits, re-starting postponed processes and trialing the e-learning course on CPG preparation.
With projects postponed due to COVID we are using the time to work on two new developments; an e-learning course focusing on preparing candidates for their CPG, including everything they need to know about successfully performing the Leadership Qualities; and creating the process and methods to deliver role-plays via video call.
9 projects with 6 FRS booked this month.
November is a popular time of year for assessments! Including on-call FF in some promotions processes, we are running assessments across evenings and weekend too to fit in with availability. Including one client project which previously used our material off-line and using in-house assessors, this time round opting to use the Career Progression Gateway.
Autumn is a busy time for promotions, with Crew, Watch and Station Manager CPG assessments. Many FRS now schedule their assessments to run almost back to back, with only a week or two between processes. This makes promotion activity predictable and consistent, with candidates knowing when they need to prepare for and expect these important events each year.
We’ve also facilitated three Virtual CPG tours this month with both existing and new clients, a great chance to see how it all works and talk through what you need and how we can help.
Exercise design work is underway again with a new set of Group Manager tools in development.
More FRS are considering using the CPG remotely i.e. projects where the candidates complete the exercises from home, not at a FRS site. This is easy to manage with no impact on fairness or results. Get in touch if you have questions on how it might work in your organisation. This month we ran Group manager assessments this way, including delivering feedback sessions, which are steadily growing in popularity as the benefits become apparent.
After expecting a quiet month we were asked to deliver two last minute assessment projects, one of which was for an Assistant Chief Fire Officer position. Using our CPG online case study exercise as part of a suite of assessment the FRS ran, we also facilitated telephone feedback calls with our occupational psychologist coaches to each of all candidates post-process, which the candidates found highly useful.
Plus we discovered trying to organise trials of new materials is a challenge in August!
Anticipating a quiet month of assessments, we had plenty of feedback coaching sessions to facilitate, plus some Watch Manager roleplays. Time also for the team to attend British Psychological Society training webinars on Neurodiversity
Assistant Chief and deputy roles selected for using the EHP suite of psychometrics – click here for more info about the EH here is a case study based on another project
Plus up to 40 Crew and Watch manager case study and roleplay CPG assessments for a single client, and new assessor joining the team and being trained in using the CPG assessing the leadership qualities and creating reports according to our popular feedback style.
A FRS needed to recruit for Area manager roles, using the Executive Hire Profile (EHP) suite of psychometric tools and online strategic case study exercise.
Firefighter Recruitment Project
Having passed the initial stages of testing, over 100 applicants took part in a telephone presentation and roleplay with our team of psychologists, completed with 5 assessors over a week.
A FRS used our Station Manager CPG role-play exercise but delivered it in-house and off-line, using internal assessors and a roleplay.
Six CPG projects ranging from 50 Watch Manager telephone Roleplays to 30 Station Manager assessments (case study and roleplay), 15 of which were assessed, very successfully, from the candidates’ homes.
We added new pages explaining which Psychometric Tests we recommend and have completed another Chief Fire Officer assessment using our Executive Hire Profile service (three psychometrics instruments and a validation interview with a psychologist to create an in-depth psychological profile)
Adaptation of the Firefighter Recruitment Online Presentation Roleplay from PQAs to Leadership Qualities completed and ready for our next project (lockdown permitting!)