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In order to ensure that their service provision and delivery is excellent, Shropshire fire and rescue services had come up with strategies that would promote this objective. Within their strategy, they focused on the needs of the service recipients through discussions and feedback systems. In addition, they ensured that cooperation between service recipients and other stake holders was reinforced. To achieve this, they worked closely with the police, youth organizations, churches et cetera.
With a reliable leadership, Shropshire fire and rescue services are confident to achieve excellent quality services to their clients through implementation of the strategies mentioned within this paper. Another good thing about the strategy of Shropshire is that it puts the future in consideration. They have put up measures to ensure consistent improvement that would reflect the changes in the internal and external environment.
After the government directives in their 2008/11 policy framework, Shropshire fire and rescue services included the policy of diversity within their strategy. They aimed at recruiting a diverse and skilled workforce that puts in consideration the community that would be receiving their services. This included minorities and gender differences. This, based on scholarly studies leads to augmentation of quality of service.
For success in service delivery in any field, it is imperative that strategy programs are developed to give guidelines that would act as road marks upon which success can be measured. Likewise, fire and rescue services, in tandem to the spirit of cooperation with the entire government directive and the need to offer unrivalled safety and quality services, have embraced the marvel that is modern technology.
These measures are itinerary to their main principle for existence; to have strategies of service provision to ensure that residents within their respective areas of operation are safe from all dangers. To further promote proper service provision, the government also plays an integral role by providing measures upon which the service providers have to refer when forming their own strategies and projections. On the other hand, changes in the environment (both internal and external) could lead to changes in the measures enacted.
This paper will try to highlight the appropriateness of measures concerning fire and rescue services that were put up earlier in the United Kingdom and further analyze the appropriateness of the later version that was enacted in 2008. To facilitate this, Shropshire fire and rescue services will be used as the case study in the paper (“safer communities” 14).
Like most fire and rescue service stations, Shropshire has, as its main objective, the need to ensure that people within the region live within reasonably safe environments. Shropshire fire and rescue service operates have a good reputation and the populace think highly and very positive of them, and to maintain this rapport with the civilians the company has had to stick to its core fundamental values.
These values are multi faceted; they touch on every aspect of the society (Safer communities” 16). They treasure their job as community servants and as such work hand in hand with the people. They give all members of the community fair and respectful treatment, working on their queries and giving out their best in all their undertakings.
To the people, the company first recognizes that its employees are human beings thereby treating them respectfully and fairly. It identifies the level of qualification of its employees and promotes a culture of sincerity, reliability and mutual trust. To service delivery, they encourage diversity through provision of variant solutions to the different needs of the public.
They are also an equal- opportunity employer working towards eliminating unfairness and favoritism. They also champion innovation and improvement within the organization through virtues such as open mindedness, accommodating critics and learning from their own experiences. They also encourage consultations whenever possible. All this principles are geared towards bringing out the very best in all the parties involved and ensure that quality services are rendered to the public (Communities and Local Government 14).
To ensure that they remain within their set quality objectives in service delivery, and even propel them ahead of the pack in quality service delivery, they have come up with myriad strategies to help them attain these standards. In their quest to stay afloat over current events and the evolution of crisis in the department, they have developed a master plan that guides them through the work and serves as the blue print for their services.
These are set out in the resolutions outlined “Key principles of the fire and rescue service equality frame work. Enshrined in these principles are three basic concepts with which they use to gauge themselves.
The principles are based on three primary factors that focus on development, their level of achievement and their degree of excellence based on their operational rules and regulations. It is with this effect that different states have set out to enact rules and regulations running this department in correspondence to their specific and immediate needs.
Pre Reforms Era
In order to determine whether the pre-reform strategic plans were profitable and worth implementing, it is necessary that we use available standards so that clear analysis can be made. To begin with, studies point out that a good service delivery should be customer oriented.
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As it is well known in the reams of business, the customer is the central and most import part of any business (Anandarajan & Viger 36). Equally, fire and rescue services need to ensure that their strategic plans are customer oriented. They should give the needs of the customers first priority. This can be done through analysis of what the customer needs and what he feels is the best approach that would reduce instances of poor service delivery.
Considering this approach, how can Shropshire fire and rescue services’ strategic plan be measured? It is clear that this strategy has clearly put in consideration the needs of the customer. In addition, it has diversified its customers in different categories. This assists them to identify the different needs of the different categories.
Their strategy calls for reduction of deaths that result from injuries and fires not just in the domestic but also non domestic set ups. This includes increasing the number of land and house owners with approved risk assessment for fire and injuries. The strategy also involves ensuring that proper measures are put in place to ensure that no false alarms are responded to at the expense of real fire incidents. These approaches are a clear indication of focus on customer needs and expectations.
A good service delivery must not work as an island. The people, who are actually the main recipients of the service, need to be actively involved within the operations. The plans should give every stakeholder a role to play (Anandarajan & Viger 36). In the case of Shropshire fire and rescue services, there is strategic approach that obliges the station to ensure that they actively incorporate the citizens in their endeavor to ensure that the best service is provided.
Shropshire works in consultation with community through holding of regular meetings, getting responses from local leaders and contacting interviews and questionnaires. In addition to this, Shropshire intends to work with other stakeholders like police, local safety forums, voluntary groups, churches, et cetera.
These two mentioned factors above do not only show that Shropshire is customer oriented and ready to involve new members but also brings into question another characteristic of good quality standards (Besterfield 21).
It is necessary that good quality service delivery puts into consideration mutual benefit between the service deliverer and the customer. It should be a one sided affair where the business organization benefits while the customer is subjected to suffering. In the case of Shropshire, consultation with the community helps them understand the needs of the people.
To this extend, the community benefits through proper service delivery in that their needs are met. On the other hand, the strategy calls for ways through which false alarms could be reduced. This assists in reducing wastage, not only of time but also other resources like fuel and workers who would run to attend to a false alarm.
Leadership and management play an important role in service delivery (Besterfield 21). This is the arm of the organization that plays the role of important decision making. As a result, if the decisions made are faulty, the whole system would end up faulty. At Shropshire, competence and professionalism are prerequisites in attaining managerial posts.
This makes the management of this organization reliable and worth believing in. although competence and professionalism are good attributes that can propel an organization to economic greatness; there are some factors that could still hinder this growth. These include lack of capacity to freely make decisions without interference, getting too many responsibilities within one docket, et cetera.
To curb such in eventualities, Shropshire has devolved powers so that fewer roles are bestowed upon one shoulder. Furthermore, managers are given power to make decisions without interference from other quarters. Finally, leadership in Shropshire advocates for supportive collaboration where innovation and creativity are given an upper hand (De Waal 17).
Finally, a good service delivery strategy must have room for continual improvement. Given the ever changing nature of business environments, it is necessary that measures are continually changed in order to reflect the changes in the internal and external environment.
At Shropshire, there are several measures developed to ensure that continual improvement is experienced. To achieve this, they have come up with quality service assurance policy that involves provision of avenues through which performance could be measured and assessed. In addition, the company has within its strategic road the need for embracing technology through new technological tools needed in communication. Through these tools, communication will be enhanced and hence quality services will be delivered.
Post government reforms
After some profound analysis, the government felt that the fire and rescue services in the UK were delivering averagely quality services. However, they needed to make sure that the services delivered were beyond average. They wanted to ensure that what civilians received was excellent.
As a result, they came up with a national policy framework from which the fire and rescue services were to base their quality assurance strategies and operations. Although there are several inclusions that were made, this paper will focus on the human resource strategy of diversity and see how relevant this is in the overall endeavor to ensure quality in service delivery (Communities and Local Government 16).
In the new policies, 2008/11 national policy framework, the government realized the role of human capital in service delivery. They purported that workers are the most important resource that any organization can have. In order to ensure that all the citizens within the geographical area of operation are receiving appropriate services, the government realized that it was appropriate that employment policies and procedures needed to be clearly stipulated and maintained.
To ensure the above, the government set up laws to ensure that fire and rescue services employed people with the pertinent and outstanding skills. In addition, the workers had to be taught to understand that they were potential. This could be realized through fair treatment and equality in opportunities. Finally, the chances for career development and growth had to be equal for every employee.
What could have pushed the government to force fire and rescue services to come up with a diversity policy? To begin with, the importance of diversity has been discussed in a plethora of academic work. Several studies have argued that the quality of services increase drastically if the policy of diversity and inclusion is adopted.
First, within a diverse workplace, there is a great pool of talent in which quality can be experienced. When the work place is made up of people from all races, religious back grounds, sexual orientations et cetera, the wide nature of the skills and knowledge allows the organization to get almost every skill required for a given role (Communities and Local Government 24).
In addition to a wider pool from which talents can be tapped, diversity also allows for diversity of views. This means that tackling a given task could end up with quality outcome as a result of variety in approaches given by the variety of back grounds and view points. Finally, diversity kills discrimination. Within a diverse climate, there are reduced chances of discrimination not just in the work place but also to the customers and other service recipients. How, therefore can this be of importance to quality assurance strategy of Shropshire fire and rescue services?
In order to ensure that they are operating within the governmental expectations and also for the benefit of their own productivity, Shropshire fire and rescue services developed a revised edition of quality assurance strategy that put into consideration diversity and inclusion. The main objective of this new strategy was to ensure that no employee was harassed or discriminated.
Every employee had to feel welcome and part of the Shropshire fire and rescue services team. In their own words, “we recognize the importance that there are no barriers inhibiting accessibility to an equitable standard of service provision and fairness in employment and we will make reasonable adjustments where necessary to achieve this” (“Community Safety” 22).
Conclusion and Recommendations
Although the service provision of Shropshire was good before the reforms, it is clear that the new directives by the government would not only improve on their own wellbeing but also the wellbeing of the society as a whole. Their quality assurance strategy, when measured against the standards, shows that their services were good. However, unavailability of diversity programs could have been a draw back to overall quality delivery.
For instance, some areas never received services due to lack of diversity and discrimination. A good example of such areas is Eastern Europe. However, in the new directives, Shropshire has adopted a diversity focused strategy which involves recruitment of workforce that reflects the community’s diversity. It also includes recruitment of minorities and people from remote areas like Eastern Europe.
By doing this, they believe that service provision will not just remain an affair for Western Europe but Europe as a whole. Through the diverse workforce, workers from the minority groups will be able to champion for quality service delivery for their people from remote areas (“Community Safety” 23).
With such changes, it is clear that the service provision for Shropshire will increase. Given the mentioned importance of diversity in work place, the inclusion of this policy in the quality assurance strategy of Shropshire is a step forward that would increase the talent pool, views and opinions, reduce discrimination and champion for formerly neglected regions like Eastern Europe.
Anandarajan, Ali and Charles Viger. “The role of quality cost information in decision making: An experimental investigation of pricing decisions.” Advances in Management Accounting 10 (2001): 227-249. Print.
Besterfield, Dale. Quality Control: A Practical Approach. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1979. Print.
Communities and Local Government. Fire and Rescue Service National Framework 2008/11. Feb, 2011. Web.
De Waal, Andre. Power of Performance Management: How Leading Companies Create Sustained Value. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001. Print.
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service. Safer Communities Core Strategies, 2006-2009. Feb, 2011. Web.
Community Safety Prevention Business Plan 2008/11. Feb, 2011. Web.