Managing Resources and Information

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Introduction

This project is driven by the need of Canterbury City to come up with pro-active strategies to mitigate and eliminate losses and fatalities due to fire outbreaks. Among the identified strategies is the creation of community awareness and preparedness on issues pertaining to prevention of fire outbreaks and dealing with fire outbreaks. The project identified small children as the most vulnerable in the community and therefore targeted school going children in primary schools. The choice of this segment of the community is backed by the fact that children of the primary school age have the capacity to absorb the basics easily and it is also a way of building a good societal foundation in terms of fire prevention and fighting. This project analysis will be holistic in that t will cover almost all the aspects pertaining to the project including issues related to staff recruitment, financial and physical resources needed for the project, procurement and management of resources, evaluation criteria and the application of principles of operational assurance. Resource management in the field of fire fighting will form the basis of this project. Resource management constitutes and important aspect of every project and the approach taken can determine the success or failure of a project. In managing the project, it is important that it is backed by a credible need within the society to warrant all the resources that will be invested (MSU, p. 11). The project should be able to address a real problem within the society and there should be tangible and observable changes after the implementation of the project. In addition the project should be cost effective and sustainable in terms of time and in terms of resources.

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Recruitment of Staff

Training of school going children will not only require personnel conversant with fire fighting and prevention skills, but also personnel that are aware of the dynamics that govern the learning of primary school going children. The general realization is that the project will have to re-deploy selected members of the fire fighting unit of Canterbury City and give provide with a basic training on issues pertaining to handling primary school children in a learning environment. For the time being the project will begin with 20 selected schools in Canterbury City. (UK Cities). Depending on the reception, the project will be initiated in the other schools. This realization was arrived at the realization that the other alternatives of recruiting teachers or other members of the public and teaching them basic fire fighting and prevention skills would be expensive and unsustainable. The re-deployed members of the Canterbury fire fighting unit can be used over and over again and in fact the fire department can even create within it a unit to specifically deal with such issues. However, when other members of the society are absorbed additional training facilities might be required and there might emerge conflict of protocol and responsibility within the fire department.

Recruitment to the new membership will be announced through posters placed at strategic places within the department. Applicants will be required to submit hand written application letters, letter of recommendation from department heads and any other supporting documents that they deem relevant. The applications will then be reviewed by a panel consisting of senior members of the fire department and selected educationalists from several primary schools. The panel will then short-list candidates for interviews which will be conducted by the same panel and the exercise will seek to recruit 100 candidates, five for each of the selected schools. The cost of the exercise will be £ 3, 500 to cater for the stationery expenses, training expenses as well as allowances for the panel. The project will also employee the services of a lawyer who will assist in structuring of the contract and advising the project managers on the probable law related challenges that might be encountered. The success of the recruitment exercise will be based on its ability to recruit members from the fire fighting department who have skills relevant for an environment with school going children. The candidates will also be required to know how to handle children within this age group and this will be evidenced by the fact that the candidates already have children of the age and above. Demonstration that the exercise has used best practices will due to the fact that it was carried out in a free and fair way and that there was no form of favoritism. The constituent of the recruitment panel will also demonstrate the skills being looked for were existence of fire fighting and prevention skills and the ability to impart basic but crucial information to primary schools going children. The presence of senior members from the department will ensure that the recruits have the required skills, while the existence of educationalists will ensure that chosen members have the capacity to transfer the knowledge to school going children. The chosen candidates will also have to undergo further training to ensure that they are completely aware of what is expected of them and the challenges that they might experience when training the children. Other basic skills required when dealing with children such as creating a good rapport and use of games or visuals when necessary will also be taught during the training.

Handling of Employment

A department will be created within the human resource of the fire department to specifically handle the employment of the trainers. This department will periodically evaluate the performance of the trainers as well as receive issues related to complaints or suggestions. The department will therefore act in accordance to the data it receives. The employment of the recruited candidates will be n contractual basis, to enable the project to evaluate aspects such as cost effectiveness before granting full employment. The contract will initially run for a period of six months and this will allow the project managers the time to evaluate the performance of the candidates and perhaps terminate or review some contracts. A procedure manual created by a committee consisting of fire fighting officials and educationalist will be structured. The procedure manual will provide guidelines related to codes of conduct while dealing with children, the basic does and don’ts, the mandate of the trainers and rules that will govern their relationship with the fire department, the schools and the school children. The legislation governing the activities of the project will be adopted from the bylaws of the fire department of the Canterbury and rules and regulations of schools as provided by department of education. Trainees will be required to read and understand the contents of the legislation which will act as guidance in all the activities the conduct on behalf of the project.

Resource Procurement and Management

According to the Department of Communities and Local Governments, there has been an increased need to establish a nationally strategy that can guide authorities in efficient procurement of resources for tire and rescue services. (p 16). The department of Communities and Local Governments (DPCL) therefore came up with a strategy to assist authorities during procurement in recognition that authorities will be responsible for expenditures and management of resources in general. According to DPCL outlines that:

The strategy encourages the implementation and development of good procurement practices whether they are at national, regional or local level and it support’s FRAs wider value for money objectives. (p 17).

Therefore, this is a procurement strategy that can be adopted by the project because it provides guidelines that can be used even at the local level. The DCPL came up with this strategy after it became obvious that previous strategies that were being used at various levels had become outdated and were no longer applicable within the current environment. There was also the need to ensure that procurement was conducted in a standardized manner according to the Operational Efficiency Programme.

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According to DCPL, (p 19) there are a number of considerations that must be placed into perspective during the procurement process and they include:

  1. Economic Situation: The economic situation will be considered in this project with regard to how it can affect the price of resources to be obtained and the management of those resources. Tough economic times dictate that securing training and other equipments will be expensive.
  2. The Fire Rescue Services Market: The strategy recommends that fire rescue services should take advantage of the economies of scale by purchasing their equipments at the national level. Therefore, the project will request for resources from the national level to reduce the cost and thereby to optimize the efficiency of the project.
  3. The Fire Rescue Services Expenditure: The strategy recommends that there is a need to balance between the purchasing of fire specific goods and services and other supporting goods and services. This will ensure that efficiency is improved by conducting a clear assessment.
  4. Strategic Category Management: The project will ensure that a clear understanding of the processes within the project is obtained to ensure that only the resources that are required are obtained.
  5. Working with Industry: The project will work with other players in the industry.
  6. Technical Innovation: The project will take advantage of technical innovations by working together with suppliers and upholding confidentiality. This will be aimed at encouraging suppliers to invent more efficient products.
  7. Equality, Diversity and Fairness: The project will uphold the principles of equality, diversity and fairness during procurement in accordance with the guidelines provided by the law.
  8. Sustainability: By working together with stakeholders the project will ensure that it procures resources that are sustainable in nature in terms of tackling the issues at hand.
  9. E-Procurement: The project will take advantage of technology in form of e-procurement which is more efficient.
  10. Promoting Skills through Public Procurement: By employing good practices during procurement, the project seeks to act as an example to other players in the market.

By employing the strategy recommended by DCPL, the project will be assured that it has employed good practices. Furthermore, the financial outcome of the procurement process will also serve as evidence. The job description of the staff members will be “Fire and Rescue Services Tutors.” Since the staff members will be absorbed from the department there will be no reason to seek clearance from Criminal Records Bureau. The health and safety issues will be in accordance to the provision by the department.

Evaluation of the Project

The evaluation of the project will run concurrently with the implementation and running of the project. This will ensure that in case any inconsistencies appear, they can be tackled individually without having to halt the whole project. (Lewis 100).The major aims of the project it to create awareness on issues pertaining to fire and rescue services. This will be include introduction to the major causes of fires, types of fires, fire prevention guidelines, fire escape guidelines and fire fighting services available. The success or failure of the project will be evaluated by its capacity to impart this knowledge to primary school children within the shortest time possible and with minimum challenges encountered. (MSU 12). The evaluation will employ the SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant ad timely). The specific areas of evaluation will be: the major causes of fires, types of fires, fire prevention guidelines, fire escape guidelines and fire fighting services available. Since knowledge is measurable and school children are already used to taking examinations, an examination will be send at the end of the training to gauge the level of understanding from the training. The examination will be in form of practical and theory to ensure that the basic concepts are obtained rather than reproducing of ideas. The attainability of the specifics is obvious due to the fact training on issues related to fire and rescue is just like training children on first aid issues. The project will seek to ensure that children in primary schools are conscious of the fact that fire is a danger to lives and property, that fire can be effectively prevented by following safety guidelines when dealing with flammable and electrical appliances and that there are fire services available to fight fire and these services should be sought immediately fire breaks out. The relevance of the project is that it seeks to sensitize one of the most vulnerable members of the society. This will ensure that the fire caused by carelessness or ignorance from primary school going children will be significantly reduced. Furthermore, such an initiative will nurture a community that is conscious of fire and rescue tactics. The project will require that trainers cover the whole training for a single school within a period of 3 months. Therefore, the time frame of the project is both achievable and logical.

Policies

The guiding policies for the project will be:

  1. Tutors will only be required to teach children on fire prevention, safety and rescue issues with emphasis on the dangers of fire, fire prevention and guidelines in the event of fire outbreak.
  2. The tutors will resist from using real life pictures of fire victims or any visual or verbal method that can cause trauma to the children.
  3. The relationship between the tutors and children will be limited to teacher/student relationship.
  4. The tutors will make use of as many as possible visual aids and practical sessions in explaining to the children fire and rescue tactics.

Application of Principles of Operational Assurance

The primary goal of the project is to ensure that children who constitute one of the most vulnerable members of the community with regard to fire are sensitized. The sensitization will seek to inform the children of the dangers of fire, fire prevention guidelines, fire rescue guidelines and fire services available in their neighborhoods. The immediate indicators to be monitored with respect to the project will be: the ability of the children to outline the various types of fire and the probable causes, the ability of the children adopt the recommended fire safety guidelines when handling flammable goods and electrical appliances and the ability of the children to report fire correctly giving all the relevant information to the authorities. The long term indicators will be: fewer children will be victims of fire caused by carelessness and ignorance, children will constitute a significant percentage of individuals who report fire incidences and that in general the society will experience few fire incidences. (National Audit Office 46).

Conclusion

The primary consideration of any project is that it should be backed by strong objective that warrant the use of resources. This implies that a project should be able to address a real societal problem and the objectives should be achievable in a cost effective manner. The project should also have measurable ways of evaluating the success or failure both long term and short term. This project is driven by the need of Canterbury City to come up with pro-active strategies to mitigate and eliminate losses and fatalities due to fire outbreaks. Among the identified strategies is the creation of community awareness and preparedness on issues pertaining to prevention of fire outbreaks and dealing with fire outbreaks. The project identified small children as the most vulnerable in the community and therefore targeted school going children in primary schools. The choice of this segment of the community is backed by the fact that children of the primary school age have the capacity to absorb the basics easily and it is also a way of building a good societal foundation in terms of fire prevention and fighting. This project analysis will be holistic in that it will cover almost all the aspects pertaining to the project including issues related to staff recruitment, financial and physical resources needed for the project, procurement and management of resources, evaluation criteria and the application of principles of operational assurance.

Works Cited

  1. DPCL. National Procurement Strategy for the Fire and Rescue Services in England 2009.
  2. Lewis, James. Fundamentals of Project Management. New York, NY: Amacom, 2007.
  3. MSU. Resource Management Principles: Approaches to Planning and Budgeting. 2004.
  4. National Audit Office. Performance for the Departments for Communities and Local Governments 2008. 2009.
  5. UK Cities. Canterbury Primary Schools. 2010. Web.

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