November 21, 2019

Promoting a culture of leadership development for the Cayman Islands Fire Service


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GRAND CAYMAN (GIS) – As part of its on-going commitment to staff training and development, the Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs circulated a notice inviting expressions of interest from all frontline personnel at the Cayman Islands Fire Service () in relation to participating in coaching for the positions of Captain and Lieutenant on 23 January 2018.

 This second opportunity for coaching has attracted 24 officers; almost double the response to the original request published in August 2018, which was geared towards those interested in the Deputy Chief Fire Officer position. The initial coaching programme focused on assisting the 14 participants with the development of essential leadership and interpersonal skills; so that they could all perform their best in the event that they decided to apply for one of the Deputy posts, the recruitment exercise for which is currently underway.

Since the organisational review of the CIFS that was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in June of 2017, the Ministry has been targeting areas that were identified, a key one of which was the need for a talent strategy/ plan for the Fire Service, encompassing the individual development of existing fire personnel, recruitment, succession planning and performance management. 

The coaching programme being offered by local company , which was selected following an open Request for Proposal (RFP) process conducted in early 2018, forms a critical part of this strategy, as it not only meets the individual needs of personnel, but also helps to reshape the CIFS’ organisational structure by fostering an internal culture of leadership development. The fact that this has taken hold and is gaining traction is evidenced by the increased level of self-selection amongst officers.

RESOLVE’s methodology includes both individual and group work with an emphasis on one-on-one coaching and is designed to assess the capacity of each individual in terms of potential to be effective in a more challenging role; readiness to perform at a higher level and suitability within the organisational content and culture. Foundational principles of trust and competence are emphasised, as these are critical for frontline Fire personnel given the nature and demands of their job and the key role that the organisation plays in the country’s public safety infrastructure.

Additional leadership development opportunities that have been provided to frontline personnel include participation in numerous World Class Civil Service sessions, attendance at the Institute for of Canada’s annual Leadership Conference with the Deputy Governor and training on Exceptional Communication and Difficult Conversations facilitated by members of the chapter.  

“The goal of the coaching programme and other training and development opportunities that are being offered is to provide CIFS officers with the necessary skills and tools they need to succeed and advance to positions of leadership within the new organisational structure” said Chief Officer, Dr. Dax Basdeo.

Ahead of the next round of coaching which is set to start in April, the RESOLVE team is currently working with all frontline staff in groups of 10-15, on key issues and strategies that will further foster a vibrant, leadership culture.

In addition to targeting leadership development, the Ministry’s approach to the transformational change of the CIFS has involved an extensive exercise to revise the organisational chart and job descriptions, which has been informed by employee feedback at various levels within the organisation. The Ministry hopes to implement the new job descriptions, which reflect the UK National Occupational Standards (UKNOS) within the first quarter of 2019.    

 “The Ministry is fully committed to supporting the CIFS on its journey to becoming a world class uniformed service, and we will continue to provide the necessary leadership development, coaching and support as it adapts to the needs of our society” added Dr. Basdeo.

The Ministry is proactively identifying opportunities to further enhance the career progression of staff in order to develop and promote the highest quality of frontline fire personnel and has plans to announce the results of the Deputy Chief Fire Officer recruitment exercise before the end of March 2019. 

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