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Fire Service review released

Talent strategy is among the key focus areas identified in an organisational review of the Cayman Islands Fire Service. The $84,000 report produced for the Home Affairs ministry by PwC also outlines a roadmap to act on its recommendations.

“Our fire officers often work under dangerous conditions and risk their own lives to ensure the safety of others,: said Chief Fire Officer David Hails.

Fire Chief David Hails said 60% of the fire service workforce’s opinions were incorporated during the five-month review launched last June.

“The review has also provided a blueprint for transformational change,” said Chief Hails.

The 45-page report’s executive summary makes several key observations, among them:

  • The current chief is not supported by a permanent team.
  • Five out of six senior managers are acting officers.
  • The applications of policies and procedures regarding these acting roles are misunderstood and have created ambiguities.
  • Employees perceive that favoritism governs promotional prospects and disciplinary procedures.
  • A training and development plan that is aligned to succession planning is not in place…

“We obviously need to look at that, and to bring people into a regime where they can be identified and trained to carry out those roles in the future,” said Chief Hails.

“The review has given us a very clear focus for developing the capability of that senior team and that is the first order of priority,” said Chief Officer for Home Affairs Dr. Dax Basdeo.

Within the next six months, the plan aims to roll out the United Kingdom National Operating Standards (UKNOS), which will also entail defining role requirements in line with UKNOS job descriptions.

“The review itself gives us a very clear focus for making further positive changes,” said Dr. Basdeo.

Dr. Basdeo said the ministry is committed to improvements.

“It’s not a short-term fix, we know that there are some deep issues that will take some time to address,” he said.

“We will use this to build upon our strengths and strengthen our weaknesses,” said Chief Hails.

CIFS is already using the UKNOS standards for its aerodrome operations. The ministry said the first priority will be implementing these standards for domestic operations as well.

The other key focus areas include developing a talent strategy, evaluating fire service policies and procedures, and upgrading the fire services facilities, which is already underway.

Chief Hailes confirmed his contract is up in February of 2019.

The ministry said the conversation on his future beyond the contract has yet to happen.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to

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