AFAC17 powered by INTERSCHUTZ | 4-7 September 2017 | International Convention Centre Sydney, Darling Harbour

Call for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts

The AFAC17 Call for Abstracts is now open – do not miss this opportunity to share your knowledge, research and projects with the wider emergency management sector and be part of the premier emergency management conference and exhibition in Australasia.

The AFAC17 conference program will include presentations from keynote and invited speakers, in addition to those presentations selected through the Call for Abstracts process. Presentations are not the only way your thinking can are shared, with many abstracts selected to be displayed in the AFAC17 Knowledge Lounge as posters.

Authors are welcome to submit an abstract for an oral presentation or poster. The AFAC17 Program Committee will select abstracts for presentation based on the relevance to the theme and topics:

1. Collaboration and performance

The community expects that the delivery of emergency management will be in the most efficient and effective manner in every instance. This is not limited to the way we collaborate in the coordination of an emergency response but also in our day-to-day business operations. Engaging with governments, working closer with NGO’s, the private sector, researchers, and many others are just some of the opportunities for collaboration allowing us to deliver more effective and efficient services to communities.

True collaboration is more than two organisations working together towards a common goal; it realises the synergies between organisations can expand successes beyond what can be achieved alone. From formal collaborations (such as agreements and memorandums of understanding) to informal collaborations that take advantage of new opportunities, collaboration is successful when it drives performance. Working collaboratively can drive performance when it removes the replication of work, it brings together contributors with shared goals, and when it creates the professional delivery standards communities expect.

An example of a successful collaboration is the National Agreement on the Provision of Bureau of Meteorology Hazard Services to the States and Territories. This agreement will ensure development and maintenance of the best and most appropriate products and services for emergency services agencies and harmonisation of the Bureau’s services. Resulting in consistently high-value services for all jurisdictions and a better prepared and more responsive nation in the face of hazardous weather and high impact emergency service events.

Abstracts submitted for this topic may consider:

• Good practice case studies
• Drivers and barriers to collaboration
• Measuring the impact of collaboration
• Collaborations that are new to emergency management
• Opportunities yet to be leveraged.

2. Research utilisation and innovation

At a most fundamental level, research utilisation and innovation are paramount to ensuring on-going capability development and performance improvement across the emergency management sector. Both require a collaborative and participatory approach to ensure a balanced strategy informed by practitioners, researchers and policy professionals alike. In practice, however, this can be difficult to achieve given the complexity of the relationships between stakeholders, and the need for business practices and culture to provide an environment willing and able to take up new opportunities.

Utilisation and innovation require a supportive environment involving communication, joint ownership, shared responsibility, planning and leadership by those who can convert utilisation and innovation into applied knowledge and products that will meet the pressing emergency management ‘issues of the day’.

Abstracts submitted for this topic may consider:
• Practical case studies
• Organisational enablers and blockers
• Innovation and organisational adoption
• Multidisciplinary collaboration
• Balancing risk and practicalities with innovation
• Coordinating and collaborating; research, policy and practice
• Utilisation and innovation, moving from local, agency to national
• Using collaborations and partnerships to drive research utilisation
• The causes and impact of extended time lag between the production and adoption of research.

3. Data to drive performance

Performance in emergency management will improve with our ability to capture, analyse, interpret and make decisions informed by data. Understanding the opportunities provided by the data accessible, including ‘big data’, ‘small data’ and ‘smart data’, the use of data to drive performance is complex.

Using data to create meaningful insights can help inform decision making in emergency management whether it’s in response, policy change, new objectives, driving efficiencies, or budget allocation. However, to effectively use data, both within and across agencies, the sector must invest in understanding the impact and implications of using data before investing in technology.

There is an increasing need for emergency managers to understand how to source, access, store, share and utilise data because our external stakeholders are obtaining information ahead of those charged with responsibilities to respond – presenting complexities and challenges for emergency managers.

From big data to small data, abstracts related to this topic could include but are not limited to:
• Data sources – tapped and untapped
• Cross-organisation data sharing initiatives
• Whole of government initiatives in use, under development or subject to innovative design
• Outsourcing or partnering to leverage data
• Using data to drive or improve operational efficiency
• Data management and technology combining in a mobile technology world
• Opening new business opportunities using data
• Using data to record and report performance.

4. Strengthening organisations

Successful organisations foster a culture of inclusion, leveraging off their workforce social capital to continually improve service delivery. They achieve results by capitalising on diverse thinking, skill sets and the knowledge of their people. In these organisations, people commit to shared organisational values; diverse experiences, backgrounds, ideas and cultures are encouraged to strengthen the organisation and achieve agreed goals. Visionary leaders recognise that this thinking is essential for success in an uncertain technical, political and social environment, rather than mere political correctness.

Successful organisations embed performance, accountability and responsibility together with professional development as an essential component of all roles. Within this framework, leaders can and do motivate, innovate, engage and support ideas from the bottom up, to ensure alignment throughout the organisation. Fire and emergency services, by contrast, have historically relied on the command and control model to achieve organisational goals. Within the operational environment, this is an appropriate model. Before and post emergency, the command and control model, however, is ineffective in meeting the needs and expectations of the modern workforce.

Abstracts submitted for this topic may consider:
• Examples of where the inclusion of diverse thinking, backgrounds or cultures have strengthened organisations
• The initiatives driven by our industry to address the gender imbalance seen in many organisations in the emergency management sector
• How to create and support successful inclusive workforces
• The role of values diversity in creating inclusive, innovative and resilient organisations
• The need to reflect the community to serve the community
• The impact of generational change on organisations
• Formal levers including EBA’s, industrial agreements and recruitment activities.

5. Public value

Public value describes the value that an organisation contributes to society. It is the equivalent of shareholder value in public management, with the public sector acting in the best interests of the community. In thinking about public value, public managers need to be thinking about what is most valuable in the service they deliver and consider how effective management can make the service the best that it can be.

The prism of public value provides a way of improving the quality of decision making, by calling for public managers to engage with service users and the wider community, promoting greater trust in public institutions and greater understanding of what the community wants. The concept of public value is underpinned by the development of a shared understanding of the important values or services that the community want to see achieved by the operations of government.

Defining, measuring and managing public value is one of the major challenges currently facing the public sector. Public organisations seeking to use public value as a management principle need to create a corporate culture in which the pursuit of public value by employees is rewarded. A framework of public value can provide for the development of objectives, measurement of those objectives and performance management against the delivery of those objectives. Any successful organisation must ensure that there is an alignment across its public value proposition, organisational capabilities and sources of political support and legitimacy.

Abstracts submitted for this topic may consider:
• How to account for the contribution of volunteers in measuring public value
• Responding to changes, and new needs and problems to increase public value
• The changing role for the sector that maintains capability and responds to changing requirements
• Measuring the value of products and services and allocation of resources to the highest value uses
• Contestability and/or mixed service delivery models in the provision of services
• Measuring the net value of our services and any increases we achieve
• The significant increases in public value through technological changes
• Public value of emergency management response into the future.

6. The value of mitigation and disaster resilience

Emergency services and land management agencies typically focus their functional activities into Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery (PPRR). Now, we are moving beyond PPRR to focus our attention on mitigation – adding to the discussion new activities that will minimise harm and disruption when an event occurs, and where communities are actively engaged in building this capability.

The impacts of emergency events on people, the environment, businesses and the built environment can be mitigated to reduce or negate the effects of partial or complete loss. Importantly, the relative costs and benefits to the community from funds spent either on mitigation or emergency response and recovery,
ultimately work to understand the balance between these activities.

Our collective efforts should be focused through an understanding of where the benefits are greatest allowing budgets to be targeted to generate the evidence that can be used to attract additional investment and allow us to collectively minimise the impacts of natural disasters.

Risk reduction strategies alone are no longer enough. A range of risk reduction measures will need to be considered including changes to building codes, land use planning, and community engagement – but for mitigation to be successful; there will also need to be accompanying behavioural changes in our governments, response agencies and communities.

Abstracts submitted for this topic may consider:
• Evidence-based benefits of mitigation
• Risk reduction strategies and their alternatives
• The measures for risk reduction
• The activities that support disaster resilience
• Modelling risk and targeting mitigation activities for maximum benefit
• Emergency services identifying and helping the community to mitigate their risks.

Abstract Submissions

All Abstracts must be submitted online, please click here to access the submissions page for further details.

Abstract submissions for AFAC17 are open to all with involvement in emergency management including professionals, volunteers, researchers and academics, industry, community and all levels of government.

The abstract selection process is extremely competitive due to the high quality of submissions. We expect that approximately 80 papers will be selected for oral presentations across the 3 day program. As a result it is likely that only one or two from each member organisation will be chosen.

Day 1 (Monday 4 September 2017) of the program is the Research Forum, driven by the all hazards research agendas of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and complemented by the science from a wide range of universities, research organisations and emergency service agencies. Days 2 and 3 (Tuesday 5 & Wednesday 6 September 2017) of the program feature concurrent streams which are designed to bring together and share the combined wisdom of experience, research and analysis from across the sector.

AFAC member organisations have been asked to conduct an internal selection process for abstract submissions. If you are a staff member or volunteer of an AFAC member, please contact your organisation in relation to this prior to submitting an abstract online.

Abstract submissions close on Monday 13 February 2017.

Speaker registration types:
Speaker registration 3 days: $1,345 + 10% GST
Speaker registration 2 days: $975 + 10% GST
Speaker registration 1 day: $450 + 10% GST