The activities of SES Volunteers as they carry out their duties in the Service are extremely varied, and sometimes very demanding. They spend a lot of time training to acquire the necessary skills to make them efficient members. They are called out at any time of the day or night in all kinds of weather.
In order to operate as an efficient unit, there is a hierarchy of control comprising the Controller, the two Deputy Controllers, Section Leaders, Crew Leaders and the general members of the unit. They all have vital roles to play in the maintenance of the unit.
The role of Controller is an important one to the Unit – he or she sets the tone and direction and provides a focal point for the Unit’s activities. The Controller is appointed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Victoria State Emergency Service. The Controller is responsible for the leadership and management of the Craigieburn Unit; appointment of Section Officers, Crew Leaders and other appointments, sufficient to ensure the effective and efficient operation of the Unit; make decisions, provide guidance and to inspire members of the Unit. In the 30 years of the Craigieburn Unit’s existence we have had only five Controllers – giving us a unique sense of stability. Our previous controllers were Alan (‘Ollie’) Matthews, Kevin O’Callaghan, Alan Penaluna and Alan Ker. In 2011, Alan Ker retired and the position is currently held by Martin Ledwich.
The Deputy Controllers works primarily as a liaison between the Unit members and their Controller in helping to facilitate the unit activities. Craigieburn has three Deputy Controllers, Training, Administration, and Operations.
The Deputy Controller (Training) (DCT) is responsible for all aspects of unit training, from weekly sessions which maintain or add to member skills, to organising and placing members on external courses. The DCT also has responsibility for maintaining the skills gatabse, which records the training courses and competencies of all unit members.
The Deputy Controller (Administration) (DCA) is directly responsible for the following administrative functions of the unit: Managing all health records and membership files; financial and equipment management, as well as commanding the unit during operations as directed by the Controller; and to assist the Controller in all aspects of Unit management.
The Deputy Controller (Operations) (DCO) is directly responsible for the Operational functions of the unit, in particular the following: operational readiness of the Unit – including the readiness levels for all vehicles, communications and equipment and vehicles; individual and collective training, command the Unit during operations, as directed by the Controller; and to assist the Controller in aspects of Unit management.
Section Officers are senior members who have a specialised role within the unit. These people work as training officers, financial officers, quartermasters and duty officers.