Fire PRO

Hints, tips and help

Don’t look back in anger - why you need to bring OASIS to the table

Last summer the new-look FirePRO Committee launched a sector-wide survey to understand, amongst many other things, what people wanted to improve on. 

As a group we exist to support fire service communicators – we can’t do that without knowing what everyone’s challenges and priorities are. That’s why it was vital we included a question in the survey that asked what teams would like to do better.

Perhaps unsurprisingly we got a wide range of answers. There was one key theme, though, that seemed to crop up in pretty much every response…


The struggle to find time to think creatively and deliver well-planned work – thanks to huge workloads and an endless supply of urgent and reactive tasks – is clearly very real.

That too is perhaps unsurprising and, whilst I’m sure isn’t just limited to fire and rescue services, the survey findings were corroborated by attendees at our conference in November. People have everything they need to deliver but can’t, not for lack of trying, get off the hamster wheel.

So how do we solve the problem?

Saying no to unnecessary and impromptu work might be the first part of the solution, but that’s not everything, and it’s not always that simple – particularly in hierarchical organisations.

My fellow committee member Pete has also written, in his newsletter, about streamlining some of his team’s processes. That forms another part of the solution.

But I think if we truly want to crack the issue we need to take the advice of Alex Aiken, Executive Director of Government Communication, and bring OASIS to the table.

He’s not talking about the band – but about the campaigns planning model that suggests all campaigns, and indeed wider communication work, should take a step by step approach and work through five key stages:

  • Objective
  • Audience Insight
  • Strategy
  • Implementation
  • Scoring & Evaluation.

Following this model doesn’t have to be onerous or time-consuming. In South Yorkshire we work through it in around an hour. It’s simple and it can be applied to pretty much everything we do as communicators.

Perhaps more importantly, though, is that it’s hard to argue with. There’s no need to say no to a poster request, prompting a civil war in the process, when you can measure it up against the OASIS model instead.

So rather than refusing that random leaflet request, or just doing it anyway to save hassle, bring OASIS to the table. Who are we giving the leaflet to? What do we know about that audience – would they pay attention to a leaflet? And, whilst we’re at it, what’s the objective?

And if colleagues from other departments can’t answer those questions, that’s fine. It’s our job to help them and we owe it to ourselves, our teams and the public to do just that.  

Jack Grasby – SYFR Campaigns Manager & FirePRO Vice-Chair


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