Winbourne Consulting offers a full range of public safety services, including strategic planning, systems integration, specifications development, solution acquisition, and implementation project management and quality assurance.
Our Areas of Expertise encompass all segments of Public Safety, including:
Our Clients include city, county, state, and federal agencies located throughout the United States and the world, as well as countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, and South America.
The Key to Having the Right Personnel
In last month’s newsletter we discussed the benefits of attending the annual APCO conference and the wide array of topics that are covered. There is literally something for everyone – from executive management to front line personnel; from Telecommunicators to PSAP Managers; from IT and radio system personnel to Police, Fire and EMS practitioners. In this newsletter, we are focusing on what continues to be an important topic at every APCO Conference – PSAP Staffing. Virtually every PSAP at is constantly facing the challenges of recruitment and retention. Recruitment and retention require a significant amount of energy and time as it includes advertising, recruiting, vetting, hiring, and training). Added to the mix is the fact that almost every PSAP will state they are always “short” of staff in some area and need more personnel. Too often these pressing activities keep PSAP managers so busy that they have no bandwidth to do a comprehensive PSAP staffing analysis which should be the basis for any recruiting and retention program.
Unfortunately, there is nothing easy about a comprehensive staffing analysis. Oftentimes a PSAP will “run some numbers” to justify a request for X Full Time Employees (FTE) only to be denied. Requesting new FTEs can be a daunting proposition that requires due diligence and a lot of homework. The goal of a PSAP staffing analysis should be credibility. The report should be accurate, objective, relevant and actionable. A staffing analysis report needs to be more than a “sales presentation”. For a PSAP to achieve its staffing objectives, the staffing analysis needs to be prepared in the format of an impartial white paper. Some key areas of staffing analysis include:
Current State Operations
Don’t automatically assume the PSAP needs more personnel. Start with a current state analysis. Are personnel assigned to the correct position at the correct time and do they have the correct level of training and proficiency to obtain Maximum Operational Effectiveness? For example, in one staffing study we completed, while the PSAP had what appeared to be sufficient Call Takers working; it had an unacceptable level of abandoned 9-1-1 calls and lengthy Average Speed of Answer metrics (especially during busy hour periods). The analysis revealed that for extended periods of time up to 50% of the Telecommunicator/Call Takers were not logged-in to the 9-1-1 system. Additionally, there were no established PSAP performance metrics to measure how supervisors were managing personnel. The PSAP had the correct number of personnel but did not adequately manage how they were used.
PSAP Strategic Objectives
The identification of all the strategic objectives and initiatives the PSAP is committed to successfully achieving is a prime requirement for a comprehensive and valid staffing analysis. These objectives should take into account APCO, NENA, and NFPA standards and guidelines (e.g., time performance metrics) and Quality Assurance metrics. For example, if the PSAP is assuming an initiative that includes Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD,) that will have a direct impact on Telecommunicator/Call Taking staffing requirements. The Total Talk Time for each position will increase due to triage questions and pre-arrival instructions. What impact will the increased Total Talk Time have on the ability of the PSAP to operate in an effective manner? Every desired objective and performance metric will have a direct impact on staffing requirements.
Position Specific Tasks
A staffing analysis requires a complete breakdown and understanding of every single position. The analysis should include every task and activity each position completes. The activity should be evaluated for value to the organization, relevancy to the position, frequency, time consumptions and other factors. In one recent project a PSAP provided us with their previous staffing analysis reports. For the Telecommunicator/Call Taker position they used only 9-1-1 and CAD data but not administrative telephone calls. What surprised them was not the time consumption of inbound admin calls but that over 25% of all position activity was for outbound admin calls. Over the years they had assigned all types of notifications and miscellaneous phone calls to these positions decreasing their ability to accomplish the 9-1-1 workload in an effective manner.
The phrase attributed to Mark Twain says it best "There are three kinds of falsehoods: lies, damned lies, and statistics." Don’t fall into this trap. Be able to objectively support every statistic. This starts with understanding the type of data each system can readily produce (e.g., 9-1-1, CAD, L & R, radio); how each system is currently designed and configured; the design of current system reports and most important – what types of activity does the data actually portray? It is imperative that you be 100% sure of the accuracy of the data and the content of the data. If the staffing analysis report contains inaccurate or partial data, the end result is a negative hit on credibility. For example, in one staffing analysis project a PSAP had performed an analysis of their 9-1-1 workload which turned out be off by over 25%. They did not realize the report did not just provide inbound 9-1-1 calls but also included 9-1-1 transfers to Secondary PSAPs, abandoned calls that never made it to the PSAP, language line/supervisor conference calls and test calls. Having a thorough understanding of your systems data and its content is critical. Verifying the content with your vendor is always a smart idea as reports change over time. They have subject matter experts that can assist a PSAP in understanding how the system’s configuration impacts different types of reports.
Executive Management/SME Input
Start the process by talking to the executive managers and budget personnel who will receive the staffing analysis. Understand in detail what they feel they need to justify a request for new FTEs. Ask them for a copy of a staffing analysis report that they had previously used and trusted. Communicate with them during the process to ensure the analysis is being completed in an appropriate manner. Leverage subject matter experts who can provide tangible assistance in producing a quality report. Be open to other solutions. Many times the answer is not new personnel but a change in priorities, tasks and how personnel are allocated.
If you would like additional information on Winbourne Consulting’s experience in this area and how we may be able to assist you in conducting a Staffing Analysis, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Waco, Texas Police Department (WPD) has engaged Winbourne Consulting LLC to provide Police Body Worn Video consulting services.
Our tasks include the following:
Winbourne Consulting has expanded our services to the Washington, DC Office of Unified Communications (OUC) to include a 9-1-1 Funding Analysis study.
We have been asked to assess the current level of 9-1-1 funding based on the last three (3) years, determine any trends of remittances, the amount of connections gained or lost over the past three years, and a detailed report of any discrepancies found on behalf of the carriers. The Winbourne Consulting team will also provide a full prepaid wireless report determining the current rate effect and its impact on the fund, and evaluate other 9-1-1 funding models for the OUC, including potential legislative reform. This project is expected to extend into early 2017.
Winbourne Consulting, LLC is assisting Montgomery County, MD, through the SC&H Group, to conduct an Assessment of the 9-1-1 Consolidated Emergency Communications Center Transition Plan.
Our assignment is to assist the County to identify any major risks that would need to be addressed to ensure the success of the consolidation underway and to propose any adjustments to the schedule and planned actions.
Oct 3-7, 2016 • New Orleans, Louisiana
North America’s largest EMS conference and trade show, EMS World Expo, hosted in partnership with NAEMT, will bring over 5,100 EMS professionals together in New Orleans for an industry-leading event.
October 15–18, 2016 • San Diego, CA
Every year, the IACP Annual Conference and Exposition supplies you and your department with powerful advantages, bringing together an unmatched educational program, renowned keynote speakers, community-building special events and the largest collection of tactical equipment and technology solutions available for law enforcement. Join thousands of dedicated professionals from federal, state, county, local and tribal agencies at IACP 2016 — you and your team will get the intelligence, strategies and solutions you need to sharpen your edge and better serve and protect.
October 9-12 • Columbus, Ohio
NENA’s 9-1-1 Standards and Best Practices Conference is where you can take an active role in improving your PSAP’s performance and develop the standards necessary to address the current and future needs of NG9-1-1 and overall 9-1-1 service. With a program divided into three tracks, you have the flexibility to focus on the issues that are important to you in a dynamic, cooperative atmosphere.
November 1-2, 2016 • Seattle, WA
The Emerging Technology Forum is a two-day event created to meet the needs of public safety communications professionals who want an overview of technologies that are on the horizon.
Articles of Interest
ATIS Launches Smart Cities Initiative
The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions launched a smart cities initiative, which will create a technology road map to identify key upcoming network-enabled developments to assist planners in developing strategies for integrating, staging and deploying smart cities infrastructure. The road map will cover breakthrough technologies in the context of internet of things, 5G, edge and cloud computing, spectrum considerations and infrastructure resiliency.
To read more, visit: ATIS Launches Smart Cities Initiative
APCO Advocates for Appropriate Recognition of Public Safety Telecommunicators
On Tuesday, September 20, APCO International, the world’s largest association of public safety communications professionals, filed formal comments with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) advocating that Public Safety Telecommunicators – the professionals who answer 9-1-1 calls, dispatch emergency responders and perform many related tasks – be recognized for the critical work they do to protect and save the lives of the general public and first responders. Specifically, APCO challenged OMB’s failure to reclassify Public Safety Telecommunicators as Protective Service Occupations in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC).
Wheeler Requests Congressional Help to Spur NG 9-1-1 Nationwide
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler continued to request congressional help to improve the quality and accuracy of 9-1-1 in comments before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Wheeler said the industry is stepping up to many of the challenges, improving 9-1-1 location accuracy, supporting text to 9-1-1, and generally investing to improve network reliability and resiliency. Wheeler said public-safety answering points need help to overcome funding, planning and operational challenges to transition to next-generation 9-1-1. Congress has the unique ability to accelerate the transition to NG 9-1-1 through a clear national call to action that would lower NG 9-1-1 transition costs by shortening the transition period and enabling 9-1-1 authorities to retire legacy facilities more quickly.
To read more, visit: Wheeler Requests Congressional Help to Spur NG 9-1-1 Nationwide
New Jersey Residents Can Now Text to 911
The New Jersey Office of Emergency Telecommunications Services, a unit of the Office of Information Technology, worked with cellular providers, local and county emergency dispatch units and public safety agencies, the state police, Rutgers University and federal officials to implement its text-to-911 system in all 21 counties. Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint have provided text control centers with the necessary software and interfaces to receive manage and forward the SMS-based text 911 messages to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Points.