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PQA Frequently Asked Questions

Who came up with the PQAs in the first place?

The answer is FRS personnel. The PQAs were developed through gathering information from individuals who do the job, or work very closely to it. Interviews were used to gather examples of effective behaviour during a wide scale project with FRS personnel across the UK. The information they provided was used to construct the PQAs, the types of behaviours expected by personnel representing and supporting the FRS. The information was pulled together into a coherent framework by Occuaptional Psychologists and consultants, but the concepts came from the people who really count when it comes to deciding how to postively shape the modern FRS.

What is a PQA framework?

The PQA frameworks are structured documents which are used to present the concepts in a user friendly format. Each distinct PQA has the main PQA heading, such as Working with Others or Planning & Implementing. There will be a short definition (one line) to describe the PQA, and this will vary slightly depending on level ie Supervisory, Middle or Strategic Manager. Beneath this heading will be a list of examples of how to demonstrate this PQA, known as Behavioral Indicators. These examples are not the only ways of demonstrating the PQA but provide information about the types of behaviours which would be considered effective in order to show strength in this area.

How do the PQAs differ at each level?

The PQA definitions vary slightly at each managerial level. For instance;

Firefighter Level:

  • Openness to Change- ‘is open to change and actively seeks to support it’

Supervisory Manager Level:

  • Openness to Change- ‘proactively supports change, adjusting approach to meet changing requirements’

Middle Manager Level:

  • Openness to Change- ‘proactively supports change, seeking opportunities to promote improved organisational effectiveness’

Strategic Manager Level:

  • Openness to Change- ‘drives and manages the change process, seeking opportunities to create and implement improved organisational effectiveness’

The differences in PQA description reflects the responsibilities and expectations of the level, e.g. ‘supports’ at Supervisory as opposed to ‘drives and manages’ at Strategic. At Middle Manger Level and above there is an additional PQA- Political & Organisational Awareness. Candidates are not assessed against this PQA until they apply for promotion and develop to a Middle Manager role.

Why are the PQAs so important?

The PQAs allow the development of a workforce who are committed to upholding the same values. The people who demonstrate these qualities can be relied upon to represent the Service positively, work with others effectively, deal with the public appropriately, and apply a conscientious approach to their responsibilities throughout their career. By selecting and promoting the individuals who demonstrate the PQAs most effectively, the FRS can generate a strong and positive organisational culture. This means that the organisation is equipped to deal effectively with a range of challenges, and meet the expectations and needs of the public to the highest possible standards. Having people in post who have the behavioural skills to meet these demands is critically important. The PQAs provide the framework to identify who these people are.

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