Here you will find a brief description of the exercises we currently have for use at Supervisory (Crew and Watch), Middle (Station and Group) and Strategic (Area and Brigade) Manager levels.

Supervisory Manager

Inbox Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Inbox: 100 minutes

Description

In this exercise the Participant assumes the role of a generic Supervisory Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue Service. They have responsibility for the day to day management of a team on station. Various issues arise via email to be managed during this exercise. Using the data and information supplied, the Participant will need to: generate recommendations for improving internal communications; handle a complaint; support the Service objective to showcase its role within the community; deal with resistance for a proposed trial; and consider the development of a team member.

Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Inbox: 20 minutes

Description

As a supervisory manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue service, the Participant is required to explore performance issues with a member of their team. Using the information provided, they will be required to discuss concerns raised by an external trainer regarding the individual’s behaviour. Any further issues which may arise will need to be constructively addressed. The key exercise objectives are to identify underlying factors, outline expectations and work collaboratively to generate solutions.

Multiple Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Inbox: 20 minutes

Description

In their role as supervisory manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue service the Participant will be required to work with partner agencies to determine priorities, identify risk and generate solutions. The premise of this discussion is to prepare for a forthcoming ‘Community Risk Reduction Forum’ meeting. In liaison with representatives from Coltshire Police Constabulary and the National Parkland & Conservation Agency, the Participant will use information supplied to discuss a specific issue of interest to each of the agencies.

Inbox Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Inbox: 100 minutes

Description

In this exercise the Participant assumes the role of a generic Supervisory Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue Service. They have responsibility for the day to day management of a team on station. Various issues arise via email to be managed during this exercise. Using the data and information supplied, the Participant will need to: generate a proposal to guide the station to achieve a prestigious award; respond to a complaint; identify training priorities; deal with dissatisfaction for a proposed new initiative; and take steps to improve standards.

Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Inbox: 20 minutes

Description

The Participant will assume the role of a supervisory manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue service in order to conduct a meeting and explore issues with a team member. The service is undergoing an organisational-wide improvement project which the team member could make a significant contribution to via their role on a working group. However, there are concerns about the individual’s commitment and the appropriateness of some of their behaviour which the Participant will need to manage.

Multiple Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Inbox: 20 minutes

Description

The Participant assumes the role of a supervisory manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue service and is required to hold a ‘collaboration’ session with two trainees from their Watch. The Participant will need to use information supplied to identify development needs and risks; propose clear solutions; and create workable plans. The trainees will have their own perspectives to be explored with an aim of establishing common ground and generating improvements. The Participant will have three specific topics to raise and discuss in full.

Inbox Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Inbox: 100 minutes

Description

In this exercise the Participant assumes the role of a generic Supervisory Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue Service. They have responsibility for the day to day management of a team on station. Various issues arise via email to be managed during this exercise. Using the data and information supplied, the Participant will need to: consider how to improve Service liaison and performance with young people; respond to a dissatisfied service user; lend support for a government campaign; suggest improvements to an existing ‘day in the life’ scheme; and consider the development of an unmotivated team member.

Roleplay and Multiple Roleplay

Available on request

Middle Manager

Inbox Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Inbox: 90 minutes

Description

In this exercise the Participant assumes the role of a generic Middle Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue Service. They have responsibility for the day to day management of a station. A range of data and background information is supplied to enable the Participant to tackle a number of issues within the timescale of this exercise. Requests include: provide a detailed proposal on the request of a senior manager; offer guidance to a team member struggling with a performance management dilemma; identify strategies for gaining commitment for an important organisational agenda.

Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Inbox: 20 minutes

Description

The Participant assumes the role of a generic Middle Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue Service to conduct a meeting and explore performance issues with a member of their team. The Participant will need to convey a difficult management decision and explore the performance issues apparent within the scenario. The role-player will convey a negative attitude at times but will also have their own reasons/ perspective which the Participant will need to explore. It is a complex situation as the team member (role-player) has also shown considerable potential and enthusiasm in the past which the Participant will need to try to re-engage. They will be expected to draw on the background information provided such as performance review data and an email from the individual’s former project leader which raises a number of concerns.

Multiple Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Inbox: 20 minutes

Description

The Participant assumes the role of a generic Middle Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue Service, with responsibility for a Station. The scenario involves a potential merger between two stations. The Participant must work with individuals from two teams to identify key issues, identify risks, generate solutions and plan ways forward. The representative from each team has different priorities and approaches, and it is the Participant’s role to navigate through specific areas of tension to achieve a shared vision.

Inbox Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Inbox: 100 minutes

Description

In this exercise the Participant assumes the role of a generic Middle Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue Service. They have responsibility for the day to day management of a station. A range of data and background information is supplied to enable the Participant to tackle a number of issues within the timescale of this exercise. Tasks include: evaluating performance information to inform working group direction; offering guidance to a supervisory manager over a team contentious issue; proposing a plan to ensure successful implementation of a new initiative.

Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Roleplay : 20 minutes

Description

In their role as Middle Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue Service the Participant will be required to build a positive working relationship with a colleague from an internal project team. The project team is facing some challenges and there are performance issues which need to be addressed in order to improve organisational effectiveness. The Participant will have background information to draw on, including performance data and an email raising specific concerns which will need to be explored.

Multiple Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Roleplay: 20 minutes

Description

In their role as Middle Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue service the Participant will be required to work with outside agencies to identify shared priorities and plan future direction. The Participant will meet with representatives from Letchley Police and Letchley Council to discuss two key areas of contention which need to be agreed before the Young Person’s Community Education Partnership Forum. Each party has their own agenda and perspective and it will be the Participant’s responsibility to achieve shared favourable outcomes.

Presentation/ Multiple Roleplay

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 20 minutes

Roleplay: 30 minutes

Description

In their role as Middle Manager in a fictitious Fire & Rescue service the Participant will be required to meet with three internal managers for a meeting in advance of the inaugural meeting next month of the ‘People Management Working Group’ which they have been nominated to chair. The Participant will begin by presenting the aims and objectives of the Working group to the meeting attendees, and establish the wider context for the group and its priorities. From there, relevant topics will be introduced, with the Participant facilitating the group discussion and contributing to the progress of key issues in the short and longer term.

Inbox and One to One Roleplay

Available on request

Strategic Manager

Analysis Exercise (Written)

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Inbox: 90 minutes

Description

The Participant assumes the role of a Director with Camsford Water, one of the leading providers of clean and waste water services in the UK. In this exercise they will write a draft Strategic Direction Paper which will be used to inform a quarterly meeting with the industry regulator and also form the foundation of the organisation’s annual business plan. Using the comprehensive quantitative and qualitative data provided, the Participant will identify priorities, consider risks and opportunities, and outline a core strategy for meeting organisational objectives. No prior experience of Utility or related services is assumed.

Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 20 minutes

Inbox: 25 minutes

Description

As a new in post Director at Camsford Water, it is the Participant’s responsibility to address issues related to organisational under-performance. An incident occurred which led to contaminated water entering the local water supply, a serious contravention of safety legislation and Water Regulator standards. The Participant will meet with the individual in charge during the incident to determine why certain safety protocols were not followed and explore further complicating factors. Wider impacts will need to be considered and decisive actions taken to resolve immediate and longer terms issues. No prior experience of Utility or related services is assumed.

Multiple Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 15 minutes

Inbox: 25 minutes

Description

The Participant takes the role of a Director with Camsford Water which is in the process of laying extensive piping to a controversial new housing estate. This project has attracted a great deal of media, environmental and political interest. The Participant must deal with an urgent situation which has arisen between Camsford’s on site manager, a representative from the Scottish Heritage Society and the project manager from Rockley Developments. The Participant will need to ascertain what the key issues are and determine a way forward which will serve to satisfy a range of agendas. No prior experience of Utility or related services is assumed.

Analysis Exercise (Written),

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Inbox: 90 minutes

Description

The Participant assumes the role of a newly appointed Strategic Operations Manager for the Community Renew Trust (CRT). The Trust is one of several independent charitable organisations which work in partnership with Landfill Operators to improve the lives and environments of communities living near a UK landfill site. In this exercise the Participant will be required to submit their observations and analysis of the data presented to identify performance gaps, evaluate opportunities, highlight solutions and ultimately inform the change agenda going forward. No prior experience of charitable, waste or any related services is assumed.

Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 20 minutes

Inbox: 25 minutes

Description

As a new in post Operations Manager for the Community Renew Trust (CRT) the participant needs to encourage greater staff engagement in a somewhat disjointed workforce. They have been alerted to a culture of ignoring guidelines, ethically questionable practices and cutting corners amongst a certain raft of managers. The meeting with the individual is not a formal fact finding investigation, but the Participant does need to establish the facts, explore wider implications, address the issues presented and discuss proposals for longer term improvements. No prior experience of charitable, waste or any related services is assumed.

Multiple Roleplay Exercise

Exercise Timings:

Admin instructions: 5 minutes

Preparation: 20 minutes

Inbox: 20 minutes

Description

The candidate as Strategic Operations Director with CRT will meet with the Director of Community and Public Liaison with Panador International and the ‘Communities’ department manager from Western Scotland Council to discuss an issue related to public relations management, negative media attention and wider political issues related to budgetary concerns. The candidate will need to determine differing agendas, explore potential for change; promote CRT’s position; identify common ground and opportunities and make decisions to secure best outcomes for the CRT and partner agencies. No prior experience of charitable, waste or any related services is assumed.

Timings
Exercise timings are provided. As a guideline, VCA assessors should be allocated one hour post roleplay exercises to complete their assessments. Internal FRS assessors should be allocated more time. A minimum of 2 hours should be allowed for each inbox/ analysis exercise to be assessed.

Toolkits
Some organisations prefer not to use full ADC exercise toolkits. Exercises can be used on their own, i.e. just the In-Box, but it is important to note that not all competencies will be examined twice as recommended by best practice guidelines, unless all three exercises are used.

New exercises or alternative versions
New toolkits/ exercises can be designed on request. Existing exercises can be updated or parallel versions created on request.

Existing exercises can be used in combination with alternative exercises (i.e. not all three exercises in a toolkit used together). Please contact us to discuss alternative uses (e.g. a roleplay to be used in association with an internally designed presentation or interview) or request the design of your preferred exercises to be used with existing ones.

Exercises can be used ‘in-band’ as well as between managerial levels. For instance, our inbox exercises work well as part of an assessment (often also involving an interview) from crew to watch manager or station to group manager.

Assessment Specifics
Each of these exercises assesses a number of the competencies/ personal qualities and attributes (PQAs) listed below. Specific detail of which competencies are assessed by which exercise can only be supplied to HR/ L&D/ ADC Management professionals on request. This is to maintain the confidentiality of exercise content and criteria.

Competencies/ PQAs assessed by VCA toolkits*

  • Commitment to Diversity & Integrity
  • Openness to Change
  • Effective Communication
  • Working with Others
  • Confidence & Resilience
  • Commitment to Development
  • Commitment to Excellence
  • Planning & Implementing
  • Problem Solving
  • Situational Awareness
  • Political & Organisational Awareness (Middle and Strategic manager only)
  • * Requests for amendments to exercise criteria e.g. including ‘value’ definitions, adding different competencies or rewording existing ones can be met on request