Emergency Service Response Times

Emergency Service Response Times

Tabled: 19 March 2015

The audit assessed how accountable emergency service organisations and the Departments of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and Justice & Regulation (DJR) are for their response time performance.

We found that while response time performance has been largely stable across the last three years, multiple problems with emergency response time measures, targets and data prevent Parliament and the public from holding agencies fully to account.

Response time targets are outdated or not based on evidence or a clear rationale; agencies were often unable to explain the basis for their target times to arrive at an emergency. Reporting the percentage of cases that meet a target lacking evidence or rationale fails to describe agency performance in any meaningful way. Response time measures do not cover the full range of emergency responses. Some agencies exclude significant numbers of emergency responses, while others include lesser priority responses.

Despite some weaknesses in how response time data is recorded and reported, public reports accurately represent actual performance in most instances.  However, external reports do not have enough information to allow readers to understand response time performance.

DHHS and DJR have not appropriately reviewed response time measures to identify and address these issues. 

Although response times are a relevant part of performance measurement frameworks for emergency service delivery, they are not appropriate stand-alone measures for overall emergency service performance, and should be considered alongside information on outcomes, service quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness.








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Audit team

Renée Cassidy
Engagement Leader

Jacquie Stepanoff
Team Leader

Matthew Irons
Senior Analyst

Karen Ellingford
Jason Cullen
David Moore

Engagement Quality Control Reviewer

Kate Kuring






Last updated on 31/08/2016