Thank you for your participation
Members from ADHC and staff from your PSA FACS & Health team were out and about talking to the community in Hornsby Mall on Wednesday 19 April 2017.
A stall was set up and many members of the public came up and spoke to us about why we were there and to express their disgust about what the NSW Government is doing in privatising disability services and other public assets.
A very broad cross section of the community were interested in this issue.
Many of them said they would follow up and email their MPs via the www.pds.org.au website.
It is very important that we continue to make the community aware of this issue.
Engagement with the community has been difficult but when they understand the facts and ramifications they are outraged.
Further stalls or community projects are in the pipeline so if you are able to spare some time to assist then please do so.
The more people that are talking about this, the further into the community our message can reach.
Lets put the pollies on notice!
The PSA is concerned at the pace of announcements of private providers while the funding of the NDIS is under a cloud.
The Department of Family and Community Services has advised ADHC staff of three more private providers of supported accommodation and respite services.
Despite their claims, the union was not notified or consulted regarding these announcements.
This is a great disappointment to our members and the union.
The funding of the NDIS is under constant criticism in the media and yet the NSW Government is pushing ahead at an unseemly pace.
Members have been advised that the providers are LiveBetter Community Services, formerly known as CareWest, who will service Western NSW.
Transfers are expected from 1 September this year.
Hunter Valley Disability Services Limited is a consortium (that is, a group of organisations that have agreed to work together) servicing the Hunter consisting of Ability Options, ConnectAbility Australia and Finding Yellow. Transfers are expected to commence on 1 December this year.
Mid North Coast Disability Services Limited, another consortium, is servicing the Mid North Coast, consisting of Nambucca Valley disAbility Services, Kempsey Regional Support and Booroongen Djugun, About Inclusion and Ability Options. Transfers are expected from 1 September 2017.
The Department has advised staff that “In the meantime, and after the transfers occur, it will be business as usual for our staff and people with disability.”
This is clearly not true.
While staff may be relieved they are no longer in limbo, great uncertainty for both staff and clients remains.
Please be assured the PSA is still your union and will be actively supporting members and fighting for clarification of the questions they have been asking.
We will retain coverage of staff under the new entities and will ensure that all promises in relation to entitlements and conditions are honoured.
We are seeking clarification from the Department on a list of questions from staff that have been left unanswered and will notify members of new developments.
The PSA has sought an urgent meeting with Disability Services Minister, Ray Williams, in relation to allegations of violence, abuse and neglect in privately operated residential care facilities in NSW, as was aired in a recent edition of the ABC’s Four Corners program.
The PSA has long warned of the difficulty associated with ensuring adequate oversight of non-government residential care.
Our concern stems from the fear the further removed responsibility for disability care is from government, the more difficult it becomes to regulate and oversee standards of care and investigate complaints of abuse and neglect.
For this reason we have again called on the NSW Government to retain a direct presence in the provision of disability care, and urgently adopt the NSW Ombudsman’s recommendation for the establishment of an independent body to oversee the disability sector.
Click HERE for a copy of our letter.
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The Department of Family and Community Services have agreed not to undertake any review (re-assessment) of secondary employment arrangements until further discussions are held with the PSA later in April.
The concession was made after the PSA threatened legal action in relation to a mooted blanket ban on further secondary employment in clinical services work, which would cause some staff to choose between their FACS job and commitments made in good faith with clients and other third parties.
FACS has however asked that CST staff continue to submit secondary employment applications and conflict of interest declarations so that the agency has a proper appreciation of the range of contentious issues under consideration.
We have advised the Department that any information gathered should be used to inform further discussions, and should not necessarily be taken as an agreement by a staff member to abide by any decision of the agency and, as always, and we reserved the right pursue the employment interests of members.
In related news, FACS has also agreed to review recent changes to the Case Manager’s role including the accuracy of the current role description, staff training requirements and post-transfer arrangements.
Additionally, a number of CST staff have approached the PSA in relation to errors on their certificate of service. Members are strongly encouraged to review their certificate of service and contact the Department with any relevant questions.
Need help? Please do not hesitate to contact us at FACSOrganising@psa.asn.au
The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) has written to all clinical services staff asking them to resubmit applications for secondary employment and complete new paperwork associated with conflict-of-interest assessments ahead of a mooted 1 August 2017 transfer to the Benevolent Society.
The advice to staff revises the agency’s earlier communiques encouraging staff to explore alternative employment opportunities (including private practice), and has been met with derision by many clinical services staff.
The PSA has sought an urgent pre-Easter meeting with senior representatives of FACS in an effort to address the agency’s apparent about-face on secondary employment, with many members telling us that any 11th hour revision of arrangements could jeopardise client care, as staff are forced to choose between their clients and their employment with FACS. Should a meeting not be arranged or unsatisfactory answers received, the PSA will be pursuing the rights of its members in the Industrial Relations Commission.
Concerned clinical services members are encouraged to contact the PSA for assistance in relation to secondary employment arrangements or the new conflict of interest assessments.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at FACSOrganising@psa.asn.au.
PSA Media release:
The NSW Government has slashed 300 public sector jobs on the Central Coast, with the privatisation of Disability Services and Out Of Home Care now also eating away at the community said the Public Service Association (PSA).
“This is a Government that just builds roads, not communities or a society,” said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little.
“The Central Coast is out of sight and out of mind as far as this Government is concerned with the highest rate of vulnerable children in Out Of Home Care of all FACS districts in the state.”
“The Government’s ongoing privatisation agenda is setting up the Central Coast to fail spectacularly.”
“If the Government really wants to make a difference to the lives of the people of NSW, it should urgently rethink the catastrophic plan to privatise the Land Titles Registry, a move condemned by everyone from academics to property developers and pull back from the forced transfer of state disability services.”
“The Government trumpets its efforts on ‘life-changing projects’ but what could be more life changing for millions of people across NSW than to lose the security on their property?
“What could be more life changing for tens of thousands of families than to have the care of loved ones with disability thrown into free fall after the Government completely steps away from that space?”
“NSW will be the only state in Australia with no Government safety net for people with disability.”
“On the Central Coast alone, that will impact on 2,735 clients.”
“This is a Government that washes its hands of all social responsibility whether it’s starving the world class TAFE system of funds while throwing millions at dodgy private providers or pushing vulnerable kids into a non-Government Out of Home Care system and then reading the horror stories in the media.”
The NSW Government employs almost 10% of all workers in the Central Coast and is by far the largest employer in the region.