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Community Services – Child Death Review

Jun 9, 2017

Community Services – Child Death Review – 9 June 2017 (PDF Version)

It has come to the attention of the PSA that the Serious Case Review Unit (SCR) of the Department is not always supplying the documents that must be provided to staff they want to interview following the death of a child known to the Department.

The PSA was involved in the negotiation of these documents a number of years ago and is very concerned that members have informed your union they appear to have been pulled from the intranet. Click HERE to read the document on what to expect in a Child Death Review.

Your union will be seeking a meeting with the Department to ensure these documents are reinstated.

The death or serious injury of any child is distressing and confronting to all staff in a CSC and administrative staff should not be overlooked in the provision of support.

Of specific concern is members have advised the PSA that they are not informed their participation in any interview is voluntary.

If members consent to be interviewed, they should ideally be notified five working days before SCR interviews occur to allow time to review files, reflect on the information provided and clarify any concerns.

There are also key responsibilities for your Senior District Management to comply with in planning the management of any review of a child death.

The management plan identifies a number of actions including but not limited to:

  • deciding whether office dynamics suggest individual or group briefing is appropriate
  • a plan for the DCS to brief staff to set a positive tone, explain the purpose and clarify staff questions
  • arranging formal and informal supports for staff after the interview
  • working with SCR and CSC staff to manage staff feedback on the draft review.





CS Psychological Services update

May 24, 2017

CS Psychological Services update – 24 May 2017 (PDF Version)

Your PSA representatives have met with the Executive Director of Community Services Clare Donnellan and have discussed the issues you have brought up. After a successful meeting, we have come to agreements regarding the following matters:

Behaviour support plans

The Restricted Practices Group is developing a new set of Behaviour Support Guidelines. The paper was forwarded to the CS Psychological Services Vocational Group Executive and the feedback will be forwarded to the Restricted Practices Group.

Role descriptions

The current role descriptions will be reviewed and updated to reflect the capability framework. The Executive Director has agreed no amendments to Role Descriptions will happen without consultation with Team Leaders and PSVAG.

Annual conference

It was agreed the current Award provides for Professional Development for Psychologists and therefore needs to occur. As a result, this year’s conference has been tentatively considered for October/November 2017.


It has been determined that the current establishment is 64 funded positions: one Director, seven Team Leaders, and 56 Psychologists.

Director of Psychological Services

This position is not currently being advertised as it is likely to be affected by the current reforms. Any decisions about advertising the role will be made once the impact of these reforms is known.

Belinda Edwards will remain acting in this role for at least the next six months.

Quarterly meetings

Quarterly meetings between PSA representatives, the Director of Psychological Services and the Executive Director of Community Services State-wide Services will be reinstated.

If there are any issues, they will be initially raised with the Director of Psychological Services.

We will continue working together to have your concerns heard and addressed. Your PSA representatives are your voice in the workplace.

If you are not a member yet, join today!





Community Services bulletin Psychological Services

Apr 21, 2017

Community Services bulletin Psychological Services – April 2017 (PDF version)

The PSA has today written to Clare Donnellan, Executive Director, Community Services Statewide Services requesting a meeting to discuss issues identified by your PSA Community Services Psychologist Advisory Group (PSACSPAG).

You can read the letter HERE.

Your delegates are working closely with PSA staff to highlight and resolve the issues you face in your day to day work in providing your specialist services to the most vulnerable kids in the state.

The PSA in conjunction with your delegates will be conducting a further survey of the issues you face in providing the best psychological services that our children deserve.

You can further assist by encouraging non-members to join the PSA.

Together we are stronger and our voice louder.

Community Services bulletin Caseworker Development Programme

Apr 20, 2017

Community Services bulletin Caseworker Development Programme – April 2017 (PDF version)

It has come to the attention of the PSA that some Districts are directing new caseworkers, who have not completed the necessary CDP modules, to conduct home visits and be allocated cases.

Those tasks should not be performed by Caseworkers until they have completed the necessary modules.

To Read the Primary and Secondary Caseworker Activities while undertaking CDP click HERE.

This document was negotiated with the PSA in 2011 and explains in detail tasks that may be performed by new Caseworkers as they complete each of the compulsory modules.

The Department is obliged to adequately train all new Caseworkers, provide mentoring and gradually introduce the full range of Casework duties in pace with completing the various CDP modules.

A failure to do so will see practice degenerate and Caseworkers left to sink or swim.

The Department has a duty of care to staff and all staff who have any client contact must undertake training in Preventing and Managing Occupational Violence.

No Caseworker should undertake a home visit without having undertaken PMOV.

If you have any concerns about directions to perform work for which you have not completed the necessary module, please contact your delegate or one of the PSA’s designated Community
Services Industrial or Organising staff.

Central Coast deserves better than 300 job cuts and slashed vital services says union

Apr 3, 2017

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.

Community Services Clarification of Flexible Working Hours agreements

Mar 28, 2017

Community Services Clarification of Flexible Working Hours agreement – March 2017 (PDF version)


FACS – Community Services has two flexible working hours agreements which have been agreed with the PSA:

  • The Standard Flexible Working Hours Agreement found HERE.
  • The Field Flexible Working Hours Agreement found HERE.

These agreements are intended to benefit both staff and the Department. In particular, FACS benefits from work done before 9am and after 5pm during field flex time to suit clients’ needs, or to meet deadlines, in particular court documentation. In return for the absence of overtime or penalty rates both agreements gives staff the right to have two flex days per four-week period subject to certain conditions.

Your right of two flex days per period

There is often a lack of understanding among some FACS managers and staff about the right for staff to have two flex days. It is your entitlement under the agreements, subject to Departmental convenience as to what days are convenient for both you and your local management.

Clause 13 of both Agreements provides that:


(i) All staff are entitled to take up to two (2) flex days in any settlement period.

(ii) These days may be taken consecutively.

(iii) The two flexi leave days may be taken as either two (2) full days or four (4) half days or combinations thereof.

(iv) Flex leave can only be taken subject to Departmental convenience and the prior approval of an employee’s supervisor is necessary in every case.

Departmental convenience means FACS managers need to ensure adequate staffing levels and not approve flex leave for all staff in a particular location/cluster on the same day, or a day a particular worker has a fundamental unchangeable work commitment, such as attending a court. They can also ensure the staff member will be able to work their minimum contract hours in the settlement period.

This does not mean workers can start work early or finish late merely to build up their flex hours. There has to be work to coincide with their start and finish times. It would be extremely unusual for a worker not to have adequate work within the range of starting and finishing times. Most Position/Role Descriptions within FACS give staff a reasonable amount of autonomy regarding the management of workloads. Within these constraints and provided the worker will not be carrying more than 10 hours deficit into the next settlement period, it is the manager’s responsibility to assist the worker to access requested flex leave within the settlement period.

This means both workers and management need to be able to give options about which days of flex leave can be approved.  If your request is declined on your nominated day for flex your manager needs to give appropriate reasons. You then have the ability to suggest an alternative.  Managers should not decline suggested days without agreeing on another two days which are suitable to the staff member (if possible) within the period.

It is neither reasonable nor acceptable for managers to simply advise workers that approval of flex leave (be it the first or second flex day in a period) is conditional on the worker being up to date with all their work.

The decision to approve or decline requested flex days should be given in a timely manner (such as within 48 hours) to enable staff to plan for their flex days.

Both agreements also recognise that Community Services Centres need to open during business hours. The agreements require that:

  • all areas of the Department of Community Services must be appropriately staffed between the hours of operation of each office Monday to Friday
  • management and staff will work co-operatively to ensure the service requirements of each office are achieved
  • management may require that certain positions be available during certain hours due to the requirements of those positions. This should be negotiated between management and staff concerned bearing in mind the spirit and intent of this Agreement.

The agreements further provide that:

(i) the normal business hours of the Department of Community Services, as determined by management, will be either 8.30am to 4.30pm; or 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday

(ii) All areas of the Department of Community Services must be adequately staffed between these hours.

The spirit and intent of these agreements is one of give and take, supported by genuine negotiation between staff and their managers. Ideally, in most instances suitable arrangements will be made that are fair to you, your colleagues and management.

What is the PSA doing?

FACS cannot change these agreements without consulting with the PSA. Members can be assured  the PSA will continue to protect your hard-won entitlements to flexible working hours.

What you can do?

In the event that you experience difficulties having your request for a flex day approved please contact your local delegate or the PSA’s Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679. Matters that cannot be resolved will be referred to one of the PSA’s designated Community Services industrial or organising staff.

You can support the work of the PSA and your local delegates by asking your colleagues to JOIN the Union.




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