Crown Solicitor’s Office Urgent PSA Paid Time meeting: Open Plan Dispute

Dec 21, 2017

Crown Solicitor’s Office Urgent PSA Paid Time meeting – Open Plan Dispute – December 2017 (PDF version)

Thursday, 21 December 2017

3pm – 4pm

Big Training Room, Level 5

An urgent members’ meeting will be held today to discuss the industrial action and to report-back about the IRC hearing yesterday.

CSO management has agreed to allow this PSA meeting to be held on paid work time.

All members are strongly encouraged to attend.

The PSA is your voice in the workplace. Not a member? Sign up today online at

United we bargain, divided we beg – A unionised workplace is a fairer one!

Corrective Services Benchmarking bulletin

Dec 21, 2017

Corrective Services Benchmarking bulletin – December 2017 (PDF version)

The benchmarking dispute was back in the Industrial Relations Commission on 19 December 2017 before Commissioner Newall. The PSA was represented by our solicitor and there were representatives from the NCDC, POVB, and COVB present. Extensive negotiations were facilitated by Commissioner Newall.

Since the last hearing on 30 November 2017 there have been continuing meetings between the PSA staff and delegates and Corrective Services (CSNSW).

As per the previous Benchmarking bulletin, the appointment process and ring-fencing were subject to Commissioner Newall’s recommendations.

The following matters were unresolved before yesterday’s hearing:

  • OSP issues including supervision and specialist programs
  • Cyclic rostering
  • COPP
  • Weekend staffing and responsibilities
  • Re-evaluation of the Senior Correctional Officer position
  • Case management allowance
  • Grandfathering of ‘L’ shift allowances at Berrima, Kirkconnell and Glen Innes. The Commissioner had asked for specific information about this shift allowance and delegates will contact members to discuss.

The PSA and Corrective Services have agreed to return to OSP and Case Management allowance in early 2018 as there was not enough time to address these matters. Discussions on the COPP are continuing this week.

The outcomes from 19 December were:

Cyclic Rostering: CSNSW has finally agreed with the PSA’s position that CSNSW cannot direct members when to take leave under Cyclic Rostering.

This means members will continue to apply for leave in the usual way if and when Cyclic Rostering is introduced. Members will not be told when they will take leave. The usual conditions about taking excess leave will still apply.

Weekend staffing and responsibilities: CSNSW will provide a list of post duties carried out by Assistant Superintendents at each individual centre to enable us to see what duties are being pushed down to SCO and other ranks. This will include urinalysis, charging of inmates and other matters that arise during COPP negotiations.

Re-evaluation of the Senior Correctional Officer position: CSNSW had re-evaluated the SCO position and the result was the same. CSNSW will provide the information used in the evaluation to the PSA. We will review this information and the AS post duties as in the previous point to assess to validity of the re-evaluation. This does not mean we will in the end be successful in having SCOs regraded but we will pursue the regrading until we are satisfied it was done properly.

Grandfathering of ‘L’ and ‘N’ shift allowances at Berrima, Kirkconnell and Glen Innes: CSNSW has agreed to this subject to further negotiation. The PSA has asked for the offer in writing and will discuss this with members once received.

Staff placement policy: The PSA will continue to monitor this to ensure it is applied equitably and fairly in benchmarked centres and centres yet to be benchmarked.

The dispute has been re-listed for 20 February 2017 and negotiations will continue between now and then.

As this is probably the final bulletin for the year, the PSA thanks all members, delegates, and branch executives for their help and efforts throughout 2017 and wishes everyone a happy festive season and New Year.

If you have any questions, please feed them back through your respective delegates.

WATCH VIDEO – Disability Workers

Dec 20, 2017

WATCH VIDEO – Disability Workers – December 2017 (PDF version)

Please see this short video on the PSA’s Facebook page.

Disability workers talk about why it is important to be a union member.

This is the first video in a series, so please Like, Comment and Share.

Please Like and Follow the PSA Facebook page:

And the new CPSU-NSW Facebook page:

Know someone who isn’t a member?

A strong union means better outcomes for all members; forward this bulletin to your colleagues and encourage your workmates to JOIN the PSA today.

Having your union and its collective strength behind you in the workplace is the only way to make sure you get fair outcomes.

ONRSR staff vote down management EBA

Dec 20, 2017

ONRSR staff vote down management EBA – December 2017 (PDF version)

Nearly two-thirds of ONRSR staff have voted to reject a management proposed enterprise agreement in a clear message that more needs to be done to improve pay and employment conditions for staff.

Prior to the staff ballot, the CPSU polled members and identified the agency’s proposed two per cent per annum (or CPI) pay offer and contentious incremental progression arrangements as the key sticking points for members.

Equally contentious for some staff were reports that senior ONRSR executives were receiving annual increases and/or total remuneration payments in excess of 2.5 per cent, while at the same time insisting on smaller annual increases for non-executive staff.

Following last Friday’s ballot result, we wrote to the ONRSR bargaining representatives to assure them the CPSU is ready to restart bargaining, and that we would like to discuss scheduling for 2018 as soon as possible.

We have also advised ONRSR we do not believe the distance between staff and management is significant, and can be addressed without substantial movement in the parties positions.

We expect to recieve a response from ONRSR in the coming days.

In other developments, Together (the Australian Services Union – Qld) has written to ONRSR and intend to participate in future bargaining meetings on behalf of their members in Queensland. The CPSU welcomes this move and we look forward to working with them in 2018.

We will provide further updates as more detail becomes available.

Finally, from all of us at the CPSU we’d like to wish everyone the very best for the festive season, and a safe and happy new year!

ChildStory is impacting our ability to keep children safe

Dec 20, 2017

ChildStory is impacting our ability to keep children safe – December 2017 (PDF version)

Following our most recent correspondence with the Secretary (found HERE), it is clear he is not listening to the concerns of members across the Department about the serious failings with ChildStory. There is a real disconnect between the Executive and reality our members are dealing with. FACS Secretary Michael Coutts-Trooter’s response to your concerns included:

“It has been very encouraging to see caseworkers take this in their stride


“Changes of this scale always have some small teething issues

They have their heads firmly planted in the sand. Whether you are a Caseworker, Manager, Customer Service Officer or Head Office staff, every member who uses ChildStory is impacted. ChildStory isn’t just a problematic system, it is a system preventing caseworkers from engaging in the primary role of KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE.

Department is sinking to new low in PR spin

Your PSA has been told by members that ChildStory senior managers have been cold-calling caseworkers and cherry-picking and taking out of context what they are telling them about this deeply flawed system. The Department then uses this information as testimonials about how well they are coping with ChildStory.

The Executive somehow thinks this is helping boost morale. What it is doing is adding to the already enormous stress felt by staff in trying to do their utmost to protect the vulnerable children and families they work with.

More support urgently needed

The Department must ensure more effective and capable support staff are available on the ground. They must be practitioners who understand both the Department and the system. Every office must be resourced with a dedicated support worker – with larger offices allocated more than one. All staff must be given full access to KIDS; and this must be continued until it is confirmed that all data has successfully migrated, staff are able to easily create records and easily find all migrated KIDS records.

The Secretary and the Minister must listen now

Many members will remember the debacle of 2012, when the Minister refused to admit to Caseworker vacancies which led to the Safe Hands campaign. Members have told your union they are ready to take action and revive our campaign. We won’t leave children at risk and we won’t stand for this obfuscation. Listen to us now.

The PSA is aware many members are under enormous stress due to their inability to access the information they require to keep children safe. Any member adversely affected should lodge a WHS hazard or incident report on 1800 FACS WHS (1800 322 794).

‘ChildStory’ a horror story for child protection system

Dec 20, 2017

PSA Media release

A new Community Services case management and records system, ‘ChildStory’, has placed children at risk of harm over Christmas, the union for child-protection caseworkers has warned.

The Public Service Association (PSA) has warned Community Services and Minister Pru Goward repeatedly that the new system was not ready for roll-out before its introduction in December.

Since its introduction, the PSA has been inundated with complaints from members that ChildStory is not up to handling the complex work they perform.

“This is more than your average records system,” says Troy Wright, Assistant General Secretary of the PSA. “It is a database of interactions with children and their families. Without it, child-protection caseworkers would be completely in the dark as to what is occurring for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Concerns raised by PSA members include:

  • Help Line response times have exploded as staff struggle to record reports of children at risk;
  • Drop out rates of calls to the Help Line have increased with mandatory reporters such as police and medical practitioners unable to get through and make reports;
  • Records of interactions of caseworkers with children and families being lost or not saved;
  • Work cannot be referred to non-government organisations for follow-up;
  • Risk assessments not working properly;
  • Approvals for work being sent to managers who have left the Department or even died;
  • An inability to secure sensitive matters;
  • Referrals on old closed matters suddenly being reopened without a request;
  • Inadequate, incomplete and incorrect training materials; and,
  • Technical support swamped with up to 1000 emails requests for assistance per day, resulting in delays of more than 11 days in responding.

“Child protection caseworkers already perform a role which, in terms of stress, few of us can comprehend,” says Troy Wright. “We are now receiving regular reports the frustrations with this system are reducing already-overburdened caseworkers to tears.

“Even worse, we have grave concerns that reports regarding children at risk will be lost or unable to be recorded during the festive season, which is traditionally a demanding time upon the system.

“The responsibility for any tragedy that may eventuate as a result of the introduction of Child Story must lay squarely with the Minister’s office and not caseworkers in the field.”

Of further concern is the incapacity of ChildStory to process payments to service providers such as hotels where children are still residing, medical bills or other needs.

“Perhaps most galling has been the Department fobbing off these concerns before ChildStory was launched and blindly proceeding down this potentially disastrous path,” says Troy Wright. “Since its introduction, instead of listening to these faults and addressing them, the Department has been celebrating ChildStory as a success.”

“Some kids who already have the odds stacked against them are in for a shocking Christmas.”


Indigenous flag dot painting small