The meeting was held on 21 February 2018 and the key issue discussed was the number of contractors engaged by the Ministry.
There are currently 119 contractors in the Ministry. This is a reduction of 13 compared with the number provided at the previous JCC on 6 December 2017. While the reduction is welcome news this is still far too many contractors at the expense of ongoing employment opportunities.
The Ministry has also decided to report the number of contractors by division rather than individual branch. Information provided was as follows:
People, Culture and Governance 29
Population and Public Health 33
Strategy and Resources 12
System, Purchasing and Performance 22
Office of the Secretary 2
When asked why reporting on contractors is now less transparent, the Ministry provided no good reason other than it now preferred to report numbers by division. The PSA will formally raise this lack of transparency with the Secretary.
The PSA continues to have serious concerns about what appears to be the lack of sound management and oversight of contractors. Workplace Relations appears not to be able to advise if contractors are the successful applicants for vacancies and there is no oversight of approval to engage contactors. As long as funds are available, it is left to each Deputy Secretary.
Recruitment numbers provided by the Ministry were as follows:
Ongoing appointments 27
Temporary employment extension 29
Secondments including extension 5
Expressions of Interest 2
Roles Externally Advertised 25
Roles filled by talent pool 8
The PSA also raised the following issues:
In addition to the JCC, a sub-JCC was held about the relocation to St Leonards.
The PSA expressed some scepticism about “new ways of working” when part of this approach is predicated on greater flexibility. We noted the reluctance of mangers to approve flexible working arrangements such as working from home, working five days over four or four days over five, for example, and in some cases the inability to recognise the impact of caring responsibilities.
The PSA was advised the Ministry is conducting workshops and having meetings about how new ways of working will be implemented. We requested further information at the next meeting. We also sought more information about what is proposed in terms of coaching and support of those managers who continue to be unsupportive of flexible working. We expressed the view that the Ministry needs to consider a sustained program of cultural change otherwise it will be business as usual despite the rhetoric.
The Ministry advised the sub-JCC that there is a committee with two staff representatives of each Division that have surveyed all staff about their requirements at the new building. A PSA representative responded that they have not been surveyed and asked if staff not part of a Division (such as staff of the Office of the Secretary) are represented on this committee. We await the Ministry’s clarification.
The PSA also noted that the Ministry has an obligation to promote the health and fitness of its employees.
Each individual staff member will have a work locker but there will be a limited number of lockers for people who walk, cycle, run or do other exercise before work or at lunch time and require a locker for their belongings. In view of the move to hot-desking, staff need a work locker for their laptop and other work items and a second locker for towels, exercise clothing and equipment.
The next JCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 at 2pm. The relocation sub-JCC will be held at 1pm on the same date.
If members have agenda items please contact your delegates – see details below.
PSA members have access to advice, support and representation, either via the Member Support Centre (1300 772 679) or by contacting your local delegates, the PSA’s Industrial Officer or Senior Organiser.
Julie Westacott – PSA Delegate
John Bertacco – PSA Delegate
Peter Gilfedder – PSA Delegate
Carmel McKeough – Industrial Officer
Siobhan Callinan – Senior Organiser