The PSA met with the Executive Director Paul O’Reilly on Tuesday 17 March 2020 in relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Members would be aware that daily the situation with COVID-19 is evolving and changing rapidly.
CSNSW now has a Command Hub to manage all issues centres and court locations have in regards to COVID-19. YJ is a party to this.
The Department has representatives attend the Command Hub on a regular basis to get the best possible outcomes and answers to issues as they arise. At present, some information that we have received is:
Centre, Community Office & Corporate issues
If there is a concern in your location do not immediately put in a call to the PSA.
The process prior to dealing with issues is as follows:
- Speak to your local managers
- If it cannot be resolved locally, then forward the issue to the PSA
- The PSA will through the appropriate channels will put the issue to the Command Hub.
It is essential individuals maintain a high level of self-hygiene, such as washing hands regularly, as stated by health protocols. Wash down benches and surfaces on an increased level. Get detainees to increase their personal hygiene and unit cleanliness.
More information can be found at NSW Health HERE.
Every location should have a Pandemic Plan and have clear direction on what is to happen in the case of a positive result for a detainee/s or officer/s.
If this has not happened, please let us know.
Staff need to be encouraged to read these plans.
When communicating on this matter we need to remember to remain calm, if you are not high-risk or live with someone who is high-risk, getting the virus is minimal.
The concern worldwide is for the vulnerable and high-risk.
We understand that lack of information can cause anxiety and the feeling out in the community with the lack of cleaning products, toiletries, food and panic does not help. We are attempting to get the information and assist with communication through bulletins PSA and YJ, FAQs on the intranet, updated contingency plans as things change, and each centre location should be briefed daily on any events that may have happened the day/night before.
If you are feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms you are to stay home. Seek advice from your doctor. If you cannot get into your doctor you can ring an assistance number; Health Direct 1800 022 222.
When we met with Department Communities and Justice they stated staff can call that number, get triaged, advice and can a certificate.
We know that many members have concerns about taking leave then being cautioned or not getting permanency or increments.
These are exceptional circumstances and the health advice is if you have flu-like symptoms stay home until cleared by a medical professional.
PSA will support members if they find themselves in a situation later that they do not get permanency or an increment based on the leave they have taken during this time. Make sure you have a certificate and that you seek advice from a medical professional.