SHO JCC update
On Thursday, 27 June 2020, your Sheriff’s Officers Vocational Branch Advisory Group (SOVBAG) and PSA industrial staff met with Sheriff Hall and her management team by audio visual link, for the second Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meeting of 2020 (July JCC). JCCs are held every quarter and is the peak consultative forum between SHO management and the PSA and SOVBAG and where the PSA raise the concerns of our members.
At the June JCC, SOVBAG and the PSA raised a number of issues including:
- a. SAP recording of span of hours for SOC SAP does not recognise the hours recorded by Sheriff’s Officers undertaking shift work for SOC (Sheriff Operations Centre). The issue being that SAP does not allow the time/hours worked to be entered outside of the ordinary spread of hours. This has been raised in September 2019 with Payroll and HR, who have been unable to rectify the problem and advised the affected Sheriff’s Officers to change the times worked, to reflect eight hours of duty at a different time during the day. The Sheriff’s Officers affected are not comfortable with falsifying their SAP entries. The issue was raised at the November 2019, February and June 2020 JCC.
SHO Payroll and HR are undertaking urgent work to rectify the problem. PSA to monitor progress.
- b. Paid parking exemption for departmental motor vehicles The issue being currently SHO motor vehicles do not have exemption from paid parking areas when undertaking core business at locations without SHO parking bays or where there is operational requirement to access paid parking.
Management reported it has commenced formal application process to cover departmental motor vehicles and are hopeful of timely resolution.
- c. SHO provide update on the construction work performed at Downing Centre Staff at the Downing Centre were concerned with the lack of transparent information on construction workers inside the court undertaking construction work without prior notice. It relates to the PCBUs obligation to consult with the PSA and staff when undertaking workplace change that may impact staff health and welfare.
Management is cognisant of its obligation under WHS to consult with the PSA and its staff. It explained the fine window of opportunity to access substantial funding to undertake long much-needed construction upgrade to the entry and exit points at the Downing Centre which will improve security, safety and management of the court. The work needed to commence before end of the 2020 financial year.
- d. Trauma kits pouch options and WHS risks The issue was raised in February 2020 JCC. The issue concerns staff experiencing discomfort, practicality use in confined spaces and safety in some situations such as driving long distances for regional staff.
Management responded there are multiple pouch options with some on belt and some on leg strap. Individuals have specific difficulty with their pouch option can discuss with their OIC/RC or PSA.
- e. SHO uniforms for SOs injured, RTW or going reaccreditation process The issue was raised at November 2019 and February JCC. The PSA is concerned that the removal of patches has affected staff morale, is inconsistently applied, is unnecessary and punitive in consequence. Multiple scenarios were discussed with management.
Management has advised that it will return officers’ patches in the circumstances discussed.
- f. Body-worn cameras The Sheriff informed the PSA that a trial of body-worn cameras will be undertaken by the SHO. The Sheriff will be calling for expressions of interest for a steering committee and working party to look at how the trial will happen. The cameras are the same as those worn by NSW Police and NSW Corrective Services. The trial will involve both metro and regional officers.
Management advised that PSA will be represented in the steering committee and consultative processes.
SOVBAG and PSA update
The SOVBAG meeting was held on Wednesday, 26 June 2020, via audio visual link due to COVID-19 restrictions. Issues discussed:
- PSA Public Service Salary Case Ther General Secretary off the PSA, Stewart Little, addressed delegates regarding the PSA’s 2.5 per cent pay dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission. The PSA is the lead union on the pay dispute and is demanding the full 2.5 per cent be paid, whereas the NSW Government doesn’t want any pay rise for public servants. No formal offers from the Government have been put to the PSA.
- Work Health Safety The PSA and SOVBAG believe the practice of assigning officers working one out, whether it be providing security at satellite courts or undertaking field duties, is inherently dangerous. The PSA letter to SHO on 1-out staffing at court and tribunals is HERE. The Sheriff’s response has been that security resources depend on risk assessments so this may mean one Sheriff Officer working by themselves is adequate. The response letter from SHO to the PSA is HERE.
- COVID-19 temperature testing At the time of the meeting, the proposed temperature testing of court staff and users and the policies and procedures around this was discussed. This is a work in progress with the testing now rolling out across NSW courts. Please contact your SOVBAG delegates with specific issues as each court house may have different issues.
- COVID-19 Special Leave What are your rights to access your special leave? Please contact your SOVBAG representatives or the PSA if you have specific concerns around your entitlements.
- Reporting of WHS or Security Incidents SOVBAG strongly advocates members exposed to security and safety hazards, near misses and incidents report these formally through both the Sheriff Incident Reporting eReport system as well as the WHS reporting system on SAP. This will provide the Department’s WHS Unit with data on the number and type of risks faced by Sheriff Officers. The PSA cannot effectively advocate for the better allocation of resources if there is limited evidence to back up members’ issues.
- WHS Workplace Committees and HSR elections across SHO Hubs The PSA and SOVBAG encourages members to take an active interest in the roles of their WHS workplace committees and HSR elections currently conducted across SHO hubs. Please contact the PSA or your SOVBAG representatives if there are no elections scheduled for your hub.
- Changes to SOVBAG committee structure SOVBAG passed a motion to change the number of delegates to include delegates for SHO Court Officers (District and Supreme) and Clerical Officers (COU) as well as Sheriff Officers. It makes sense to include members from these two areas on SOVBAG. This motion has been approved by the Executive of the PSA. The structure of SOVBAG may end up being: seven Sheriff Officer delegates, two Court Officer delegates and one Clerical Officer delegate. The change will strengthen and unite SHO staff across court and tribunal locations.
- SOVBAG elections The PSA will consider the election of new SOVBAG Committee for October-November 2020. We will look at the spread and distribution of new delegate roles to include Western Region, Central Coast Newcastle and Illawarra South Region. The PSA encourages all members to take participatory approach and interest in the running of your workplace and SOVBAG committee.
- Unofficial uniforms, equipment and services SOVBAG discussed the increased sightings of unofficial unit type uniforms, equipment and service provisions within SHO. The concern is that the PSA and SHO staff have not been consulted on any of the changes. Please contact your SOVBAG or the PSA if you have any credible evidence of these matters.
Please print and place this bulletin on your PSA noticeboards – please speak to your colleagues or any non-members to join the PSA.
Your SOVBAG delegates
Edward Lia Campbelltown Courts
Stephen Hancock Downing Centre Courts
Glenn Elliott-Rudder Wagga Wagga Courts
Monique Muir Coffs Harbour Courts
Joseph Safour Wagga Wagga Courts
Marko Petrovic Downing Centre Courts