The PSA has taken recent steps to ensure better union representation of Field Officer members in Community Corrections. This includes having a Field Officer Delegate – Lisa Matthews – on the PSA’s Community Corrections Departmental Committee.
Given the nature of the work, Field Officers are often not present during PSA visits. If there are Field Officers at your worksite, please make sure they receive a copy of this bulletin.
The PSA has also recently raised a number of Field Officer matters with the Department:
Following a recent allergic reaction, EpiPens are being implemented on buses to be available as one of a range of first aid measures. However, the PSA had received feedback that the rollout was inconsistent and the communication on procedure was at times unclear. Community Corrections noted that EpiPen usage is part of first aid training for Field Officers but committed to review the consistency of practice and policy around their usage.
Departmental policies and intranet access
Members had reported that they were often unable to get intranet access and therefore could not access policies and procedures relevant to the Field Officer role. Community Corrections advised that new starters now receive a physical folder with all relevant policies, but acknowledged that this may not have been made available to all existing Field Officers and committed to reviewing.
Work required before and after rostered shifts
Field Officers are often required to clean and sanitise rooms before their rostered shifts, as well as sometimes complete reporting work after. Some members advised that they were not always being paid for this work, with pressure to modify timesheets to only include the rostered shift. Community Corrections agreed that Field Officers should be paid properly for all work completed – any member facing issues with this matter can seek assistance from the union. You should be paid for all the time you work.
Safety in the field
The PSA noted that Field Officers take buses by themselves with up to 15 offenders. This raises questions about safety, including oversight of their whereabouts and the ability to raise an alarm in dangerous situations. The PSA has sought copies of risk assessment(s) undertaken by Community Corrections for this work practice and identified strategies in mitigating risks to members and will assess these once received.
The PSA wants to continue to focus on the representation of Field Officers in Community Corrections. Here’s how YOU can help:
- If you have Field Officers at your worksite, give them a copy of this bulletin
- Talk to your Field Officer colleagues about the importance of union membership. New members can join online at psa.asn.au/join
- If you are a Field Officer and have feedback on the above matters or other collective issues, please get in touch with the industrial staff below
- If you are a Field Officer, contact the PSA about getting more involved as a delegate for your area (particularly if you work in regional NSW)
- Contact the PSA about organising a visit to your worksite.
Any member seeking confidential assistance with an individual matter can contact the PSA Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679.