Child Protection Helpline reflective practice guide: urgent member feedback needed

Helpline - July 2020 (PDF version)

The PSA is calling on all members at the Child Protection Helpline and Domestic Violence Line to provide feedback on the proposed Reflective Practice Guide. Your feedback will inform your union’s position and support ongoing discussions.

Background

In 2011, the Department decided to implement call recording at the Helpline in two phases:

  • Phase 1: Implementation of call recording
  • Phase 2: Design and implementation of call evaluation and call coaching.

The PSA argued the design and implementation of call evaluation and call coaching should be rolled out first, with call recording second. PSA delegates believed there were inherent failings in implementing call recording as phase 1 as this would potentially allow recordings to be used to performance manage staff when the performance requirements had not been defined (the ‘cart before the horse’ argument).

As many members would know, workbans were implemented and the Department took the PSA to the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC). The IRC ordered the PSA to lift the workbans and the Department to implement call evaluation and call coaching.

Current work – the Reflective Practice Guide

Over the past nine years, the Department has made various attempts to implement a Helpline-wide call evaluation and call coaching programme. A few months ago, Helpline Director Trevor Bale, made the decision to re-orientate this work to be more in line with the NSW Practice Framework and move it away from a focus on call process.

Helpline Delegates have been involved in the working party to develop this and have welcomed the move to what is now the Reflective Practice Guide (‘the Guide’). The working party and the development of the Guide has been led by the Office of the Senior Practitioner’s Practice Support Unit based at the Helpline. The Practice Reflection Guide comes in two formats, one for Caseworkers and one for Team Managers.

The Caseworker Guide can be found HERE.

The Team Manager Guide can be found HERE.

The only difference between these two documents is a slight change in the language for the audience, the ‘I’ in the Caseworker Guide has been replaced with ‘The Caseworker’ in the Team Manager Guide.

The Guide has been designed for use between Helpline Caseworkers and their Team Managers when dealing with child protection reports taken by phone call. It is reasonable to expect that this Guide will inform development of similar tools to be implemented across other aspects of the work at the Helpline and Domestic Violence Line. This work has not yet begun, your delegates and the PSA will keep members informed should this progress.

Consultation with members

Since the delivery of the Guide documents, the PSA has met with Helpline Director Trevor Bale over concerns with the implementation and endorsement of the Guide. These discussions have resulted in the following table containing Delegate’s concerns and Trevor Bale’s response.

You can review the table HERE.

One of the major concerns for the PSA has been implementation of scoring. The Helpline uses call centre software known as Zoom (different software to video conferencing software also known as Zoom). Management’s intent is to use the call evaluation functionality in Zoom. The PSA has some concerns with this, as Zoom only has the ability to enter numbers as results producing numerical scores. The possibility of developing another means of documenting use of the Guide has been discussed but to date pursuing this appears unreasonable.

Your feedback needed – tell us what you think of the Reflective Practice Guide

The PSA has been clear that the Guide and associated information sought by the PSA (ie. the email correspondence HERE), would be provided to all Helpline members for consultation and feedback prior to any PSA endorsement.

The PSA seeks feedback from Helpline members in relation to the Reflective Practice Guide. Feedback is requested prior to Wednesday 8 July 2020.

Give your feedback through SurveyMonkey HERE.

Other ways to provide feedback

Email the DC Communities Team at the PSA at communities@psa.asn.au with ‘Reflective Practice Guide Feedback’ in the subject line.

Contact your Helpline PSA Delegates, on MS Teams or via work email:

  • Allison Corrigan
  • Edwina Doran
  • Jana Mouzouros
  • Kara Rae-Minshall
  • Matthew Cutmore
  • Russell Charlton
  • Sheldon Sowter
  • Sue Gronowski (Domestic Violence Line only)
  • Veena Bhatte

If you have an individual workplace issue or require specific advice, please contact the Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679.

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