Please find the below report back from the meeting held last week between your PSA delegates and Corrective Services (CSNSW).
Restructure: Towards 2030
The PSA highlighted that there was no real certainty for members moving forward despite the restructure being announced more than five months ago in October 2022. This was creating a great deal of psychological stress to members. Questions put to CSNSW from the PSA on behalf of members last year also remain unanswered. This is despite assurances from HR that written response would be forthcoming. The PSA stated to CSNSW that the whole process so far created more distrust between members and management and employee extremely low morale. This is clearly contrary to the cohesive ‘single team’ approach CSNSW management have been trying to promote.
Update on Professional Standards Branch
CSNSW advised the PSA that the whole Professional Standards Branch (PSB) process has been reviewed and its function will come under the Assistant Commissioner Delivery Performance and Culture, who is currently Chantel Snell. The PSB and the separate Investigations Branch have effectively been merged as Professional Standards and Investigations (PSI).
Moving forward, the unit will be concerned with investigating serious misconduct. CSNSW acknowledged that matters had not been resolved in a timely manner, which was distressing for members and that misconduct matters referred to the unit should be resolved as soon as possible. CSNSW also commented that the quality of the investigations were wanting and that PSB should not be used to “pursue” individuals.
CSNSW is also reviewing polices in place to support managers, as many issues referred should have been dealt with by local management. CSNSW also acknowledged that more development and training for staff was required around what misconduct is, especially in relation to corruption.
The PSA reported that the PSB support line was also not accessible to members upon suspension in certain cases. CSNSW advised it would look into this.
There will also be a new working group to determine the direction of the PSI.
Working from home
The PSA raised the fact that managers are not applying the working from home (WFH) and other flexible working practices consistently. The PSA advised that it was concerned that favoritism was unfortunately more determinative than the merits of a WFH application. The PSA then advised that basic principles should be agreed to. CSNSW advised it was open to establishing principles around the approval of WFH applications.
Member questions to CSNSW as part of the Towards 2030 restructure
The PSA raised the fact that no specific response has been received from CSNSW and that the CSNSW working groups did not answer the vast majority of member enquiries. CSNSW advised that on a weekly basis, it will send through answer to question grouped thematically.
Classification and State Sentence administration
The PSA advised there had been little information regarding these areas in relation to the current restructure. In response, CSNSW advised that it was happy to organise a meeting with Delegates from the respective areas. However, from CSNSW’s perspective no real changes will occur in these areas because of the restructure.
Assignment to role for SAPOs in light of the split between Community and Custodial roles proposed
The PSA requested information regarding how CSNSW would assign people to either a Community or Custodial role.
CSNSW advised that the initial assignment to role process would be undertaken by expressions of interest. The PSA then asked if individuals will be forced to move. CSNSW responded and stated it is are still looking at the ‘resources’ available. However, CSNSW believes individuals will be able to remain in their respective current locations.
CSNSW also stated the Community/Custody model was not finalised at this stage as there was still ongoing discussion with Community Corrections.
The PSA then asked about the potential overlap of roles between Community Corrections Officers (CCOs) and Services and Programs Officers (SAPOs) in the community. CSNSW responded by stating it is acknowledge the potential doubling up of tasks, but it is envisaged that SAPO will play a unique role separate to the CCOs.
The PSA asked if there will be changes to role descriptions due to the proposed Community/Custodial split. CSNSW advised this would not be necessary as the role description were generic.
Psychologist Advisory Group
Delegates advised that the next meeting had not been set. CSNSW agree to follow this up with the Principle Psychologist.
Mobile Psychology Team
The PSA raised concerns the Mobile Psychology Team (MPT) is being moved into SDS and will no longer be providing mobile psychology work for mental health, only for SDS work. The MPT psych is now also managing SAPOs. There is implications for overworking of regional psychology staff or gaols with no Psychologists present. There is also concern that this does not correspond with CSNSW’s Closing the Gap plan. Members have concerns about major changes to their roles and the lack of consultation with wider psychology staff on their workloads. In particular Delegates have identified that the management aspects of Senior Psychologist.
Delegates raised concerns that the internship program and associated Senior is also being disbanded. This would impact the ability to recruit as this is a useful way to attract new staff. Delegates asked what will happen to staff included in this team.
CSNSW advised that this team had always been part of specific needs and there is no intention to change the function of the team. CSNSW advised that interns will still be part of CSNSW but support and supervision is yet to be determined in light of the restructure.
After consulting further with delegates, the PSA will be writing to CSNSW regarding this issue prior to the next JCC meeting.