DCS Peak JCC - Public Service Association


The PSA met today on your behalf with the Department for the final Joint Consultative Committee of the year.  The meeting was chaired by Jody Grima and the Secretary, Em Hogan, was in attendance and provided a general update.

In her update, the Secretary advised that the PMES results had stayed at a strong engagement level of 74 per cent.  This is the highest result in the sector.  DCS is still identifying different challenges in different teams.  About 23 per cent agreed with the question around burnout, they did feel burned out, but wellbeing still scored highly.  The department will take a deeper dive into that.

Recruitment is still a challenge, particularly in regard to a shortage of talent, making it difficult to fill roles however they expressed no appetite for increasing use of agency staff.

With the election pending and the minister retiring, there are as yet unanswered questions around what that means.  It was noted that the minister for Revenue has not announced his retirement but again no one knows what the future will bring.

CEO of Service NSW is departing and recruiting is underway for his replacement.  On a positive, the Service NSW awards have taken place and it was good to see everyone together in the room.

PSA requested a moratorium on further Change Management Proposals whether it’s ‘just’ a realignment or repointing or a full blown restructure.  Regardless of the outcome of the NSW state election, there will be a new Minister and another round of change so we would prefer to wait until then.  The Secretary committed to considering our request for a moratorium.

On the topic of restructures, PSA reminded the Department of the need to provide adequate time for consultation.  A recent suggestion by the Department that we would only need 4 days was inappropriate.  Department has agreed to work with PSA on guidelines for managing such matters.

PSA has noted an increase in the number of employees undergoing workplans, PIPs and/or termination within probation.  This seems to be an emerging trend across Departments. We are interested in ways to address and de-escalate.  As such we questioned whether there was an appetite in DCS to introduce soft skills training (communication, team work, emotional resilience, problem solving, time management, critical thinking, stress management) for staff at all levels, perhaps through a wellbeing initiative.  Management advised that they were partnering with a company that will offer leadership programs and increase capability at all levels.  They will consider other options and PSA will seek to push for more training in these key areas.

We have previously raised concerns about delays in getting appointments for IMEs.  While we have seen improvement in this regard, we are now experiencing increased delays in getting members back to work after the IME.  Reports from doctors are delayed and getting a return to work plan is also taking longer than usual.  This causes an increased and unnecessary amount of stress for the employees concerned.  While the Department said that they were working with a greater number of providers to reduce delay in getting an appointment, getting people back to work more quickly is still a work in progress.  PSA will continue to monitor and advocate for faster turnaround.

Finally, we discussed exit surveys.  Members are reminded that you can request an exit survey with a member of Human Resources/People and Culture when you leave the organisation.  It is your chance to provide solicited feedback at no risk to your current employment.

The next JCC will be held in February 2023 and agenda items will be sought through delegates and through members at member meetings prior to then.

The JCC is your opportunity to engage with the Secretary.  Please consider becoming a delegate and working towards empowering and supporting your workmates.

We would also like to let you know that we have a new Organiser for the Department of Customer Service (excluding Service NSW who will continue being supported by Mel Ciraolo).  Peter Clark has returned to the team and will be in touch with you in the coming weeks to organise member meetings and generally get to know all of you.

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