PSA Industrial Staff and the Chair of the DCS Departmental Committee attended the first Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meeting of 2021 recently. Below is a report back to members on the main issues raised.
The DCS Secretary gave the committee an overview of some of the major areas of focus for the Department in 2021.
Noting that 2020 was substantially disrupted by the global pandemic, it is hoped that in 2021 we are in a steadier state and the Department can look to its broader strategy.
The Secretary made reference to a number of large projects the Department will be embarking on in 2021 and noted that these should lead to a number of opportunities for current DCS staff and increased recruitment.
- People Matter Survey results
The Secretary was pleased to note the Department was up five points from the previous PMS. The survey results have been shared by division and are being cascaded down with the Chief People Officer working with the Deputy Secretaries.
The ‘Recruitment Accelerator’ was held in January 2021 with 20 people representing the cluster involved to look at how the recruitment process within DCS can be improved after it had been recognised that there was significant scope for improvement.
One of the more interesting statistics is that 70 per cent of DCS recruitment is internal, which then leads to a significant follow on in recruitment to then backfill those roles.
The Secretary has been very clear in her desire to improve the ‘candidate experience’.
- Performance Management Process changes
Another area that the Secretary is looking to have improvement is with the current Performance Management Process acknowledging that there was a high level of staff complaints and negative feedback.
A briefing session for the PSA has been arranged for 16 February 2021 and the Secretary has indicated a willingness to have an ‘accelerator’-like process as was held for the recruitment process to engage more broadly with DCS staff in seeking feedback.
- Regionalisation strategy
In relation to the Government’s recent announcements about job security in regional NSW, we were informed the public service is looking to increase its footprint there. Gosford appears to be a bit of a movable feast, with it being included in the regions when suited and otherwise in metro Sydney. The Department is willing to work with staff who want their positions to be regional. However, the PSA questions what this means in terms of job numbers: relocating a job from Sydney to a region is not an increase in job numbers overall. It’s a job in the region but a loss in Sydney.
Return to office
The Director People Services reported that there had been an improved confidence with staff returning to the workplace and that QR codes for the Service NSW App were being used in the workplace.
It was made very clear and supported by the Secretary that the Department at this time has no intention to dictate to staff how many days they should be returning to the office and that they were still continuing to support programs for remote working
Flexible working arrangements
The PSA again raised issues around the number of areas finding it more difficult to access flexibility. Erica Machon, Director People Services, committed to working with PSA around our concerns in relation to the number of areas being denied flexible working arrangements that were available pre-COVID and/or prior to change management in their areas.
The PSA has concerns about lack of consultation generally, despite consultation being required under legislation. We will work with the Department to draft guidelines for a document that we can rely on to point out to business areas when consultation is necessary. This document will be provided to PSA members to inform their discussions with managers.
The next meeting of the Peak Joint Consultative Committee will be held in May. Please talk with your local Delegates or your Organiser at your next members’ meeting if you have matters you would like to put on the agenda.
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