The PSA held a members meeting on the 18th of December. After this meeting, the PSA contacted the DPIE industrial relations unit to discuss the realignment process, your concerns and requesting a meeting EPA management.
The PSA has now been given a commitment that management will meet with your union representatives in the new year to discuss the realignment.
In the EPA 2019 year review document,
Page 5, Questions about consultation
Has the Union been consulted through-out the refresh process?
Yes. An initial meeting was held with representatives from the Public Service Association (PSA) on 11 December 2019 to discuss the new operating model. The PSA was provided with written advice on the changes including copies of the current and proposed Executive structure. The PSA was advised that future meetings will be organised as required to provide further information and updates as the realignment progresses. In the meantime, the PSA has been sending questions through which we are answering. We intend to share these questions and the responses with all staff as they come to hand.
We have collated members’ questions, submitted them to management and received the following responses. Our questions are below, followed by management’s responses (red text in PDF Version).
PSA Questions & Answers
MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: The EPA is updating its operating model which includes a realignment of executive roles and teams. Information about the realignment process is available on Insite including the revised alignment of executive staff, Q&As and contextual information. Further information will continue to be added to Insite, for example the process and timing was released to staff in the CEO message on Tuesday 17 December and will be added to Insite.
Staff require much more detail about ow functional teams will be redistributed in the organisation. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Statement noted – refer to Insite for details of timing and process.
How will staff on leave be notified of the changes? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: In addition to regular updates from the CEO and on Insite, Directors will be keeping staff informed, including those who are on leave.
Which Directors will sit in which positions? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: This will be shared once the documentation and employee arrangements for all Directors has been processed.
How many people will be in each regional team? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: The size of regional teams is currently being worked through by the Senior Leadership Team. Further details on the make-up of each regional team will be shared for feedback shortly.
What will they be responsible for? Will some be specialist or will all be generalist? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Regional teams will comprise both specialist and generalist staff.
How much resourcing will be available for proactive programs to promote compliance? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: The new operating model provides for additional resources for proactive programs.
Will staff resources be allocated based on the number of licensees in a region? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: The number of licenses is only one of the factors being taken into consideration in determining the allocation of staff.
How will resources be decided for EPA activities around non-licensed areas? Some areas of the EPA work extensively with unlicensed operations. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: There are a number of factors being considered in allocating staff and teams to the new alignment. Responsibilities for non-licensed premises is one of the factors being taken into consideration.
If number of complaints are used to allocated staffing resources, how will management account for some complaints taking minutes to resolve and others taking years? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: The number of complaints received fluctuates and their complexity differs. While we will be considering the work undertaken in this regard we are looking at functional responsibilities to guide positioning of teams and employees.
There is an imbalance in fees paid versus work required to regulate compliance. Some premises pay large fee and are mostly compliant. Waste premises pay low fees and require a great deal of work to ensure compliance. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Statement noted.
Will regulation and reform be separated? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: The new alignment is functionally based and facilitates collaboration and joined up approaches across the EPA.
How will continuity be assured for the big strategic projects currently underway? Complex technical projects rely on relationships with key stakeholders. How will management make sure the same people have carriage of such projects? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: At any given time, the EPA has many projects underway. As is currently the practice management and the Board will consider key priorities to ensure appropriate resourcing is available.
What is the forward process?
Staff would like input into the choosing the teams they go to/be which Director they report to. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Over the coming weeks staff will have the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the alignment of the non-executive teams, including their own role.
Will the Directors get to pick their team, or is there some other means of allocating people? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Directors are not ‘picking’ their teams. The Senior Leadership Team is currently working on the non-executive arrangements.
What support will be provided for people whose duties change? What support and training will be provided and how will the transition be eased? Role descriptions will not be changing as a result of this realignment. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: The transition to new operating arrangements includes a range of supports and under the new arrangements there will be a much greater focus on learning and development and continuous improvement of our systems and tools.
What systems will be put in place to encourage knowledge sharing? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: The best system to support the functions of the EPA will be a focus under the new alignment and staff can expect opportunities to provide suggestions and feedback in 2020.
Note that it takes time to upskill management on new technical projects. How will the EPA maintain momentum for key strategic projects? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: There are no changes to the commitments and work we already have underway.
Where will radiation sit? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Advice on the positioning of teams and staff will be available shortly.
Will all policy areas be put together? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: This is a functional design. Advice on the positioning of teams and staff will be available shortly.
Dangerous Goods Transport
This area is very specialised. 14,000 pages of legislation. Only 2.6 staff know the rules, which is not enough to distribute them through the regional teams. It takes a particularly long time (think 10 years) to upskill people to regulate dangerous goods transport. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Statement noted. Advice on the positioning of teams and staff will be available shortly.
Staff consult each other all the time. They have different areas of expertise. Also rely on policy for advice. How will communication be maintained if they are split into different regional teams? MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: The new alignment is functionally based and facilitates collaboration and a joined up approaches across the EPA. Advice on the positioning of teams and staff will be available shortly.
The EPA receives complaints related to Illegal dumping that take years of work and thousands of s191 notices to investigate. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Statement noted.
Regulation of Waste is becoming more complex and deals with criminal elements in society. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Statement noted.
Definitions of waste are still evolving. For example, there is still now a fixed definition of ‘asbestos waste’. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Statement noted.
A lot of data needs to be collected to prosecute illegal dumpers. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Statement noted.
Waste investigations requires special attention and officers that know how to work with the police. Search warrants may be required. Investigations in Sydney are generally adversarial and require a great deal of work. In regions, waste investigations are less adversarial because the community knows each other. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: Statement noted.
Is the intention to reduce EPA Waste investigations? If so, the legislation will need to be changed to reduce the triggers for investigation. MANAGEMENT RESPONSE: There is no intention to reduce waste investigations.
We know that there will be many more questions and we ask you to first raise them with your delegate and with your organiser if you are unable to speak with your delegate. See names below:
David Bell (Newcastle, )
There has never been a more important time to join the PSA. If you have not joined yet, you can join right here: