On 14 November 2018, PSA Housing delegates and industrial staff met with the Deputy Secretary for the peak Joint Consultative Committee meeting.
Issues raised on behalf of PSA members and documents provided* included:
- Leadership Engagement and Professional (LEAP) training feedback
- Housing Maintenance Issues presented to the Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC)
- Aboriginal Enquiry Line Proposal prepared by PSA delegate, Martin Lester*
- NSW Government Work Health and Safety Sector Plan*
- NSW Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy 2018-22*
Leadership Engagement and Professional (LEAP) training feedback
The PSA raised that there are inconsistencies between how one TAFE teacher and another is reviewing and assessing LEAP work and in their communication with our members. The Housing delegate provided the Deputy Secretary with a number of comparative scenarios to illustrate the differing treatment members have received in different cohorts and depending on the teacher. The Deputy Secretary accepted that further conversations were due with the TAFE provider, to ensure there is equity in assessing work, handling issues and consistent communication to participants.
The Deputy Secretary has since confirmed these issues have been discussed with TAFE, to ensure processes are fair and equitable and queries effectively responded to in a timely manner.
Property Maintenance Process inefficiencies creating CSO workload
The department invited LAHC Executive Director Assets to attend the meeting after maintenance issues were raised on behalf of Housing at the last JCC. The PSA DC chair provided clear examples of process blocks, where it is unclear who is taking responsibility for logging and addressing property maintenance and progressing the work to be completed. We seek to improve processes, minimise delays and reduce the workload on CSOs caused by the inefficiencies in attending to maintenance issues. The LAHC representative agreed to review the processes based on examples provided by the PSA and committed to rectifying the problems.
Aboriginal Representation and Cultural Support at the HCC
PSA delegate and Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Martin Lester, who was until recently based at the Housing Contact Centre (HCC), raised concerns about Aboriginal cultural support and filling vacant roles at the HCC with indigenous staff. He prepared a detailed proposal to improve Aboriginal staff representation and outcomes for Aboriginal housing clients. He conveyed to the PSA that he has raised these issues with HCC management for some time with no satisfactory response. The Deputy Secretary conceded he is aware that this is an issue that needs immediate attention and he is committed to improving the situation. He has since directed HCC management to develop a focused and action-oriented strategy to recruit for and support an Aboriginal Enquiry Line, by the end of January 2019.
Work Health and Safety and Mentally Healthy Workplace Plan
The PSA raised the NSW Government Work Health and Safety Sector Plan and the NSW Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy 2018-22 – two initiatives prepared by Safe Work and signed off by the Deputies to improve WH&S outcomes in public sector workplaces – which to date have been poor.
The Director, Employee Relations, Safety and Wellbeing is the cluster contact/coordinator for FACS. The PSA conveyed we are pleased to see the Department’s commitment to improving outcomes and establishing preventative measures for the health and wellbeing of workers in FACS workplaces.
We look forward to providing substantive inputs on behalf of Housing members. We particularly see opportunity to improve mental health and wellbeing infrastructure in FACs workplaces and will contribute ideas for a best practice mental health strategy. A ‘Wellbeing Forum’ is scheduled monthly for 2019 and the PSA will have Housing industrial and delegate representation at this forum.
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