Many of you would be aware the PSA has been involved in disputes with the Department of Education regarding the use of FM Web by General Assistants (GAs) and School Administrative Managers.
These have been before the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) since February. The PSA has used all available industrial and legal means to protect member’s interests in this process. With the advice of the IRC we have reached agreement on the requirements that this work be undertaken as set out below.
We believe that this agreement will make clear what is required to be done by GAs and Principals in the use of FM Web and the support that is available to GAs to do it.
- It is the role of the GA to identify and report maintenance and safety issues to the Principal (or delegate). However, all employees of the Department are still required under the Department’s Work, Health and Safety Policy to report hazards in the workplace.
- If they have the necessary skills and competencies, under their role description a GA can be required to undertake the online logging of a repair request using FM Web so that corrective action can be taken by the Facilities Management Contractor.
- If a GA has the necessary skills and competencies, under their role description, to do this work they must also be provided with the time and tools to do so. This means a GA must be given access to a computer.
- In addition to using FM Web to make an online callout log, a GA can continue to contact the Facilities Management Contractor either by telephone or email with the relevant details for the repair request
- General Assistants are not required to log Security and Insurance incidents using FM Web.
- The overall responsibility for managing the maintenance issue, including any related site- or asset-management issues, remains the responsibility of the Principal or Business Manager. This includes ensuring that the GA is provided with all information required to log the request, e.g. relevant category of repair, building/room identification number as per AMS Data Capture Plan, name and title of person requesting repair, description of the repair including measurements of relevant materials etc.
Importantly, GAs must be supported by their Principal with workload management and any training necessary to undertake these tasks within their role description.
Provision of training and support
Principals must ensure that GAs employees are provided with appropriate training before being required to use FM Web. A computer must also be made available for this work to be done.
Allocation of work and managing workload
The Principal (or delegate) is responsible for ensuring that what work is allocated can be done in the time available, and the priority of the work to be done. GAs should discuss these matters with the principal. A principal is able to provide additional resources funded through the school budget to manage increased work load. Such support could include the employment of additional temporary staff, on a short-term basis, or requesting that permanent employees work overtime.