General Assistants – Work Bans on use of third party software in schools
Members advise that the Department of Education (DoE) has changed the process for booking maintenance job requests in schools.
The new changed process involves logging requests via:
- Electronically via FMWEB
- Electronically submitting the Callout Advice Form (CAF)
- Use of the 24/7 help desk followed by an electronic submittal of CAF.
The union has written to the DoE to raise concerns about this substantial change to school maintenance requests from suppliers and the impact on GA members. Our concerns involve:
- The proposed changes have not been the subject of any meaningful consultation with the union.
- GAs in many cases do not have access to computers and have not been trained in the DoE’s computer systems. Training on FMWeb is ad hoc and many of our GA members have not received any training.
- The previous statement of duties had no requirements for the GA to make these reports and requests for service. The new Role Description for GA’s does not encompass these reporting requirements either. The Role Description requires a GA to report maintenance service requests to their role supervisor.
The relevant Key Accountability is:
- Identify and report maintenance / safety issues to the role supervisor; undertake minor maintenance of buildings and equipment not covered by contracts or requiring a qualified tradesperson.
Further, the competencies associated with GA work in schools in all respects is foundational.
E. Most GAs will be unaware of where payment for the service falls under the maintenance contract (ie free to the school) or whether the school is to fund the job out of its own budget.
GAs do not have any financial delegation. Having a GA undertake these reporting requirements for maintenance work enhances the possibility that school budgets may be negatively impacted.
A GA logging a work order via FMWeb requiring payment out of school funds where they do not have any delegated authority to incur expenditure may lead to disciplinary processes.
F. GAs do not have any supervisory role over contractors. GAs undertaking these new reporting requirements increases the possibility that contractors will expect a GA to supervise and sign off on their work.
This concern has already manifested. The PSA was notified and in turn informed the DoE of this problem.
G. Schools use the processes that best suits its individual requirements. Currently, phone, fax, email and FMWeb maintenance requests are options.
To add to the confusion, in some areas, maintenance requests can continue to be booked using the traditional methods of phone and fax. Other areas also allow for email and FMWeb work requests.
The General Secretary reminds GA members of the long-standing work ban on the use of third party software (such as FMWeb and Sentral) in schools.
If your role supervisor directs you to use FMWeb, please advise them of the work bans. If you observe the work ban on using third party software and need support, contact the PSA on 1300 772 679.
- Brett Hammond – GA Organiser
- Anthony Wright – Schools Industrial Officer