HCCC (Eddie Van Den Bempt & Huyen Whitten-Amadon) advised that Stage 1 was complete. The PSA viewed the new reception area and staffroom. We particularly welcome the new communal space for staff. We did however note the low hanging lights and reported that tall staff members had hit their heads on these and suggested an adjustment would be necessary.
The next phase will be Investigations, Legal and Corporate. We were advised that there will be a consultation process with staff where proposals can be worked through and concerns raised.
We were advised that while Assessments had moved to a more open plan environment this change was “working out” for the staff.
2. People Matter Employee Survey (PMES)
The PSA referred to the recently released survey results and noted that there were positive results but areas of major concern. PSA representatives highlighted that:
- 14% of staff have confidence in the ways my organisation resolves grievances
- 44% of staff reported they had witnessed misconduct/wrongdoing at work
- 53% of staff reported they had witnessed bullying at work; and
- 60% of staff responded that the role of the person who had been the source of the most serious bullying they have been subjected to in the last 12 months was a senior manager, with 20% identifying the immediate manager/supervisor.
We asked what the HCCC was proposing to do in response to the survey results and were advised that managers would be having conversations with staff including discussing the process for resolving grievances and concerns about conduct. Senior management will also be addressing the PMES at divisional meetings and the All Staff Meeting.
We encourage members to participate in these meetings. If you have concerns about the PMES or suggestions for how the HCCC could more effectively respond, you can raise these with the PSA and we will address with management.
The PSA believes the proposed meetings are appropriate as an initial response. However, we believe a long term cultural change strategy is required to address these results.
3. Work health safety
The State Government has released a work, health and safety sector plan that applies to the NSW public sector and aims to improve workplace health and safety.
The plan can be found HERE.
Objectives in the plan include:
- Enable a mentally healthy workplace environment
- Addressing workplace bullying though the adoption of a robust plan for the prevention of bullying
- Addressing client and public violence; and
- Reducing the impact of fatigue.
The PSA views this plan as a significant development to improve workplace safety and we’ve requested that the plan and its implementation be a standing item on the JCC agenda.
The HCCC referred to their WHS Committee and the fact that there are two HSR representatives. A Committee meeting will be held shortly.
We were also advised of strategies to address mental health issues impacting on staff including resilience training and the development of a vicarious trauma framework. We’ve asked to be consulted in relation to this framework.
The PSA referred to concerns raised by members regarding working outside core hours and on weekends without any access to time to lieu, overtime or recognition of forfeited flex-time. It has been brought to the PSA’s attention that there is an Out of Hours Attendance Policy which is not being adhered to.
The HCCC will check the status of this policy and provide further advice. We emphasised that this needs to be addressed given the work, health and safety issues of staff working excessive hours. This risks are obvious if staff are not signing in or out particularly in the unfortunate event of an injury sustained in the workplace on a weekend.
The PSA also advised of training courses we conduct including: work, health and safety, mental health in the workplace and prevention of bullying and harassment. We also advised the HCCC that under the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award 2009 members are able to access a maximum of 12 working days in any period of 2 years (clause 55.1.2).
4. PSA noticeboard
The PSA referred to clause 58.1.2 of the award which requires the availability of “a noticeboard for material authorised by the Association or access to employee notice boards for material authorised by the Association”.
As there is no such noticeboard at present, the HCCC undertook to resolve this.
No further progress was reported.
6. Efficiency dividend
The final issue raised by the PSA was the 3% efficiency dividend announced in the 2018/19 State Budget. This means for 2018/19 and the following 3 year,s a total cut of 12% in government agencies with frontline services exempt.
We asked how the HCCC was proposing to address the imposition of the efficiency dividend and were clearly advised that there would be no cuts to staffing.
PSA’s member survey
We thank members for their patience and will shortly organise a lunchtime meeting to discuss the survey results.
Provided members are in agreement, we would seek to provide the survey findings to HCCC management.