Member update – Housing Contact Centre
On 16 October 2019, PSA staff and delegates, met with management at the Housing Contact Centre (HCC) for our quarterly Joint Consultative Committee meeting.
The PSA advised management of two new PSA workplace delegates, Anthea Stavrakis and Renica Adam and the establishment of your workplace delegates committee.
In this update:
- CSO Recruitment
• Personal Phone Use
• Translator Service – security risk
• Staff Development
• Overtime and Temp Accommodation Calls
• People Matter Survey
Recruitment for CSO roles is continuing to be shared between three districts – Sydney South West, Sydney Central and Western Sydney. The PSA has consistently fought for the Department to decrease the number of agency temp staff in Housing and the HCC reported they have reduced agency temp numbers from 105 in July to 60 at present.
The PSA has been given an undertaking from HCC management, that vacancies will be filled by directly employed longer term temporary staff and where possible, ongoing roles.
Personal phone use
The PSA raised concerns on behalf of members, about being reachable in the case of emergency due to the ban on personal phone use at the HCC. We were advised that in addition to the central land line on the floor, staff can give out the direct landline number (from the desk they are working at), to those who may need to contact them in case of emergency on that day. We encourage our members to do this.
All Grads Interpreter Services process
The PSA raised the matter that staff using the All Grads Interpreter Services for HCC calls are being asked to provide both their username and first name, causing an employee privacy issue as your first and last names are being provided to a third party. It was agreed that this is unnecessary, members are advised to only provide your username when using the translator services.
The PSA has consistently advocated that more development opportunities be provided and we encourage members, where possible, to take up these opportunities. We were advised that HCC staff are being offered secondment/development opportunities in local offices across three districts.
LEAP: The PSA strongly advocated to the Deputy Secretary that denying HCC staff this professional development opportunity would unfairly disadvantage their career progression. As a result, more staff from the HCC will have access to the LEAP and LEAP for Leaders training programs.
The PSA has also been advised of a new TAFE training opportunity that will go out as an EOI for 15 people to undertake a Certificate IV in Training and Evaluation (1 day a week for 36 weeks). We encourage our interested members to take up this opportunity.
In response to member concerns about email communications from HCC Workforce Planning about Overtime, the PSA asked management to outline the current practices in relation to overtime and the basis for the items in the body of the email.
The PSA has also asked to be provided with the industrial basis for the Overtime terms and conditions. HCC management agreed to look at the details in the email to staff and come back to the association with a written response.
Office of Emergency Services – Disaster Relief – Temporary Accommodation Calls
The first response from the HCC executive in relation to the question of overtime was to say… we have no overtime at the moment.
However, the PSA was advised that the Deputy Secretary, Paul Vevers since 1 July Machinery of Government changes now has Emergency Services/Disaster Relief in his portfolio. As a result, HCC staff have been directed to take disaster relief calls through the call centre, to assist people needing temporary accommodation. We are informed that funding for this work including staffing, will come from designated disaster relief funding. The PSA will watch this space and listen for member concerns as they arise, in relation to management directions concerning doing this work – in particular with reference to night shifts.
Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S)
Two of your PSA workplace delegates are now Health and Safety Representatives who attend the Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S) committee meetings, circulate WH&S information and make themselves available to hear any WH&S issues at the HCC.
The air-conditioning issue on Level 3: All temperature issues have been reported to building management. Management advised that whilst there are variances, it has been tested and confirmed that there are no technical issues with the air conditioning system. Members are advised to find a spot on one of the floors that is the most suitable and comfortable temperature for them.
Safety Suite training: New software for incident reporting, called Safety Suite is currently under development in consultation with the PSA, we will report back further on this as it progresses.
People Matters Survey
The HCC had 73 per cent Employee Engagement up from 68 per cent last year. The PSA reminded management of the importance of listening to this valuable feedback and ensuring that it results in actions being taken by management to improve conditions in the workplace.
The HCC executive has provided the PSA with a copy of the Housing Contact Centre Commitments to staff, arising from the People Matters Survey prioritising the following:
- Training and Employee Engagement
2. Transparent Change Management/Clear Communication from Management
3. Managers Modelling Exemplary Conduct/Organisational Values and Mentoring staff.
We rely on our members providing genuine and frank feedback to PSA delegates and PSA staff on the implementation of these commitments. The association will take up related issues on your behalf to maintain management accountability.
If you have any workplace concerns relating to the above or any other matters, please raise them with your PSA workplace delegates and/or PSA staff.
You can support the work of the PSA and your local delegates by asking your colleagues to JOIN their union.
Kris Cruden Industrial Manager
Siobhan Callinan Senior Organiser
Katy Ambler Industrial Officer
Vivette Horrex/ Sharon Richards Organisers
If you have any questions about this bulletin, please email: FACSOrganising@psa.asn.au.