On 4 December 2019, the PSA met with management for the year’s final Joint Consultative Committee meeting with the Office of Children’s Guardian (OCG). Issues discussed on behalf of members included:
- Staff development
- Reportable Conduct transition from Ombudsman to OCG
- Flexible Working
- PSA engagement with staff – presentations at OCG Inductions
Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S)
The PSA raised the need for nomination/election of Health and Safety Representatives and a reinvigoration of WH&S across the agency. A PSA delegate/HSR is currently on secondment. The PSA offered to provide WH&S information and training on how to establish work groups, how to elect HSRs, the role of HSRs etc. The Guardian was happy for WH&S information to be provided and the OCG will consider the education session offering. The PSA recorded concerns that there is currently no HSR at the Strawberry Hills OCG site and we would be pleased to assist with rectifying this.
There has been significant recruitment activity to roles for back-filling those acting up. There are currently twenty-three temporary contractors but the agency is utilising talent pools and EOIs internally to fill roles wherever possible. At present there are six specialised contractors doing an IT build for the NDIS scheme.
The OCG reported that more than twenty employees are acting above grade in development roles. All staff have completed their PDPs, indicating training and development goals. Management assured the PSA they will continue to encourage staff to shadow in other teams, as many are currently doing.
OCG management has reiterated to the PSA their commitment to flexible working across the agency. All teams are having conversations about flexible working and how flexible working can be facilitated. A number of staff have arrangements in place to work from home on occasion. The PSA has been assured that further opportunities will be provided as the new site will have more workspaces than staff, enabling flexible working from either office.
Legislation The Children’s Guardian Bill was passed in Parliament on 21 November enabling the Children’s Guardian Act to commence on 1 March 2020. The new act will reinforce the independent role of the agency. Amongst the changes are reportable conduct timeframes for mandatory reporting, which has reduced from 30 days to 7 days. A brief outline was given by the Guardian.
Accommodation The refitted premises at 1 Prince Alfred Road, are ready and the Reportable Conduct team and the Child Safe team will transfer to the new site on 1 February 2020. The PSA was invited to view the new premises on 6 December 2019.
Induction The Guardian has been meeting regularly with the staff coming across from the Ombudsman. An all staff meeting on 11 December 2019 included a get to know you session for staff from both agencies with the PSA also in attendance.
PSA presentations at inductions
The PSA raised with management reasonable notification and PSA presentations at all new staff induction sessions. The PSA wrote to the Guardian reminding the agency that the PSA has specific status and entitlement under the award to engage with staff at Inductions. We also welcome additional opportunities to engage with staff. The OCG agreed and invited the PSA to their next all staff meeting to present, and arrange worksite visits.
JCC meeting dates for 2020
JCC meeting dates for 2020 are proposed for February, May, August, September 2020.
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