Assistant Commissioner Kevin Corcoran delivered the MRRC benchmarking presentation to staff on Thursday, 26 July 2018. Although there was a lot of talk about the proposed 440-bed new build, which will ensure POVB Members will not lose jobs, the most shocking announcement was the deletion of 71 custodial jobs from the current operation of the centre.
The loss of 71 Custodial roles is by far the greatest attack on jobs throughout the state-wide benchmarking process and the POVB is urging all members to maintain their support for the MRRC as it fights to claw back as many jobs possible to ensure the centre is adequately staffed to maintain safety and security. The MRRC has commenced the three-month consultation phase this week and we will keep you updated on their progress.
POVB Management Committee
The POVB Management Committee was held on 30, 31 July and 1 August 2018. Delegates from each sub-branch state wide attended PSA House in Sydney to discuss issues facing POVB Members and each sub-branch.
Implementation of benchmarking, cyclic rostering, duties of the new SCO roles, deletion of the transfer lists, casual to permanent, managing remand and sentenced inmates in CESU locations and services not provided by Justice Health were some of the issues that were discussed then presented to Commissioner Severin.
Mr Severin took many of those issues on notice and said that he would meet again with the POVB State Executive to discuss further. The three days were a great opportunity for Delegates to gather information and discuss the issues that POVB members feel strongly about. All Delegates agreed the POVB is strongest when we all stand united and support our fellow members when they need help. Nicole is putting together the minutes from the three days and will send them out to Delegates shortly.
A number of issues have been raised with Commissioner Severin and CESU management regarding Justice Health coverage, ISP/RIT policy dispute, and managing remand and sentenced inmates in CESU locations.
Some CESU locations have no Justice Health coverage and officers in those locations have the responsibility of managing and issuing all medications to inmates on a daily basis. The POVB has consulted with the Commissioner requesting that Justice Health be placed in those locations in line with the NSW Inspector of Custodial Services recommendations. The POVB State Executive commends the outstanding work our members do in those locations with a lack of resources provided by CSNSW and Justice Health.
The ISP/RIT Policy dispute is still in the IRC before Commissioner Murphy. It is unlikely the dispute will be resolved to the satisfaction of the POVB as we maintain that CSNSW’s new policy provides inferior coverage to inmates housed in CESU locations in comparison to inmates housed in Correctional Centres. CESU locations have inadequate resources and there is no longer a provision in the policy that guarantees ‘at risk’ inmates will be moved to a Correctional Centre within a specified time (previously 24 hours under the old policy). This matter will continue to arbitration in the IRC.
Housing remand and sentenced inmates in CESU locations has been raised with Commissioner Severin. We have asked what his plans are to reduce the amount of time remand and sentenced inmates are held in CESU locations. CESU staff have now been ordered to place handcuffs on inmates for all internal movements, due to the large instances of staff assaults and use of force in CESU locations. This issue is most concerning to our members as more inmates than ever are being held in Court Cells, Surry Hills and Amber Laurel and greater expectations are put on staff to now manage remand inmates for AVL appearances when they were previously moved to Correctional Centres. Commissioner Severin explained he would respond to the Inspector of Corrections report and consult further with the POVB State Executive on these issues.
JMCC New Technology
The POVB State Executive attended JMCC on 9 August 2018 regarding new technology to be introduced to the centre. Body-scanning technology will give inmates the option to have a scan (instead of a strip search following visits) that can see inside their body as well as anything secreted under their clothing.
It is a 10-second procedure which will be conducted instead of the strip search as long as the inmate chooses the option to take the body scan. ACT Corrections has used similar technology for seven years.
Concerns were raised by POVB members regarding the effects of radiation to staff and inmates as well as giving the option to inmates to be scanned or strip searched as opposed to directing inmates to be scanned. CSNSW are to provide further feedback before purchasing and installing the body scanner.
JMCC will also be installing a heartbeat detection device in the vehicle bay in the gate. Each vehicle will have the device hooked up to detect if any inmate is attempting escape. IAT will also be issued on body cameras. We have been told they are the same on body camera currently issued to NSW Police. It is expected that the cameras will be available in four to six weeks. We are still seeking updates to the COPP to ensure staff has a policy in place that supports them when on body cameras are activated.
Meeting with Commissioner
The POVB State Executive met with Mr Severin on 15 August 2018, to follow up on issues previously raised at the Delegates to Management meeting.
We discussed that use of force will be under much more scrutiny following the recent ICAC inquiry. The POVB requested greater training in terms of report writing, use of video equipment, and greater support from Functional Manager Security. Mr Severin said work was being done to allow staff to view footage following a use of force to ensure accurate reports are written. There was also much discussion regarding the role IAT play in each centre and that they under greater scrutiny because of the amount of times they are called to manage aggressive and non-compliant inmates.
HR issues were widely discussed including the transfer lists, casual to ongoing recruitment, targeted full time recruitment from the academy and the 70 per cent ongoing to 30 per cent casual recruitment strategy adopted by HR. We raised that we receive numerous complaints from POVB Members regarding being overlooked for transfer, overlooked for Casual to Permanent roles but provided no feedback on why they missed out. We are seeking a more consistent approach to CSNSW’s HR strategy. Mr Severin said that there will be further consultation with the POVB via a working party with senior HR management.
Emu Plains Benchmarking 12-hour proposal was discussed. CSNSW has submitted the 12-hour proposal; however, the Commissioner has not seen the eight-hour proposal. It was explained that the majority of POVB Members are in support of the 8-hour model. Management have expressed their view which supports the 12-hour model. Mr Severin has asked the PSA to provide the eight-hour model so that he can look at both and make a decision.
Deletion of the Assistant Superintendent rank was discussed and the POVB cannot understand how we can delete A/S and Senior Correctional Officer positions then promote additional Senior Assistant Superintendent positions.
The addition of four new SAS positions to support the Directors is difficult for POVB Members to understand when so many front line jobs have been cut due to benchmarking.
Mr Severin explained the four assistants to the Directors are only temporary roles during the implementation phase of benchmarking and that the new SAS positions are because a different management structure is now in place under benchmarking.
The sick leave policy was also discussed and in particular the issue of listing an illness on a medical certificate and confidentiality of that information. The POVB have stated they have no confidence that CSNSW has a system in place that guarantees confidentiality and we requested information be provided on where medical certificates are stored and how your information is used in the process. We will provide further updates as we obtain that information.
POVB State Executive
- Nicole Jess – Chairperson
0427 609 199
- Jason Charlton – Vice Chairperson
0401 500 967
- Thor Sutherland – Country Chairperson
0447 633 476
- Natalie Howes – Secretary
0407 011 441
- Darren King – Assistant Secretary
0407 935 039