SAS Staff member update

SAS Staff member update – October 2017 (PDF version)

Principal workload and time use study (Deloitte Review) School leadership strategy

In response to claims of emerging evidence about the impact on educational leadership, of the increasing demands in administration and the growth in the role and responsibilities of school principals, the Department commissioned Deloitte to conduct a research study into school principal workload and time use.

The PSA was advised on Friday 8 September of an imminent Ministerial announcement in response to the study’s findings, and was briefed by the Assistant Secretary, School Operations and Performance.

The Minister announced a School Leadership Strategy which delivers $50 million in funding, to be implemented progressively over the next 18 months.

The appointment of additional administrative staff, including but not limited to business managers.

The PSA has identified a number of industrial issues arising from the announcement at a recent Joint Consultative Committee and has sought a response from the Department about their management.

These include the split and availability of funding; the impact and adherence to the Determining the Mix of Staff in Schools Policy and the Procedure; the recruitment and deployment of staff, and consultative arrangements on implementation.

The report also foreshadows an Educational Services Review and a longer term staffing entitlement review about which further information will be sought and acted on.

DETERMINING THE MIX OF STAFF IN NSW PUBLIC SCHOOLS: PROCEDURE

Under the ‘Local schools Local decisions’ initiative, the discretion of principals to appoint staff is regulated to some extent by the policy document Principles for Determining the Mix of Staff in NSW Public Schools which was first negotiated with the unions in 2014.

The Department recently provided the PSA with a revised document, Determining the Mix of Staff in NSW Public Schools Procedure, which is intended to provide schools with clear guidelines on the rules and procedures for staffing schools using Centrally Identified Positions (CIPs) and Above Centrally Identified Positions (ACIPs).

The PSA protested the inadequate time frame provided for response. A conference was subsequently convened during which the PSA raised numerous concerns about the Procedures documentation.

Amongst these, the PSA identified that it did not reference all the instruments and policies to which the procedures were to comply; it contained reference to the hiring of contractors which could encourage forms of insecure employment; and the information about disestablishment costs was incomplete and misleading.

The document has been amended in response to these concerns, by including reference to the correct and relevant instruments; deleting the reference to contractors, amending the material on disestablishment costs and referring the PSA’s concerns to the Finance Directorate for response.

NEW HR/PAYROLL SYSTEM

The Department is implementing a new HR/payroll system across the workplace. This includes corporate as well as schools. SAP will be progressively rolled out across NSW in four releases.

Release one is for Corporate and a small sample of 32 schools. Live testing of the system will be conducted throughout August, September and October.

The Department intends to run parallel systems for a defined period so that any bugs in the new system can be readily identified and eliminated. The release agenda is:

  1. 30 Aug – 12 Sept 2017 first tranche 23 November 2017 – 5%
  2. March 2018 – additional 10%
  3. April 2018 – additional 35%
  4. May 2018 – 50% (remaining schools)

Currently, system testing is approximately 98 per cent complete in advance of the first go-live. The Department is also undertaking a “penny test” to learn what happens with data inaccuracies. The Department is attempting to avoid other recent failed payroll systems migrations such as Queensland Health, which led to massive problems for employees being paid incorrectly for prolonged periods.

The Department has also advised that no new HR processing will need to be undertaken at school level. No new responsibilities will be devolved to schools with existing paper based functions transitioning to online processing.

Training is being developed in the new HR/payroll system and this will involve block training, online training, and facilitated learning and just in time training. The training is being tailored to the employee’s function/responsibility within corporate or if they are school-based.

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