Supervisory and Ancillary Review
As you are aware the Department of Communities and Justice, Community Services (CS), are currently undergoing a review of Supervisory and Ancillary roles in the districts.
Members working in CS have worked tirelessly through the Covid-19 and more recent flooding and natural disasters, often putting themselves at greater risk by maintaining face to face visits to ensure children are safe. Endured anemic wage growth that pales to inflation. And now, on the claimed basis of staying within budget, the Department is planning to cut frontline jobs. The proposed cuts to Manager Casework (MCW), Manager Client Services (MCS) and Service Support Manager (SSM) roles are contained in the first Stage of the review. Stage two, to be implemented in 2023 focuses on Casework Support Worker, Customer Service Officer and Senior Customer Officer roles can be viewed HERE. Your union absolutely opposes cuts to any jobs, and cuts to front-line jobs is completely unacceptable.
In documentation provided to the PSA, it very clearly states that current roles ARE funded for “each district” in “their supervisory and ancillary budget for financial year 2022/23”. When pressed to explain why funded roles were earmarked for deletion, the Department’s most recent explanation was that “The number of actual roles exceeded the allocated budget roles, due to various reasons, including maternity leave and backfilling.”
Your Union has lodged a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission and will continue to advocate and argue that any loss of front-line jobs should not occur or be entertained. Community Services Supervisory and Ancillary roles are front-line roles, as they work alongside child protection caseworkers, caring for the most vulnerable children and families in our community.
Manager Client Services, Manager Caseworkers and Service Support Managers are already under immense pressure and workload. The PSA knows that the occupants already work excessive hours, well beyond their 35 contracted hours each week. By deleting currently funded roles, the Department is knowingly placing even more work demands on these workers and placing their psychological safety further at risk. This would be a dereliction of their legal duty of care to their workers. The PSA will formally request that the Department undertakes a review of flex sheets for the last 3 flex periods to report on what hours are already being forfeited.
The PSA maintains that the Department can make the necessary savings from the millions of wasted dollars hemorrhaging every year to pay Funded Service Providers (FSP) “babysitting” children in ACAs (often in motels). The failing of this system was recently highlighted in a damning Children’s Court Judgement in which two young children in an ACA were basically neglected by a FSP who did not even have sufficiently qualified workers, and yet were paid $1,300 a day for each child. You can read the judgement HERE, especially from paragraph 95 onwards
The PSA maintains that savings can be made from a reduction in ACAs, bringing services back within the Department, or that the Government should simply increase the funding to this most needed service.
At the PSA Community Services, Departmental Committee (elected state delegates) held on 17 & 18 November, the state delegates unanimously passed the following motion:
“The Departmental Committee absolutely opposes the loss of job roles identified in the Supervisory and Ancillary Review 2022/2023 and endorses the PSA to take all necessary steps, including industrial action, to mitigate any and all job losses to frontline child protection roles (including the supervisory roles of MCW, MCS and SSM) and related administration / ancillary roles.”