PSA members’ bulletin: SIRA Dispute Resolution Services - Public Service Association

PSA members’ bulletin: SIRA Dispute Resolution Services

SIRA Bulletin - Nov 2020 (PDF version)

Following a members’ meeting when a number of concerns were raised by members about workloads and the systems that were causing problems, the PSA has been in discussions with the Department.

It was also a timely reminder to raise with the Department the importance of consultation with the union around technological change as required by the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009 which may have assisted in minimising the impact on staff that the implementation of Nexus has had.

In response to the concerns raised, the Department has reported back the following:

As you are aware, this issue relates to the implementation of NEXUS which is the digital dispute case management system. To provide some extra context:

  • Dispute Resolution Services (DRS) provide dispute management across the current Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Scheme and the previous one,
  • DRS is still managing some cases from the ’99 Scheme, although these are tapering out,
  • NEXUS is tailored to the new Scheme and its processes,
  • NEXUS is not yet running at full capacity due to a delay in the implementation of the Decision Maker portal. This is due in December and should help capacity.
  • While NEXUS may mean changes to the process in some areas, it provides efficiencies in other areas and improves accuracy,
  • A backlog has been created due to COVID-19 which is outside the control of DRS.
    • This is due to medical appointments for injured persons were very limited due to COVID restrictions.

Due to COVID-19, teams are working remotely which reduces the natural incidental learning. As you can appreciate, the knowledge and learning of NEXUS would be better in a face to face environment with the teams together. COVID-19 has restricted this. Team Leaders have been encouraged to have virtual huddles to work through tasks to help improve system knowledge.

These challenges have been acknowledged regularly at the fortnightly divisional meetings and at the team meetings. Support has been offered, however, the response to the Director regarding requests for further support has been nil. Escalation pathways have also been communicated. DRS will offer this support again. I encourage your members to reach out within the business for support.

In addition, to help address wellbeing, DRS has engaged Benestar to run two workshops:

  1. Managing Customer Behaviour in high-stress situations (with a COVID-19 focus). The recording of this has also been shared with staff by e-mail, yammer and in a Divisional meeting pack
  2. Burnout, fatigue & self-care

The PSA is always concerned when we hear that members are struggling with workloads, as it is an important work health and safety issue. Members are encouraged to make use of the supports that are available to help manage these issues.

The PSA will look to arrange for a follow-up meeting with members before the end of 2020 to discuss whether the measures outlined by the Department are starting to address the issues surrounding workloads, or whether this or other important work, health and safety issues remain.

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