Secretary’s announcement: Budget for NSW Public Education Plan, focus on teaching & learning. What about Education Support Staff? - Public Service Association

Secretary’s announcement: Budget for NSW Public Education Plan, focus on teaching & learning. What about Education Support Staff?

On 9 April 2024, the Education Secretary announced significant cuts to the NSW Education budget for Schools and Education Support Staff teams. You can read the Secretary’s announcement HERE.

The PSA is aware of the gravity of this announcement and that it heavily impacts Education Support Staff. What we know is:

  • Spending will be cut across Education Support Staff areas by $1.4 billion over the next four years including:
    • reduced expenditure on advertising
    • removal of 600+ contractors
    • reduced use of consultants
    • ‘streamlining’ of programs and teams
    • An ‘Embedded Services Review’ has commenced to identify and reduce duplication of services.
    • All divisions and directorates continue to undertake reviews and multiple restructures/realignments are underway.

 What does this mean for PSA members in Education Support Staff roles?

PSA Education Support Staff (ESS) members have expressing concerns for their own job security and for workforce planning and workload management. They have also expressed concerns about the impacts of the budget cuts on the following:  

  1. 200-plus Departmental Policies, Line by Line Review & Service Projects: Throughout 2023-24, the PSA has continued to meet regularly with the Service Experience (Sx) team, who have carriage of the Policy Review work, and are also responsible for oversight of multiple projects, identified to better support schools. This includes implementation of the new Service Now (SNow) platform. With the Department proposing to delete the SxS business unit with redeployment of some functions at best, who will consult with the PSA and do this work?
  1. Staff Wellbeing Strategy 2023-2026: Throughout 2023 the PSA has regularly engaged with the Department’s WHS leadership, advising the need for urgent action in this area. In term 4, 2023 the Department outlined several promising projects to address workers compensation/psycho-social injuries and the inappropriate level of occupational workplace violence. Recent announcements will see numerous important WHS initiatives parked or abandoned. How does this bode for priority one – Staff Wellbeing?   
  1. ‘Embedded Services’ Review: As per our previous bulletin to members, the PSA is aware that, due to the difficult fiscal situation” and budget constraints, the Department has engaged Peter Riordon to conduct a “review of embedded services” to assess duplication of functions in human resources, finance and communications’ services in ESS directorates. The review is expected to take some months. Phase two of the review will include other embedded functions, such as digital content, information technology and professional learning development.The PSA will ensure we get satisfactory answers for members, and genuine consultation and engagement on these matters.

    Members can be assured that the PSA will actively engage in consultation with the People Group and Employee Relations executives, to monitor the ESS embedded functions review and any organisational change plans that arise from it.

  1. Service Experience (Sx), ITD and Shared Services/EDConnect Restructure:  The PSA was recently notified of the department’s plans for the Service Experience, Shared Services, and Information Technology Delivery Office structures including realignments of the following areas within the Operations Group in the department:
  • The Service Experience Strategy business unit
  • The Business Services and Enablement business unit
  • The Operations Portfolio Management Office
  • The Information Technology Delivery Office.

Given the magnitude of the proposal, the PSA has asked to be properly briefed and for an extended consultation period.  PSA staff and delegates will meet with relevant department executives tomorrow. If you are impacted by one of these realignments in due course, please contact the PSA Member Support Centre to log your concerns and we will address them.

What next?

The PSA has contacted the Department seeking a series of meetings to commence consultation and direct negotiations around this very large number of industrial matters directly linked to the budget announcements. We will also continue to raise matters through our formal consultative arrangements.

The association will hold the department to best practice standards to ensure that any proposed organisational changes are implemented  in accordance with the Public Service Commission Organizational Change Management guidelines, and the NSW government’s recent Workforce Mobility  Placement Policy, which requires the Department to actively facilitate redeployment of impacted    employees to vacant roles across the public sector, when displaced by Machinery of Government and/or organisational changes.

The Association will always fight to protect the essential public sector roles of our members.

Need PSA assistance?

If you would like advice and support about a workplace issue, contact the PSA on 1800 772 679, Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm.

Links for members

PSA Staff

Industrial Manager: Julie-Ann Bond
Industrial Officer: Katy Ambler
Organiser:  Peta Noke


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