The PSA met with both the Service Centre Directors Regional and Metropolitan on 7 August 2020 to be provided with an update and to raise issues as to Service NSW operating procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PSA is advocating that temperature checks should be in place across all Service NSW Centres and Contact Centres, not just for Driver Test applicants.
Service NSW advised the PSA that it will trial temperature checks for all customers at Wetherill Park, Newcastle, Albury, Liverpool and Macarthur Contact Centres. The PSA will seek that the results of the trial are assessed quickly and temperature checks rolled out to all Service Centres ASAP.
It was reported to the PSA that in metropolitan centres that approximately 80 per cent of all centres now have screens for CSRs. This is at a lower level for the regional centres but the clear message to the PSA was that screens were available for staff and if that staff would like to have a screen they should raise this request with their manager in the first place.
Hygiene officers, security guards and other protective measures
All centres should now have hygiene officers, with two and in larger centres. They are responsible for cleaning and wiping down of all customer contact services.
All metropolitan centres now have security guards, whose role is to manage customer flow into the centres.
All centres should now have Customer Quotas based on the four-square-metre guideline for social distancing. This obviously varies from site to site based on the size of the centre.
All centres should now have single use pens which are collected and cleaned after use by customers.
Face masks are being strongly recommended for all customer-facing staff, in particular those staff on the dance floor.
The PSA is aware of some concerns that have been raised by Driver Testers with regards to masks and with some specific concerns in relation to aged driving tests.
An instruction should have gone to all Driver Testers on Friday 7 August 2020 that in line with WHS advice and DCS policy, they will be instructed that they are required to wear face masks as they cannot maintain a 1.5-metre distancing.
Driver Testers who have an issue with this instruction are encouraged in the first instance to raise concerns with their manager.
While there are some legitimate concerns that have been raised in relation to the use of masks the overwhelming WHS issue is about maximising the protection against COVID-19.
Service NSW is also in the process of obtaining reusable 3 layered cloth masks that will be provided to staff. Staff will receive multiple masks along with guidelines and instructions for use and cleaning.
At the height of Stage 3 restrictions a decision was made to reduce across Service NSW, centre opening hours to 9:00 to 5:00. Currently Service NSW is in the process of returning to its ordinary pre-COVID-19 operating hours across the state.
This is being done in a phased way with the centres with high customer volumes being first to be brought back to normal hours.
Knowledge test area
There has been a significant reduction to the available knowledge test computers by closing of every second computer and this is starting to cause a significant backlog and create high demand.
Service NSW is looking at how it can safely bring all computers back. Where possible extension screens will be installed and Service NSW is also looking at the option of requiring all applicants to wear face masks.
Members have raised concerns as to the wellness check and its validity. Where a JP is available and can sign the check it is a statutory declaration, However, in areas where that is not possible it is still a declaration.
The PSA advises that if you have concerns the applicant is not being truthful, you should raise this with your manager for immediate assistance. The PSA will support our members with any issues.
Understandably concerns from regional members have been raised about Sydney Metropolitan residents looking to book driving tests in regional areas.
Service NSW has advised the PSA that at this time it does not have the ability to discriminate on location.
In an attempt to reduce the flow of Sydney Metropolitan Tests to regional centres Service NSW has looked to increasing the Driver Testers in Sydney areas and has introduced a mobile hub in Penrith which is proving to be successful.
In addition to this, Sydney-based applicants who are applying to do tests in regional areas are being contacted and encouraged to use the Penrith Hub.
At the resumption of driver testing, after the initial cessation of ordinary testing, there was a backlog of approximately 32,000 driving tests. Service NSW is now talking about average wait times of 20 days for a test.
The PSA has asked whether there are plans to engage any further Driver Testers on top of the additional 50 that were engaged to assist with the backlog and have been advised that there are currently no plans to do so. The PSA will continue to advocate for an increase to the amount of Driver Testers so that the backlog can be cleared.
Ongoing consultation and next Joint Consultative Committee on 20 August
The Directors are continuing to meet with Service Centre Managers on a fortnightly basis and members are also encouraged to go to the workplace COVID page. It was conveyed to the PSA that Service NSW is interested in staff input. An example of this is a current trial of the use of face shields, which is currently being assessed in one centre.
The next Joint Consultative Committee with the Department is on 20 August 2020. This will also allow a further opportunity to discuss with Service NSW a number of issues not canvassed in this meeting.
Customer Engagement Integration – Update your details with the PSA
The PSA would like to welcome staff who have transitioned into Service NSW from Revenue and Fair Trading following the creation of the Department of Customer Service (DCS).
We invite you to complete a short survey so the PSA can look to how we amend our Delegate structure to incorporate those members coming from Revenue and Fair Trading into our Service NSW Delegate structures. The survey will also help us to update the workplace locations of our members who may have or will be changing work locations due to the opening of the new service centres.
Please take the survey HERE.
New temporary Service NSW employees
In response to the additional workload that COVID-19 has seen in Service NSW a temporary engagement for an initial six months for temporary staff in a range of roles has been deployed across Service NSW.
If you know a colleague who is on one of these contracts such as those who were previously working in the Aviation industry, please get them to get in contact with your Organiser Mel Ciraolo to discuss membership options by email at or on 0439 300 675.