Sheriffs Officers Vocational Branch Advisory Group consultation update: December 2022 - Public Service Association

Sheriffs Officers Vocational Branch Advisory Group consultation update: December 2022

The PSA held its final peak meeting for 2022 with Sheriffs Officers Vocational Branch Advisory Group (SOVBAG) meeting on Wednesday 23 November, followed by the SHO Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) on Thursday 24 November 2022. The following key issues were discussed.

SHO organisational review (“Uplift Program”)

The Acting Sheriff Daniel Gordon reported to the JCC the “Uplift Program” is progressing to schedule with Mercer and KPMG having completed consultative meetings with staff and stakeholders. SHO is positive the level of engagement and feedback will strengthen its business plan to Treasury in February 2022, with the key focus on appropriate grades to roles. The PSA has requested a meeting with SHO before the formal tabling of the business plan to the government.

Unfilled vacancies at crisis point

The PSA and SOVBAG have raised our concerns with the number of unfilled vacancies across the agency staff establishment for the past 16 months. It’s a fundamental concern that negatively impacts staff, court users and the provision of court and tribunal services, from safety, security, health and welfare to access of Award entitlements such as flex leave. The PSA understands some hubs and regions have operated at around one-third below funded establishment levels over many months. Although the PSA is acutely aware of the enormous challenges SHO have to address this issue, it does expect SHO is transparent with its sharing of information and adapt a more cooperative mind-set in developing more strategic and innovative approaches to address this long-standing issue. SHO is looking to compile the data for where the vacancies exist, and how many there are, and the PSA will follow up before the end of the year as to the results

PSA wins Uniform Allowance for SHO staff

The PSA fought to ensure the payment of this entitlement to SHO staff issued with a uniform or PPE to undertake the functions of their role. The PSA is pleased to inform members and SHO staff that back pay of the Uniform Allowance has commenced for past and current members and staff. A smaller group will have their back pay finalised soon. Ongoing payment of the allowance will be delayed to dovetail with the uniform policy, however, all entitled staff will be compensated for the lag period. Should members or SHO staff have concerns with the allowance, please contact the PSA Member Support Centre on 1800 772 679 or Latu Sailosi at .

Body Worn Cameras trial

The trialing of SHO Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) is scheduled to commence by June 2023 in line with proposed regulatory changes to allow for BWC in certain courts and tribunals settings. The trial will be for a period of 12 months. The PSA understand all Sheriffs Officers across the state will have BWC fitted to their SVP and will be part of the trial.

Changes to SPV policy

Although the PSA and SOVBAG welcomes the new directive for the wearing of SPV, we raised concerns on potential impacts to health, welfare and comfort with heat stress as we enter the summer months. SHO informed the JCC it is looking at a new lightweight SPV for 2023. SHO will redistribute its policy and guidelines for the management of extreme heat with particular focus on courts and tribunals without air conditioning facilities or designated spaces for staff to change uniform or clothing.

Change to vaccination mandate policy

With the removing of the vaccination mandates across the NSW Public Sector and DCJ by the 28 November 2022, the PSA and SOVBAG sought clarification on what this means for members and staff affected by the mandate and future employment with DCJ. The JCC has taken the matter on notice and will report back to the PSA.

Tattoos and uniform policy

SOVBAG asked the Acting Sheriff (referencing Directive 01/22 and the Safety Bulletin 2019-001 – Effects of Heat) whether further consideration for a review on the Uniform Policy regarding tattoos noting the bulletins reference to clothing being a contributing factor to heat illness and stress. The Acting Sheriff position is that there was no plan to revisit the Tattoo Policy at this time. The affects of wearing of long sleeves shirts is minor with options available to staff such as sleeves.

Merry Christmas from SOVBAG and the PSA

As we approach the Christmas Closedown period, your SOVBAG and the PSA wish all members and their families a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe holiday. We look forward to working with you in the New Year of 2023.

PSA Industrial Staff

Ben James Industrial Officer
Latu Sailosi Organiser

Your SOVBAG Committee

Stephen Hancock Dubbo SO
Glenn Elliott-Rudder Wagga Wagga SO
Pamela McKenzie DC Jury Services
Joseph Safour Wagga Wagga SO
Paul O’Shea Newcastle SO
Kurt Hudson Gosford SO
William Bell Parramatta Jury Services

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