Following our meeting with members from the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) – Dispute Resolution Services (DRS) on Tuesday 9 February as part of the consultation process for the proposed restructure the PSA has raised with the Department the following issues:
In the draft Restructure Management Plan (RMP) for DRS at Point 10. Voluntary Redundancy Program, the document states there will not be a formal VR program.
While the PSA appreciates this is technically correct, it has caused some concern from staff (particularly those who do not have a clearly identified role within the proposed structure), that if they were not to be placed that they will not receive a VR or redundancy.
In the accompanying FAQ it is clarified that if staff are declared excess, they will be managed in accordance with the MEEP. However, the PSA would strongly recommend to the Department either adding an additional sentence to point 10 in the RMP or providing a very clear statement so that staff are properly assured that if they were not to be placed in the new structure that they will be properly compensated by way of the MEEP. This requires any employee deemed excess to be offered a Voluntary Redundancy.
Consultation with affected staff
The PSA understands the Department has been aware of the obvious impact to a number of positions and was wanting to mitigate the impact on those clearly identified roles prior to the all staff meeting on 4 February 2021. The PSA has received mixed feedback from members as to how this has been handled.
Again, it is accepted the current COVID-19 pandemic working procedures raise a number of challenges in how the Department handles the agency change management process. However, the PSA would suggest that having an independent follow-up or survey of those staff to assess how this was delivered could lead to significant improvements with how future staff are managed and informed.
There were further questions asked by members as to what additional support will be provided by the Department outside of the EAPS. Given that a number of staff are going to have to participate in some form of suitability assessment it is the general expectation that additional support for CV and interview techniques would be provided. Any further information from the Department as to additional support would be appreciated.
The DRS Organisational Review dated 4 February 2021, which was part of the staff presentation makes reference to an independent review that was commissioned in 2020. This has obviously had a significant effect as to the design of this restructure.
Both members and the PSA alike consider that the Department should provide a copy of this report, particularly since it is having a significant impact on a number of roles.
In the briefing provided to the PSA on 2 February 2021 it was mentioned that while a lot of role descriptions had been changed that it was more ‘formatting’, rather than a substantial change to the role.
Usually, it is expected that all role descriptions are provide as part of the consultation process. The PSA asks at what point can we expect to receive role descriptions. This could also impact the consultation time period given that staff may want to make comments or ask questions of any changed role descriptions.
Temporary employment roles
Questions were raised with the PSA in respect of current temporary employees. It is noted that in the RMP there is a reduction of eight temporary roles moving into the new structure. The PSA understands that it was mentioned in the staff briefing that all temporary employee contracts would be kept through to the end of June 2021.
The PSA would appreciate further information from the Department in respect of how temporary employee contracts will be managed.
The PSA will report back to members any responses from the Department and will finalise a formal submission to the consultation process prior to 19 February 2021.
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