The PSA has championed a workload planner for caseworkers in the Department for many years now. The uptake and use of the current workload planner is patchy; some workers like it, some not so much. It is however, the only existing tool to combat the practice of allocation of excessive and unsafe workloads.
The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) acknowledges excessive workloads is a major contributing factor to mental health and lost work time. Having to deal with the stress of unachievable workloads is not a healthy way to work and contributes to psychological injuries and high staff turnover.
In response to the 2016 Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Protection, the NSW government “committed to updating the existing workload planner in consultation with the (PSA) … to ensure there are effective and manageable workloads for caseworkers”.
The PSA’s own study and resulting campaign Safe Staff Safe Kids also highlights this link. You can read more about the campaign HERE.
Workload Planner Joint Working Group
DCJ has since established a joint working group with the PSA. The terms of reference for the working group has the strategic goal: “A user-friendly tool as a mechanism to ensure safe and reasonable workloads for Caseworkers is available to Caseworkers and agreed between the Association (PSA) and the Department of Communities and Justice (the Department). The tool will be developed in the context of the mandate of the Department to ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of its casework staff as well as vulnerable children, young people and their families.”
As part of that development of a user-friendly workload planner, DCJ is conducting a “casework study”. This is a time-in-motion study of the work undertaken by caseworkers and other child protection workers on a day-to-day basis. As the workload planner is premised on time-to-tasks estimates, this information is needed to ensure that the allocation of work is in line with your paid hours.
The PSA encourages all members in the study sites to participate
It is vital the time you take to complete the various casework tasks and activities is recorded accurately.
The PSA has raised concerns around the additional time it will take to complete the casework study and strongly urges members to keep a track and report on the time taken to complete the workload planner and to make sure you are not working excessive hours.
There are more than 20 units and Community Service Centres that will participate in the casework study. In order to capture the variety of casework undertaken, study sites will include metro and regional, small to large, and some specialised teams.
If you have any questions, please contact the Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679 or your local delegates.
Do you know someone who still needs to join the PSA?
You can support the work of the PSA and delegates to get better outcomes for everyone just by asking your colleagues to join the PSA at www.psa.asn.au/join.
How to contact the DCJ Communities Team at the PSA
If you have an individual workplace issue or require specific advice, please contact your PSA Delegates, Organiser or the Member Support Centre on 1300 772 679.