The Public Service Association (PSA) and other public sector unions were briefed by the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) Secretary and other Senior Management representatives on the proposed division of DPE into the agencies of Planning, Housing & Infrastructure and Climate Change, Energy, the Environment & Water (DCCEEW) that comes into effect 1 January 2024.
With agencies to be stood up in less than 5 weeks, the rubber is beginning to hit the road, and it starts with corporate services. The agency has advised that the first tranche of corporate staff transfers (56 in total) will support continuing service provision and will attempt to limit the level of disruption whilst a more formal process to address resourcing is administered. Where branches and business units may see minor changes in reporting lines, corporate services will be the most affected with larger changes proposed.
The PSA was critical of organisational decisions that were not subject to consultation before the announcement to staff and we made this clear to the DPE Secretary. Further discussions and documentation elicited the rationale for the transfer of staff to DCCEEW which provided some clarity. However, there are many different ways that the new agencies may distribute resources when it comes to provision of corporate services to the various agencies. The PSA will be closely examining this process over the coming weeks.
It is proposed that the provision of service to DCCEEW will be administered via a Service Level Agreement that seeks to continue the current standards of operation under the DPE umbrella. The PSA has identified deficiencies in areas such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Digital Information Office (DIO) and Payroll, and will be advocating for a higher standard of service and appropriate resourcing.
What is clear is that further reform of corporate services will be undertaken in the new year as the two new agencies are formalised and resourcing is bedded down.
The PSA will be meeting with corporate services staff on Wednesday 6 December at 1pm, online. Be on the look out for details early next week.