Workload, working from home and wellbeing: Office of the Children’s Guardian Joint Consultative Committee update
PSA staff and your workplace Delegates met with the Children’s Guardian and Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) Directors on 14 July 2021 for our quarterly Joint Consultative Committee meeting. At these meetings the PSA requires, as standing agenda items, a report back from OCG management on Workplace Health and Safety, Recruitment and Staff Development/Training. In addition the PSA confirmed our call for nomination of new Delegates has gone out and we raised the following current concerns on behalf of OCG members:
- Flexible working
- Mental heath and wellbeing
The PSA raised that our members are feeling the impact of a heavy and increasing workload, across Customer Service, Reportable Conduct, NDIS, Risk Assessment and Working with Children checks. This includes working to clear a backlog of outstanding matters. Whilst staff are diligent, committed and professional, the PSA asked OCG what plans it has for addressing the unsustainable workload.
OCG acknowledged workloads are high across the agency and how hard people are working. The Office also agreed with the PSA’s assertion that mental health and wellbeing is paramount and that reasonable workload and flexibility be maintained throughout this challenging time.
OCG advised it is taking the following actions:
- Guardian advocating that OCG requires more resources from the NSW Government to meet rising demand (noting children are at risk).
- Twelve pieces of Recruitment currently underway to fill vacancies and boost resources, especially in Customer Service, Reportable Conduct and NDIS. This includes an NDIS legal officer.
- Directors and managers in consultation with their teams advised to review and revise internal processes for prioritising work – asking “What do we need to keep doing within legislative parameters for accreditation and monitoring?”
- Fresh wellbeing modules developed/encouraged, including Robyn Brady sessions in Mental Health and Vicarious Trauma.
- HR online learning modules being offered to staff, including further Springboard into Leadership training.
- NDIS team who were initially in training in the Office, now at home subject to NSW Health Orders, will join all staff with access to flexible working and working from home going forward.
- For professional development, staff who wish to engage in work of a different kind supported to undertake one day per week in another team.
PSA staff and Delegates will continue to track workload, flexibility and health and wellbeing issues on behalf of OCG members in the coming months as recruitment and review takes effect. The PSA participates in Induction Modules online and is soon to engage with the cohort of new staff being on-boarded. The PSA conducts regular member meetings online and members can contact your delegates with any concerns or the Member Support Centre.
Staying connected with your union while working from home
The PSA thanks our members for their hard work during this difficult time.
We remind you we are here to assist and support you however we can during lockdown.
You can stay connected with the PSA through your local workplace delegates and PSA Organiser.
Do you know someone who is not a member?
You can support the work of the PSA to get better outcomes for everyone by asking your colleagues to join at www.psa.asn.au.