Youth Justice PSA consultative meetings - Public Service Association

Youth Justice PSA consultative meetings

The PSA Youth Justice Departmental Committee met at PSA House on 15 November 2023. Representative from five centres, Court Logistics, the community and PSA staff attended.

The Chair acknowledged the not guilty outcome for Officer A and the relief it must have been for him, his family and for all the Officers who engage in this important work. The assistance of the Prison Officers Vocational Branch, the Legal Fund and support from other Officers around the state was also recognised.

The Chair also acknowledged the passing of long-term PSA employee, Patrick Norton. Pat was with the PSA for more than two decades and was a very familiar face at PSA house. A big loss for all.

Assistant General Secretary Troy Wright addressed the delegates about:

  • The Industrial Relations Commission, particularly the composition of the Commission and interest-based bargaining. Subsequently, amendments to the Industrial Relations Act have passed the NSW Parliament. The previously dismantled NSW Industrial Court will be re-established as part of the reforms. This will see expert judges appointed to determine workplace health and safety matters and underpayments.
  • Replacement of the Government Sector Employment Act, consultation is in its infancy.
  • A letter from the Teachers’ Federation requesting support for a campaign to raise the age of incarceration to 14.

The DC did not agree to this and the following motion was endorsed unanimously:

“Without the necessary infrastructure, support and systems in place across NSW for our vulnerable young people, we are unable to support this proposal at this time.

Due to the lack of interventions in the community, the needs of this vulnerable group are not met. Youth Justice is often the place of last resort for our vulnerable young people, no other service has been able to intervene.

Youth Justice fully supports early intervention with suitable resources in place to prevent young people under 14 coming into youth Justice system. Until this time Youth Justice are the only service that supports these young people.”

PSA Industrial Officers reported there are several industrial issues across the state, including pay issues, Injury Management, Working Conditions and CaPs issues.

Other issues discussed from around the state were:

  • Workforce Management Project
  • YJ Award
  • Community amalgamations such as YJs moving in and sharing offices with other government agencies
  • WHS issues
  • Campbelltown and Ashfield community sites and sharing issues
  • WHS issue at Campbelltown courts
  • Consultation at Baxter about the AVL units
  • Three vehicles decommissioned
  • Three vehicles borrowed from Correctives for bush fire season – one already located at Baxter
  • MR license requirement for transport staff have till March to acquire
  • Payrate formula issues
  • Penalties being returned after investigations resulting in “no case to answer”
  • Donation of leave
  • Journey Insurance
  • Investigations are still very slow. A Youth Officer stood down for four weeks and still hasn’t received a letter of allegations.
  • Difficulty retaining staff due to lack of support from management
  • Uniform compliance
  • Filling positions – applicants not notified that they weren’t successful. In both moving to the next stage eg, interview or obtaining the position. Applicants often only know because others are interviewing, or someone has been appointed to the position.
  • Filling positions – lack of transparency and perceived cronyism
  • School Camps – Baxter members believe this is too risky in the current climate
  • UoF committee – discussion around Terms of Reference and PSA panel members
  • Change of routines in one centre have resulted in a significant increase in staff assaults and 235 extra MR’s being issued in 12-month period – comparison done against same period pre-pandemic.

Youth Justice Joint Consultative Committee Meeting (JCC) 16 November 2023

This meeting involves delegates who attended the DC on the previous day and Executive Leadership Team from Youth Justice, including A/ED Mike Wheaton, Dir of Op Michael Vita, Ian Fleming, Rachel Palmer, Minga Wong, Di Polley from the Workforce Management Project and others.

Issues discussed included:

  • YJ staff no longer able to donate leave. The Department reported there was never a policy, and it could cause tax implications to the staff member receiving. The group was informed that Corrections use it and they are looking at something as part of the WMP.
  • Conduct and Professional Standards (CaPS) – they have reached out to centres to organise visits
  • Uniforms – trialling items continues, including better quality shirts. Everyone should now be receiving the uniform allowance and have been back paid for the allowance
  • Relocation of Community Offices – Multiple issues. Staff recently received resilience training. They have identified higher levels of vicarious trauma, there are physical issues with buildings – difficulty escalating issues and follow up actions occurring, lack of communication, staff not being heard, poor consultation process. Mike W to escalate building issues with infrastructure and assets – eg: soundproofing.
  • Temp to Ongoing – Group informed that there were staff shortages 2022.Recruitment localised in 2023 appears to be working better. Some centres have small pools of staff due to outside factors such as long-term leave/workers comp etc.
  • Reimbursement of penalties after investigation – At this time members need to request reimbursement to Centre Manager. HR and CaPS are to provide info, with Manager from CaPS to update at February meeting.

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