Community Youth Justice Industrial Relations Forum – June 2018

06 July 2018

The PSA attended the second Industrial Relations Forum (ILF) recently to ensure that matters of concern were tabled for members. Below are some of the topics discussed:

1. Contract Arrangements
For a significant time within Youth Justice, staff are being employed on a short term contract basis with limited advance notice of the possibility of continuing employment. This unpredictability is unsettling not only for the members on contract themselves, but also for their colleagues. The PSA stated that best practice would be to provide as extended a contract as possible with maximum notice, if needing to terminate. Teams are struggling with the current staffing arrangements for many reasons. Management acknowledged the current difficulties for teams but advised that with the changes associated with the National Disability Insurance Scheme, that positions need to be kept vacant should a suitable redeployee need to be placed within the Community Youth Justice team. The PSA stated that better communication and more transparency would somewhat reduce the negative impact that members are experiencing. Another factor contributing to short term contracts results from staff who are on secondment in other roles who retain the right of return for up to two years. can also be a contributing factor for the requirement for contract staff. The PSA reiterated, for the record, that clause 10.1 of the South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017 clearly states that “ongoing employment is the primary form of public sector employment.”

2. Reimbursement for Travel
Confirmation was received from the General Manager that there has been no change in policy that requires staff to pay for their own car parking or travel costs associated with any work related undertaking. Some members reported having to wait a significant time for reimbursement. A commitment was made by the General Manager to follow up on this matter. Any member who is experiencing any difficulty should raise the matters locally and escalate if not resolved within a reasonable time frame.

3. Training and Development
This topic will be a standing agenda item for every ILF. Members have raised with the PSA that training and development opportunities for staff have been lacking. Management advised that a training matrix is in the process of finalisation and when completed, this will be communicated to staff. Management reiterated their commitment to providing opportunities to staff for training and development.

4. Review/Redesign of Youth Justice
The PSA raised the concern from members of a proposed team leader review. Management advised that this was not proposed, but rather a more broad, overarching review/redesign of the whole of Youth Justice. Assurances were given that this is in the very early stages and is more from a strategic perspective rather than an operational perspective. The PSA reiterated the need for transparency, consultation and communication. This is to remain as a standing item agenda at the ILF.

5. Mentoring of Students
Confirmation was received that, as standard practice, mentoring of students on placement will be undertaken on a volunteer basis only. There was acknowledgement that for this program to be productive for both parties, it was important that there be an interest and a capability from a workload perspective to allow the interested staff member to fully commit and engage. The PSA questioned if certain contractual arrangements had been entered into between DHS and the Universities and stated that, if so, these arrangements would need to be feasible and achievable for staff.

6. Relocation of CYJ Staff
This has been placed as a standing agenda item for future ILFs. The proposed relocation of staff from their current offices in the Department for Child Protection to Housing SA offices is most likely not viable now. Management are aware of the need to resolve the matter. Any member who may be experiencing any negativity due to their prolonged stay in their current office is encouraged to raise the matter with their team leader who will escalate. Management have agreed to follow up on concerns as a matter of priority. It was reported that in one worksite, current members' work areas were being measured, tables counted etc. with a view to reutilising the space. This is insensitive and not acceptable.

7. Riskman Reporting
 It was noted that there have been some problems recently with supervisors not receiving notifications for Riskman entries. This a matter of significant concern as members' health and safety is of paramount importance to the PSA. Members who, at times, are required to work in dangerous and unpredictable situations, need to be acknowledged and supported through the Riskman reporting system working effectively. Management committed to following up on this very important matter. The PSA would like to remind members to ensure that they are reporting incidents as a matter of practice. This has always been important but even more so now, in the wake of the new stringent work cover legislation changes.

Any member who would like a matter raised at the ILF is encouraged to contact the local Worksite Representatives. Any member who would like to nominate for the Worksite Representative role is encouraged to contact PSA by email by phone.

The next ILF is scheduled for Wednesday 11 July 2018.