Management Instructs Members to Sell Spin while Minister Disrespects Entire Agency

15 February 2019

PSA members will be aware the state government has made an arbitrary and unplanned decision to close Service SA centres at Modbury, Mitcham and Prospect - with no apparent consideration of the impact on the community.

These are three of the busiest centres in the state, serving more than 300,000 members of the public every year - when 40% of all transactions require face-to-face contact..


Staff Instructed to Spin

On Tuesday this week, staff in Service SA centres were instructed to tell community members that a better service would replace the current face-to-face centres, when in fact, the state government still has little idea how to provide this essential service to the community.

Here's the relevant part of what staff were instructed to say to community members yesterday:

"While I acknowledge there are ongoing questions regarding the timing of the closures, we are still not in a position to advise the community at this time. As soon as the detail around the next steps are finalised and approved, we are committed to informing everyone as soon as possible.

In the meantime, if you are approached by customers about the closure of these centres, the following key messages should be shared:

1. The State Government has announced this Customer Service Centre will be permanently closing.
2. The decision is part of a broader strategy to improve the customer experience and service offerings across the state. A primary driver is to simplify transactions so customers
are not inconvenienced by needing to attend a service centre in person (emphasis added).
3. Due to the importance of having effective alternative systems in place, it is taking some time to finalise specific details.
4. There will be further information as soon as the details are finalised and approved.

It is highly inappropriate to instruct public sector workers to put a political spin on budget cuts which seriously affect the provision of essential public services rather than simply providing factual information.


Minister disrespects an entire essential public service

Putting their community first and providing an essential public service is what Service SA staff do every single day. But Transport Minister Stephan Knoll does not think so. In parliament this week (12 February) he said this:

"But here is the other point I want to make to the house: it is not like the current service that is provided by Service SA, a service that was provided in the way that the Labor Party put it together, is a great service. It is not like it was a great service. As we roll out our strategy over the coming weeks and months, what South Australians will come to realise is that there is actually a better way of doing these things."

PSA members are always willing to look at better ways of doing things. Deriding the current essential service members provide to the South Australian community in the absence of a better alternative is not a constructive approach to delivering an essential public service in a better way.

It is up to all of us to support our fellow members in Service SA centres by standing up for them and their affected communities.


Join the PSA campaign to protect public services by signing out petition and joining us when we next take action to stop the closure of Service SA offices!