PSA Dispute Lodged in The South Australian Employment Tribunal About Core Skills Profile for Adults (CSPA) Testing Concerns

09 October 2019

The Public Service Association (PSA) has lodged a dispute in the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) following a lack of response from TAFE SA to PSA members’ concerns with the CSPA process.

In August 2019, PSA members advised of numerous concerns relating to the requirement for administrative staff to invigilate CSPA testing which had been previously undertaken by lecturing staff. Members’ concerns included lack of training, staffing issues, and safety concerns. Concerns were also raised around the impacts on current workloads, with many administrative staff having exited due to Targeted Voluntary Separation Packages (TVSPs) as part of the Student Experience (SE) Transformation Restructure; and also that changes and impacts such as this would need to be seriously considered in terms of the possible further reductions in full-time equivalent (FTE) staff numbers as part of the SE restructure; the proposed final structure; and the future workload impacts on staff.

The PSA raised these issues with TAFE SA at the Salaried Consultative Committee on 21 August 2019, with TAFE SA stating they would look into the concerns. A reminder email was sent by the PSA and then the issues were raised again at the next Consultative Committee on 18 September 2019.

The only response at that meeting from TAFE SA was that staff could take their work with them into the CSPA session. As advised by members, this is not possible due to the CSPA process requiring staff to be actively supervising at all times, and in addition, much of their work cannot be undertaken without all their required resources available. All members who have contacted the PSA have raised serious workload concerns with no-one doing that work while they are away, and also given the context of many areas working with depleted staff numbers due to the large numbers of staff who were given TVSPs.

Due to the lack of appropriate response from TAFE SA, the PSA wrote to the Chief Executive (CE) of TAFE SA, Mr David Coltman, formally notifying of a consultation dispute under Clause 34 of the South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017 (SAMPSEAS). The letter can be found here. The PSA also noted that TAFE SA had not upheld their obligations regarding workload assessments under Clause 15 of the SAMPSEAS.

The PSA required the CE’s response by 5:00pm on Friday 27 September 2019 to the following:

  •  That the utilisation of non-lecturing staff to under CSPA invigilation cease immediately until these concerns are resolved satisfactorily for PSA members.
  •  That genuine and good faith consultation occur with staff and the PSA around:
    •    The changes to Role Descriptors that will be required to undertake CSPA invigilation;
    •    The training that staff require, including, but not limited to, the CSPA process itself, public speaking, support of students in distress, how to handle unexpected incidents, escalation processes to higher levels, and safety and security responses;
    •    Staffing in rooms/on campus during CSPA testing periods, including gender mix;
    •    Workload assessments and any risk mitigation required, as per Clause 15.2 of the SAMPSEAS, for impacted areas where staff may be absent due to undertaking CSPA invigilation; and local management processes for work that is still needing to be completed;
  •  That following the above, non-lecturer salaried staff will only be utilised on a voluntary basis, following the undertaking of training; with more than one staff member present on-site; with a clear escalation pathway in case of any issues; and with safety and security procedures in place; and prior to the staff member being rostered, workloads will need to be assessed to ensure that the workloads of both the individual and the workgroup are reasonable and safe.

No response has been received from TAFE SA. As a result, the PSA has now lodged our dispute in the SAET to ensure members’ rights for genuine and good faith consultation are met by TAFE SA.

The PSA will keep members updated.