PSA Wins Fair Process for Investigations Team

12 January 2018

On Tuesday the PSA represented members in the SA Employment Tribunal in a dispute about a “spill and fill” process for positions in the Investigations Team.

The restructure of the team was a recommendation of both a Legal and Structural review of the Investigations function in SafeworkSA, however there was no recommendation in either review to require current staff to apply for positions in the new structure. Instead the recommendations of both reviews suggested that more effective management, clearer policy and procedures and more training should be put into place.

The PSA argued that to “spill” all current positions was unfair and outside of the AGD HR Principles. To require current staff to apply for the positions in the new structure without the opportunity to have their current skills, experience and knowledge assessed sent a message that the current staff were in some way not performing adequately and showed no respect for the work and expertise of the members of the investigation team.

The PSA lodged the dispute urgently in the Tribunal as the positions were to be advertised this week.

The outcome was positive and a win for PSA members. All members of the team will now be assessed on their match to the new roles based on their substantive classification level and consideration of current skills, knowledge and experience.

The matching of staff to roles will entail an assessment of skills, knowledge and experience required for current role against the skills, knowledge and experience required of the new role. The affected staff will be consulted on the outcome of the assessment

It was also agreed that the "matching" would be interpreted as demonstrating that staff meet the essential requirements of the ASO6 as per the job and person description but not necessarily the desired requirements.

All the usual appeal processes will apply if the assessment is carried out in an unfair way or staff disagree with the assessment.

SafeworkSA’s Investigations Team has been under scrutiny in recent months from the media as well as the Premier. The team has been subject to staff shortages and management changes, however they have carried out their work in a professional way with a commitment to the safety of workers and deserve to be treated with respect and not unfairly targeted or blamed.