Psychological Testing – Commission Decision on Consultation

14 June 2017

The Industrial Relations Commission has confirmed that the Department for Child Protection should have consulted with the PSA and employees before making a decision to introduce psychological testing for existing employees.

The Commission also determined, however, that the consultation which occurred subsequent to the decision being announced met the requirements of the consultation clause of the enterprise agreement.

This subsequent consultation included the six conferences held in the Industrial Relations Commission which would not have occurred had the PSA not lodged the dispute.

The Commission decision issued yesterday was about whether DCP had met the consultation requirements of the enterprise agreement in relation to the introduction of psychological testing for existing employees.

In coming to its decision the Industrial Relations Commission relied heavily on the report of the Nyland Royal Commission, and in particular that the Royal Commission had made recommendations about psychological testing, including that psychological testing was beneficial to ensuring the safety of children in care.

Despite the Industrial Relations Commission decision that consultation had occurred – and the significant gains made by the PSA for members through the grudging consultation that did occur - there still remain a number of unresolved issues. And, as the Commission decision says “There is nothing that says the parties cannot keep consulting after the DCP has the right to move forward”.

The PSA also completely rejects the offensive and shameful position put to the Commission by the Department which is recorded in the Commission’s decision this way:

“The DCP is firmly of the view that the PSA will continue to raise new issues as long as they are able to in an effort to frustrate the implementation of a process that is designed to enhance the safety of children in residential care”.

Instead of attacking the integrity of its staff the Department should be focussing on implementing critical recommendations of the Royal Commission – including, for example, that the Department “recruit a sufficient complement of staff to…. abandon singe handed shifts” (recommendation 150).

The PSA will be consulting with Worksite Representatives and members in the immediate future. Please remain alert for PSA Information Updates and Meeting Notices.