Safety Concerns Raised Directly with Chief Executive

31 January 2017

Following the recent critical events at the AYTC, PSA General Secretary Nev Kitchin called on DCSI CE Tony Harrison to attend the Centre personally so that members could put their safety concerns directly to him.

Mr Harrison subsequently attended a meeting of PSA members and Workplace Representatives on 19 January 2017.

During the meeting members emphasised that adequate staffing with qualified and experienced workers was critical to supporting the safety of workers and young people. Members also made clear that the changing nature of the behaviour of some of the young people in the Centre had significantly elevated risks to their safety.

In relation to staffing numbers Mr Harrison referred to his previous commitment to employ 10 additional staff and confirmed the recruitment process for this was in train. He acknowledged the attrition rate of staff, and the need to balance the mix of full time, part time, and temporary staff. Mr Harrison indicated he was considering “over recruiting” in order ensure that staffing numbers were adequate while longer term solutions were put in place.

Members raised a number of issues about recruitment processes. Mr Harrison indicated he would consider more recruitment processes as well as supporting options aimed at attracting appropriate staff.

Mr Harrison acknowledged that the Centre could expect the numbers of residents to increase. He asked members to consider the possibility of changing their work practices in response to the escalating nature of behaviour in the Centre. In relation to physical interventions, Mr Harrison acknowledged there were grey areas and that members at times were required to use their professional discretion.

Other issues discussed included the use of personal protective equipment (PPE); model of staffing; improvements to incident management processes; and an invitation for members to consider suggestions about facilities and/or security improvements.

PSA General Secretary Nev Kitchin advised Mr Harrison that members would consider their position and advise him formally of this in writing in the near future.

After the meeting with the CE, PSA members met to consider their options in relation to protecting their safety and security. These issues will be covered in a separate PSA Member Information Update.