Serious Consultation Concerns about Proposed Changes to TAFE SA “Student Experience Transformation”

02 May 2019

A PSA Organiser and Worksite Representatives (WSRs) attended the “Student Experience Transformation” staff consultation sessions held yesterday. During and following these sessions, PSA members raised a large number of concerns about the process of consultation. These concerns were tabled by the PSA at the TAFE SA Salaried Consultative Committee held the same afternoon.

The PSA forwarded these concerns in writing to TAFE seeking a response by close of business Friday 3 May 2019.

The issues raised by the PSA are as follows:

  1. Only 10 days for consultation is inadequate considering TAFE SA themselves described this as "the single biggest transformation to occur at TAFE", impacting on 450 salaried staff.

  2. There has been poor notification of meetings, with only one days notice to staff (less to some staff seconded outside of TAFE SA), and follow-up sessions arranged with only one-two days notice.

  3. Additional information provided at sessions about specific changes for workgroups must be provided to the PSA and all staff to enable fully informed consultation to occur regarding the effectiveness of proposed structures across the organisation.

  4. There is a lack of information about the effects of the proposed new structure on current numbers of staff and classifications, including any proposed FTE reductions. The proposals contain numerous new roles, roles that are changing, and roles that will move into different areas. TAFE SA admitted that comparing the current and proposed organisational charts will be difficult as they are so different, which reinforces the lack of clarity about the effects on current staff.

  5. TAFE SA has stated there will be no consultation on new role descriptors (RDs) denying staff an opportunity to provide any input. This is despite TAFE SA previously including those documents for consultation on other reviews (most recently, the Facilities and Procurement Review that was recommenced just over three weeks ago), and other public sector agencies including this in consultation processes.

  6. TAFE SA continues to state that the obligation is on employees to advise their managers if they believe their current RDs are not up to date This is not correct. There is an obligation on the employer to undertake this as per the South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017 ('the Agreement') and TAFE SA’s own Consultation and Change Policy.

  1. There is a lack of evidence of adequate workload assessments having been undertaken across the six Educational Business Units, despite the requirement in Clause 15.2 of the agreement for TAFE SA to undertake "...an assessment of the potential impact on workloads for individual employees or a work group in a work place and measures proposed to manage such impacts."

The PSA has requested an urgent response to these matters, particularly about the consultation period. The PSA has advised TAFE SA that for the PSA and staff to engage in genuine consultation, the consultation period needs to be a minimum of three weeks from the date of provision of all required information to the PSA and staff to allow for fully informed consultation.

The required information the PSA has requested is as follows:

  • Recordings from all consultation sessions held (noting that these are now on the TAFE SA intranet, and TAFE SA is delivering a USB with these recordings to the PSA today)

  • All PowerPoint presentations from each of the six sessions held today (noting that these are now on the TAFE SA intranet and have been forwarded to the PSA)

  • Information about specific changes to each workgroup

  • A table containing the following information about each Educational Business Unit:

-the number/FTE/classification of all roles that are proposed to not be in the new structure

- the number/FTE/classifications of roles that are proposed to change

- the number/FTE/classifications of roles proposed to move to different areas

- the anticipated number/FTE/classification of staff who may become unplaced/unassigned as a result of this process.

  • Draft changed and proposed RDs for consultation

  • TAFE SA's confirmation that it will update current RDs of substantive employees prior to the implementation of any change, and confirmation that as part of this, TAFE SA will adopt "duty statements" or similar, to ensure that specialist skills/requirements of roles are capture

  • A workload assessment to be undertaken as part of the restructure process

TAFE SA has been advised that if these matters are not resolved satisfactorily the PSA will escalate this matter to the Chief Executive of TAFE SA, and further as required. Members will be updated regarding the response from TAFE SA.

PSA face to face and Skype meetings are in the process of being organised for all salaried staff in these Educational Business Units. A PSA Meeting Notice will be issued once these have been arranged.

This is a critical time for TAFE SA salaried staff so if you or your colleagues are not yet a members of the PSA, please take the opportunity to join. We need a strong and collective voice to ensure the process is fair and transparent and jobs and entitlements are protected.