WCHN – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – Release of Proposed Modified Restructure - Notification of Dispute - CAMHS Enfield

25 September 2017

As reported in the Public Service Association (PSA) Information Update on 20 September 2017, CAMHS had written to the PSA providing information regarding a modified proposed structure. However, as noted in the Update, CAMHS had only provided a brief response which did not address the large majority of the feedback provided by the PSA in April 2017 on behalf of CAMHS members, members of other associated services, past clients, past and present carers, and other members of the community.

Following continued advocacy by the PSA, further information has been released, which will be provided to PSA members in a separate Update.

CAMHS still refuse to provide any response to the PSA's feedback regarding the closure of CAMHS Enfield, which CAMHS has advised will occur on 17 November 2017.

The PSA's feedback in relation to Enfield included, but was not limited to:

  • requests for CAMHS to provide evidence and rationale for the closure of CAMHS Enfield;
  • evidence provided by the PSA regarding the need for the service to remain;
  • queries regarding the proposed Education Service Description; and
  • alternative proposals for consideration.

The PSA contends that the lack of any response at all to the feedback provided by the PSA does not demonstrate genuine and good faith consultation prior to a decision being implemented, which is required in the South Australian Public Sector Wages Parity Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2014 (EA).

Implementation processes have already commenced, demonstrated by CAMHS requiring all Enfield staff to attend 1:1 meetings where they are being directed as to where they will be relocated to, with no discussion or negotiation provided for. The PSA asserts that this process also contradicts that required in the CAMHS Restructure Human Resource (HR) Principles and Commissioner's Determination 7.

As a result the PSA has notified CAMHS of a formal dispute and asked that all these processes cease until feedback about CAMHS Enfield has been provided, genuine and good faith consultation occurs including the PSA being able to consult with members regarding this feedback - and until there is a commitment from CAMHS to adhere to the HR Principles and Determination 7. CAMHS denies any non-adherence to industrial instruments and do not believe they have to provide any further information, nor do they have to change their processes regarding the 1:1 meetings with staff.

PSA members would recall that the PSA lodged a dispute in the then Industrial Relations Commission (now titled South Australian Employment Tribunal) in April 2017 regarding the previous consultation issues with CAMHS Enfield. CAMHS was required to undertake a range of actions to ensure that consultation processes were followed. The matter was left open by Commissioner McMahon with either party able to apply for another hearing if any further issues occurred.

The Commissioner also issued a statement and recommendations, with the first recommendation stating that:

"That the employer reaches a decision in respect to the proposed CAMHS structure – including, the Enfield service – at the earliest opportunity but not before genuine consultation has occurred in relation to the proposed changes in accordance with cl 26 of the South Australian Public Sector Wages Parity Enterprise Agreement Salaried 2014. No changes will be made to the services at Enfield until the above consultative process has occurred." (our emphasis).

The PSA believes that CAMHS have not adhered to that recommendation, and as such the PSA has sought an urgent hearing in SAET to ensure that CAMHS adhere to all industrial processes and that members' rights are respected during this already difficult time.

The PSA will meet with Enfield members on Tuesday 25 September 2017, and will continue to keep all CAMHS members updated.