Workplace culture and employment issues
In its final report for the previous inquiry, the committee set out
concerns regarding employment issues in the Department of Parliamentary Services
The committee's terms of reference specifically refer to progress since the
committee's last inquiry in relation to 'workplace culture and employment
In this chapter the committee outlines DPS' response to particular
recommendations in relation to workplace culture. The discussion then focusses
on issues raised with the committee concerning two areas of DPS: Hansard and
Progress in implementing recommendations
The committee's final report for the previous inquiry made a number of
recommendations to address the unacceptable culture of bullying and harassment
which had developed in DPS. Specifically, those recommendations were:
DPS implement appropriate training programs for managers in
relation to bullying and harassment and ensures that adequate processes are in
place so that all employees are confident in reporting bullying and harassment
DPS develop a bullying register to record information about
bullying such as details of the incident, where it happened and what action has
been taken so that any trends can be quickly and easily identified
if areas with systemic bullying issues are identified, that DPS undertake
a pre-emptive investigation of the area rather than wait until formal
complaints are received (Recommendation 4); and
DPS approach Comcare to undertake a further audit, including a
survey of all staff, before the end of 2013 to measure improvements, if any, in
the management of bullying and inappropriate workplace behaviour in DPS
DPS supported all these recommendations.
In its response to the committee's report, DPS stated:
The committee's findings on bullying and harassment within
DPS, the lack of confidence in senior management and lack of leadership in this
area is beyond dispute. Regrettably, historically there has not been sufficient
active focus on bullying and harassment and several individual cases were not
appropriately dealt with. It is acknowledged that further and on-going action
is required by the Department.
In the next section of the report, the committee considers DPS'
responses to these recommendations.
Appropriate training and adequate
processes (Recommendation 2)
In its response to the committee's final report, DPS stated:
In 2012 DPS focused on a corporate compliance training
program to educate managers and staff on appropriate workplace behaviour
through the following courses:
Bullying and Harassment;
Parliamentary Service Values & Code of Conduct;
Fraud and Ethics; and
Work Health and Safety Awareness.
DPS' response noted that DPS staff were now required to attend these
courses every two years. The response referred to additional training for
In November 2012, DPS also conducted a pilot course on the
management of workplace behaviours which was compulsory for all Parliamentary
Executive Level 2 Directors. This course covered what is, and what is not,
appropriate workplace behaviour and, strategies to remedy inappropriate
behaviour; leadership techniques, roles and responsibilities; and the DPS complaint
DPS indicated that measures were to be implemented:
By July 2013, DPS will also create a suite of information and
support tools for staff and mangers that articulate the roles and
responsibilities of all staff. This will include:
the establishment of a structured complaint management framework
with appropriate support tools and information guides for staff;
regular monitoring and reporting to enable the Executive to
identify 'hot-spots' of staff dissatisfaction or stress;
ongoing review of strategies to manage workplace behaviour; and
the establishment of workplace behaviour agenda items in key
In its submission, DPS noted that incidences of bullying and harassment
have reduced as a result of the training and awareness raising that had been
In 2012-13, the Department received sixteen complaints about
bullying and harassment, all of which have [been] resolved. Of the sixteen
complaints, the largest number was in the Security Branch (five complaints).
The majority of complaints (ten complaints) were resolved through management
resolution. Two complaints resulted in code of conduct investigations. In one
case the allegations were shown to be unproven and in the other, a sanction of
one pay point was determined.
In 2013-14 there were four complaints about bullying and
harassment. Of these, one resulted in the resignation of a staff member, two
were subject to management resolution and one is in progress. One of the
complaints led to a code of conduct review, which found the allegations to be
DPS also commented that the introduction of the Public Interest
Disclosure Act 2013 and the insertion of anti-bullying amendments to the Fair
Work Act 2009 had provided the opportunity to provide additional training
to all staff about the requirements and provisions under those Acts and to
review and update internal procedures.
In an update provided in May 2015, DPS noted it had completed its
response to Recommendation 2 and provided the following information on the
current training it offered:
Work Health and Safety Awareness training includes a
component on respect, courtesy and the prevention of workplace bullying and
Being Professional in the Parliamentary Service training also
includes components on appropriate workplace behaviour and the prevention of
workplace bullying and harassment...
Promoting Appropriate Behaviours @ DPS, and the Prevention of
Workplace Bullying and Harassment publications are available on the DPS Staff
Development of a bullying register
DPS' response to the committee's final report noted that in July 2011
DPS had established a Human Resource (HR) Register (Register) in which HR staff
record workplace issues:
Matters recorded include complaints of bullying and
harassment, workplace disputes, Code of Conduct investigations and requests for
review of management action.
DPS currently uses the Register as both a reporting mechanism
and as a preliminary stage of its case management process to help ensure that
all workplace matters are recorded and actioned through to an appropriate
conclusion of the complainant and respondent.
The DPS response indicated that, from March 2013, the DPS Executive will
review regular reports on bullying and harassment complaints, disputes and
pending workplace investigations:
The intent of this process is that workplace behavioural
issues are swiftly and professionally addressed. This action will establish
more streamlined and effective processes that will avoid the mistakes of the
past and enable issues to be better managed through proper oversight and
In its submission, DPS stated:
DPS continues to use its [Register] to record workplace
issues, including complaints of bullying and harassment and code of conduct
The [Register] is used for assessing trends and reporting to
the DPS Executive in relation to workplace issues.
The update provided to the committee in May 2015, noted that DPS' HR
Services have established a 'register of reported complaints and resolutions
which have been escalated to them for investigation' and '[all] such complaints
are investigated on receipt'.
Pre-emptive investigations (Recommendation
Recommendation 4 of the committee's final report recommended DPS
undertake pre-emptive investigations of areas where systematic bullying issues
are identified, rather than waiting for formal complaints to be received. In
its response to the committee's recommendation, DPS stated:
[All] DPS section managers have conducted formal Bullying
Risk assessments to identify whether trends or hotspots exist. The responses
have been analysed and advice provided back to each branch head regarding
contributory factors, such as the level and intensity of workload; staff
shortages; and organisational change. In September 2012 Branch heads were
provided advice on the various options which exist within DPS to mitigate the
risk of inappropriate behaviour.
DPS' submission provided some more information on complaints of bullying
and harassment in the Security Branch, which had the highest number of
complaints in the previous two financial years:
Of the twenty incidents of bullying and harassment reported
in the last two financial years, complaints came from several business areas.
The highest number was in Security Branch (six complaints). Of these six
one case related to alleged bullying by colleagues and a
preliminary investigation is in progress;
one case related to alleged abuse by a Senator's staffer, and the
matter was managed directly with the Senator;
one case related to alleged abuse by a delivery driver, and was
referred to the service provider for action, and an apology was received; and
three cases related to officers being requested to perform duties
within the requirements of [their] roles. In each of these cases, the matter
was resolved through intervention by management.
DPS' response to the committee's final report also noted the role of
Harassment Contact Officers (HCOs):
The role of the HCO is to assist staff by being the first
point of contact for issues of bullying and harassment, discrimination and
other forms of unacceptable behaviour.
The HCO network is a significant mechanism which provides
individual staff opportunities for direct and discreet contact, whilst ensuring
that issues of inappropriate workplace behaviour are promptly addressed and
privacy assured. HCOs are tasked with distributing information about their
services throughout DPS...
The number of HCOs appears to have fluctuated over time. In October 2012
there were nine HCOs and this number increased to 27 in December 2012,
following DPS' decision to 'revamp and re-energise' the HCO network.
In September 2014, DPS stated that there were 18 HCOs available, with an
additional HCO being on long term leave.
The update provided in May 2015 does not provide any information on the current
number of HCOs.
Comcare audit (Recommendation 5)
In February 2013, DPS reported that it had approached Comcare to
undertake a further audit to measure improvements in the management of bullying
and inappropriate workplace behaviour. DPS anticipated that Comcare would
conduct an audit and survey in late 2013.
In its submission DPS reported that Comcare had revisited the Department
in October 2013 to review progress against the recommendations from the 2011
Bullying Prevention Audit:
Comcare inspectors indicated they were pleased with DPS'
progress and that 'DPS is tracking well'. Importantly, Comcare made no further
recommendations, nor did they exercise any formal powers under the Work
Health and Safety Act 2011.
In an update in May 2015, DPS reiterated the outcomes from Comcare's
visit in October 2013 and added:
DPS participated in the 2014 [Australian Public Service
Commission (APSC)] Census which includes questions on bullying and harassment.
DPS will participate in the 2015 Census.
The committee acknowledges that there has been a reduction in bullying and
harassment complaints between 2012-13 and 2013-14. However, changing a culture
of bullying and harassment is an ongoing process to ensure that cultural change
becomes embedded within the organisation.
For this reason, the committee would like to see the data on bullying
and harassment for the 2014-15 year, in order to have a clearer picture of
whether there is a continuing trend of reducing bullying and harassment
In this respect, the update that DPS provided in May 2015 setting out
DPS' response to these workplace culture recommendations was not very useful.
The committee is therefore recommending that DPS provide this data along with a
range of information for the 2014-15 financial year, prior to the Supplementary
Budget Estimates hearings in October 2015.
The committee recommends that DPS provide the following information on
bullying and harassment complaints to the committee by 1 October 2015:
the number of complaints recorded on the HR register for the
2014-15 financial year;
the number of complaints recorded on the HR register for the
2014-15 financial year which have been resolved and the nature of that
the number of complaints recorded on the HR register for the
2014-15 financial year which have been escalated for investigation and the
outcome of that investigation;
the current number of Harassment Contact Officers in DPS (as
at 30 September 2015).
The committee is not satisfied with the response that DPS has made in
relation to Recommendation 4 with regards to pre-emptive investigations. DPS
has noted that the Security Branch had the highest level of complaints, but it
is not clear whether DPS has instigated a pre-emptive investigation, or whether
DPS does not consider the level of bullying and harassment in the Security
Branch not to be systemic and for what reasons.
In providing the information on bullying and harassment in
Recommendation 7, DPS should identify the three areas of DPS where the most
complaints of bullying and harassment have been received and whether a
pre-emptive investigation has been conducted in relation to any of those areas.
In order to continue to monitor DPS' progress in this area, the
committee also recommends that, prior to each estimates hearing, DPS provide
the committee with updated information on the number of bullying and harassment
complaints on the HR register.
The committee recommends that, prior to each estimates hearing, DPS
provide the committee with the following information on the number of bullying
and harassment complaints:
the number of new complaints recorded on the HR register since
the previous estimates update was provided;
the status of each of the new complaints recorded on the HR
register since the previous estimates update was provided;
the number of complaints withdrawn from the HR register and
the reasons that the complaints were withdrawn; and
the number of Harassment Contact Officers in DPS.
At the public hearing on 17 November 2014, Ms Karen Greening, then
Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary Recording and Reporting Branch, stated that
morale in Hansard was 'not high'.
When pressed for an explanation as to why this might be the case,
Ms Greening stated:
It is a difficult environment to work in, because the
workload is fairly constant. The editors take a great deal of pride in their
work, and unfortunately there is a level of unhappiness.
Noting that Hansard staff have always taken pride in their work and been
required to work under time pressures, the committee was interested in what had
changed in the Hansard area to result in low morale. Ms Greening stated that
while 'nothing has really changed' to cause the unhappiness, there was some
concern that with the heavy workload for committees, the finalisation of the
chamber transcripts had fallen behind:
And it did for a period of time, for a month or so, but we
actually rejigged the workplace in order to bring the chamber work up to date.
When I say the chamber work—the Hansard proof is published in the early hours
of the morning after the chambers rise. We continue to receive corrections from
senators and members to their speeches and we have 15 non-sitting days in which
to finalise the proof transcript to the official. We put that to one side for a
period of time while we focused on committee transcripts, but then we went back
and caught up with that workload. But there was some general unhappiness among
our staff because they felt that we were neglecting that function.
Ms Greening referred to the establishment of the 'Hansard forum' as one
of the mechanisms for addressing staff morale:
[I]n April  we implemented the Hansard forum, where we
asked for two volunteers from each team in Hansard—there are four editor teams
and our Hansard Support Unit. We set up a process for engagement with the staff
where we tried to encourage these representatives to work with us on how we can
deliver our services better. We got some good ideas from the staff, which we
have been exploring over the last six or so months.
Ms Greening indicated that there had been a high level of staff turnover
and that there was anticipated to be a high level of turnover for a large
period of time as about half of the Hansard editors are in the 55-plus age
Ms Greening stated that 'primarily' the staff that have been leaving are
trained staff and not trainees.
Aside from retirement, Ms Greening identified a lack of full-time
employment opportunities and career advancement as other reasons for staff
Some of the feedback has been from people who were looking
for career development and, in the Hansard environment, our editors come in at
the [Parliamentary Service Level (PSL)] 5 level. Once they have completed the
training program, they are broadbanded to the PSL 6 level. We have got 58 staff
at the [PSL] 5-6 level. Then we go to four assistant directors—that is the [Parliamentary
Executive Level (PEL)] 1 level, which is the next level up. So there is
not a lot of career development, especially for our younger employees; no
career opportunities. So, they come in at the [PSL] 5 level, transition to
the [PSL] 6 level once they have completed their training and then their
career can basically stall for a period of time...
There has been dissatisfaction with—for instance, we employ
staff primarily at the moment as sessional editors, so editors who work for 25
weeks a year and primarily when parliament is sitting. The younger people who
have left want full-time employment and a career opportunity. And so that has
been the prime reason for staff leaving. We have had people who have left
saying that they are unhappy with the workload. They want other opportunities.
The committee asked Ms Greening if any of the staff leaving had
expressed dissatisfaction with the operation of Hansard or how they were
treated by management. Ms Greening stated:
I have not looked at any exit surveys for a while in that I
have not had any presented to me for a while.
Training for Hansard editors
The committee was told that, because of the high staff turnover Hansard
had a large number of trainees. As at November 2014 there were 20 trainees out
of a total of 58 editors. Previously the number of trainees per year was around
Given the high number of trainees, the committee pursued the nature of
the training that was being provided:
We have a mixed-mode training program: some of it is online,
some of it is face-to-face training and some of it is peer-to-peer training. We
try to support the new trainees, as soon as they arrive. We have asked our
experienced editors to take on a mentor role and, at the moment, because we do
have so many trainees, we have taken two very experienced Hansard editors
offline and they are working with those individuals. They are developing
training plans, they are assessing them, looking at what they need to move them
along the training program and working closely with them.
DPS subsequently clarified that '[s]ome face-to-face small group
training sessions are held with the trainee editors and some one-on-one
training is done on the job with the mentors and with other experienced
In relation to the two editors who are providing the training, DPS
informed the committee:
Two Hansard editors had been taken offline until the end of
2014 to coordinate training and support the current large cohort of trainees in
progressing through the training programs. This is in addition to the mentors
that are allocated to assist each of the trainees.
Until 2012, two people at PEL 1 level had developed the training
program and managed the trainees, but only one of them delivered the actual
At the hearing Ms Greening explained the change in the training program to the
We made the decision to move away from that model, primarily
because at the time they were two full-time officers and we had about eight
trainees who were sessional employees, so they were only in the workplace for
25 weeks a year. So we moved to the mixed-mode training program where the
trainees would work their own way through the training program, but with
support from others.
The committee questioned Ms Greening as to whether, given there were now
two full-time staff training 20 trainees, when previously there would only have
been eight trainees, this placed pressure on the trainees in terms of less
The trainees are split across four teams, and the assistant
directors [PEL 1s] have prime responsibility for working with the trainees
and the training program. The mentors are allocated time during the sitting
weeks to assist their trainees, so they are on hand to help them with and
subedit their work, because all trainees' work is subedited. So, yes, it is an
impost at the moment but it is one that we are working through.
...What we have done is actually allocate additional days to
those trainees to bring them into the workplace to assist so that our two
editors who are offline can actually work with them. We have brought them into
the workplace for additional days of employment in order to assist them through
their training program.
Ms Greening provided the committee with the following overview of how
Hansard transcripts are produced and edited:
When a Hansard editor is sitting in the chamber, they are
actually not taking down everything that they hear. What they actually do is
they take down notes that help them to transcribe the corresponding 7.5 minutes
of sound. They then go back to their desks and they use the audio that is
provided by the ParlAV team, and they either rekey or revoice the audio into
the Hansard Production System. They produce a transcript. For our trainees,
every transcript that is produced by the trainees is subedited by an editor. In
an environment where we had more trained staff, they would also subedit each
other's work. But at the moment, because we have so many trainees, we take a
risk management approach on some days, depending on how much work we have on
hand and we will say, 'Okay, we're not going to subedit a fully trained
editor's work today.'
In terms of the level of subediting of Hansard transcripts, Ms Greening
made the following comments:
[W]e do do a proof check before the Hansard is made official,
The pink or the green—the draft—may go to a senator or member
without having been subedited; it may be published that night without having
been subedited by another editor. But what we try to do is to have it looked at
before the Hansard is made official.
On notice, DPS provided the following information on the frequency with
which work was subedited:
Between 12 May 2014 and 1 November 2014, there were 7937
chamber turns transcribed and edited.
Of the 7937 chamber turns, 3325 chamber turns (approximately
42 per cent) were subedited.
Prior to 12 May 2014, subediting of chamber turns was
regularly rostered and undertaken with the exception of the sitting week of 24
to 27 March 2014 where, due to a high level of staff illness, only minimal
subediting was undertaken. During 2013 and 2014, and prior to 12 May 2014, on
each sitting day, all chamber turns transcribed by both editors and trainee
editors were subedited with the exception of the sitting week of 24 to 27 March
2014 and during the weeks 26 – 29 August 2013 and 12 – 14 November 2013 when
only chamber turns transcribed by trainee editors were subedited.
The DPS answer to the question on notice reiterated that '[t]rainee
turns have continued to be subedited 100 per cent of the time'.
Ms Greening stated that, although all the fully trained editors have
gone through an extensive training program, due to different levels of
experience there will always be a 'slight difference' in the transcripts
That is one of the reasons why we would like to subedit when
we have resources on hand. Once our 20 trainees are through the training
program, it will make it easier to do that.
Ms Greening agreed that in situations where transcripts were not subedited,
this placed enormous pressure on the editor doing the transcription;
But, even if we have every piece of work subedited, errors
will still be missed. Sometimes, too, it is subjectiveness—it comes down to how
an editor chooses to render something that they have heard. There might be
another editor who disagrees with how they have rendered that, as well, so
there can be some tension there between how the work is produced.
In answers to questions on notice, DPS provided the following
information about the Hansard error rate since 2007-08:
Type of transcription
5 or less errors per 100 pages
5 or less errors per 100 pages
Table 1: Hansard
error rates 2007-08 to 2013-14
The committee understands that it may be hard to pin-point the cause of
the low morale in Hansard. In fact, it is probably a mistake to attribute the
low morale to a single cause. It seems evident to the committee that high staff
turnover, necessitating the need for a significant increase in the number of
trainee editors, in combination with a heavy workload and the pressure on
resources impacting on the subediting of Hansard, would potentially lead to a general
sense of unhappiness.
The committee is of the view that when the current 20 trainees have
completed their training this should ease some of the strain within Hansard. Until
that time the committee would encourage Hansard management to engage with the
Hansard forum in order to put in place initiatives to help improve the current
In order to keep the committee informed of progress in this area, the
committee is recommending that DPS provide information on Hansard staffing and
operations, including the work of the Hansard forum, prior to each estimates
The committee recommends that prior to each estimates hearing, DPS
provide the committee with the following information:
the total number of editors employed by Hansard and a breakdown
of those numbers into trainees and trained editors;
the breakdown of the number of editors who are employed
full-time, part-time and casual;
the total number of chamber and committee turns transcribed by
Hansard since the previous estimates update and the number of those turns which
where there has been a decision not to subedit turns, the reasons
for that decision; and
an update on the work of the Hansard forum.
The committee has decided not to address the term of reference on the
future of Hansard within DPS. This matter is more appropriately considered
during the course of the independent structural review which is underway.
The committee received eight (identical) submissions from Visitor
Services Officers (VSOs) regarding the proposed restructure of the staffing
model and the roster for VSOs. The new roster would require VSOs to work an 8.5
hour shift, instead of the current 4.25 hours:
[The proposal for 8.5 hour shifts] discriminates against
older VSOs and it removes work life balance, especially impacting parents and
[The] proposed restructure is yet another repeated attack on
VSO's conditions of work. The Visitor Services Section has been reviewed every
two years over the last ten years. This creates a very uncertain and stressful
working environment for VSOs.
The VSOs' submissions also commented on the consultation which had taken
place on the changes:
Information about the proposal was presented to VSOs in one
hour-long session (5.30-6.30pm) on 18 September 2014. The closing date for
comments from VSO's was set for 7.00pm on 2 Oct 2014.
In this period VSOs were given only one hour meeting time on
30 September 2014, that is 48 hours before [the] closing time [for
comments]. Moreover, these two weeks fall within an extremely demanding work
period for the VSOs. [The] Visitor Services Section is experiencing an acute
shortage of staff, the new recruits are being trained on the floor by the VSOs
and the two weeks set for consultation covered Parliamentary sitting days...
[The] proposed restructure constitutes a major change to
working conditions of VSOs and as such requires [an] informed and considered
response. [The proposed] timeframe is unacceptable.
In conclusion, the VSOs' submissions stated:
This ongoing and repeated erosion of workplace rights and
conditions and the manner in which these plans have been implemented, with
little genuine interest in seeking input amounts to work place bullying and
DPS responded to the VSOs' submissions with a supplementary submission
specifically addressing this issue. DPS stated that the 4.25 hour shifts worked
by VSOs 'is out of step with other institutions that operate visitor services
To illustrate this point DPS provided the following information:
The visitor services model at Parliament House is unusual in
that there are no full-time permanent [VSOs]; instead all VSOs work part days
and are either permanent part time or casual. Currently the mix is 17 permanent
part time and 18 casual staff, all of whom work 4.25 hr shifts. [Other
institutions] have a mix of permanent full- and part-time staff working full
and part days with limited reliance on casual staff.
DPS explained the background to the VSO restructure and roster changes:
Due to the additional funding received in the May 2014 Budget
to cover [the 2014-15] financial year and the following three financial years,
DPS is now in a position to look at reinstating services that were reduced in
the 2008/09 budget cuts, including expanding our tour offerings to schools and
visitors. DPS is therefore also considering expanding its range of employment
options for VSOs to include a core of permanent full-time staff supported by
permanent part time staff and some casual staff, with the majority of staff
working full days. This initiative also supports the Parliamentary Service
Employment Principles (within the Parliamentary Service Act) which states that
the usual basis for engagement is as an ongoing Parliamentary Service employee.
Further, DPS is aware that some VSOs have a number of part time jobs with
different employers, and may welcome the opportunity to obtain permanent full-time
employment with DPS.
DPS explained the benefits of the change:
The proposed model creates a core of full-time staff
supported by permanent part time staff and reduces our reliance on casual
staff. Full-time staff would work 37.5 hours per week consistent with all DPS
full-time employees. DPS believes that if there is a core of full-time
positions, career opportunities will be enhanced through access to increased
training opportunities. The proposed model also involves staff working full
days as this will enhance efficiency of operations, as well as continuing our
commitment to enhancing the visitor experience at Parliament House by offering
more tours and programs...
In addition to expanding the range of employment
opportunities for VSOs, the proposed model would achieve the following
currently in order to cover a full day of operations, two VSOs
each work a shift of 4.25 hours, totalling 8.5 paid hours. The proposed
7.5 hour full-time shift would achieve a 11.76% productivity in comparison
to current model;
improved operations through less changeover of staff on a daily
basis, providing continuity in service delivery and enhanced communication
within the team;
increased learning and development opportunities to give
sufficient time for VSOs to learn new tour products[;]
reduction in overtime expenditure; and
streamlined staff management and work practices through the
reduced duplication in administration and training.
DPS stated that 'no final model has been decided upon'. However:
A group of 13 casual VSOs are currently trialling full day
work and this will inform consultation with staff, and any final decision on a
In terms of the timeframe for change:
DPS is keen to allow a transition period for those staff that
want to work full-time and full days but who will need time to make changes to
their personal arrangements to enable them to do so.
DPS also addressed the concerns raised about the consultation process on
these changes. DPS noted that there was an initial two weeks of consultation, with
comments due by 2 October 2014:
At the end of the 2 week consultation period on 2 October, 23
written responses had been received. Responses were mixed and covered a range
of issues. Some staff welcomed the opportunity to obtain full-time work; some
had concerns that working full days would affect their personal arrangements,
others had concerns regarding the physical demands of working a full day.
DPS indicated that it had extended the consultation period, with a
further consultation meeting with staff held on 22 October 2014:
At that meeting staff requested more detail regarding the
implications of moving to full day shifts and what it would mean for their
personal circumstances. As a result of that meeting the next steps in the
consultation process will include:
a representative group of VSOs contributing to a risk assessment
of full day shifts;
developing a typical daily roster so that VSOs could see the
range of tasks they would be required to undertake over the course of a full
indicative salary calculations for full-time and part-time
call for expressions of interest to assess the actual interest in
additional development and costing of models or variations of the
proposed model and roster; and,
continue to trial full day shifts by new casuals, with an
evaluation to occur at the end of December 2014.
In the committee's view, DPS has acted with undue haste to try and
change the conditions of employment for VSOs. While the committee appreciates
DPS' argument that some VSOs may want to move to full-time employment, clearly
that is not the case for all VSOs.
The committee shares the concerns raised by VSOs during the consultation
regarding the physical demands of a full day shift. The committee would not
like to see VSOs feeling pressured to leave the position because DPS will only
offer full day shifts. Nor would the committee like to see the move to full day,
full-time shifts impacting on personal arrangements, such as caring
arrangements, that VSOs may have in place.
DPS claim that no final model has been decided on, but clearly DPS are
strongly in favour of moving the VSO work force to full day, full-time
positions, and are focussed on assisting staff to do this. The committee saw
little evidence of consultation or assistance to staff who, for whatever
reason, are unable to transition to a full day, full-time role.
The committee will follow this matter through the estimates process. In
order to facilitate discussion of this topic at the next estimates hearing, the
committee would like to be provided with the evaluation from the trial of full
day shifts (which was to occur at the end of December 2014) by 1 October 2015.
The committee recommends that DPS provide the committee with the
evaluation of the trial of the full day shifts by 1 October 2015.
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