Report back from the Workplace Consultative Committee at the NDISQSC (22 September 2020)
Your CPSU representatives attended the lasts NDIS Commission Workplace Consultative Committee on 22nd September. CPSU members told their union that they would like to know more about:
- Updates on improving the current staff situation (workloads)
- Response to the EL TOIL arrangements issues
- The latest plans for home-working and COVID-19 office plans
Staffing at the NDIS Commission
The CPSU previously reported that 100 additional staff would be added to the Commission and was confirmed by the COO at the meeting. The NDISQSC joins Services Australia and NDIA in temporarily lifting the staffing cap after 6 years of campaigning by the CPSU. The COO reported that preparations are currently underway to assess the recruitment strategy, accommodation and resources needed for this much needed uplift. It’s not clear at this point where and when the staff will be deployed, at what levels and if it includes the WA allocations. The COO indicated that it would help alleviate the pressures currently facing Commission staff. The additional $92.9m it was reported, would help accommodate and develop the new staff. The CPSU made the point of ensuring training and development opportunities be made available to all staff. The additional staff would give the Commission an ASL of approximately 341, not including non-APS roles at the Commission. The CPSU advised the WCC that a lift in the staff cap (albeit temporary) was welcomed but it would also help with workloads if vacant positions were backfilled in a timely manner and cover was given for those staff moved into special projects. Management believe that they are addressing these issues but the pandemic has precipitated an unusual level of staff tasked up with other projects. The CPSU is keen to see where the and how the additional resources will be used to best help Commission staff and the wider community.
Revisiting the EL TOIL arrangements
The CPSU presented the EL TOIL survey report from July 2020 clearly indicating that the current EL TOIL arrangements are unsatisfactory for at least 42 of the EL respondents. In addition to the survey results the CPSU presented members views about a way forward to find a joint solution to this problem - which was recognised by management at the June WCC. CPSU members suggested; consulting to improve the current EL TOIL policy, training senior managers to apply it fairly, consider the WHS implications and tackling the EL TOIL clauses in the EA at the next round of bargaining. Management’s response was that the survey was not an accurate view of EL TOIL and the questions were weighted to gain a specific outcome. The Commission believes that the EL TOIL policy is fair and staff may be getting confused with Flex time (APS level only) and claiming overtime. The COO advised the meeting that the EL TOIL issue has had more than enough attention at each of the WCCs and sought to move on. Falling short of consulting on this issues and a policy review, the CPSU went on raise the importance of managers understanding the EL TOIL policy and ensuring the health and safety aspects were fully considered for EL staff. These points were noted by the COO at the meeting.
The latest plans for home-working and COVID-19 office plans
The CPSU asked for updates on the COVID-19 specific office plans after a series of more general emails were sent out by the COO. It is understood that State and Territory HSRs are working with their local managers to develop and plan for each site based on the current Commission checklist which includes a mandatory COVID Safe Plan. The CPSU had previously asked that that the plans are shared with the workgroups that the HSRs are representing. For at least one site we know that this has not happened, was your WHS workgroup consulted and do you have access to your site plan where you are? Let us know. The CPSU values the work of HSRs where they provide an opportunity for staff to consult and provide on WHS matters up through the management chain. The CPSU has also invited management to engage outside of the WCC on the results of a CPSU, UNSW & University of Central Queensland survey on the future of home based working and policies. The current Home Based Work policies are being revised and CPSU members can provide feedback to James.Cronin@cpsu.org.au by COB on 7 October. (see attached drafts). The COO indicated that he supported a range of policies like working from home and flexible working arrangements for staff at the Commission. Members should seek assistance from the CPSU on 1300 137 636 to ensure your flexible working rights are being fairly considered.
The CPSU is listening and we look forward to hearing more from our members, please get in touch if you have any questions.
CPSU Representatives at the NDIS Commission