Department of Corrections
Your guide to what's happening in PSA community corrections
Community Corrections Update
Update from January Community Forum:
We have already kicked of 2019 with a Community Forum that was attended by our National Organiser for Community Corrections, Peter Robertshaw, and the following National Delegates:
- Stevie Hallett (High Performance Engagement Coordinator, Wellington)
- Carolyn Timmins (Executive Officer, Palmerston North)
- John Gibbons (Senior Community Work Supervisor, Manukau)
- Phil Coutts (Senior Prac, Invercargill)
- Michael Johnson (Probation Officer, Nelson)
- Diana Johnson (STU Psychologist, Waikeria)
Community Corrections Safety Meeting:
This was chaired by Acting National Commissioner Al Riach. Peter Robertshaw asked the Department what steps it would be taking to manage workload pressures for frontline staff and requested a timeframe for this issue to be dealt with, pointing out that it has been raised at every level multiple times.
Suggestions from the Department to help manage workloads at present included reviewing secondments for frontline staff and exploring the use of technology e.g. speech to text functions to improve efficiency.
There are other initiatives which the Department will put forward and these will be tracked through this meeting going forward.
Karl Perry, the consultant for HPtE (High Performance through Engagement) will meet with ELT on the 12th Feb and talk to the delegates at the Community Forum on the 13th of Feb. Currently there are a number of considerations for this work programme which include how extensively it will be piloted within the Department and what a useful proof of concept might be to demonstrate its effectiveness.
40 Hour Campaign:
The Department has responded to the PSA’s materials for the 40 Hour Campaign, saying that generally they support the messaging to staff and may only require some minor adjustments to the resources. This campaign is planned for a February rollout.
Admin Training Package:
The Systems Training team will work on building resources to help admin staff with computer-based functions they perform at work. The National Delegates are to seek information from admin members as to what would be useful to have a tutorial created on. Carolyn Timmins will be seeking an additional Admin member/delegate to assist her with this work.
Programme Facilitators Work Party:
Emma Gardner and Linn Latta from the Medium Intensity Programmes team met with the Forum and presented a draft proposal for who would be involved in the work party and their plan to commence in April and conclude in July. At this stage, Stevie Hallett and one additional member/delegate will be on the working group. Expressions of Interest for programme facilitators will come out in the next week.
Tikanga and Cultural Training:
Easily the highlight of the Forum, General Manager – Cultural Capability Neil Campbell talked to the delegates about his vision for the embedding of tikanga and Māori values in our everyday work. Marshall Tangaroa and Phil Coutts will take the lead on this work, with the initial focus being identifying more Māori members/delegates to assist. Neil Campbell has also been invited to speak at the National Delegates Forum in March.
Grandparenting of EO Role:
Carolyn Timmins and Peter Robertshaw raised the issue of the EO role being merged with the AO role during the last bargaining round. The Department agreed to explore the differences between the two roles.
Michael Johnson and Peter Robertshaw queried with the Chief Probation officer, Darius Fagan, how the transition between current PO competencies and the proposed new Level 5 competency (High Risk Ticket) would be managed in a way that doesn’t disadvantaged members. Darius agreed there would need to be a transition period where staff could choose how to achieve their level 5 competency and this will be decided in consultation with PSA.
We will also explore how those who do not deal with High Risk might achieve the level so as not to be disadvantaged.
Psychologists: Competencies, Indemnity, Retention:
Juanita Ryan, General Manager for Psychology and Programmes, stated that the core feedback on the psych competencies had been addressed. Diana Johnson and Peter Robertshaw raised the issue of a transition period between using the new competencies and the old ones be implemented with their rollout out after sign off which was generally accepted.
Peter raised the workload of Psych, pointing out it was a major barrier to retention and was affecting the ability of the Department to retain senior psychologists and placing more pressure on newer psychologists. Juanita Ryan said she would share her team’s analysis of the psych workload with the PSA in February when it was completed.
Remuneration for psychologists being less competitive within the public sector was also raised by the PSA.
National Delegates Forums 2019
The dates for this year’s forums are as follows:
- 21st & 22nd March 2019
- 25th & 26th July 2019
- 21st & 22nd of November
Next Community Safety Forum
February: 12th & 13th
How do I only do 40 hours and keep myself safe?
- Identify the pieces of work that you aren’t able to complete in 40 hours each week
- Discuss this with your manager and agree what work you will prioritise
- Record the discussions you have
- Clearly communicate unfinished work to your manager at the end of the 40 hour week – it’s best to follow this up with an email.
- If you have problems working with your manager to help maintain a healthy 40 hour week, contact your delegate or local organiser.
I can’t finish my work in 40 hours and it feels wrong to leave work unfinished.
We understand that. In Community Corrections we have stayed in challenging roles because we care about the people we work with. However, the Department has taken advantage of our sense of professionalism and emotional connection to the work by declining to acknowledge the massive workloads we do.
Leaving work unfinished will mean that some things slip through the cracks, but at PSA we believe this is necessary for members to achieve lasting change with regard to their workloads.
This campaign seems like illegal industrial action.
You’re right. We can’t take industrial action such as 'work to rule' outside of bargaining. To keep our members safe we checked this campaign with the Department who agreed to support the message. The Chief Executive said that she expects staff to be working just 40 hours per week and that the Department expects staff to help manage this.
This campaign is the PSA’s way of supporting members to manage excessive workloads, despite pressure to 'just do it.'
Even if I decline work it remains allocated to me. My name will always be on work that doesn’t get done and I’ll get in trouble.
We have raised this with the Chief Probation Officer and while there isn’t an immediate solution, he has advised that if you have declined the work and discussed it with your manager, it’s expected that your manager will reallocate it. At the very least you won’t be held responsible for it not being completed.
But make sure you communicate clearly with your manager about your workload. Follow up discussions with emails and involve your delegate if you need more support.
My manager said that as an experienced PO I’m expected to accept higher allocation of work than others... and if I can’t complete it that’s a time management issue?
This happens to a lot of people when they raise their workloads as an issue, experienced or not. It’s the reason we have had so much creep on the additional duties assigned to us in Community Corrections.
Stand firm. It’s not your time management issue. It is a nation-wide health and safety issue that PSA have raised repeatedly and the Department have not yet resolved.
If you need more support contact your delegate or local organiser.
For additional information email us HERE
If you have any further questions about the 40 Hour campaign? Email Stevie Hallett
Download a copy here and share it with your colleagues (print friendly version to follow)
Download and print a copy below– share it with your colleagues
The latest for frontline managers at Corrections.
Download the union update from 20 September here.