Friday, December 21, 2012

PROGRESS OF THE REPORT DECEMBER 2012

Below is a direct copy from the website of the AEU ACT Branch ...

 

News

WorkSafe ACT Report

Friday 21 December 2012
Update on the CIT WorkSafe ACT Report.
The actions undertaken as a result of the WorkSafe ACT report continue to impact on all staff at CIT.
For a summary of what is happening click here. 

And below comments by Greg Fowler also from the AEU CIT BRANCH site.



WorkSafe ACT Report

We all want a respectful safe workplace free from bullying and harassment.

There has been much focus on this of late, in the media and in the Government. What does it mean? It means we should all be able to come to work with confidence, pride, and a sense that we are respected, important, valued members of our organisation. It means we can expect to be treated decently, not harassed or shouted at, or humiliated or embarrassed. Governments, courts and commissions are all agreed: this is a right that we all have in Australian workplaces.

You may be wondering what the report into bullying at CIT is about. Some members have felt their workplace was not as described above and have brought claims and complaints to CIT which they feel were not appropriately dealt with. The AEU, together with those members, brought this matter to the attention of WorkSafe ACT and a report resulted.

On 11 April 2012 this WorkSafe ACT Report was served on CIT along with an Improvement Notice. The report found that CIT had failed to meet its duty under the Work Safety Act 2008 and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The Improvement Notice included 10 directions which have the goal of creating at CIT an adequate system for preventing or responding to allegations from its workers of bullying and harassment arising from their work as part of CIT’s undertaking. The full report may be accessed from the website:


CIT was directed by the WorkSafe ACT Commissioner to comply within six months to the directions.  This WorkSafe ACT Report was tabled by the Minister, Dr Chris Bourke, in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 1 May 2012. The Minister’s speech was scathing of the current CIT practices exposed in the Report and may be accessed in full via the Hansard transcript for Tuesday 1 May 2012. The Minister supported the WorkSafe ACT report by also issuing his own directions to the CIT and required weekly updates on the progress of CIT’s compliance with the Improvement Notices.

In December 2012 the WorkSafe ACT Improvement Notices were lifted from CIT following the presentation of evidence by CIT of compliance with the Improvement Notices.

Investigations of Current Individual Complaints
The Canberra Times on 28 May reported some 39 complaints before the Commissioner while the September 2012 “State of the Service Report” has identified 57 complainants. The AEU cannot comment upon the nature of these individual complaints as they are matters under investigation. The Commissioner has appointed a team of appropriately qualified personnel to investigate these complaints.

The complaint investigation process provides for the CIT to respond to allegations.  The investigation process can be protracted and will likely be ongoing in early 2013.  It appears likely that a variety of recommendations will arise from the investigations, which may include recommendations for disciplinary action and/or suggested strategies to ameliorate the CIT workplace culture. The AEU will continue to negotiate with CIT and the Commissioner to develop and implement appropriate remedial strategies which enhance the health and safety of the cultures of workplaces across the CIT.

Past and Present Complaint Resolution Processes
The Commissioner for Public Administration will examine individual and collective complaints and make recommendations about:
•     Matters relating to the way CIT has managed client complaints, employee disputes, employee applications for review of management actions and allegations of misconduct or underperformance;
•     Systemic issues relating to CIT;
•     Individual matters already referred to him:
·        Individual matters which have arisen prior to 12 April 2012.
·        Individual matters that CIT has dealt with but which complainants believe have failed to comply with the PSMA, PSMS or natural justice.
•     Any individual matters that the Commissioner determines have relevance for the points above.

CIT will:
•     investigate all new client complaints, employee disputes, employee applications for review of management actions and allegations of misconduct or underperformance not previously reported to CIT prior to 12 April 2012;
•     manage any reviews and investigations already underway through to conclusion;
•     report to the Commissioner for Public Administration on the process for handling these matters;
•     conduct fact finding, investigations and other procedures in a fair and transparent manner and in accordance with the relevant industrial agreements, law, policy and the principles of natural justice.

Clients and/or staff may refer any of the above matters to the Executive Director, Governance and Executive Services, Ms Nicole Stenlake Tel: 02 6207-3133, Email: niclole.stenlake@cit.edu.au or in person to the CIT, Room A119, Reid Campus, Constitution Avenue, Reid or by mail: GPO Box 826, Canberra ACT 2601.

In circumstances where a complainant may perceive a conflict of interest or has limited faith in this internal process then the AEU suggests that the matter be referred directly to the CPA for independent investigation.

Suspected breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 or previous legislation may also be referred to the Commissioner for WorkSafety, Mr Mark McCabe. In addition Respect, Equity and Diversity (RED) Contact officers may be confidentially approached.

The AEU is aware that members’ perception of the WorkSafe ACT Report will vary, dependent upon personal experience, their local workplace culture and management styles. The AEU is also aware that a number of members may remain reluctant to raise complaints at this time. Should any member require support please contact Mike Fitzgerald at the Union office on 6272-7900.

Complying With the Improvement Notice
Meg Brighton (Director, Continuous Improvement and Workers’ Compensation in the Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate) was appointed in April 2012 to oversee the compliance by CIT with the WorkSafe ACT Improvement Notice directions. CIT established a CIT Improvement Action Group (IAG) of Adrian Marron (Chief Executive), Meg Brighton, Nicole Stenlake (Special Project Manager - WorkSafe), Shane Kay (Acting Deputy CE Operations), Michele Delaine (Director, Centre for Organisational Capability) and Carolyn Grayson (Acting Deputy CE Governance). This group has supervised the development of a CIT plan for compliance with the Improvement Notice directions.

A second group was established; the CIT WorkSafe Improvement Consultation Group (WICG) including; Meg Brighton, Nicole Stenlake, Shane Kay, and Union representatives Peter Malone (AEU Assistant Secretary Industrial), Mike Fitzgerald (AEU Organiser) and Leila Walter/Bill Irvine (CPSU Organiser). This forum has permitted consultation on strategies to comply with the ten WorkSafe directions and will ensure appropriate staff consultation during the process and into the future.

Outcomes Sought by AEU from the Improvement Notice Processes
The outcomes that the AEU has sought from the Improvement Notice process include:

1. Clarification and revision of all relevant processes contained in the Enterprise Agreements, CIT policies and applicable legislation. This includes:
• ensuring that there is no duplication of processes for the handling of the various types of issues/complaints; and
• discussion of the current EAP provision to staff.

AEU members were consulted throughout this process to ensure inclusion of appropriate amendments of the policies and surety that, in fact, they will work effectively. The AEU requested that CIT provide additional resources and teaching release to facilitate member engagement in these consultation and policy review processes.

2. Agreed processes for implementing cultural change within the organisation. The AEU believes that an agreed Code of Professional Practice is particularly important to achieve this. The revised ACT Public Sector Code of Professional Conduct was released in October 2012 has been informed by the experiences of claimants and includes a model set of behaviours that would prevent inappropriate behaviours throughout the ACT Public Sector.

3. Establishment of a reconciliation/mediation framework to appropriately deal with future issues/complaints. This framework should ensure that people to have their complaints properly and impartially heard and resolved.

Glenn Fowler
Secretary Elect

 

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