Thursday, June 20, 2013

SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST AT CIT


Stunned disbelief
It is with stunned disbelief that I read the below message from Jenny Dodd acting CEO, to all CIT staff. Jenny Dodd will be ‘investigating’ and or ‘counselling’ CIT staff as a result of the recent investigation! It is a glaringly and disturbing conflict of interest. 

The 2012 report by Worksafe Commissioner Mark McCabe which the current investigation is based upon would agree with me:

Given that the complaints which had been made were clearly of a serious nature and involved allegations about senior managers, the WorkSafe ACT investigation found that the CIT’s consideration of the complaints by its internal People Support area was inadequate and  insufficiently independent …

… By in most instances only conducting an in-house preliminary information gathering exercise  [by the CIT’s own admission, not an ‘investigation’], and then using that exercise as the basis  for a decision that the evidence did not warrant further examination, … (McCabe 2012).

Chief Minister Katie Gallagher and the Commissioner of Workplace Administration Andrew Kefford show a worrying lack of judgement by allowing Jenny Dodd to investigate her own colleagues some of who will be friends and cronies and some I assure you will be less than friends. I do not believe for a second that it will be possible for her to do this in an unbiased and transparent way.

An appropriate way of dealing with allegations of bullying and harassment is set out 
in the Work Safety (ACT Code of Practice for Preventing and Responding to Bullying at Work) Code of  Practice 2010.  In particular, the code indicates that serious 
allegations should be investigated in a way that is both independent 
and adheres to principles of natural justice.  (McCabe 2012).

Jenny herself is a part of the ‘old’ CIT regime who thought they could do as they pleased, speak to people as they pleased, employ ‘yes’ people and friends, bully and sometimes to act corruptly. I have experienced Jenny Dodd’s management style and I did not like it. The fact alone that she knows this, (and she does)  means that she will be unlikely to offer me any ‘natural justice’.

What if there are complaints against Jenny herself? Is Jenny Dodd going to investigate herself? It beggars belief! Just to remind you that the accusations are about senior people and serious ...

Given that the complaints which had been made were clearly of a serious nature and involved allegations about senior managers, the WorkSafe ACT investigation found that the CIT’s consideration of the complaints by its internal People Support area was inadequate and  insufficiently independent …(McCabe 2012).

So what has changed? What qualifies Jenny Dodd as independent? As a former staff member I have NO CONFIDENCE in the process if she is running it and I can tell you some current staff do not either. How do you suppose I got the message written by Jenny but via sickened and frustrated current staff members?

An effective reporting mechanism depends on a number of factors including:  proper examination of complaints ensuring that the complaints process is trusted by staff [if it is not trusted staff will not use it.]   (McCabe 2012).

A more appropriate way to investigate would be to have someone independent and outside of CIT come in to do this job and I demand that the Chief Minister do this immediately. Again, this is what Mark McCabe’s report demands:

A full and independent investigation would have been the appropriate way to determine whether  there was substance to the serious allegations ...  

 It was open to the CIT, for example, to refer the allegations to an external body or  investigator, such as the ACT Shared Services Centre, an option which was chosen for  investigation of allegations against one of the workers concerned by some of his students.  

 Similarly, complaints against another of the workers involved were referred to an  independent consultant.  (McCabe 2012).


I have written to the Chief Minister and Commissioner Kefford and asked them if I can rely on the integrity honesty and bravery of them both to see what they promised would be a transparent process through to a transparent end. At the moment it seems to me that they have only let things go so far – I see a white wash in progress, or at best, a less than vigorous solution to the serious spring cleaning needed at CIT that we who have been bullied hoped and believed would happen, indeed we trusted them to make happen.

I urge past and current staff and students of CIT to urgently write to commissioner Kefford and Chief Minister Katie Gallagher and tell them that you also do not trust the process and demand an independent and transparent one be instituted immediately. If you are concerned about your position at CIT then also ask in the email that your name be kept confidential and they are legally required to do so.


Katy.Gallagher@act.gov.au





UPDATE ON WORKSAFE AND THE COMPLAINTS OF 2012

In 2012 in light of the Worksafe ACT Report the Chief Executive asked the Commissioner  for Public Administration to investigate individual complaints and review CIT’s relevant internal processes. Adrian Marron kept you up-to-date in regards to this matter during 2012.

I am now providing you with a further update.

In total, the Commissioner examined complaints from 42 people. These included five complaints from students (three very similar in nature) and the rest were from staff, previous and current and covering a number of years.

The Commissioner’s Office provided two reports to CIT, one in December 2012 and one in March 2013. The reports made recommendations to CIT relating to 34 of the 42 complaints. Of those 34 complaints, three staff complaints required no further action on the part of CIT. Additionally one of the student complaints was already being actioned.

For the remaining complaints, the Commissioner provided recommendations on specific processes CIT could undertake to resolve the matters.
After very careful deliberation, including discussion with the ACT Government Solicitor’s Office, I have considered the recommendations from the Commissioner and have now made decisions on an appropriate way forward. 

Over the coming months, I will be putting in place processes that involve independent investigation or further evidence gathering into the allegations or alternatively counselling with individual staff in order to identify areas where CIT can improve practice.

I request your cooperation with the process where requested.

I acknowledge that this will be a difficult period for CIT staff involved in this process. Should you feel the need for support during this process please contact our Employee Assistance Program provider IPS Worldwide on 1300 366 789.
If you wish to discuss the content of this communication please contact Nicole Stenlake, Executive Director, Governance and Executive Services on 62073133.

Jenny Dodd
Chief Executive (Acting)

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