Corrections: Agency Consultative Committee Update
Last week we had the first Agency Consultative Committee meeting for the year. In attendance from Together was myself (Darren), Michael Thomas and your delegates Craig Miller, Gavin Greer, Gordon Murray, Chris Mallcott, John Eagleton and Mark Webber (via Teams).
For those that aren't aware, this is where any issues that go to your Local Workplace Consultative Committee and are not resolve locally or issues that affects the Agency as a whole get discussed between union representatives and the Department.
Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre, after the recent serious assault, had tabled motions requesting a review of the MK 3 OC roll out and the ability for female prisoners to be placed on Maximum Security Orders.
Members have raised queries as to why members that aren’t in male secure centres shouldn’t be issued the same tools for self defence as every other Correctional officer in the state?
We are also keen to identify posts in gaols that don’t need to carry OC as we’re currently consulting with the department around the impacts AVO’s and DVO’s will have on staff. If the status quo of every post inside the centre is required to carry, staff with AVOs and DVOs, will be interesting to manage.
Deputy Commissioner McCahon agreed to conduct a review of the roll out with key delegates from our union.
QCS also confirmed that Maximum Security Orders are not gender specific and are placed via submission and case review on behaviour of the inmate. High level incidents level ones go through an internal management review and MSO recommendations often come from that.
Business as usual post-COVID in visits?
Concerns were raised about returning to BAU now that COVID was reducing impacts on the centres and visits. DC Koulouris agreed to a working party around the new barrier controls (body scanners) and drone detection that are currently being looked at. Your union will be consulting on the implementation of those in the near future and the communication strategy around them.
Bodily fluid assaults
Bodily fluid assaults are generally categorised on IOMS as a level three despite the ongoing medical treatment required. The discrepancy between IOMS incident reporting and the criminal code was acknowledged and is a result of IOMS codes being used for national reporting and having to align with the annual Federal Reports on Government Services (ROGS). It was noted that the department acknowledged the demeaning nature of having bodily fluids thrown onto your person and how it’s only listed as a level three even if you require ongoing testing which has happen in the past. It was proposed to consider changing IOMS definitions to align with the criminal code and reporting to ROGS separately.
Human rights vs Safe workplace
The department's position was that the COPD has been put through the human rights wringer and is fine to enact as it is and if challenged by an offender they will deal with that when it comes. It is a non-issue from the department's perspective.
If it's within the COPD it is therefore assessed as not breaching the human rights of the prisoner and is not an excuse to jeopardise your safety.
AGCC missed meal breaks
Staff that attended to AGCC during the COVID unrest and missed meals should be compensated despite there being no actual entitlement for this to happen. We have negotiated with the department and a brief is being put up to the Commissioner for authorisation for you to be paid (we’re told within two weeks but will be pleasantly surprised if that deadline is met).
The Fahl report - Townsville CC.
After some of the significant issues in Townsville Correctional Centre in 2019/20, the Commissioner commissioned an external inquiry in to workplace culture. The subsequent Fahl report made significant findings regarding culture. The department and your union discussed that this should be at the LWCC of each centre to learn/improve from its findings so it doesn’t happen again and help prevent that sort of culture at other centres.
Delineation of Custodial and Non-Custodial duties.
As a result of the protected action with buy ups and phone forms etc, there is a large disparity between the centres as far as who does what. Some centre's custodial staff don’t touch buy ups and phone forms other than submitting them into a pigeon hole while other centres issue the buy up and try and confirm numbers among other things.
The department has agreed to set up a working party to look at this and the surrounding legislation as consistency is key.
There will be a meeting of the uniform committee in the next few weeks so submissions can be made to the decision maker once and for all. Your union has voiced concerns about the department's lack of cooperation despite the media lingo “we’re engaging with the union on the matter”
12/12 Appeal update
By way of update on the 12/12 appeal we are still awaiting the QIRC (Queensland Industrial Relations Commission) President to hand down his decision. We too are anxious for this, as it will provide the starting block for your wage negotiations moving forward and nobody likes being in limbo!
The next ACC will be the 23rd of March and we will keep you informed of any progress.