Members win fairer process in eHealth
On Monday 24 August Together Delegates, Zaida and Paul and Acting Assistant Secretary Dan Goldman, met with Dr Mal Thatcher, CEO/CIO and other senior eHealth management to discuss the concerns you have raised about the staffing changes within “eHIP” in eHealth. This meeting has come about due to the passionate advocacy and tenacity of your delegates Paul and Zaida and the escalation of your concerns to the Director-General who has asked for consultation to occur for a 5 day period, during which implementation has been halted.
Now it is time for you to have your say – email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or concerns or feedback on these new arrangements below.
The key concerns raised were a lack of consultation about the changes that were being proposed and the requirement for temporary staff who had already been through a merit process, to reapply for temporary roles.
Yesterday, eHealth management acknowledged that there had been deficiencies on the consultation process and committed to improved consultation in the future and to developing processes to support this with union delegates, that involve earlier engagement and exchange of information. Management acknowledged that consultation with staff is integral to achieving the best outcomes and improves the outcome of change processes and that eHealth is committed to consultation with members about issue that affect you.
It has been clarified that there is no requirement under the relevant industrial instruments for someone who has already been through a merit process for a temporary (or permanent) role to do so again for a role at the same level and eHealth has committed to processes that maximise the ongoing employment of permanent employees and existing temporary staff where possible including through direct matching and closed merit processes. EHealth confirmed this was both required in terms of employment security principles for staff but also for the benefit of the Department in terms of retaining the knowledge, skills and experience of existing staff.
EHealth have also confirmed that where possible, work performed by contractors will be reduced to provide for direct employment of staff and that contactors will not be used to perform the work usually performed by public service staff unless positions cannot be filled.
In terms of the existing workforce allocation process, more detail has been provided in terms of how many staff will be impacted and it has been confirmed that except for the ending of the Windows 7 program of work, there will be very little impact, with a reduction of three temporary positions.
Management have advised that the Windows 7 program is a standalone project and that temporary staff have been engaged specifically for this project without expectation of work beyond its end, although some opportunities will be available through direct match and closed merit processes.
No permanent employees will lose their jobs and there will be minimal impact to existing higher duties arrangements. Direct match processes from one project to another, or closed merit processes will be used to maximise the employment of existing temporary staff and “open merit” processes will only be used to assess temporary staff who have not gone through a merit process.
Temporary engagement offered to staff as part of this process will be aligned with project funding, so that temporary staff will no longer need to seek renewal of contract arrangements throughout a program (e.g., every 3 or 6 months) but will be engaged for the period of program funding, e.g., 12-18 months).
These commitments are a significant step forward in a fair process for temporary employees within eHIP and a way forward for a better, more consultative eHealth.
Now it is time for you to have your say on this new information and the new process. Do you still have concerns? What other information do you need? Should the closed merit processes go ahead now so that staff have certainty sooner? Email email@example.com with your questions or concerns or feedback now or talk to Zaida and Paul!