Science Operations Officers - Teleconference Update

Posted on October 12, 2016

Hope your first week back of term 4 went well. Last week we had the SOO teleconference with a number of SOOs dialling in.

  • Topics of discussion included the ability of SOOs to progress to from OO3 to OO4
  • Moving from the operational to technical stream
  • Training for SOOs
  • Great outcomes for individual member on receiving back pay and permanency

SOO OO3 to OO4

Members had raised concerns around the barriers to progression despite meeting all the criteria and being supported by their head of departments to perform the duties at a OO4 level. Regional office weren't prepared to pay for the upgrades and were pushing this back to the school to pay which in most instances wasn’t happening and SOOs were not being upgraded.

Concerns were also raised that should the OO4 position be successful there was the potential for the region to advertise the position with no guarantee the incumbent would gain this position.

Some members have been successful in this progression process and are now sitting at OO4.

It was suggested and received support that members who are working at the OO4 level and are currently OO3, look to collectively putting forward business cases to progress to OO4.

We would co-ordinate lodging of these through the union office on behalf of members.

Together has compiled resources to assist members with this process. For members who are interested in being part of this action email and the SOO resources will be emailed to you.

Technical stream

There was also discussion on the teleconference around SOOs moving over to the TO stream as some members felt that being in the technical stream is a more accurate recognition of the technical nature of the work that they do.

Concerns were raised around this process as not all SOOs possessed the necessary qualifications or desire to get them to pursue this path.

We will investigate this further industrially and report back.

Training for SOOs

At the last Agency Consultative Committee meeting held in September delegates sought from the department confirmation on the ability for SOOs to access training such as the Certificate IV Lab Techniques – Education.

Management have confirmed that communications on Education Training for Science Operations Officers will be included in the State Schools message scheduled for Monday 17 October 2016.

See the training document for Schools officers here.

Great work by delegates in getting this commitment.

Winning for members

We were recently able to support one of our SOO members through an industrial process that assisted her in gaining permanency in her temporary role and also significant back pay as at her commencement of employment her qualifications and skills were not acknowledged in terms of her initial appointment and pay scale.  This resulted in many thousands of dollars being paid out to the member due to being underpaid for nearly 2 years.

A great win for this member!

To further support SOOs and as part of all the topics members discussed on the teleconference, it has been suggested by delegates it would be beneficial to collect data in regards to how many SOOs have applied and been successful at progression and what qualifications SOOs currently hold.

This questionnaire would also assist in gaining a bigger picture across the state of the current skill levels and qualifications possessed by science operations officers and also on the number of SOOs who support exploring the ability to transition to the Technical Stream. It can be filled out in Adobe Reader, saved to your computer, attached to an email or you can print out, complete, scan and return via email to

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