Together OIR April Update

Posted on April 20, 2021

The year is powering on and we know we are approaching the season of expectation agreements.

We know these are done a bit differently in each work unit across OIR; however one thing we want to reinforce for members is that they should be reasonable, fair and transparent. We encourage members to ensure you refer to previous expectation agreements (EA) and work with your manager on completing your new one. What is particularly important is if there are outstanding goals from your previous EA, you take the time to reflect on what can be done differently to ensure you are able to reach them this time. This includes career progression and professional development goals – these are the most common areas members raised concerns about.

Below are copies of some of the Inspectorate role descriptions I have been provided in the last couple of years from OIR. This is not all role descriptions but you can ask for a copy of your RD from your manager in preparation for your expectation agreement discussion if you do not have it.

Here are some suggested questions to help guide your discussions:

  • What feedback does your manager have regarding your ability to perform your role – what are your strengths and where can they see improvements?
  • Ask where your managers see you being able to continue to build on your strengths with the view to being ready to progress to more senior roles? Will there be training provided for specific duties that you can undertake? What will they do to support you and what can you do to support yourself?
  • Ask how your manager will support you in improving on the areas identified. What will they do to support you and what can you do to support yourself?

This process is your opportunity to be very clear with your manager on what you would like to achieve, not just what your employer would like you to achieve and to have it recorded somewhere. If you have any questions or concerns about this process please get in contact with your union at your.union@together.org.au.

Another matter that has been brought to our attention are issues with workloads. If you are experiencing unreasonable workloads we encourage you to raise these concerns with your local manager. We know that usually these issues don’t just affect one person in a team but often the whole team – so talk to your colleagues and see if they share the same concerns and if they do you can approach the issue as a group rather than individually. If you are doing this and finding that no action is being taken to adequately address this issue we strongly encourage you to complete an incident report. Your employer has an obligation to ensure safe workloads for everyone and respond to workload concerns. If you need any advice or assistance please get in touch.

Electrical Safety Office – Members have raised concerns about the new Governance and Compliance 2021 Audit Tools. We have written to Executive Director Donna Heelan raising these concerns and requesting a meeting to discuss further. Donna was on leave last week but is expected to return this week.

Compliance Field Services – Construction Inspectors are current trialling a staggered start process in an attempt to manage workloads. It will be really important that we provide real time feedback on this trial – if there are issues please let me know so we can send them through as they happen. For example: are you regularly being asked to change your start time on short notice? Or are you regularly being asked to perform overtime?

CFS LCC report back – we had a meeting on Friday the 16th April and the following items were discussed.

  1. Maryborough Inspector vacancy - members sought clarification that this position is going to be included in the current recruitment across the Inspectorate and Marc Dennett confirmed it was.
  2. Members requested information on how staff are to be alerted to vacancies. Marc confirmed all vacancies are put up on the departmental platform called “TalentNow” and staff can register for alerts if they wish. It was acknowledge that all staff may not be aware and as such a commitment was made to advise all staff of this through multiple internal communication i.e. ED emails, mid week mail etc. 
  3. Member also requested information on how transfer requests are recorded and prioritised. Marc confirmed there were no transfer specific departmental process but that such requests were usually captured in EOIs and expectation agreements. The department are open to suggestions on other ways to capture this. Together suggested having a register incorporated into the TalentNow platform to have it all in one place. OIR are going to explore this as an option.
  4. Workloads and recording of meaningful work – this was following up on the previous meeting where a commitment was made that information would be sent around regarding what is meaningful work. It was acknowledged by the department that an information sheet had not yet be circulated. The department noted this was discussed in the one-to-one catch ups but committed to getting the written information out hopefully in the next week. We also raised concerns regarding the timesheet auditing process and how this fits into that.
  5. 1:1 meetings – members provided feedback that they would have preferred the group meetings rather than individual meetings to discuss departmental processes. OIR noted this feedback and committed to continuing to do a combination of group and individual sessions to meet member requests.
  6. Members raised concerns that Inspectors increments are being significantly delayed. The department acknowledged this and confirmed that all members' increments should be correct now but wanted to know if there were any still outstanding so they could fix it immediately – please let us know if this you! The department advised the delays were due to administrative errors on their end and that processes have been put in place to ensure the delays do not happen again  
  7. We were advised during previous meetings that Inspectors from other regions were being asked to assist on the Gold Coast in relation to responsive work while the department undergo recruitment to vacant position. However, members advise they are now being rostered to do proactive work as well causing a flow on workload impact. The department committed to providing an update on the recruitment process for these roles which in turn will update us on the timeframes of how long they expect that office will need the assistance of other offices. The impact on workloads when Inspectors are taken out of their usual office was noted.
  8. Education on the process and procedure of Inspectors – members again raised the issue of external stakeholders not understanding the requirements of Inspectors when it comes to writing notices and how long that takes. Delegates again talked about how we can improve so there is a shared understanding. Marc confirmed that he supported the suggestion that Inspector prioritise immediate and imminent risk on sites, undertake the required steps in addressing those, for example writing notices, and then return to site another day for any other matters if required. Marc also reinforced the importance of members taking their meal breaks. It was also committed that the department would continue to engage with external stakeholders about process and timeframes.
  9. Hours of work – the Department are coming back to us in writing about their position on hours of work, overtime and recall. We expect to receive this advice in the next week. In the meantime please remember unless you are the Inspector on call you are not required to answer your phone or emails outside of your work hours. So for example if you are working 7-3pm and you finished work at 3pm, you would not be required to respond to emails and phone calls prior to 7am or after 3pm.

Reminder that the next LCC is on the 14th May.

As always if you have any questions and or concerns relating to your workplace, rights and entitlements please do not hesitate to contact your union at your.union@together.org.au. Have a great week!

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au