The strategic priorities for human resources are guided by the Directorate's Strategic Plan 2010-2013: Everyone matters. The Strategic Plan identified the need for a continuing focus on strengthening the capability of the workforce, ensuring a safe and productive work environment, providing effective performance feedback and building an innovative and sustainable workforce.
A number of national partnerships initiatives directly influenced human resources operations during 2011-12. The Smarter Schools, Literacy and Numeracy and Teacher Quality National Partnerships facilitated a close working relationship with the ACT public, independent and Catholic systemic schools.
Empowering ACT schools
In response to the School Based Management review in 2010, the Directorate looked to strengthen schools' capacity to allocate and redistribute resources in relation to school staffing and finances. Following this, empowering ACT schools (eACT) was initiated in 2011 and complemented the Australian Government's broader school reform initiative, the Empowering Local Schools National Partnership. eACT aims to build on the commitment to give schools greater decision-making in the selection, development and management of staff and build greater transparency and flexibility in school resource allocation.
The purpose of eACT is to give principals and school boards the information, tools and flexibility to manage their schools in innovative ways to achieve continuous improvement in teaching and learning. During the second half of 2011 a group of eight partner schools continued the first implementation phase. In 2012, another 15 schools joined the second phase. Throughout 2011-12 schools were supported to select and develop the best staff for their individual setting and have contributed to the development of new models to increase the transparency of resource allocation to schools. School leadership teams have been engaged throughout the year trialing, refining and providing feedback on newly developed processes.
Enterprise agreement (teaching staff)
The ACT Public Service Education and Training Directorate (Teaching Staff) Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014 came into effect in April 2012 following endorsement by an employee vote and Fair Work Australia approval.
The agreement delivered initial pay increases of five percent, to be followed by total increases of seven percent in subsequent years. For most classroom teachers this translated to an increase of nearly 15 percent over the life of the agreement.
Other key achievements of the agreement included:
- introduction of new Executive Teacher (Professional Practice) positions in identified schools focused on modelling best practice and capacity building in classroom practice
- reduced teaching hours for first year teachers to facilitate enhanced support
- accelerated incremental progression for outstanding classroom teachers
- enhanced support for school counsellors.
Classroom teacher transfer
The classroom teacher transfer and placement round conducted during October and November 2011 for positions commencing in the 2012 school year resulted in the placement of 193 primary and middle schooling permanent officers and 174 secondary staff. In addition, 288 teachers in the primary and middle schooling sector and 105 in the secondary sector were extended in existing placements.
New processes for access to transfer opportunities for permanent officers, and arrangements for placement of newly recruited officers, were piloted in 2012 as part of the enterprise agreement.
Respect, Equity and Diversity
The Directorate's implementation of the ACT Public Service RED Framework continued throughout 2011-12. Delivery of Respectful Workplaces training to over 400 employees demonstrated the Directorate's commitment to reducing the risk of psychological injury to employees, as required under the Workplace Safety Act 2008 and Workplace Health Strategic Plan 2008-12.
Respect, Equity and Diversity Contact Officers (REDCOs) have been identified within the four divisions of central office and in all schools. In March, newly appointed REDCOs attended the REDCO training that was delivered by CIT Solutions. REDCOs promote respect, equity and diversity in the workplace and offer support, guidance and information to workers experiencing bully or discrimination at workplace. The REDCOs also participate in the ongoing quarterly network and training program.
The development of a management plan and toolkit to complement the ACT Public Service RED Framework was published in July 2011. This toolkit was supported with the training of 12 conflict coaches.
Workplace health and safety
The Workplace Health and Safety and Injury Management Improvement Strategy 2009-2012 is the Directorate's framework for improving performance in the areas of occupational health and safety and in managing injured employees. A number of initiatives were undertaken in line with the strategy including policy review and amendments to the workplace health and safety reference manual to reflect changes in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Workplace health and safety training delivered by the Directorate during the reporting period for building service officers included: sharps training; height safety training; risk management register training; respectful workplaces training; asbestos awareness training; critical incident management; and First Aid.
In support of a 'one service' approach to client management, the Directorate's Injury Management team moved to Shared Services in April 2012. The move allowed injury management expertise and resources to be deployed to the areas of greatest need across the ACT Public Service.
The Directorate also oversaw a review of sharp instruments in schools during the reporting period. Stage 1 of this review consisted of a survey of all ACT public schools to gather data on how schools stored, monitored and accounted for student behavior around sharp instruments. This data will inform future Directorate activity, which will comprise analysis of survey data and site visits to schools by a workplace health and safety officer. The purpose of this review was to ensure safety within our schools.
The Employee Complaints and Disputes Resolution Toolkit
The Directorate developed the Employee Complaints and Disputes Resolution Toolkit, available on the Directorate's website. The toolkit complemented the RED Framework, providing practical guidance and strategies to help employees understand the circumstances of the conflict situation and to effectively manage complaints, disputes and other workplace issues that may impact on wellbeing.
More broadly the toolkit promotes a positive organisational culture towards complaints and dispute management by focusing on the productive benefits that an effective resolution can bring to a workplace. A number of training workshops were held in the reporting period.
Peer conflict coaching initiative
Twelve officers from across the Directorate were trained as conflict coaches. This initiative provides an opportunity for the early resolution of conflict and disputes. Conflict coaching is a concept that combines dispute resolution and coaching principles. It is a one on one confidential and voluntary process in which coaches work with individual employees to help them resolve disputes and prevent unnecessary ones.
Graduate and trainee programs
The Directorate participated in the whole of government graduate recruitment program, which included the placement of one graduate in the central office.
The Directorate continued participating in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traineeship program by taking two trainees in the 2011 program. One trainee was placed in a school and one trainee in the Human Resources Branch.
In addition, the Directorate employed a trainee through the ACT Government's Employment Strategy for People with Disability.
The Directorate has integrated feedback from participants to further improve induction programs targeting the specific needs of staff new to the central office.
Central office and school support staff also benefited from more interactive induction sessions informed by client feedback. Twenty central office and 26 school support staff attended induction during 2011-12.
In July 2011 and January 2012 induction sessions were delivered to teaching staff with 49 staff attending the July 2011 session and 288 participating in the January 2012 session. Attendees were formally welcomed to the Directorate, provided with information on their conditions of employment and advised of their ethical and legal obligations as ACT Public Service employees.
For more information contact:
(02) 6205 9202