Welcome back

For almost all of us, this week ends what always seems like the longest school holidays in the history of the world. They stretch, almost interminably towards the horizon as the six or seven or whatever weeks rollout.

We know what it’s like. But these interminable holidays serve a useful purpose. If it wasn’t for the constant challenges of what to do with the kids over that long, long time, how else could the relentless grind of them going back to school and the challenges of then balancing school and work look easier?

So welcome back to everyone. We hope you find 2018 provides richly rewarding and satisfying work with smart, entertaining and good-company colleagues, in councils that are inspirational bastions of good decision-making, providers of generous and flexible conditions of employment and proper market rates of pay, while at the same time valuable and recognised protectors of the natural and built environment.

But seriously …

That’s good advice. It always helps, before you’re about to do something that could be dangerous or damaging, to make sure you ask someone if there is a risk whether there are better options.

But we're not really reminding you about the dangers of electrocution, are we.

Every now and again it makes sense for us to remind members that it’s always good to get advice about what’s happening at work in restructures or general organisational change. 

If you’re looking at resigning from the Council, or lining up a job at another Council to coincide with a redundancy where you are now (not as easy as it sounds, so beware), or whether it’s reasonable to be in a series of rolling temporary contracts, or what it is that you can get away with, or can’t get away with, it might be smart to get some advice.

That’s what we are here for. Ring or email before you make the big decisions, just in case.

 

Well, that’s it for us

The depa office will close at midday on Friday 22 December and reopen with reduced resourcing on Wednesday 3 January.  Margaret will be fully back in the office on Monday 8 and I’ll be back on Monday 15 January.  Yes, and as we always say, we will be back in a January-kind-of-way but rested, relaxed and ready to go.
 
All of our staff and members of the Committee of Management wish you a fun, love and family-filled Xmas and new year and we look forward to creating unrest with you in 2018.

Tweed Shire is the most hazardous workplace for depa members in NSW

Tweed Shire GM Troy Green

There won’t be any teasing buildup, listing nominees and identifying their inadequacies (although they do get a brief mention at the end of this) we are cutting to the chase here.  Tweed Shire wins the 2017 award for the Worst HR in Local Government by a margin so significant, no one else was in the race.

Tweed, and in particular the Building and Environmental Health Unit has the worst culture of workforce bullying depa has seen in the last three decades.  And, to make matters worse, an unacceptably slow and almost begrudging acceptance by the GM and others that something needed to be done.

This all began for our members (and those were not members of ours and in the admin staff) in 2015 with the appointment of a new Manager Building and Environmental Unit.  But it was not until February this year got a we started to get the first phone calls from members wanting to speak confidentially, fearing our involvement (one member was told by the manager that if he was going to get advice from the union, he needed to tell the manager first!), cowed, anxious and having had enough.  For some members, so distressed and anxious were they about retribution, that conversations were difficult and many couldn’t be finished.

There is a limit, given our commitment to protect the health and wellbeing of our members, to how many confidential calls we can manage before we act.  We could handle one, maybe two, but beyond that something clearly needed to be done.
 
There had been changes to the structure without advice to depa contrary to their obligations under the Award, one employee (not a member of ours) had been moved (largely against her wishes professionally but satisfying a desire to get away from the manager), work was redistributed to people already overworked, all against a background of low morale and the new manager’s unusual communication and management style.
 
Already by this stage a number of employees had sought advice and assistance from the manager HR, the director and even the GM.  The Council has claimed that they had no formal claims or allegations to investigate but just as we can’t ignore confidential approaches and at some stage need to do something, neither should the Council ignore them.
 
They could ignore one, or two, but by our counting there were more than 11 people who had approached the triumvirate of GM, director and manager HR for help, either individually or collectively - and while the Council argued that they did do some things, they continued to argue they couldn’t do anything because nothing was formal.  They were aware of the problem, they failed to fix it.

One of our members brought the matter to a head with allegations of bullying and harassment.  We became involved and out of that involvement the Council agreed to have a review of the change process, but only in relation to the Environmental Health section of the Unit.
 
Our member who provided the impetus for this review has been on sick leave on and off since April and on workers' compensation continuously since May - with the Council and their insurer StateCover in June accepting that they had been injured in the workplace and by the manager.  This was to be our first member sufficiently damaged the have a workers’ compensation claim accepted.

And the phone calls from members kept coming, confidentially of course and on 31 May, just before the external consultant was to conduct the review I took the unusual step of emailing all members asking if they were okay and whether they wanted us to do something.  The protection of confidentiality confirmed that they did.  And didn’t they unload on what had been an horrific time for them going back over the two years.  They tried to manage it and cope, but received no assistance from the Council, and could cope no longer...

The next day the GM set the tone for how they would respond to our concerns in a letter of response berating depa for communicating with members on the eve of the Independent review in a way which “has the potential to compromise the integrity and independence of the review process and as such directly or indirectly negatively impact the health and well-being of Council staff.”

We live with the continuing regret that we didn’t file a dispute then, to get the whole thing into the IRC in an open and public way and have the IRC assist the management of the issue. We may have been able to better protect our injured members.

Interestingly the GM committed to address the problem and asserted that their commitment “is practically demonstrated by the time, money and resources committed to the review process currently underway.”  The GM can now show us how much that commitment has cost, both in time, money and resources.  Come on Troy, what have you spent so far?

It then emerged that the review was not going to interview those employees in the Building section, nor the admin staff, nor transferred staff, nor anyone who had left the organisation unhappy about the change in managerial style.  We were able to have a Council agree to broaden the review to cover the building staff and the admin staff but not transferred staff or those who had fled the organisation.  Why would the Council want the consultant to talk to them when they already knew what the consultant would find?

It was clear that management at the Council, particularly the GM, the Director and the HR Manager, were keen to remain part of the problem rather than part of the solution and by this stage we knew at least seven people had made complaints to the triumvirate.  On 18 July we wrote to the GM under the heading “the emerging evidence of the hazards of working at Tweed” imposing deadlines to be provided with the relevant reports into the injured worker and the conclusions of the review and we met at Murwillumbah on 27 July - from 11 to 3:30, largely without lunch punctuated by arguments about having access to documents for fear that we would misuse them.

The GM agreed to take some immediate steps to reduce the hazards in the workplace while a consultant tried to rebuild workplace relationships, mentor and help the manager work on his empathy and self-awareness, conduct workshops for all staff to assist them develop a resilience and assertiveness to allow them to tell the manager when his behaviour was unacceptable or hurtful, so they could become part of the therapy.  Lovely.

The GM agreed that the manager would be directed not to have one-on-one meetings, nor meetings with staff in his office with the door closed and to discourage the manager from getting others to interrogate employees about what they were saying in what the manager thought looked like suspicious circumstances.  Please, how was this allowed to develop?  These were intended to be temporary arrangements, but they continue six months later...

And it hasn’t got any better.  We now have a second member off work on workers' compensation with the Council and StateCover also acknowledging that the same manager was responsible for the injury.  Significantly, the injury occurred during the mentoring,  during the significant hands-on assistance provided by the consultant to the manager and support to employees both through the EAP and, for at least four of our members, seeking advice and assistance from the external consultant as well.  A proper costing of this exercise will reveal that it has cost the Council a fortune.

The Council is lucky that it’s only two of our members on workers' compensation.  One of those is unlikely to return at all but the other has high hopes to return to safe work and a hazard-free workplace. One member preferred to remain at the Council but to restructure to avoid having to report to the manager and this has provided temporary respite, and a fourth yesterday said to me that the manager now rarely comes out of his office and employees can go to the lunchroom without being scared.  That’s all good news, of course, but how much of a solution is locking the manager up?

This is the most hazardous workplace for our members in New South Wales, the GM is responsible for allowing it to develop, failing to manage it and failing to remove the problem.  It is something that he knew about from late 2015.  We have 509 emails in our Tweed file since March and we don’t keep them all.

And while the GM was responsible for allowing it, the director and the HR manager were complicit by defending their inaction because they didn’t have a formal complaint, and being part of the problem.

Two accepted workers' compensation claims, one member temporarily safe by restructuring the job to remove one-on-one contact and others, thinking things are okay because the temporary rules about no one-on-one meetings, no closed-door meetings continue six months later and look like continuing well into 2019.  Clearly there was a simpler solution? 

What about the others?

Campbelltown lumbers on with the glacier-like pace of their restructure and replacement of experienced employees lost more than a year ago, but have redeemed themselves a bit and don’t get nominated by doing the right thing for a member mum returning to work on a two-day week part-time basis; Murray River has been exposed for stealing hours from workers by making them work 36 hours a week instead of 35 and then been largely uncooperative about trying to resolve it, and it’s a problem that goes back for many years at the former Murray Shire; and Sydney City, which simply can’t help itself and continues to present as a Council with an admirable and progressive approach to planning, transport, climate change and making Sydney a more attractive city but with employment conditions and an Award that sits more appropriately in the 1960s and a hostility to the significant and progressive changes in the State Award over the last 10 or 20 years.
 
But really, none of these places injure their employees like Tweed does.

depaNews HR awards will be out Wednesday or Thursday...

Despite what looks unnervingly like an outbreak of good HR in 2017, we still have some nominations and we will have a clear winner.

depa elections next year

Early in 2018 will see the two-year election cycle for the positions of President, two Vice Presidents, and six members of the Committee of Management.  This will also coincide with the four-year cycle for the position of Secretary.

Financial members can expect to receive notice from the State Electoral Office in February or March.

There is currently a vacancy on the Committee of Management and while all the other members of the Committee will be re-contesting their positions, we are looking for one more member interested in bringing their experience, usually as our delegate or representative on the Consultative Committee, onto the Committee of Management.  But the election allows anyone to stand, experienced or otherwise. It’s the joy of the democratic process, after all.

Ordinarily we find candidates are people who have already been active in depa and want to become more active.

Think about it over the break.  If you’d like to know more about it, give me a ring.

Code of Conduct

Hope you got your submissions in.  We did and here it is if you are interested.

As a reminder, because this is the wrong time of the year to find yourself in trouble, beware of the current 6.7(i) because there are over-excited people out there arguing that the prohibition of “staff meeting with applicants or objectors alone AND outside office hours to discuss applications or proposals” doesn’t only apply to dealing with formal application or objections as part of your job.  It means you can’t give advice to your mum, or your mate, at home and in your own time.

LGNSW CEO Donna Rygate proudly launches their game changer

Well, we don’t like it, LGEA doesn’t like it, the USU has said that they won’t accept anything which is a breach of the Award and will dispute breaches at each Council, but LGNSW will roll out their Capability Framework in 2018 regardless. They say it suits their purposes and we all say it’s a big steaming pile of it.

When our dispute was first listed before Chief Commissioner Kite in the IRC on 10 October 2017 LGNSW agreed in the course of conciliation to publishing something on their website discouraging councils from proceeding to implement the framework until they had prepared guides and issuing cautionary advice that the framework does not alter Award obligations to evaluate positions according to the Award or do a variety of other things required by the salary system.
 
Well, in their usual weasel words way, they said “not recommended” rather than “discouraged”, but that’s about as good as it gets with zealots like that, lining up for their Kool-Aid*.
 
Since then, LGNSW has produced four Guides, to which we provided a comprehensive response in a long, long letter dated 11 December identifying those parts of the Award in addition to the cautionary notes about clause 7 Salary Systems and critiquing the four individual Guides.  LGNSW adopted a number of our suggestions but, as far as we were concerned, not enough.  However, they were prepared to acknowledge that they had understated the award clauses to which this framework thing would relate, and may potentially affect, and it’s now agreed that the following clauses will be incorporated:

Clause 2 Statement of Intent
Clause 5 Skill Descriptors
Clause 7 Salary System
Clause 8 Use of Skills
Clause 9 Performance evaluation and reward
Clause 31 Training and Development
Clause 39 Workplace Change, and
clause 40 Termination of Employment and Redeployment due to Redundancy.
 
It remains a deeply flawed document without the precautions to protect employees from zealous HR or management acolytes.  Example, it’s all well and good to caution these guileless innocents that there are two particular things that they are obliged to do under clause 7 Salary Systems but that clause obliges councils to do 12 things.  What happens to the other ten?

Returning to the Commission on 15 December, LGNSW acknowledged that they had no proposed launch date, they hadn’t yet arranged training and information sessions but they would be going hard with it in 2018. In its current form it suits their purposes.

Whether or not councils will adopt this framework remains to be seen. LGNSW has coyly developed a step-by-step process that at no stage requires anyone to understand what it is, or what it isn’t, or where the benefits are, or how astonishingly staff-intensive and ludicrously expensive it will be to roll out a process which, in many ways, is simply saying what the industry does now, but in a different language. This will cost those councils duped by the zealots calling them to join them in the line waiting for their Kool-Aid*, a fortune.

LGNSW is trying to suck up to the NSW Government by adopting a strategy introduced in the State public sector after 50 years of inaction.  This compares unfavourably to what we have done in local government - the dramatic reform initiatives developed over decades of cooperation with the local government unions and now enshrined for the last quarter of a century in the Local Government State Award.
 
And while it might have been boasted as a game changer by the current CEO, whether or not the newly elected LGNSW Board thinks this profligate waste of local government’s precious resources and money is worthwhile, remains to be seen.
 
We will be supplying information to our representatives on consultative committees to allow them to fully understand our concerns about the Award and its obligations on councils and where those obligations are at risk.  But make no mistake, this is a very costly exercise where the best LGNSW can say is that there are “possible” benefits.
 
*"Drinking the Kool-Aid" is an idiom commonly used in the United States that refers to any person or group who goes along with a doomed or dangerous idea because of peer pressure. The phrase often carries a negative connotation when applied to an individual or group. It can also be used ironically or humorously to refer to accepting an idea or changing a preference due to popularity, peer pressure, or persuasion. In recent years it has evolved further to mean extreme dedication to a cause or purpose, so extreme that one would "Drink the Kool-Aid" and die for the cause.

Is that the time?

Almost December, can that be right? As extraordinary as it might sound, 2017 has seen what can only be described as an outbreak of pretty good behaviour by HR. Maybe the mergers preoccupied people with developing PDs, recognising protections of staff while consolidating practices as best they can, or something’s gone in the drinking water, or my presentation as part of a panel at the LGNSW HR conference the end of 2016 was so beguiling, instructive and compelling that those HR people present were transformed and started to look after the interests and welfare of employees, instead of just seeing them as targets, or possible cost savings.

But something has happened - to the extent that sometimes we wonder what we’ll do in December when we need to announce our prestigious, authoritative and highly-anticipated Worst HR In Local Government Award - more popularly known as the Golden Turd.

And look out for this...

Members need to be aware of the current provision in the Code of Conduct known as the Wollongong provision when it was introduced. It’s found at the section titled “Inappropriate interactions” and prevents at 7.5(i)“Council staff meeting with applicants or objectors alone AND outside office hours to discuss applications or proposals.”

This was entirely appropriate when it went into the Model Code because the ICAC had revealed Council staff working away from the office and outside hours. Everyone assumed it prevented Council staff not meeting with developers outside hours and off the premises.

But we are aware of at least one Council which has taken the view that this, in its broadest interpretation, prevents employees of the Council when they are not working (that is, out of hours or on weekends) giving advice or assistance to friends and family in any dealing with the Council.

And when we checked this interpretation with the Office of Local Government, they agreed that in a broad sense that kind of activity could be affected. WTF?

Beware of this risk. Everyone needs to check whether their Council reads this provision as broadly as this before you help your Mum get an application together.

We will deal with the unreasonably broad interpretation of this provision in our submission.

Had a look at the Draft Code of Conduct yet?

The Office of Local Government has prepared a Draft of a proposed new Model Code of Conduct. Remembering that it will become mandatory, so it’s worth a look. Here is a link.

There are significant additions in areas of harassment, discrimination and bullying and proposed 3.9 provides a definition of “bullying behaviour” as “any behaviour in which a person or a group of people repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards another Council official or a group of Council officials and the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.”

Ooooooo, there is one Council in particular for whom that will be a significant risk. We’ve been dealing with an oppressive and bullying culture now for almost 9 months. Bit by bit the Council throws significant money at treating the unacceptable personal behaviour but also requires employees working under that person to be part of the treatment. Employees have been provided with training and workshops to learn communication skills and assertiveness sufficient to remind the bloke when he is distressing them or employees are in tears in front of him, it’s not appropriate. We can think of a better strategy.

We will be putting in a submission to OLG on the Draft Model Code before the closure date. Obviously we are interested in things like the protection in 5.5 that “the political views of a Councillor do not constitute a private interest for the purposes of clause 5.2” but for staff, the current provision at 7.4 (e) requires staff to “ensure that any participation in political activities outside the service of the Council does not conflict with the performance of their official duties” is intended to continue.

A better protection for the councillors by the look of it, and more restrictions on staff.

We still don’t know what this thing is

When our industrial dispute about LGNSW’s purported Local Government Capability Framework (sic) was listed before Chief Commissioner Kite on 10 October, the Chief Commissioner required the parties to do two things.

The first (done within 24 hours or so and with a firm suggestion that LGNSW consult with the unions to find, as far as possible, an agreed form of words) was for LGNSW to put some information on their website as soon as possible warning the zealots off using the Capability Framework (sic) until the relevant development tools and guides had been prepared.

Second, that there be a focus on developing tools and guides for the appropriate use of the document for those who choose to use it. This was a process anticipating the involvement of the unions so that we do understand what it is and what isn’t so that when it is out there infecting the industry, we have some idea of what it’s for and what it shouldn’t be for.

We meet again next week and while we return to the IRC on 30 November LGNSW has still not provided any draft of tools and guidelines to discuss when we do meet.

LGS agrees it’s their responsibility, and they will fix it

Last month we reported on our industrial dispute filed with Local Government NSW representing councils over the apparent underpayment of superannuation by a significant number of councils. This affected some of the 4500 employees remaining in the two closed defined benefit schemes managed by LGS - the Retirement Scheme and the Defined Benefits Scheme.

We’d had two unsatisfying meetings with LGS and LGNSW before the dispute came on in the Commission. For both LGS and LGNSW, this was all about someone else’s responsibility. LGS claimed it was the councils or the individual employees and LGNSW claimed it was LGS or the employees.

With a new CEO as a replacement for the irreplaceable and much-loved Peter Lambert, David Smith found himself between a rock and a hard place. The advice he was getting was coming from those sections of the organisation where we could reasonably expect would have been ensuring compliance with the rules over the years. Uh oh …

A direction from Chief Commissioner Kite to depa as the notifier to invite the “proper officer” of LGS to attend and assist the Commission on the next occasion led to a couple of lawyers and the LGS CEO with a couple of others attending the Commission on 3 November. But it wasn’t the bad experience that it could have been.

On 1 November the LGS Board had met and in an email to the parties the CEO advised it had resolved to direct the CEO to do two things:

  • “to undertake an investigation into the allegations of non-compliance” as detailed in the (depa dispute) before the IRC “and providing the investigation substantiates non-compliance, as the LGS CEO to determine whether any LGS members in either the Retirement Fund all the Defined Benefit scheme had been adversely impacted.
  • To seek appropriate external advice to establish a reasonable approach to determine and quantify the extent of any financial impact on LGS members for me to develop an appropriate remediation plan for Board approval to be applied to correct any non-compliance and make recommendations to the LGS Trustee Board including any suggested amendments to the Trust Deed or LGS policies and procedures, with a view to ensuring all employers are calculating superable salary correctly.”

Clearly the Three Wise Monkeys strategy presented to LGNSW and the unions in the previous meetings had been abandoned. And a good thing too.

CEO David Smith had also written to the Chief Commissioner accepting this responsibility and committing to both investigating and resolving any adverse effect on members of the fund. Here is his letter.

On that basis the Chief Commissioner was happy to adjourn our dispute until 30 January for a report back. LGS is putting on an additional resource to properly review and examine compliance with 1.2 and 1.3 and the Fund will also report to depa, the other unions in support and LGNSW about progress prior to Xmas.

Yesterday the LGS wrote to all councils as the next step in this process and you can see that letter here.

We’ve smashed through the wall and the Board has the staff doing what they should have been doing all along. Well done to the Board and the new CEO David Smith.

(And I’d like to thank those 150 or so members who responded and provided an individual authority for depa to act to obtain information that may be said by either the Fund or their Council to be confidential, to the extent necessary to resolve this dispute. We probably won’t need them now, but better to be sure than sorry.)

BPB nails idiots at Griffith City Council

Well, it had to happen somewhere, but in all the years of BPB accreditation of council staff, the BPB has never found any cause for alarm in any Council.  That is, up until a recent investigation into work being carried out at Griffith that required BPB accreditation, but was carried out by people without that accreditation.

Here is a link to the BPB’s report.  It is relatively tight-lipped about how, when the BPB’s accreditation requirements are notorious in the industry, some people (who were not members of ours) ended up doing work which required BPB accreditation.  Those people reported to a Manager (who was not a member of ours) who seemed to think that all perfectly fine, and they in return reported to a Director (also not a member of ours) who seemed to have no awareness or concern, if he knew at all.

Clearly here is clear evidence of a direct causal relationship between doing something completely stupid and not being a member of ours but Griffith has always been a place reluctant to pay market rates of pay if they are required to attract and retain staff.

Whether they did try to attract staff who were BPB accredited, and simply couldn’t do so because they weren’t prepared to pay proper rates, and then decided to let anyone at all do the work, we don’t know.  But we will be engaging with the GM to try to find some kind of explanation about how this farce could roll out and how we can avoid it happening again, anywhere else. 

Griffith, and particularly the management at Griffith- the GM, Director and Manager - have let us all and the industry down.  What a significant cluster****.

Local government always said that the accreditation by the BPB of council staff was unnecessary.  There were sufficient checks and balances - of the qualifications and experience of people doing the work and their supervision by people who also had experience doing the work - for there to be more than enough proper governance and control of the process.  The reality was that the checks and balances applied by councils could never be matched by the private sector. 

And, despite the years of oversight by the BPB, the BPB was never able to find the industry lacking. 

Now they have.  All of those involved at Griffith let us all down.

Andrew Spooner resigns as President

Andrew Spooner

Andrew has been an active and enthusiastic contributor as a member of the Committee of Management, Vice President and President for two decades.  He has presided over all those significant industrial issues we have dealt with over that time, provided fair and balanced leadership, guidance and an overwhelming commitment to fairness at work and good receptive management which respects equitable treatment of staff.

So, it was with great disappointment that Andrew submitted his resignation as President and member of the Committee of Management last month.  We were all very, very sorry to see him go.  We wish him well.

The next elections for members of the Committee of Management will be held in March and April next year to elect those members for two-year terms to operate from 1 May 2018 and for the Secretary for a four-year term from that date as well. 

Rule 26.2 allows the Committee of Management to appoint to vacant offices and the Committee responded to Andrew’s resignation by unanimously resolving to appoint Vice President Jo Doheny as his replacement. 

Jo Doheny

Jo has been a member of the Committee of Management for six years, including four years as Vice President and brings significant experience from these roles, as well as her years as delegate at Gosford and a representative of the significant number of members we have at Central Coast Council, following the merger of Gosford and Wyong.

Having worked with Jo for many years in all of those capacities I look forward to developing our relationship and continuing to deliver reliable and even-handed services, without fear or favour, to our members. 

What is this thing called, love*?

LGNSW has, over the past twelve months, picked up a concept called a “Capability Framework” from the NSW Public sector, fiddled with it with its creator, and developed it to inflict on local government - as if the industry needs some other incomprehensible obstacle laid down in its path.

But despite decades of cooperation between LGNSW and the local government unions, we weren’t consulted - even though it was responded to coolly by the public sector unions when it was implemented some years ago in the State.

And despite two briefings by LGNSW zealots and the creator, it’s still hard to know. It also appears to overlap the skill descriptors - although LGNSW has been at pains to explain that it can’t and won’t be used for job evaluation, or progression in the salary system but it may (somehow) be used for recruitment and performance management.

It was revealing that at the time of the second briefing, while LGNSW recognised that the unions would be critical to an agreed approached about how this thing would be inflicted on the industry, we were told that it was at the printers.  Not so much getting invited late to the dance, but not getting an invitation to the dance in the first place, but a demand to clean up after.

So, we filed a dispute with LGNSW to try to slow down the HR and Management enthusiasts in the industry who may pick it up when it’s still not clear what it is and what it isn’t. Or what it’s for and what it isn’t.  The notification includes a desperate email stream to and from LGNSW trying to have those questions answered.

For those of you who may be fans of the brilliant satire, Utopia, it’s like the Defence Green Paper episode from the recently concluded series where no-one could understand the Paper. And when those in the Infrastructure Authority tried to understand it by bringing together those from the defence industry who had contributed, they could only explain it could only do so in jargon from the Green Paper itself that was, in turn, incomprehensible.

Our requests to stop the bloody thing roll out on an unsuspecting industry in proceedings before Chief Commissioner Kite on 10 October met with deaf ears but we were able to reach agreement that LGNSW would place a warning on their website that no one should proceed to use the Framework, even though it was already on their website, until further notice and until guidelines and precautions had been agreed to between LGNSW and the unions.

This is what the website now provides:

LGNSW advises councils that the LGNSW Capability Framework does not displace or override the Local Government (State) Award 2017 (“the Award”), and is not linked to the Award. The Award is the enforceable industrial instrument setting the minimum terms and conditions for the majority of local government employees in NSW.  The framework does not alter councils’ obligations to:

  • Evaluate positions in their structure in accordance with the Award's skill descriptors; and
  • Ensure progression through councils’ salary systems based on the acquisition and use of skills, or employee performance, provided that progression beyond the entry level based on the acquisition and use of skills is also available.

LGNSW recommends that councils not implement the framework as it relates to employees covered by the Award until the implementation tools and resources have been developed and published.

For further advice on implementing the framework in compliance with the Award's provisions please contact the LGNSW Industrial Unit on 02 9242 4142.

Clearly it would have been smarter for LGNSW to bring the unions into the loop much, much earlier.

(*Yes, this is a poor misuse of the title of Cole Porter’s classic song, “What is This Thing Called Love?” Sorry about that.)

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  6. “Like a dog returning to its vomit…”
  7. Get your own ideas!
  8. I’ve got a Deed of Release - lessons to be learned from Amber Harrison
  9. Enough is enough – it’s time to cut councillors out of development assessment
  10. Do yourself a favour
  11. Uh oh, …
  12. We accept LGNSW offer for a new State Award
  13. Courts nail clumsy and secretive handling of Council mergers
  14. We don’t like being gagged and we pull the pin on the EMRG
  15. Nine days to go …
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  17. A Tale of Two Cities
  18. Cripes, where was the compassion?
  19. Ex-Mayor of Hurstville exits with his tail between his legs
  20. OLG forced to state the bleeding obvious on employment protection
  21. LGNSW backflips on decades of cooperation
  22. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Gladys
  23. Next month ...
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  25. Uh oh ...
  26. The sharks are circling
  27. And that’s pretty much the end of the year for us...
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  29. Who has the worst HR in local government this year?
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  32. The Ascension marks the death of the historic IRC
  33. depa’s prestigious HR Awards will be announced next month
  34. BPB gets their fingers out on what should happen with PINs
  35. Ignore Henny Penny, there has been progress in State Award negotiations
  36. Sydney mishandles asbestos contamination in Town Hall House
  37. A facade, is always just a facade...
  38. Who would have thought! Private certifiers need better regulation …
  39. Government dismantles Industrial Relations Commission
  40. We stop Government’s secret processes in merged councils
  41. What are “workplace representatives” for on Consultative Committees?
  42. Government picks up the pace on dismantling IRC
  43. Get ready, we’re about to start negotiating the 2017 State Award
  44. Sick of politicians? We are …
  45. Government to dismantle Industrial Relations Commission of NSW
  46. Mid-Western Council receives ICAC report
  47. “What have the Romans ever done for us?”
  48. Food Regulation Forum
  49. Not so fast, the dilettantes and dabblers are still at it
  50. Employment Matters Working Party clarifies the protections under the Act
  51. Senior staff jobs go in amalgamations and the hero is Viv the Vivisector
  52. Early elections, bring back local democracy!
  53. You’d have to be a mug not to join
  54. Happy birthday, Mike
  55. Now we can all be miners, NSW Government announces
  56. NSW Government announces broad expansion of exempt and complying development
  57. PIA NSW did what?
  58. 2016 depa elections delivers four new brooms
  59. We extend our legal services to members
  60. 2016 elections for the Committee of Management
  61. Council amalgamations provide “a good night out” for old folks
  62. “Come on Barry, give me a cuddle”
  63. Some great news for Catherine
  64. LGNSW and the three unions meet about IPART recommendation 30 and protecting senior staff
  65. Ex Planning Minister attacks extensions to exempt and complying development
  66. Shoalhaven wins Worst HR in Local Government Award 2015
  67. Anyone for golf?
  68. We settle our section 106 with Mid-Western
  69. Fit for the Future
  70. Who has the worst HR in local government in 2015?
  71. HR awards issue out on Tuesday
  72. IRC survives to be dismantled another day
  73. Chinese hackers embarrass LGNSW and LGMA
  74. Councillors behaving badly - bans on at Parramatta
  75. Here comes the knockout punch
  76. But some good news too - use this template if your Council wants to give you five years protection against forced redundancy
  77. Time is ticking away
  78. Something to put a smile on your faces - we may have found local government’s dumbest
  79. We file section 106 for the unfair sacking at Mid-Western
  80. NSW Government to shut down Industrial Relations Commission
  81. Anyone there?
  82. Mixed reception to IPART Report
  83. Better than Nostradamus
  84. Mid-Western GM sacks two directors - and one of them was ours
  85. In such a hostile world, who wouldn’t want a guardian angel?
  86. Any action from people we rely upon to properly regulate the industry?
  87. And what about one or two good news stories?
  88. Tamworth GM drops off on removing the nine day fortnight from existing staff
  89. Next month …
  90. Why is the Office of Local Government protecting Jilly Gibson? Or is the Minister thinking a few moves ahead?
  91. Uh oh, look out!
  92. Has Local Government Super dumped uranium and nuclear yet?
  93. We hate it when members disappear – and it wastes our time too
  94. depa’s submission to the Legislative Council Local Government Enquiry
  95. We drag the dawdlers at Sydney City into the modern world (and watch them waste a good employee)
  96. A message to the Minister and the Office of Local Government
  97. Reviewing our rules is much more exciting than watching paint dry
  98. We are updating our rules
  99. Review of the BPB
  100. Old blokes collapse and let Mum keep working part-time
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