IRC to rule on loss of quality gaol teaching

Greg Butler
Industrial/Research Officer

The IRC has extended its deadline for feedback

Federation has commenced dispute proceedings in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) against Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) for its attack on education qualifications required by education employees in NSW correction centres.

In its draft Change Management Plan for the future provision of education and vocational training in adult correctional centres, CSNSW has proposed to delete 132.5 of 152.5 full-time education roles, to employ 67 clerks instead and to outsource the provision of more courses.

At a compulsory conference held on June 3, Commissioner Tabbaa directed the union and the employer into further discussions about the proposed new clerical roles and Federation’s claim that performance of their duties requires education qualifications under the award.

The IRC also extended the deadline for feedback from employees and the union on CSNSW’s draft Change Management Plan to June 21, with the employer’s agreement. CSNSW intends to finalise its plan in July.

Teachers and Correctional Education Officers (CEOs) currently assess inmates’ education levels and provide a broad adult education curriculum in subjects such as:

  • literacy and numeracy, English as a Second Language, and information technology
  • small business, Aboriginal education and horticulture in some centres
  • art and music courses in some centres to engage inmates in education programs when they have not had positive education experiences before their admission.

A Senior Correctional Education Officer (SCEO) in a centre currently supervises education employees and their work and manages external providers of vocational training, such as TAFE.

From February 2017, CSNSW proposes that:

  • only 20 teachers and CEOs be retained in four centres in NSW and that their professional work be supervised by a clerk 9/10 without education qualifications
  • diagnostic assessment and planning will be performed by an Assessment and Planning Officer (APOs) clerk 5/6 without education qualifications
  • supervision of employees who assess and plan for inmate education and training and the management of external education providers will be performed by an Education Service Coordinator (ESC) clerk 7/8 without education qualifications.

The award requires Corrective Services NSW employees undertaking these duties to have education qualifications from a university.

Federation filed a dispute notification in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on May 25, alleging breach of the Crown Employees (Education Employees Department of Justice — Corrective Services NSW) award.

When the parties returned to the IRC on June 14, Commissioner Tabbaa recommended further discussions and directed a further report back to her for June 24.

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