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All the latest news and views from the CPSU team

Tas Prison Service wins

File Notes Withdrawn

Several months ago the CPSU raised concerns about the new practice of dealing with performance or compliance issues by placing a File Note on an employee’s personal file.

We were concerned the process being followed denied Custodial Officers procedural fairness and interfered in the normal mentoring and support that should happen between a worker and their manager.

Good news. The Director of Prisons Ian Thomas has recently written to the CPSU and wants to reset the process. He has agreed that any file note issued since 1 July 2018 will be withdrawn and there will be a suspension of issuing file notes until 30 September 2018.

In the intervening period the parties will seek to develop a set of guidelines to ensure that a clear process is developed and implemented.

In his letter Mr Thomas said ‘I stand by the initiative implemented. It is completely appropriate to hold staff accountable in a fair, open and transparent way, which the procedure now put in place, will ensure we do.’

Uniform and Dress Standards 

At the Tasmanians Prison Service a new Uniform and Dress Standards DSO was due to come into effect from Monday 3 September. One of the changes included in this DSO was the requirement for all Correctional Officers to be clean shaven. 

The CPSU raised the concerns of members about this with the Director who agreed to delay the implementation of the DSO for one month. Last week we met with the Director to get an understanding of why they want COs clean shaven.

The issues raised focussed on Officers being able to get a satisfactory seal when using breathing apparatus for fire evacuations or respirators when gas is used. There was a good discussion about the application of the Australian Standard and clarification of the role of COs in the case of fire. A compromise proposal was discussed that would have two components:

  • To meet dress standards Officers would be expected to keep facial hair neatly trimmed; and
  • The current breathing apparatus would be replaced with hoods that would be used for escape and a volunteer team would be trained and equipped to perform cell retrievals/evacuations. These Officers would need to be clean shaven so their breathing apparatus gained a proper seal.

Work will now be undertaken to detail this proposal and further consultation will occur. Other concerns with the Uniform and Dress Standards DSO are also being collated so the DSO can be finalised.

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