Guidance Matters, no.4, November 2021
Senior guidance officer award coverage
Staffing issues in the department’s industrial area have led to significant delays in progressing the award variation matter, which needs to be heard in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission before the expiry of the current certified agreement. The QTU has strongly asserted that the department’s internal staffing difficulties are not an excuse for inaction on resolving outstanding matters affecting SGOs, RSSOs and other members.
The issue of the lack of progress was therefore escalated to the Deputy Director-General – People and Corporate Services.
The Certified Agreement Implementation Committee (CAIC) convened on Thursday 18 November with only two items listed for discussion: award variation and the review and/or renegotiation of memorandums of agreement (MOAs). The escalation of lack of progress to the Deputy Director-General led to the CAIC and the QTU being informed late last week that:
“The department has engaged a dedicated resource officer to commence 3 days/wk, starting next week, who will be working on the outstanding Teachers’ EB implementation matters, with the Award Coverage a key priority. Internal stakeholder consultation will progress as a priority to ensure that all relevant DoE business areas are aware of the work being progressed and be able to provide input as appropriate.”
In terms of the need to progress consultation, the QTU has actively pursued the matter of ongoing meetings. A specific meeting re award variation has been confirmed for Thursday 2 December. That meeting will focus on the areas identified in the July 2021 Guidance Matters newsletter:
- the accrual of current recreation and annual leave balances
- allocated days off (ADO) and time off in lieu balances (TOIL)
- how long service leave will be converted
- rostered duty time, including on-site hours and meal and rest pause breaks
- weekend and holiday work as required, including work on public holidays (for example, State Championships).
The department and the QTU are to come to a decision before the nominal expiry date of 30 June 2022. The QTU has actively demonstrated that it is willing and able to resolve matters and seeks to do so well before the 30 June 2022. However, the department’s previous inaction may mean that the matter may not now be resolved until Term 2 2022. The QTU remains very committed to working with the new officer to ensure matters are progressed in a timely way.
Guidance service agreements and the Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016
From time to time, guidance officers seek assistance from the QTU in relation to the tasks or roles being assigned to them as part of service agreements.
It is important that the guidance workforce has a strong understanding of entitlements and conditions. The Teaching in State Education Award – State 2016 particularly recognises, protects and names specialist services. Guidance is a specialist service recognised in the award.
Service agreements are negotiated documents, where the region, through the leadership of senior guidance officers, works in partnership with principals and guidance officers to develop agreements that align with the context of the school and the actual role description of guidance officers.
At times, where a school has determined to “top up” the guidance allocation by purchasing an additional allocation, parties to the service agreement may be of the view that the agreement can go beyond the role of the guidance officer. This is not the case. Where a school has chosen to “top up” the allocation, it is still for the purpose of delivering guidance services. The school has chosen to purchase additional guidance services, so the tasks and associated duties must align with the role description.
Guidance officers who have concerns about draft service agreements should work with their SGOs to ensure that the agreement reflects the role description and key tasks that guidance officers undertake.
It is important that all guidance members can clearly articulate their role and the parameters that apply to core tasks.
Directive 13 – Appointing a public service employee to a higher classification level
Guidance officers have been successful in using the Queensland Public Service Commission’s Directive 13 process to secure permanent employment. Permanent teachers relieving above level as guidance officers who are interested in exploring pathways to permanency should read the QTU’s brochure on Directive 13. For specific advice on the process, seek assistance from the Queensland Teachers’ Assist Desk (QTAD) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Relocations not transfers
At this time of the year, guidance members contact the QTU to discuss requested moves. The transfer process does not apply to teachers in permanent classified (promotional) positions. Instead, the relocation process applies. It is important to understand specific conditions that apply to classified officer positions. Refer to the QTU’s Relocation information brochure.
The QTU is a democratic organisation that gives members the opportunity to have their voices and concerns heard through direct participation in its democratic processes. All guidance members are encouraged to actively engage with their school Union Reps or to consider nominating to be a Union Rep (training is provided).
Attendance at branch meetings can ensure that the concerns of guidance members are pursued through branch and area council structures. All branches have elected representative positions that ensure members’ issues are progressed through to local area councils and State Council. While State Council Reps represent their branches, there is great diversity on State Council, and for many years State Council benefitted from strong guidance voices. In recent times, however, this has not been the case.
Instrumental and classroom primary music teachers have demonstrated the impact that specialists can have through active engagement within QTU structures. They have been actively working through branches, area councils and State Council to progress specific member issues in relation to conditions and curriculum challenges, and their strong voices in formal QTU forums have engaged other members and secured support and momentum for their issues.
As we move towards 2022, if you are interested in knowing more about becoming active within the democratic structures of the QTU, please email email@example.com so the QTU can explore the Union’s structures and opportunities with you.
The Queensland Teachers’ Journal always advertises branch, area council and State Council positions. If you are interested in what is available in your branch, refer to page 30 to 35 of the 12 November Journal.
QTU nominees – promotion selection panels
The QTU needs more endorsed guidance nominees to sit on guidance officer and senior guidance officer promotion panels.
The QTU is represented by endorsed nominees on all promotion selection panels for classified teaching positions. Guidance members are invited to nominate.
Nominees for endorsement must be financial members of the QTU and exhibit:
- support for QTU member working conditions and directives
- involvement in QTU activities, e.g. legal seminars, Queensland Teachers’ Education Centre training days
- involvement in QTU structures, e.g. committee membership
- continuity in their QTU membership
- previous completion of QTU promotion panel training or a commitment to undertake QTU promotion panel training
- that they hold a promotional position.
Upon receipt of nominations, advice will be sought from QTU branches on the suitability of nominees, prior to the final decision on endorsement by State Council. The closing date for the present nomination round is noon on Friday 3 December.
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064