Page 3927 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 29 October 2013

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higher percentages of complaints? Now, whether it is 57 or 42 out of a workplace of several hundred, whether it is nine people transferred to other duties, 16 employment contracts terminated or 35 first or final warnings issued, the untracked and unrecorded number is always the number of people adversely affected by the actions of others.

Commissioner Kefford refers in his report to the courage and candour shown by the current and former CIT staff members who brought their concerns forward for consideration. He says he is sorry that they needed to come to see him but that he is glad they did. He went on to say:

It is my hope that CIT’s response and the response of the wider ACTPS to the issues raised here does justice to their stories, and to their suffering.

As was outlined last week, Commissioner Kefford made nine recommendations. The first was that CIT acknowledge and apologise for past failures in the management of a small number of areas within CIT when dealing with workplace issues. It is important that a distinction be made here, and it is perhaps where Minister Burch was confused. It needs to be remembered that it is only a small number of departments within CIT that have brought such shame on the institution. It was this small number that continued to demonstrate an entrenched culture of nepotism, harassment and poor management.

Recommendation 2 suggests that a single and definitive document be prepared for the ACT public sector that, having regard to relevant national reforms, defines what workplace bullying is and is not, provides advice on how to respond to workplace bullying and provides support to managers and staff seeking to deal with the instances of workplace bullying.

Recommendation 3 suggests that ACT public sector directorates and agencies encourage a workplace culture where workplace bullying is dealt with as the organisation’s problem and not an individual problem.

Recommendation 4 talks about appointing additional respect, equity and diversity contact officers.

Recommendation 5 goes to the issue of managing people and suggests that the Head of Service and agency heads continue efforts already underway to standardise processes and enhance guidance material and that the work be finalised as soon as possible.

The recommendations go on to recommendation 9. Recommendation 8 relates to increased transparency and outcomes of workplace issues and recommendation 9 urges a better complaints handling process. Only one of these recommendations is CIT-specific. The remainder go on to improved practices across the ACT public service.

It is critical that these improvements be applied to CIT, but unless there is an improved level of profession standard across the whole public service, nothing will change in the long term. We know that bullying is not unique to the ACT public

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