Role of the delegate

Introduction

Congratulations on being elected as the local depa Delegate at you Council and welcome to the team. The local delegate performs a vital role in the provision of service to our members. As the local delegate you provide the link between the members at your Council and the Secretary of depa. This link is critical.

The depa team consists of 2 full time employees, the Secretary and an Office Manager, a voluntary Committee of Management and approximately 120 local delegates to service the 1400 or so members throughout NSW.

The Committee of Management oversees the running of depa and consists of members elected to the positions of President, 2 Vice presidents and 5 Committee members and the Secretary.

ROLE OF THE LOCAL DELEGATE

The extent of your role will depend on the size of the membership at your Council, the level of industrial activity at the Council and your experience. Your role may expand as you gain experience and confidence as the local delegate. Initially your role should cover the administrative functions. As you progress you can expand the role to include the remaining items as follows:


(a) Advise the depa office of change in Delegate

Where the delegate at the Council changes, the first task of the new delegate is to advise the depa office of the change. Accurate details help the office provide important information to the right people.


(b) Advise the office of members at your Council who have left and where they have gone

The web site has online and printable forms for employees to complete and forward to depa when they change address/employer/membership status or name. It is important that our membership records are up to date and by completing this task the membership records can be maintained.

(c) Refer matters to the Secretary

As the local delegate you should contact the Secretary:

  • if there is an issue on which you need advice
  • if an issue cannot be resolved internally
  • if you are unsure what to do.

Don't wait too long, it may be too late.

(d) Distribute Consultative Committee Minutes

Keeping the members informed of the issues is important so that they are aware of what is happening at work and can provide you with comment where necessary. It is important to provide minutes and documents discussed at the committee to the members. If you are not the depa representative on the Consultative Committee or subcommittees it is important that you ensure the minutes of the meetings are distributed to the members. If minutes are distributed by internal email this process is made easier by simply forwarding them on. Remember an informed member can make your job easier.

(e) Be Aware of Occupational Health & Safety Issues

Often OH&S issues become industrial relations issues and you need to be aware of what is happening in the workplace. Remember it was the union movement that first brought about the changes that has lead to today's requirements for OH&S and Workers Compensation.

(f) Be aware of Your Training Needs and Obligations

Under the Award you are entitled to attend training as a Consultative Committee member.

(g) Provide Feedback to Members on Issues

This may be as simple as providing a copy of the minutes of the Consultative Committee or OH&S Committee Meetings to the members. Some delegates find the internal email useful for advising of relevant events that have taken place on local issues. Informal chats at morning tea are also a great forum for providing information. No matter what method you use it is critical to keep the members informed of what is happening as they can often provide you with information to help you do your job.

(h) Provide advice to Members

As the local representative of depa the members will contact you to clarify issues or ask about Award requirements if you are uncertain you can contact the office.

(i) Attend the Council Consultative Committee

The role of the Consultative Committee as outlined in the Award is diverse. If you are a member of the Consultative Committee you will be involved in the development, implementation and review of Council Policy and procedure of a Human Resource/Industrial Relations nature. Typical examples include Salary Systems and Staff Performance Systems. To be an effective member of the Consultative Committee it is important to know what matters should be referred to the committee and this is detailed in the Award.

At some Councils the Local Delegate is not the depa representative on the Consultative Committee or its various subcommittees. Where this is the case it is important to be aware of the issues that come out of the consultative committee and subcommittee meetings and it is important that the members are also informed.

(j) Organise meetings of members

At times some internal or external industrial issues may need to be discussed with the members and voted on. This should happen as soon as the issue is identified and it may be prudent to inform the Secretary - before it is too late. An election should occur every 2 years, or upon the loss of a delegate, to elect or re-elect a local delegate.

(k) Liaise with other Union Delegates on Common Issues

Quite often the issues that affect our members also affect the other Union/Associations partied to the award. It is helpful at a local level to have good relationships with the other delegates as we can help each other out on common issues.

(l) Recruit New Members

Recruitment doesn't need to be complicated. It can be as simple as giving a new employee or an existing non-member a copy of depaNews or the link to our website. This can be followed up by an informal chat and discussion about the success of depa.

(m) Provide Advice on Grievances

You should be the first port of call for any of our members who have a grievance. Typical grievances include disputes over job evaluation, or the outcome of performance appraisals. If you're confident of following the grievance procedures contain in the award, advise the member of this process. If you need further support call the Secretary or your Committee of Management.

(n) Assist in Disputes

Where a matter has been referred to the Secretary, you may be required to assist the Secretary with the case. The Secretary will advise you of the level of involvement required.

Good luck and don't forget you are not alone.

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