LGNSW CEO Donna Rygate proudly launches their game changer

Well, we don’t like it, LGEA doesn’t like it, the USU has said that they won’t accept anything which is a breach of the Award and will dispute breaches at each Council, but LGNSW will roll out their Capability Framework in 2018 regardless. They say it suits their purposes and we all say it’s a big steaming pile of it.

When our dispute was first listed before Chief Commissioner Kite in the IRC on 10 October 2017 LGNSW agreed in the course of conciliation to publishing something on their website discouraging councils from proceeding to implement the framework until they had prepared guides and issuing cautionary advice that the framework does not alter Award obligations to evaluate positions according to the Award or do a variety of other things required by the salary system.
Well, in their usual weasel words way, they said “not recommended” rather than “discouraged”, but that’s about as good as it gets with zealots like that, lining up for their Kool-Aid*.
Since then, LGNSW has produced four Guides, to which we provided a comprehensive response in a long, long letter dated 11 December identifying those parts of the Award in addition to the cautionary notes about clause 7 Salary Systems and critiquing the four individual Guides.  LGNSW adopted a number of our suggestions but, as far as we were concerned, not enough.  However, they were prepared to acknowledge that they had understated the award clauses to which this framework thing would relate, and may potentially affect, and it’s now agreed that the following clauses will be incorporated:

Clause 2 Statement of Intent
Clause 5 Skill Descriptors
Clause 7 Salary System
Clause 8 Use of Skills
Clause 9 Performance evaluation and reward
Clause 31 Training and Development
Clause 39 Workplace Change, and
clause 40 Termination of Employment and Redeployment due to Redundancy.
It remains a deeply flawed document without the precautions to protect employees from zealous HR or management acolytes.  Example, it’s all well and good to caution these guileless innocents that there are two particular things that they are obliged to do under clause 7 Salary Systems but that clause obliges councils to do 12 things.  What happens to the other ten?

Returning to the Commission on 15 December, LGNSW acknowledged that they had no proposed launch date, they hadn’t yet arranged training and information sessions but they would be going hard with it in 2018. In its current form it suits their purposes.

Whether or not councils will adopt this framework remains to be seen. LGNSW has coyly developed a step-by-step process that at no stage requires anyone to understand what it is, or what it isn’t, or where the benefits are, or how astonishingly staff-intensive and ludicrously expensive it will be to roll out a process which, in many ways, is simply saying what the industry does now, but in a different language. This will cost those councils duped by the zealots calling them to join them in the line waiting for their Kool-Aid*, a fortune.

LGNSW is trying to suck up to the NSW Government by adopting a strategy introduced in the State public sector after 50 years of inaction.  This compares unfavourably to what we have done in local government - the dramatic reform initiatives developed over decades of cooperation with the local government unions and now enshrined for the last quarter of a century in the Local Government State Award.
And while it might have been boasted as a game changer by the current CEO, whether or not the newly elected LGNSW Board thinks this profligate waste of local government’s precious resources and money is worthwhile, remains to be seen.
We will be supplying information to our representatives on consultative committees to allow them to fully understand our concerns about the Award and its obligations on councils and where those obligations are at risk.  But make no mistake, this is a very costly exercise where the best LGNSW can say is that there are “possible” benefits.
*"Drinking the Kool-Aid" is an idiom commonly used in the United States that refers to any person or group who goes along with a doomed or dangerous idea because of peer pressure. The phrase often carries a negative connotation when applied to an individual or group. It can also be used ironically or humorously to refer to accepting an idea or changing a preference due to popularity, peer pressure, or persuasion. In recent years it has evolved further to mean extreme dedication to a cause or purpose, so extreme that one would "Drink the Kool-Aid" and die for the cause.

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