Annual Performance Agreement 

28-Feb-2020

 


Annual Performance Agreement 

In December last year, the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District took ASMOF to the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW (IRC) when we raised questions about the LHD’s insistence that staff specialists complete the District’s own Performance Development Review form, in addition to the pro-forma annexed to the Staff Specialists (State) Award.

Over the past couple of months, whilst proceedings were on foot in the IRC, ASMOF and the LHD have been trying to resolve the matter. On Tuesday 25 February, the District withdrew its dispute.

What does Clause 12 of the Award say?

Clause 12 has several subclauses (from 12(a) to 12(f)), but the main provisions under this clause are:

  • The annual performance agreement is to be “developed jointly” by the staff specialist and their “designated supervisor” (subclause 12(a)).
  • The Chief Executive signs off on the performance agreement (subclause 12(a)).
  • The standard format to be used for performance agreements is the pro forma annexed to the Award (subclause 12(a)).
  • A joint review of the performance agreement between the staff specialist and their supervisor (subclause 12(d)).
  • Additional items can be added in an annual performance agreement, but only by agreement between a staff specialist and their supervisor (subclause 12(e)).
  • Subclause 12(f) references “the parties” and here it means the parties to the Award – namely, ASMOF and the “Employer” (the employer is the Secretary of the Ministry of Health exercising functions on behalf of the Government of NSW). This subclause specifically states that the parties (being ASMOF and the Employer) agree that clinical, research, teaching, administrative, quality improvement and managerial duties are important aspects of the Normal Duties of staff specialists, and that the allocation of time to perform these duties will form part of the performance agreement process and be reviewed under such process.

Click here for the Award.

ASMOF’s Position in respect to Clause 12

Nowhere in clause 12 does it give an LHD the permission to develop their own performance development review form, make changes or to add to the annual performance agreement of staff specialists. It does not permit an LHD to require staff specialists (or clinical academics) to undertake an additional performance agreement form (or process) over and above the pro-forma in the Award.

ASMOF’s position is that staff specialists (and clinical academics) should only undertake one annual performance agreement, and that the standard form to be used is the pro-forma template which is annexed at the back of the Award.

The pro-forma was developed by ASMOF and put to the Ministry of Health many Awards ago, which was accepted, as ASMOF firmly believes in proper engagement with staff specialists and clinical academics in pursuit of better patient care in the context of our teaching hospitals.

ASMOF acknowledges that the pro-forma needs updating and that in some places, greater detail may be desirable. We have put this suggestion this to the Ministry, but so far this suggestion has not been accepted.

What this means for you as a Staff Specialist or Clinical Academic

If you are asked to attend an annual performance agreement with your manager, it is a lawful direction and ASMOF strongly encourages you to attend. However you can assert your right that the Award pro-forma template is the form that should be used, and that you should only have to undertake this performance agreement once in a 12-month period. Furthermore, you and your manager are the two people who can (jointly) develop and review your performance agreement pursuant to clause 12.

If you have a question, or if you experience difficulty in this regard, please contact the Union at allocation@asmof.org.au or on 02 9212 6900.

Going forward

The reason why there is an award provision and a pro forma annexed to the Award is to ensure consistency across the state. Consistency in the way performance is reviewed, and consistency in the way members are engaged, and in the expectations of managers and staff specialists. However, we are aware there may be inconsistences across the State in relation to the performance development review process.

We reached out to NBMLHD to suggest we work with the District and the Ministry to engage in a dialogue to discuss making agreed changes to the pro-forma in the Award so that it is current and reflects the needs of members and the employer. The NBMLHD has declined our suggestion.

Nonetheless, we will contact the Ministry directly again to engage in a dialogue. The discussion with the Ministry will consider the varying specialities and take into account the important aspects of the roles and duties of staff specialists and clinical academics (being clinical, research, teaching, administrative, quality improvement and managerial duties), the safety of patients and doctors, and the delivery of world class patient care.

We will keep members up to date on the progress of these discussions.