Office Accommodation Standards for Staff Specialists



ASMOF was recently made aware of a proposed change to office accommodation for several staff specialists which would have seen them working in an open plan office space.

This arrangement would breach the ASMOF Recommended Minimum Office Accommodation Standards and quite possible breach the Award.

The issue of office accommodation for staff specialists is not new and lead to the state Council developing the ASMOF Recommended Minimum Office Accommodation Standards (‘the Standard’) in 2011. The Standard was provided to the Secretary of Health on 24 October 2011.

There Standard provides for the following:
  1. All 0.6 to 1.0 FTE positions are to have their own office.
  2. Positions which are 0.1 to 0.5 FTE can be required to share an office. There may be situations that this may not be appropriate and should be dealt with on a case by case basis. It would generally not be expected that more than two staff would be allocated to any one office.
  3. Those positions that are subject to genuine job sharing arrangements can also share an office.
  4. Office space to be nine square metres for Staff Specialists and Clinical Academics.
  5. Positions that have managerial responsibilities attached (identified for example by the provision of a managerial allowance) or have roles that require similar consideration (such as for example Directors of Training) should have office space of at least 12 square metres.
  6. The office is to be adjacent to service areas if physically possible.
  7. Interview/meeting rooms should be nearby and reasonably accessible.
  8. The office must be secure and lockable, along with being reasonably soundproof. It should be cleaned regularly and maintained to reasonable standards. The office layout must be to acceptable ergonomic standards.
  9. The office must contain as a minimum a desk, chair, phone, network computer, lockable filing cabinets, and bookshelves. Ready access to a printer and photocopier would be expected. Shared offices should have sufficient allocation of office equipment/furniture for each staff member.

What to do if you are asked to change office accommodation?
You need to be fully cognisant of the requirements for office accommodation for staff specialists. In addition to the above Standard you should be aware of:
  1. Clause 24 of the STAFF SPECIALISTS (STATE) AWARD, which relevantly reads “Staff Specialists will have access to such office, secretarial and administrative support as may be reasonably necessary to undertake the requirements of the position.”
  2. PD 2005_576 Office Accommodation Policy - Public Health Organisations and Ambulance Service. This policy outlines the required spaces for office accommodation in all health care facilities and is required to be complied with by public health organisations and the Ambulance Service of NSW. Section 1.5 of the PD deals with the Required Workspaces and prescribes the Office Type for Staff Specialists.
You should never agree to changes to your office accommodation before talking to the union.

You should never agree to work in an open plan office space.