Service Check Register

New policy directive issued ....

ASMOF this week was (somewhat surprisingly) notified by the Ministry of Health that it has now issued a revised Service Check Register Policy Directive (PD2013_036).

Surprising as we received the original discussion draft on 18 May 2012, a single meeting followed on 6 June 2012 and then no further contact till this week, and only after it had been issued.  This is certainly not an ideal process and far from inclusive.  These comments and concerns will be made directly to the Ministry in a meeting scheduled for later this month with public health unions.

Having said, the revised policy directive has made a number of changes which attempts to grapple with some of the issues raised by public health unions last year, and accordingly on balance is at least heading in the right direction.  Whilst greater scrutiny is currently still being undertaken, some of the changes noted to date include:

-          Approving the creation and/or removal of a service check record should now be delegated by the Chief Executive to another officer.  This is to enable the Chief Executive to undertake a more ‘detached’ role in any formal review undertaken.

-          Service check records now need to be aligned with the actual perceived risk posed by an employee and not created solely/automatically when a disciplinary process is commenced.  Having said that, the definition of misconduct and the circumstances that may warrant such a record being created have been widened (albeit in practice the previous ‘narrow’ definition was not particularly adhered to but last year public health unions did resist any expansion beyond the most serious circumstances or allegations).

-          A staff member with a service check record who applies for another job in the NSW Health Service will be able to record their comments regarding the record held via a new template summary statement.  The staff member will also be able to be contacted by the recruiting health organisation to submit additional information or identify a change in their circumstances.

-          A review by the health organisation can be requested by a staff member, with a capacity to seek the removal of any service check record arising from such a review in certain prescribed circumstances.  A capacity to subsequently seek a merit review by the Ministry of Health is now also available.

A further update will be provided following the scheduled meeting with the Ministry and the completion of a more comprehensive review.