Consultation with School Based Staff

Overview

It is the principal's responsibility to make the school-based decisions required to deliver Government education objectives within a framework that enables staff to have input into the decisions that affect their working lives. This is an acceptable and recognised aspect of good management practice.

The principal has ultimate administrative and operational responsibility for decisions at the school level, provided that these decisions are made consistent with the consultative provisions of clause 12 of the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2017 (the Agreement).

The Agreement adopts the following comments, to enhance understanding of effective consultation, made by Smith C. in CPSU, the Community and Public Sector Union v Vodafone Network Pty Ltd (Print PR911257)

'Consultation is not perfunctory advice on what is about to happen. This is common misconception. Consultation is providing the individual, or other relevant persons, with a bona fide opportunity to influence the decision maker… Consultation is not joint decision-making or even a negative or frustrating barrier to the prerogative of management to make decisions. Consultation allows the decision making process to be informed, particularly as it may affect the employment prospects of individuals.'

Consultative structures

The principal is to put in place formal staff consultative arrangements that ensure school staff have the choice and opportunity to be involved in the consultation process in the school.

The consultative arrangements must be agreed at the school no later than 1 September of each year to commence from term 4 for the following twelve months.

The consultative arrangements must allow for the representation of employees for the purposes of consultation and the input of the union sub branch, if one exists at the school. At a minimum the consultative arrangements will include:

  • the consultative structure;
  • the operational procedures;
  • the arrangements to enable committee members (where the structure involves a committee) the opportunity and time to canvass views in their school;
  • the treatment of confidential material as it relates to employees of the school; and
  • the method of communicating decisions to staff.​

Following receipt of the indicative student resource package each year, the principal is to use the consultation arrangements in making decisions about matters related to the long-term planning for the following school year. As far as is practicable, the principal will determine the matters related to the long-term planning for the following school year as early as possible in term 4 and advise staff of those decisions in writing by the end of the last week in November.

As part of the consultative arrangements the principal will ensure that workforce planning information is available to staff to allow informed consultation to occur. Such information should include:

  • the school strategic plan (or its equivalent);
  • high level school student resource package data for the school.  This requirement is satisfied where the following documents (or their successors) are provided: SRP Indicative Allocations, Management Report generated by the SRP Planner and SRP Confirmed Allocations; and
  • anticipated enrolments and staff movements.

The Department is committed to protecting the privacy of personal and health information held by the Department and its schools. In providing the documentation set out above principals should ensure that the privacy obligations set out in the Departmental policy are maintained. For the avoidance of doubt this does not require the principal to provide individual employee information (other than an employee’s name and teaching method).

Reporting

Prior to 1 September each year schools are required to report to the Department on whether consultation arrangements have been agreed at the school level. Where a school reports that consultative arrangements have not been agreed the matter will be considered by the Department and a nominee of the relevant union/s who will determine whether, in the particular circumstances, agreed arrangements can be implemented or the “default” consultative arrangements set out in clause 12(4)(d) of the Agreement are to apply.

In order to fulfil the school's reporting obligations, principals should complete and retain the School Based Consultation Arrangements form available below as a record of the agreed arrangements.

Non School Work locations

Regional Directors must put in place formal staff consultative arrangements that ensure regional teaching service staff have the choice and opportunity to be involved in the consultative process in the region. These arrangements should be consistent with the school based consultation model.

The Regional Director has ultimate administrative and operational responsibility for decisions at the relevant regional workplaces, provided that these decisions are made consistent with the​ consultative provisions of clause 12 of the Agreement.

Prior to 1 September each year, regions will report to the Department on whether consultation arrangements have been agreed at the regional level.

Principals

Where the Department proposes to introduce a significant change in the work required of principals the Department will provide an opportunity for principals and their union(s) to be consulted about that change and give consideration to matters raised by principals prior to the decision to implement any significant change.​​


 

Teaching Service  | Public Service

Other Resources

Procedures and Forms

  • School Based Consultation Arrangements (WORD)      

Legislation

Related Topics

 

Contact Information