Monday, December 1, 2014

Community Safety Bullying Workplace Bullying Australian Federal Public service sees increase in bullying, absenteeism abc.net.au/news Dec. 1st 2014



Public service sees increase in bullying, absenteeism, according to new report


Posted 
The federal PUBLIC service is SUFFERINGfrom increased bullying and absenteeism according to the latest State of the Service Report.
The annual report provides the most in-depth look at the trends and CAPABILITIES across the 160,000-STRONG Australian Public Service (APS).
The public service has shed about 8,000 workers in 2013-14 after the Federal Government promised to axe 16,500 positions over three years as part of its BUDGET savings measures.
The report released today drew upon a survey of 100,000 public servants.
It found that the workforce had "uncomfortably high perceptions of bullying" and an "unexplained rising trend in unscheduled absence".
Among those surveyed, 17 per CENT of employees indicated that they had been subjected to harassment or bullying in their workplace in the past 12 months.
A further 21 per cent of employees said they had witnessed another employee being subjected to what they perceived as bullying or harassment in the SAME TIME period.
The incidence of perceived bullying has been stuck between 15-19 per cent for many years now. What people perceive as bullying though is highly variable.
Australian Public Service Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick
Most employees identified bullying or harassment in THE FORM of verbal abuse, but some reported unacceptable behaviour relating to unfair performance management practices.
Among employees who identified bullying as a problem, 12 per cent said they had witnessed workers being harassed based on A PERSONALcharacteristic.
"The incidence of perceived bullying has been stuck between 15-19 per cent for many years now," APS Commissioner Stephen Sedgwick said.
"What people perceive as bullying though is highly variable.
"Work has been done to try to better understand and deal with it but on which progress has been slow."
Mr Sedgwick said to deal with the "intractable problem" public service agencies were developing new ways to manage absenteeism.
Though he said the cause of unscheduled leave was unclear.
He said he did not think the data supported a link between perceptions of bullying and unscheduled absence which was also on the rise.

'Public service cuts felt by employees'

The effects of cuts to the public service had been clearly felt by employees with 74 per cent of workers stating that they had been through a major workplace change in the past 12 months.
About 67 per cent of public servants said they had experienced a decrease in staffing NUMBERS, 57 per cent had seen structural change and 46 per cent had seen a change in their work priorities.
But employees did report an increased satisfaction with how change was managed in their agency.
About 35 per cent of employees said change was MANAGED well in their area in 2014, compared to 31 per cent in 2013.

Increased calls for 'frank and fearless' communication

Mr Sedgwick also ADDRESSED the increased call for "frank and fearless" communication between the public service and GOVERNMENT ministers.
Recent findings of the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program included that challenges were created when bureaucrats used euphemisms to understate problems.
"It's a pity that some come to discount the experience of senior officers who serve in the ministerial OFFICES of an alternative government," Mr Sedgwick said.
He said if the public sector was so concerned about Freedom of Information requests, it would impact on effective communication with government.
But he said he would not like to see public servants having to put forward the worst-case scenarios, which were highly unlikely.
He said leadership needed to have a culture which was accepting of bad news and needed to be an open and engaging environment for debate.
The report said the public service was going through transformational, not incremental, change which was needed for the bureaucracy to OPERATE better.
"Incremental change is not the option that will best equip the APS to MEET THE challenges of the future," Mr Sedgwick said.
"Rather, change of a transformational kind is required - not just in what the APS does on behalf of government but also in terms of how it manages itself."
He said the PUBLIC service had the capability to endure change and even reinvent itself.



http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-01/public-service-sees-increase-in-bullying-and-absenteeism/5930282

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