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Impact of more change on CYF staff a concern

Impact of more change on Child, Youth and Family staff a concern

The announcement of yet more restructuring of the Child, Youth and Family Service and the potential impact on its staff was of concern, PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott said today, but the PSA is heartened by assurances that it will be closely involved in the merger process.

Commenting on today’s decision to merge Child, Youth and Family into the Ministry of Social Development, Brenda Pilott said it meant that yet again staff would enter a period of uncertainty as the changes were worked through.

“CYF has already been through numerous changes in the last few years and the benefits of increased funding provided to the department were just starting to show.

“PSA members are also likely to be concerned about the possible loss of focus on the professionalisation programme.

“One of the key benefits of CYF as a stand-alone department was that it could focus on social work and there were good signs that the department had responded positively to the new requirements for social workers to be registered. It will be a challenge to maintain that clear professional social work focus once CYF sits within such a large department that has multiple areas of responsibility,” Brenda Pilott said.

Brenda Pilott said the PSA had been briefed by MSD chief executive, Peter Hughes, and outgoing CYF acting chief executive, Shenagh Gleisner, who gave an assurance that the union would be fully involved in the merger process.

Brenda Pilott said the union would be closely monitoring the merger to ensure that its members’ terms and conditions of employment were maintained or enhanced as a result, and that their experience was taken into account as the merger proceeds.

“We will be holding union meetings with members most likely to be affected in the coming weeks to discuss and develop our response about how the process should be managed.

“There is not much time to undergo the consultation and preparation necessary for the merger but we are heartened by the commitment to fully involve the union throughout the process. In recent times, Work and Income and the Ministry of Youth Affairs were both successfully merged into MSD with PSA involvement throughout the process.”

Brenda Pilott said the Ministry of Social Development had a good track record in incorporating other government departments without job losses or compromising the quality of the service offered.

“The union has a positive working relationship with the Ministry of Social Development and looks forward to working with them on how to ensure that the merger complements the culture of both organisations. We would envisage the net result being a department which is even stronger on managing the sometimes difficult interfaces with key agencies in other sectors who also offer services to children.”

The union had also gained an assurance that the commitments from the recently ratified CYF collective agreement would be honoured and that work agreed with CYF management to review the pay systems and move towards pay parity with social workers in district health boards would be continued.

The PSA represents 2100 members at Child, Youth and Family and 4400 members at the Ministry of Social Development.

The government expects the merger to be complete by 1 July 2006.

ENDS

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