Staff performance assessment process at CSIRO strikes trouble

CSIRO’s Annual Performance Agreement process – the framework to measure staff performance, development needs, rewards and promotions – has struck trouble with the Staff Association alleging potentially multiple breaches across the organisation of requirements contained in the enterprise agreement.

Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said the apparent maladministration of the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) process in some business units was so concerning, the union had little choice than to lodge a formal dispute with CSIRO Executive.

“Inconsistent APA processes across a number of Business Units could significantly disadvantage staff from accessing performance rewards and from opportunities for career development.”

Important resources

Widespread concern

“We’ve received alarming reports concerning the administration of APA time frames in Agriculture, Energy, Health and Biosecurity and Land and Water.

“It appears in each unit there’s a prima facie case that the Enterprise Agreement (EA) has been breached. In some circumstances there’s advice from CSIRO Business Unit management to staff that APAs must be reviewed and completed much earlier than the required timeframe of 31 August.

“To make matters worse, there’s also been advice provided to staff that they will not be eligible for performance rewards if their APA is not completed by these earlier dates.” Mr Popovski said.

Inconsistent approach

The Staff Association dispute correspondence alleges that given multiple business units are implementing APA process using different timeframes; CSIRO may be in breach of requirements to conduct APAs consistently and transparently across the organisation.

“Openness, transparency, fairness and consistency – these are the four principles that CSIRO has committed to apply in making decisions that affect staff. It’s hard to see how some of these Business Units have been fair or consistent in application of 2016-17 APAs to date,” Mr Popovski said.

“There’s a combination of different timelines, conflicting directives and processes that contradict the Enterprise Agreement. There’s definitely not a ‘oneCSIRO’ approach here.”

No consultation

Mr Popovski said that CSIRO Business Unit management had failed to adequately consult with affected staff and their representatives in breach of Section 57 of the EA.

“Since notifying the dispute, CSIRO Human Resources have requested a meeting with Staff Association representatives to discuss concerns raised in regards to these APA processes.”

“However, it’s frustrating that Business Unit Management failed to adequately consult with representatives in the first place.

“Many of these problems could have been solved if consultation had already occurred in a timely fashion,” Mr Popovski said.

Know your rights

The Staff Association has recently produced a new ‘Know Your Rights’ factsheet focusing on APAs, Mr Popovski said.

“This is an important resource that members can refer to and view the conditions and rights relating to APAs at a glance.”

“If you have any questions or concerns in relation to your own APA process, please contact the Staff Association immediately by emailing,” Mr Popovski said.

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