Relief needed for driving assessors
Funding cutbacks and staff restrictions at the Department of Transport means scheduled practical driving assessments (PDAs) are cancelled when an instructor calls in sick, says the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association.
Assessors at the nine metropolitan licensing centres each conduct between nine and 10 driving tests a day but if they are unable to work on a particular day there is no backfill, meaning clients are let down and have to join the waiting list for another test day.
The CPSU/CSA, that represents Transport staff, has raised the issue with senior Transport management several times over a six-month period, arguing that a contingency plan should be in place.
“Our members know the most efficient way to deal with the problem is to either employ driving assessor team leaders to coordinate and conduct the tests when people are sick or on annual leave or employ relief assessors,” branch secretary Toni Walkington said.
“Even providing relief staff for just a couple of licensing centres would mean more people are not being let down by the Barnett Government’s budget cutbacks.
“Currently both driving school instructors and clients are inconvenienced.”
Ms Walkington said Transport staff were trying to cope with the public’s frustration with long queues, excessive waiting periods and cancellations.
She said driving schools were also not happy with the current arrangement and it is understood that some schools had also raised the issue with Transport officials.
“They are also saying it is unfair and they miss out on income for that allocated time as well.”
Ms Walkington said in some cases the agency was able to use customer service officers who were working on front counters (and who were qualified) to fill the void but that was not always practical or the option was not always there.
“We already have members on the front counters who are dealing with workload issues and taking them off their regular duties will only increase the queues at licensing centres.
“Very little thought has been given to the impact it will have on service delivery.
“Employing relief assessor staff is not outrageous or expensive compared the number of people who are being inconvenienced currently.”