Adult Probation Officer Benchmark Review
This is to advise members that the focus group who worked on the Adult Probation Officer (APO) benchmark review have agreed upon the updated benchmark, with an updated job description and factor rationales. Members of the focus group, at various times, have included Judy Fox-McGuire, Andrea Mitchell, Marina Stupar and Sheila Veller.
In this updated benchmark, two factor ratings increased and one decreased, with overall total points changing from 823 to 831.5. This means that the position remains in the grid 24 range of 805 to 924 points. This outcome is in line with past experience where the BC Public Service Agency (PSA) and Ministry (collectively referred to as the Employer) have acknowledged that the job has changed, but the overall outcome has not resulted in a grid level increase.
More details and information about the overall benchmark review is here including about the process, background, the onus required of the BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU) and precedent-setting limitations.
After some initial meetings between the parties to discuss updating the APO job description, the BCGEU's APO focus group discussed the PSA's proposed updated APO benchmark, including the job description and which factors might potentially change. Since then, we continued to negotiate with the PSA regarding changes to the job description and some of the factors.
These are some points to note about the current revised APO benchmark:
• The expanded job description captures many of the APO duties that have changed and/or been added. It was particularly important to capture the new duties around counselling and therapy. The PSA did not want to refer to STICS as this is a specific program/approach that might change, but they would agree to the more general language of cognitive behavioural interventions.
• Factors 1, 2 and 5 have new rationale statements, but the degree ratings for those factors remain the same at H, G and F. This HGF rating profile is common for professional level jobs across government, including jobs such as the Child Protection Worker and Child and Youth Psychologist. Given an earlier precedent-setting benchmark decision (details in the attached document), the union knows that we would not be able to meet our onus to challenge the ratings for any of these three main factors.
• The PSA increased factor 6, financial responsibility, recognizing the APO pays for gas using a government credit card and validates client forms re transportation forms when attending core programming, adding 5 points to the overall total.
• The focus group provided the PSA with additional information regarding the APO's calculations of conditional sentence orders, and they agreed that this met the test for additional credit at degree D in factor 7. This added 7.5 points to the total.
• The PSA reduced factor 8, responsibility for human resources, from degree B (9 points) to degree A (5 points). This is because the Senior PO has taken over responsibility for training. Previous versions of the job description had used the term "mentor" to describe the assistance APOs provide to new employees, but this is not an agreed term in the Plan glossary, and therefore is not part of the final benchmark job description or rationale.
• We assessed whether there should be greater credit in factor 10 for multiple demands, however we determined not to proceed further with this issue. It would add only 6 points, not enough to change the overall grid level, and would be difficult for the BCGEU to meet our onus. This factor is not to be confused with workload, which the Plan does not measure.
We acknowledge that this is not the overall desired outcome, however classification and compensation, while related, are two separate issues, and the benchmark review process cannot provide the solution to the main concern of wage rates. We intend to follow up with compensation issues in bargaining, as we recognize that APOs have gone from being paid the third highest in the country, to the third lowest.
The union thanks the focus group members for their time and expertise over this lengthy process.
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