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Maritime Logistics Community News : Autumn 2009
36 naVY SuPPLY nEWSLEttER autumn 2009 Writer Employment and dSG DSG, in meeting their intent to liaise and fully engage with Navy, conducted a presentation and open forum with DNPR (E&L) and a number of Senior Sailor Writers detailing their proposed business model to seek support and feedback. NAVY MEMBER ASSISTED BY BOTH MILITARY AND DSG REPRESENTATIVE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTRE AT HMAS COONAWARRA WRitER EmPLoYmEnt and tRanSitionaL aRRanGEmEntS WitH dSG LEUT Mark Cohayney, RAN and LCDR Nev Cook, RAN Being a former Writer sailor, I experienced at first hand the Defence Reform Program (DRP) of 1997 that saw many organisational changes including the transfer of certain roles that had traditionally been performed by members in uniform. One significant change was the creation of the Defence Support Group (DSG), formally Corporate Support Infrastructure Group (CSIG). DSG took on a number of functions including Military Personnel Administration. As a result, responsibility for pay processing for all Navy personnel, other than those posted to Major Fleet Units was transferred from Navy to DSG. DRP also resulted in a reduction in the number of Writer Sailors employed by Navy. Despite the changes, Navy continued to process pay onboard Major Fleet Units and an ongoing requirement remained to provide shore respite and trained Writer sailors for sea postings. To achieve this, DSG and Navy agreed to employ Writers in the DSG organisation where they would perform a number of functions including registry, accounts, travel and pay processing. Although this arrangement had been in place since 1997, DSG’s long term goal was to centralise pay and leave processing functions in one location to a Personnel Administration Centre (PAC). DSG’s PAC project was established in 2005 and aimed to improve the delivery and accountability of personnel administration processing services by rationalising the number of processing centres across Australia and make better use of administrative support applications such as PMKeyS Self Service (PSS). Following consultation with Navy, DSG opened the PAC in Raymond Terrace, NSW. As a consequence of this, ADNPR (SU) investigated what impact DSG’s requirements would have on the Writer category. Key to this was ensuring that a sustainable structure was maintained without detrimentally affecting Writer employment and training and the high level of pay and administrative support. Navy and representatives from DSG’s National Operations Division (NOD) discussed a variety of options regarding Writer employment and training, geographic stability, Navy’s current and future requirements and DSG’s aims and direction. These discussions reinforced Navy’s need to employ and train Writer sailors to meet operational structure requirements, shore respite and provide opportunities to gain experience and knowledge prior to a sea posting. In May 2008, after liaison and effective dialogue, Navy and DSG agreed on a strategy and contingency arrangement that guaranteed the continuing employment of Writer sailors in certain positions within DSG for the short to medium term. This contingency arrangement took account of the ongoing Writer Category review. This review, when complete, will provide options to CDRE Richards, Head of Supply Community on how Writers should be employed in the future. The contingency arrangement between DSG and Navy ensured that Navy Writers would be concentrated in two locations, in Garden Island (FBW) and Pitt Street (FBE) as detachments to the PAC, processing pay transactions. In addition, Navy and DSG agreed to place a Leading Seaman Writer (LSWTR) in each of the Customer Service Centres (CSCs) located at HMAS CAIRNS, COONAWARRA and STIRLING. This is the first time that Writers have been employed in the CSCs, but both Navy and DSG concede there are a number of tangible benefits in these placements. The employment of LSWTRs in CSCs is designed to maintain high levels of pay service to Navy personnel - particularly personnel serving in Minor War Vessels (MWVs). The LSWTR is the conduit for Unit and MWVs personnel and their role is to facilitate the flow of ADF Pay documentation for processing to the PAC and provide the necessary subject matter expertise and support to these vessels and training to the APS Customer Service Officers’ (CSO) in an inter-agency liaison role. In addition, the LSWTR would perform the traditional role of a CSO and provide customer support in relation to all DSG’s products and services within the CSCs. It was considered that by placing LSWTRs within the CSCs, DSG and Navy could benefit from shared experience and knowledge levels which will, in time, improve the level of service and support. The staged transition for pay processing to the PAC during the second half of 2008 is complete. For units supported by DSG, pay transactions and processing are forwarded through the supporting CSC, as the source document conduit, for action by the PAC. Whilst the establishment of the detached PAC in Pitt Street (FBE) and Garden Island (FBW) may not appear to be a significant change, there have been amendments to the business practice. The detachment has a sustainable Writer structure supervised by a Senior Sailor Writer who is responsible for managing and monitoring the workflow of all Writer personnel. The workflow agreed between the detachment supervisor and PAC is based on the number of personnel present, not the numbers billeted, and additionally, enables opportunities to utilise transactions for training. This is essential as positions are often vacant when Sailors are absent on deployment, courses or leave. Throughout the transition, CDRE Richards, the Supply Advisory Council (SAC) and Commander Australian Navy Systems Command (CANSC) were briefed on the progress. Fortunately, and with the help and assistance from a number of dedicated personnel, the transition went very well; aside from some minor and expected teething problems. When any decision was made