Consultation: PPTA guidelines for whole staff consultation
What is consultation?
Consultation is about seeking the advice and opinions of others. It does not require full agreement, but must be more than prior notification. The initiator of consultation must provide enough information to allow meaningful discussion, and be willing to accommodate the views of the people consulted.
Consultation can help to develop a shared understanding of an issue or initiative.
Leaders should not assume that because they understand the rationale for a change that staff do. Consulting properly can allow any reasons for proposed changes to be expressed and discussed.
Consulting with staff allows them to develop understanding and ownership of decision making processes and can contribute to their professional learning.
When to consult
Required - The Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement (STCA) and Area School Teachers Collective Agreement (ASTCA) require consultation on a number of areas that impact on working conditions. This must be through the PPTA branch.
School leaders and staff must seek agreement on these issues:
- Timetabling, including non-contact time, average class size and school day changes.
- Allocation of units and MMAs.
Should - School leaders should consult to get a mandate for change, and also in order to get buy-in. Significant changes that require staff co-operation will not work unless staff are engaged in them:
- Changes to whole school practices with resourcing implications
- Starting new initiatives, particularly school-wide programmes.
How to consult
The purpose, process and parameters must be clear.
What do you want to find out?
If a change is happening are you consulting in order to solve possible problems? If so, make it clear.
A consultation plan should include:
- The purpose of the consultation.
- Who is being consulted?
- A timeline.
- A mechanism for analysing the information.
- A method for feeding it back to the people consulted.
- A method for feeding the information into the decision making process.
This plan should be presented to staff at the beginning of consultation.
Useful link documents