VPSC driving anti bullying reforms

The Victorian Public Sector Commission’s (VPSC) legislative mandate is to strengthen the efficiency, effectiveness and capability of the Victorian Public Sector.

Bullying impedes achievement of these objectives, and more generally, the development of high performing agencies and employees.

To meet this challenge, VPSC is undertaking a suite of activities over 2017 to gain insight into bullying behaviours across the sector, and to help agencies address and prevent these behaviours.

In the coming months, over three general phases, VPSC will:

Setting the agenda

1 Assess the extent of the problem…

VPSC’s offerings start with the People Matter Survey and our data insights report on bullying published in late 2016. Survey results over the past 10 years reveal that around one-in-four employees witness what they believe to be bullying, while one-in-five experience what feels like bullying.

2 …and showcase good news stories

In recent years, several public sector agencies have managed to rapidly improve their reported bullying rates and workplace cultures. VPSC has conducted a series of case studies on a selection of these agencies, and will release insights on how they managed to achieve these improvements.

Presenting options

3 Detail the key role of leadership…

Through its new data holdings on the VPS executive officer cohort, VPSC’s Victorian Leadership Academy (VLA) will be able to provide a sector-wide view of leadership capabilities. Strengthening leadership capability will support better agency cultures. Positive cultures ultimately mean less bullying.

4 …and organisational context

The availability of Psychosocial Safety Climate (PSC) data from the 2017 People Matter Survey provides a way of predicting which organisations are most at risk of developing psychosocial hazards in the workplace, such as bullying and harassment, prior to these occurring.

Channeling effort

5 Lead with advice on prevention…

In the second half of 2017, based on research, the VPSC will explore new ways to assist agencies with bullying prevention. This involves building work place culture which reward positive attitudes and behaviours, leaving less room for bullying. A best practice guide is planned for September-October

6 …and throughout, consult and engage

VPSC is working with Industrial Relations Victoria and the CPSU to develop strategies to reduce bullying. Previously VPSC worked with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to provide insight into bullying in the healthcare sector.