The justice directorate says it is improving its culture after an internal survey found staff are concerned about favouritism, harassment and bullying.
Although the results of staff surveys are closely-guarded by the ACT government, the justice directorate released some findings in its 2017 to 2019 strategic plan late last year.
Trends identified in the directorate’s survey included staff concerns about workplace bias, preparedness to speak-up against misconduct and confusion around areas of accountability.
“JACS is committed to improving its workplace culture, the results are reflective of the differences in culture reflected in the diverse nature of JACS function,” a directorate spokesman said.
The justice directorate includes ACT Corrective Services as well as the Emergency Services Agency.
On Monday the damning results of the ESA staff survey were leaked to The Canberra Times.
The survey revealed a "toxic workplace" inside ACT Fire and Rescue, with a culture of blame and little trust in the upper echelons of the Emergency Services Agency's senior management.
Similar concerns appear to have spread throughout other arms of the justice directorate.
“Some parts of the organisation actively choose to work in isolation or don’t see the value in identifying with any other part of the organisation,” JACS’ strategic plan read.
“There seems to be a lack of common purpose.”
JACS staff said there was a perception of a “lack of presence” of senior executives at the organisation’s coal face.
They also singled-out a lack of support for frontline managers and and the directorate's approach to under-performing staff.
“Misconduct processes and managing behaviour and performance in the organisation is a major issue,” the strategic plan read.
“Frontline managers are often not given the skills to manage people issues before they go into management roles.
“People are suffering change fatigue – changes often don’t seem to be planned and they seem to come from many directions/ sources.”
A spokesman for the justice directorate said feedback from corrections and emergency services staff was comparable to other jurisdictions.
“For example, the functions undertaken by corrections and emergency services by their very nature are high risk and staff operate within high-pressure environments, which can have an impact on organisational culture,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman also said that staff feedback related to favouritism and bullying had gotten better in recent years.
“The responses relating to favouritism, harassment and bullying have statistically improved over time, with nearly 10 per cent more employees reporting they felt free from bullying and harassment in the last survey, compared with the 2015 data.”
Only 93 of 341 ACT Fire and Rescue staff completed the survey in April and May last year, none of whom said they had a "high level of trust in senior management".
It also showed a continued deterioration in the fire brigade's "engagement culture", reaching the survey metric's poorest possible level of "blame plus", indicating staff believe the agency's "ship is rudderless" and fire and rescue staff experience a level of hopelessness that "verges on despair".
The next justice directorate staff survey will be undertaken in 2019.