We know we have this role in our schools, but what exactly is a contact officer? Though not defined by law, our EBA describes contact officers as “designated and trained people charged with the responsibility for providing support and information”, the QHRC further describes the contact officer role as “a reasonable step to manage and prevent unacceptable workplace behaviours, and help employees make choices about how to seek resolution if they believe they are experiencing unfair treatment”. The role of the contact officer is separate to the role of the VSC trainer, though the same person may fulfill both of roles concurrently at some schools.
To be effective in their roles, contact officers should:
- have an understanding and knowledge of relevant laws, the EBA, policies, procedures and options available for resolution (in the school context);
- be comfortable holding interviews and discussions with staff around conflict and conflict resolution;
- have good interpersonal and communication skills, including active listening; and
- be able to remain impartial and maintain confidentiality.
LEQ offers initial and refresher training for LEQ school Contact Officers, covering the above, annually. Our training course for this year is being held at Milton on Tuesday 16 August.
To safeguard against potential conflicts of interest, it is recommended that schools have a minimum of two contact officers.
Chief Risk and Compliance Officer