In the over 20 years I have been involved with vocational programs for people who have a disability there have been many changes in emphasis and direction and, in attempts to meet these, a wide range of demands placed upon service providers.
These shifts have required a diversion of funds and while some have been fairly cheap in compliance, others have been tremendously expensive. The present trend is to move specialist employment agencies such as NOVA towards the generalist Job Network’s model of quality measurement, the Star Rating System. To get there we are being asked to achieve several Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).
It’s not the place of this document to make comment on either the present KPI’s or the Star Rating System. However it should be stated that it is the author’s belief that the ignorance and imperatives that drive them are presently reducing the number of options available to people who have a disability and pose a genuine risk to the future of specialist employment services across Australia.
If I have a hope it is that the values collectively held dear by those dinosaurs that remain committed to open and supported employment will eventually overcome these present trends as they have past errors.
What then are those values?
They are the values of choice and control, of participation and integration, of the intrinsic value of each person and their individual right to participate in employment with and within the rest of Australian society.
At NOVA Employment we believe absolutely that:
1. Each person and every member of Australian society has an intrinsic right to employment: It doesn’t matter how ‘disabled’ the individual is, or the nature of their disability, every person has both the capability and the right to work.
2. Each person that comes to us has primacy in their choices for employment, in the services they receive and the level of support that is provided to them. We believe choosing your job is the first step to enjoying your job.
3. Career satisfaction is dependent upon control, determining an appropriate level of assistance and support to maintain employment is a pre-requisite for long term job retention.
4. We believe that this employment should be within the community in which the person lives, in a normal business with wages and entitlements equal to non-disabled co-workers employed in the same position and carrying out the same work.
5. Service providers must look at aspiration and ability first and focus on individual strengths and skills rather than classifying options on the basis of impairment or deficit.
6. Integration into the social fabric of a workplace is a vital accompaniment to employment and that services should ensure such support as part of their vocational programs. And finally,
7. We believe that, since traditional employment services have largely failed people with disability, NOVA must adapt and change the methods it uses to meet each persons needs rather than impose a system of product upon service users.
These are the values that underpin our service delivery.
These values were with us before ‘Stars’ and artificial KPI’s.
These values are more noble than compliance checks and audits - they transcend such. These values were with us before the Disability Service Standards and while the Standards might compliment our values, it is our values that will ensure our success.
These are the values that sit well with us and that we believe are right for the people who access our services. They'll be with us after 'Stars' and holding to them is the best 'KPI' we could ever give.
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Making a tough job tougher!
Making a tough job tougher
It isnt easy to get a decent job and its harder to do so if you have a disability.
NOVA employs around 190 people, an effective and experienced team who are able to draw upon a staff of highly skilled trainers and a support program honed over almost 30 years and tens of thousands of participants....
Your Work There was never any doubt in my mind that I would work. My dad told me I would work and there wasn't ever a suggestion that my future held an alternative option....
Not so bad! Taken from: Today's Guardian at 4.09pm Tuesday 7th November 2017:
In a world full of discouragement there’s always a space for good news....
The NDIS mantra is 'choice and control'
To be valuable, choice needs to be informed.
Average Sydney Disability Employment Services placement rates are 34....
It's voting time at "Focusonability" - with a record number of films entered, a tremendous effort by more than 100 High Schools and 19 countries competing in the International section it was always going to be a hard job to pick a winner....
Choice & Control
The NDIS slogans around choice and control demonstrate the importance of consumer involvement in both the choice and control of supports they need.
However, in order to be valuable, choice needs to be informed by accurate data such is this: http://www....
Last week (14-16) it was my privilege to attend the 1st World Supported Employment Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
"Employment for All - A Global Perspective" brought workers from around the globe (primarily Europe) to discuss best practice in supported employment....
Quality and the Stars Quality and the Stars
There have probably been few people more openly critical of the Disability Employment Service (DES) Star Ratings than me.
The Stars, ranging from 1 to 5 are supposed to give some insight into whether a service is a poor or high performing program....
Attended the Disability Employment Australia (DEA) forum in Canberra. THis is a regular get together that offers disability employment services tha chance to be kept up to date from our funding body and also listed to expert speakers on topics associated with the goal of seeing as many people as possible find and keep suitable employment....
NOVAs greatest asset is its staff. I suspect you would struggle to find the CEO of any organisation state their staff are not vital and at the core of business reputation and results....
A corner turned?
We are presently holding events to promote employment for people with disability - nor surprise there, that's our job.
What has been a surprise is the willingness of employers to come along and listen and more importantly, to consider adopting inclusive employment practices across their organisations....
Say No to Quotas!
The pernicious idea that 'quota's' might be the solution for disability employment continue:
Faced with the daunting task of improving the number of employment outcomes with out sacrificing the quality of service delivered to people with disability how have we fared (sort of Year in Review II)?
The number of placements made has seriously improved - up 31% in 2015 and a further 14% in 2016, NOVA operates at at rate of placement better than 150% over 2014!
Whats really exciting is that this has been achieved without compromising on the level of disability that can be supported by NOVA's teams (if anything this has risen)....
Famous last words!
O.K. - sorry that you need to cut and paste: http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/100-million-payday-for-1anhour-staff-with-disabilities-20161216-gtcius....
Not sure if this will be my last blog post for 2016 but just in case, a quick look back at 2016:
Best ever year for total number of placements
Best ever year for long term employment outcomes
Best ever year for Apprenticeships and Traineeships
Best ever year for Transition to Work outcomes
Best ever year for media coverage
Best ever year for 'Focusonability'
Best ever year for Transition to Work (TTW)
How about 2017?
Looking good, so stay in touch and have a terrific holiday, be safe and hopefully Santa will bring you all that you wish for....
Choice is only of value when it's informed (written about this here previously)
I have the numbers for disability employment services (DES-ESS) up till 30th June this year and I am delighted to see that NOVA is responsible for almost 25% of all employment lasting 6 months or more (28 providers) and almost as many as next 2 providers combined....
The NDIS held out hope and promise to people with a disability, the opportunity to exercise choice and control and was heralded as the answer to the prayers of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens....
Latest 'Stars' The effectiveness of Australian Disability Employment Services is recognised through a system called the 'Star Ratings'.
6 years ago NOVA was amongst the lower performing providers in Sydney, at least as measured through the Star's,
Regular readers will be aware of my unhappiness with things that I think are important to people with disability - stuff like, wages earned, hours worked etc....
Best Show on TV Morning All
Sorry you need to cut and paste: http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/802326595536/focus-on-ability-film-festival-2016
Best show on TV - bar none and, if you want to skip my bit I get off at 3:10 and you can get straight to some of the truly terrific films from this year's "Focusonability" short film festival....
Reform There is a review of Disability Employment Services and presently consideration is being given to what might best replace the current program.