From memory our last Prime Minister copped significant flack for a seeming desire to return to a previous better time in Australia's history (if I recall correctly, somewhere in the fifties).
Our present government appears hell bent on a similar course to the possible loss of a most valuable resource: Australia's Disability Employment Network.
Quick history lesson:
Once upon a time people who had a disability couldn't access the Commonwealth Employment Service (a 'one-stop shop' and the only national program to assist unemployed people into work). People with a disability received the 'invalid' pension (play around with where you put the emphasis in that word and you'll get an idea of my direction).
Along can the Hawke government with a most enlightened Minister and a reform agenda that included empowering people with disability.
The 1986 Disability Services Act was passed and opportunity for participation became available to 'invalids'. Not initially through the CES but through small community based programs that specifically targeted those most in need. There came to be many small specialist programs with expertise, often shared freely, in specific areas, disability type and need.
Unfortunately an 'industry' was also born.
The Hawke government becomes the Keating government and moves are made toward the privatisation of employment services.
1986 - 1996 Disability employment in Australia grows and develops a unique innovative response to consumer needs
1996 The Howard government is elected and turns the delivery of employment services over largely to the private sector (incidentally and for transparency), I made some money out of this for which I was and am most grateful).
The Howard government stick it to disability employment programs and pull the guts out of the funding available.
The net effect is to reduce the numbers and level of disability that can be effectively assisted.
2006. The Howard government turn to the government (theirs and previous) created disaster of the former Invalid Pension now the Disability Support pension (governments of both persuasion used DSP as a parking place for long term unemployed persons) in which some 720,000 people have been placed.
The small 'industry' of disability employment is moved from the person focused Department of Family & Community Services to the compliance focused Department of Employment & Workplace Relations.
DEWR seek to come to terms with their new charge through the application of the same processes used in the private 'for profit' Job Network.
An incalculable amount of time, energy and resource is spent ensuring compliance.
Additional programs (Vocational Rehabilitation Services) are added and opportunities exist for service expansion. This, coupled with high employment, attracts for profit players into the disability 'industry'.
Despite the best efforts of organisations involved in the delivery of service participation drops by almost 10,000 persons.
2007 The Rudd Government is elected and a New Minister is appointed (Brendan O'Connnor).
Nothing much changes.
The 'Star Ratings', a use free nonsense that bear little application to fact, are slated for use in the growth and distribution of future employment places.
Quick break and a question or 2 for my critics: If the Star Ratings are so good, why scrap them? If they stink, why use them? If the Star ratings are so hot, how come they don't have a measure to acknowledge junior rates? Surely this penalises those programs that work with younger job seekers (like NOVA!)?
The Job Network is put up for tender and replaced with Job Services Australia.
The process is designed to simplify the administration of the programs funded by DEEWR and results in 'one-stop shops' through which taxpayers funds are provided to a progressively smaller number of players. DEEWR craft their responses to the outrage that follows the loss of perfectly good programs and their replacement with new and overseas programs.
2009 DEEWR flag the replacement of the Disability Employment Network through a 2 stage tender process.
What does the future hold?
Unless we speak out against this nonsense the world beating Australian Disability Employment Network will be assimilated into giant employment conglomerates with little or no interest in the individual needs of job seekers.
For what it is worth my opinion is that this government is unable to rein its super-Department in. The process grinds forward following an economic rationalist agenda set a decade ago.
The Minister (O'Connor) has just moved on and a new man (Mark Abib) appointed - we'll need to wait and see whether he's capable of halting this madness or not.
It looks to me like we are heading for a pre 1986 world at high speed.
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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.
NOVA needs you - come and join us
NOVA needs You!!
Wednesday 2nd November
Short notice (so really appreciate sharing) and we are holding an information session for potential new workers in a variety of roles within NOVA....
Yet again! Somewhere there is a definition of lunacy that runs along the lines of 'lunacy is when you do something the same way and expect a different result'
Today some of Australia's disability employment services will learn whether they will be allowed to continue to deliver their programs or whether they are to be replaced....