The present state of disability employment service in Australia is poor and sadly, there seems little prospect of positive change in the near future.
Here’s a brief synopsis:
The contract for the provision of service is deeply flawed and gaming behaviours have been positively rewarded (and still are).
Many ‘5 Star’ sites simply buy outcomes by offering a 100% subsidy for the period required to achieve time in work ‘milestones’.
This is possible because ‘benchmark hours’, a nominal indicator of a person’s capacity to participate in work are as low as 8hrs a week in employment (8hrs a week x 26weeks @ $20ph = $4160).
The minimum payments the service provider can expect are approximately double this.
Service providers are encouraged to break full time positions to part time roles maximising the financial gain for their organisation while driving their ‘Star Rating’ upward.
Traditional services prior to this nonsense would have been driven by the goal of ensuring maximum participation and consequently aimed high, securing less numerical outcomes but maximising the independence of people with disability.
Redistribution of market share and a ‘participation’ driven purchasing process have seen an exodus of skilled staff, the cessation of innovation and a denial of service to people with more significant disability.
The workers in this ‘industry’ are under constant and real threat of losing their jobs and service unless they perform. The ‘performance’ is NOT maximum participation, rather it is maximum participants.
It requires very strong philosophical commitment and much nerve to resist the pressure that comes from the funding body to get as many people as humanly possible into any sort of job rather than meeting their individual needs and aspiration.
This is a personal viewpoint: Amongst the creators of the present system there appears to be an ingrained lack of belief in the ability of people with disability to succeed or fully participate in work.
Creaming (the practice of placing the most able into work) has reduced the participation of people with more significant disability – comment from this weeks DEA conference, ‘when was the last time you saw someone with Down’s syndrome in a DES outlet’?!
Making real change, ensuring full participation and aiming high to challenge participants are historical fact, but currently absent.
Don’t agree? – that’s cool and you might like to send me evidence to support your belief.
I can show you that overall placements continue to reduce (the ‘cream’ may have been creamed!), 13 and 26 week ‘outcomes are falling, people with genuine disability are either being excluded or abandoned to the tokenism of 6 months created work that neither improves their independence of highlights their true value and contribution.
One final fact: NOVA’s average hours in employment continue to be significantly higher than the national average and more than 20% of all participants either very significantly decrease their reliance on welfare or achieve total financial independence – I believe I am correct in stating the national average is 4% (on this I am running on memory and open to correction).
I think we may have a decent Minister in Mitch Fifield.
Mitch; open challenge that’s easy to run – post the financial independence results achieved for every disability employment service provider alongside the ‘Star’ Ratings offer a trophy for and promote the end of 2015 ‘most independent workers (as a percentage of total caseload)’.
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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.
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....