There is a stench of corruption hanging over Australia’s employment services and that smell taints disability employment programs too.
That’s a shame because our Disability Employment Services used to be first class; world leaders in innovation, our dedicated workers looked for new and better ways to help some of our most disadvantaged citizens find meaningful work.
Along the development pathway we learned that there were certain things (a dozen or so) essential for success and that for long term employment the majority weren’t optional.
For many years DES programs have been under the worst of pressures a tight employment environment, a funding body that has not been committed to much more than ensuring it’s own tail was covered in the prevention of possible fraud.
Added to the mix was a group of ‘for-profit’ providers touted as the answer to the easy going NFP sector that had dominated service delivery.
Any fool could see that a for-profit mentality would put the acquisition of profit before service users – any fool!
However, that wasn’t noticed, instead ‘for profits’ were touted as the salvation of the industry, the bright way forward for people with disability and the old programs were either closed or relegated to ‘boutique’ status.
The core elements for success were forgotten on a road to ‘higher performing’ service provision.
This has been a sham and a nonsense.
Now that’s all come undone with both non and for profit providers clearly shown as thieves – exploiting misery for personal wealth and diddling taxpayers out of millions of dollars while they destroyed hope for thousands of Australians.
Complicit in their actions have been the funding bodies who rewarded the actions of cheats with better ‘Star Ratings’ and more business, in so doing driving decent skilled programs and individuals from the industry and thereby compounding the loss of opportunity for people with disability.
I am happy to share my repeated warnings with anyone who wants to see them, these span more than a decade and predict with sad accuracy the present morass.
What to do?
Immediate action is vital – don’t waste time in admitting the error (once done we can all move on) and creating an environment that recognises there are certain things that must be delivered if long term meaningful employment is the goal.
You can sanction programs that don’t provide post placement support. You must separate training providers from programs that deliver employment outcomes, the funding model needs to free people from becoming the property of a sole provider.
It takes about $14,000 (on average) to properly place a person with disability into a full time job – stop penalising providers that take this option – hold them up as heroes instead (in the present environment they are just that).
Try to entice back the disillusioned but so important ‘true believers’ and don’t allow untrained and unskilled staff to further damage members of a marginalised and vulnerable group.
And so I can go on….
It’s time for us to get our government to listen, to acknowledge the lost direction, take the time to listen to what’s needed and then move back to person centred service delivery that actually puts the interests of people with disability first.
Four Corners has correctly shown the state of play – well done and now let’s act to regain trust and credibility.
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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.