On July 1st 2015 ‘Jobactive’ replaces ‘Job Services Australia’ as the means for folk who are out of work to find employment.
A quick look at the recent purchasing results suggest that a number of previous JSA providers are sadly to become no more.
What did they do wrong?
The answer is; not much.
The measurement tool used by the funding body delivers scores across a range of results and throws up scores from 1-5 across a bell curve. Changing the players redistributes the remainder also across a bell curve and the ratio of results essentially remains the same so 5% will always be at the highest end of the score and 5% at the lowest with the bulk of results in the middle – in this instance 3 ‘Stars’.
There’s a lot of words used to justify this process and central to the argument is that the process differentiates between ‘high performing services’ and ‘poor performing services’ – the language is clearly designed to prejudice the casual reader against the latter.
It is difficult to imagine that employment service providers actually make much difference to the labour market in which they operate – employers are influenced by micro and macroeconomic events and policy but do not of themselves have the ability to overly change demand.
So the market for vacancies and placements equals XYZ and that’s the market and there you go – employment service providers may assist employers to access incentives, workplace modifications provide training to their clients to meet local labour market demand and not much more. It would be difficult to imagine a recession ending due to the efforts of even the ‘highest performing’ providers.
What about the unemployed users of such programs?
These are by definition, members of a marginalised group, ‘the unemployed’ and as such lack much access to the powers that determine their fate – they are generally poor or on their way to a poorer lifestyle, they are not necessarily going to be able to find their own employment (otherwise, for the reasons already noted, they would have), instead they are reliant upon service providers who operate in the market described above.
They may have made a choice and picked a provider they feel most able to meet their particular needs and the most disadvantaged amongst these, the long term unemployed frequently truly value the relationships they form with the staff at their chosen provider.
The employment service staff are also an important consideration in the process – many have decades of experience, long term relationships with job seekers and equally long term and valuable relationships with employers.
Despite noises to the contrary these workers do not simply migrate to new providers (and you rightly ask, if they did then the point about ‘higher performing services’ is surely questionable?). Instead they leave the industry, disillusioned and their experience is lost and has to be regained by the new provider.
The gap between the loss of knowledge and its recreation forms part of the ‘lost opportunity costs’ that bedevil employment provision – by the time the new ‘you beaut’ service picks up the staff required to service their new contract, train them, make themselves known to employers, settle in the required management practices etc… the possibility of genuine gains are lost.
These are the facts that the evidence supports – numbers of people placed into meaningful employment by providers remains at a fairly poor but consistent level and actually goes backward when these ‘improvements’ take place.
There are solutions and some have even been used in the past and shown to be effective.
The constant threat of essentially arbitrary business reallocation and loss of contract/employment needs to go. It can be replaced by a market driven response that rewards providers for actual outcomes that make a difference to the unemployed – if you can afford to stay in business on the basis of a bounty hunter system that only rewards actual outcomes then you should be allowed to do so; for profit, not for profit – anyone that actually makes a difference.
Letting the marketplace decide who stays and who goes will drive up the quality of service to both employers and the unemployed.
You can scroll back through previous blogs to see a range of suggestions for improvement that centre on one thing; putting the people that benefit from service, employers and the unemployed, at the heart of service delivery rather than the needs and ease of the system.
My commiseration to those providers and their staffs leaving the field, knowing you did nothing wrong is no consolation.
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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....
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In a world full of discouragement there’s always a space for good news....
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To be valuable, choice needs to be informed.
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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.
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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....
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The pernicious idea that 'quota's' might be the solution for disability employment continue:
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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)
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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....
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