Almost half of people with a disability in Australia are living in or near poverty, making Australia the worst in the developed world.
A report by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), published last week, also found that Australians with a disability were half as likely to be employed as people without a disability. Australia is ranked 21st out of 29 developed nations in this category
We weren’t always hopeless, we weren’t always near the bottom and there is absolutely no reason we need to sink further.
However, we do need a change in direction and attitude if people with disability are to be given a real chance at improving their financial position through employment.
20 years ago we were ranked about 3rd or 4th in our employment outcomes - that time has passed and since 1996 we have been on a slope that has led us to be motherless last in terms of disability related poverty and amongst the world’s losers (21 out of 29) for employment participation.
What’s even more frightening is that our present government is hell bent on seeing us slide further down the ladder! The proposal to ‘shake-up’ disability employment will not help us improve it will significantly worsen our position.
I won’t drone on about my experience and qualifications rather I will use yours – in your experience have you ever seen any person or organisation consistently act against their own interests?
The obvious answer is no – another way of putting it would be to say you get what you reward.
That’s why there are so many casual and part time jobs and why participation amongst people who have significant disability is worsening – because these are exactly the results government rewards. Funding for disability employment services actually reduces the chances of particpation in a job that actually pays all bills.
Here’s an example: Our Hurstville team, under the management of Phil Duren have consistently obtained full, or close to full time positions for their job seekers. Phil’s ‘Star Rating’ (what a sick joke) steadily worsens, despite the fact that the majority of his service’s workers achieve financial independence.
Phil is measured against his competitors locally and they have wised up. Job splitting (taking a single job and breaking it into 2, 3, 4 or even 5 minimal hour jobs is either (at best) winked at or actively encouraged since the number crunchers can say; “we improved from x to y number of employment outcomes”.
The other appalling result of the present system has been a move toward creaming the most able amongst the disabled and moving them to the front of the queue.
Job splitting and creaming plus an environment that has seen disability employment services move from a cooperative group that shared ideas and innovation are what has caused our decline – the proposed purchasing process will seal the lid on the coffin of competitive employment.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Reward financial independence and/or a reduction in Centrelink benefits – tie service funding to genuine outcomes and reward levels of participation, not participation. – This need not be audited by the overwhelmingly complex system that ‘manages’ DES programs – tie data to Centrelink payment, they know and show what’s happening.
License any organisation that wishes to participate and remove the stupid geographic boundaries that deny service users choice and on that point, let them register with as many providers as they may wish.
That’ll do it.
Can’t be done?
Well it was before and we were in the top 5. If we continue with ‘can’t be done’ we’ll stay bottom 5 and deservedly so.
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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....