On the 14th of this month the following press release was sent to our media:
“Delivering quality and stable employment services for people with disability”
The release came from the relevant ministers; The Hon Bill Shorten MP - Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation and The Hon Kate Ellis MP - Minister for Employment Participation, Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care.
The press release says in part:
“Today the Australian Government released the Disability Employment Services Star Ratings – which reveal the services that are performing well and those that need to improve.
These March quarter Star Ratings will be used as a basis to determine, which service providers will be required to re-bid for their existing business later this year.
Services performing at the 4 and 5 star level will not be required to re-tender but will be given the opportunity to expand and assist more job seekers in new areas”.
Full copy: http://ministers.deewr.gov.au/shorten/delivering-quality-and-stable-employment-services-people-disability
There are 2 problems.
1. The first is that the Star Ratings are a deeply flawed instrument and will be unceremoniously dumped after new business is awarded.
The Star Ratings distribute results in a bell curve and so, while the difference between program A and program B might be minor, their Star Rating might be significantly different.
If you replaced 80% of the present program providers with the 20% presently achieving 4 or 5 stars then 6 months later you will still have 80% of the new programs achieving 3 stars or less and you could repeat the exercise for ever and always have the same result.
2. In order to escape loss of business and qualify for expansion programs resort to tactics like this:
8 hours or more weekly – 100% wage subsidy at 13 and 26 weeks (up to $4160 total subsidy)
15 hours or more weekly – 100% wage subsidy at 13 and 26 weeks (up to $7800 total subsidy)*
* you can write me and I will send copies of the advertising.
The 13 and 26 week marks are milestones at which data is collected. There's little negative effect upon a programs Star Rating if the participant ends work at 26 weeks and 1 day. The 8 and 15 hour marks are generally the minimum for measurement of an outcome. Finding a person who has a disability a 38 hour a week job offers service providers little incentive. The reward is in plenty of small efforts - break a 40 hour a week job into 5 X 8 hours and you get 5 times the payments and a significantly improved Star Rating.
Smartly thought through, tactics like these skew the Star Ratings and appears to present programs as ‘high performers’ when all they’ve done is temporarily distort the marketplace. These are tactics that disadvantage small business owners who do not accept the offer of free labour and they set up people who have a disability to fail - presenting them not on their inherent worth, but on the basis of either object of pity or burden of charity.
This same system then lets large foreign owned ‘for profits’ take the profits they have acquired overseas.
I appreciate I am a dinosaur. That I need to accept the changes, I need to go with flow and generally stop making a fuss and no – it is simply wrong to exploit the misery of those in systemically imposed poverty.
Quality used to be measured in terms of level of participation (hours worked) wages earned and independence from welfare. These are surely the truest measure of achievement.
What would be even worse would be to keep quiet.
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Your Comments Allan from Melbourne wrote on 16 May 2012 4:03:50 PM
I was involved in disability employment programs immediately after the DSA came into effect. The original idea was to work with the most disadvantaged job seekers - the wording is still the same, it is the emphasis that has changed, from most DISADVANTAGED to MOST disadvantaged - more people and a decline in the support for the most deserving.
Nancy from Manly wrote on 21 May 2012 9:36:08 AM I don't want to work 8 hours a week - I want more money and I can work more. Maybe I can't work full time but I would like to try - can NOVA call me please?
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....