As a person with a disability so far I have had no say – and neither has (virtually) anybody else amongst Australia’s community of people with disability (Here I should acknowledge the work of my colleagues at Breakthru who clearly informed and encouraged their clients to make comment on the process – they were almost universally opposed).
The Government supports social inclusion; its services appear not to. There has been very little consultation with the people disability employment services are aimed at. Incidentally, surely their voices should have more weight than those of a service provider (and I include myself amongst the vested interests)?
I like stories or allegories; so here’s one: Yesterday I went to a sandwich shop and bought a sandwich. I had a choice of fillings and chose one that suited me. My choice was based on my wants and needs and was an informed choice (I have to eat less and I have to eat more healthily!).
The shopkeeper brought me a salad sandwich, but this wasn’t any sandwich. It was fabulous, the bread was fresh, the salad similarly so. In short my sandwich met and exceeded my expectation. This was a 5 star sandwich.
Under the present disability employment service star ratings my experience would have been somewhat different:
The shopkeeper would have taken my order, ignored my choice, chosen my sandwich and he would have been micro-managed on the speed with which he did so. Having decided for me the next ‘key performance indicator would have been the time it took for him to get me whatever he felt I needed (want’s abandoned!).
Next, the speed of delivery of the plate.
Finally, the meal! But it doesn’t have to be what I wanted or needed – half a sandwich is fine, sharing sandwiches encouraged! A quarter of a sandwich counts, the crust will do and, should it be only crumbs and a wilted bit of greenery I am supposed to count myself lucky!
Except I don’t. It’s not right that government and service providers make choices for the people that receive service with little or no consultation.
If I become unemployed here’s what I want: I want a service that is tailored to meet my needs and these, first and foremost are employment that pays my bills without the need for government subsidy. I have managed this for my whole life and I don’t want to hand that capacity away.
Ensure it is in the interests of service providers to get people that have a disability off the pension and away from benefits wherever that is desired and/or possible. Remuneration on the basis of reduced pension is easy to achieve, can be verified by Centrelink and removes the need for excessive bureaucracy)
Insist upon the inclusion of the wishes of service users into the decision making processes of employment services (there’s a thought!)
Start with the assumption that every person is capable of work and wants to work and do not penalise service providers on the basis of the time taken to achieve that result (speed to placement is a perverse disincentive to take on people with more profound disability)
Create a climate of stability and clear direction, rather than rule by fear and confusion.
I could go on (and do!)
When I come into a sandwich shop I want the meal I order and am delighted when my expectations are exceeded. I don’t want what the shop owner thinks I need and I certainly am not interested in the opinion of his landlord.
Australian Disability Employment Services used to be amongst the best in the world. They (and I include NOVA) have slipped down international rankings and are now amongst the world’s least effective. The proposed purchasing program will accelerate and institutionalise that placement.
Common sense and self-interest should stop the rot. My last post included the recommendations of a recent Senate inquiry into disability employment purchasing – let’s hope that some of them are listened to.
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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....