One of the benefits of being in the same job within the disability sector for a fair while is that you get to see the intention and effect of reform.
I am of the belief that all government reform is driven by well intentioned and intelligent people. Which is what makes the parade of disaster inflicted upon disability employment services for the last 15 years so difficult to understand.
We have a budget coming up and by now the ink will be dry on government plans to reform (read 'cut') service delivery to the poorest and most disadvantaged members of Australian society.
I have no idea what this will mean for disability employment services (and they really need informed reform, which I will come back to) but I am alarmed by stuff like this:
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8237751: "Opposition assistant treasury spokesman Mathias Corman suggested a new coalition government would have been planning an even tougher budget in a repeat of 1996 when the Howard government slashed spending and programs".
The 1996 Howard government reforms to disability employment were disastrous and began a process that led Australian service provision from world's best to schmozzle. Real term funding cuts of more than 20%, blurring of eligibility, introduction of unnecessary and ideologically driven ‘competition’ reduced development, stifled innovation, began a process of ‘dumbing down’ and most importantly of all kept the most needy people from accessing employment.
Today’s DES program is filled with a mixture of people with profound barriers to work and, through a muddled referral process, many people whose level of disability includes ‘barriers’ that I am sorry to say are simply part of the human condition. Recognition through the Star ratings is rorted mercilessly by service providers driven either by the desire for access to significant profit or fear of personal loss of employment.
Here’s an factual example: During a recent employment round we interviewed a person presently working in a DES service. “tell us about your experience’ we said. “I can do the most important aspects of my job well, I am particularly good at job carving” came the reply.
Readers should understand that job carving is an important skill and allows us to take the parts of a job that a person with significant disability can do and separate these from those that they cannot.
Sadly that wasn’t what our potential recruit was talking about. What they meant was, I can take a job offer and persuade the employer to split a 38 hour a week position into 2, 3 or even 4 part time jobs.
Why would you do that?
It could be that the person simply can’t work full time as a direct effect of their disability or part time work might be the individual’s choice. In that case - great.
However, that’s not what our applicant was talking about. They were talking about an organizationally driven instruction to carve employment to ensure higher scores in the dreadfully ill considered, fatally flawed, obviously ludicrous “Star Rating’ system.
Under ‘Stars’ 1 is pretty much 1 and that 1 placement is the same (there are some loadings and the system appears to have seen some minor improvement and it’s still wrong, as I will show later) 2 beats 1, 3 dumps on 1 and 4, well that’s a whole new world of ‘performance’.
Forget the budget. DES programs can be reformed, driven back to innovation and allowed to thrive with simple reform.
Here it is: Allow DES programs to only accept DSP recipients. These folk have had their disability independently verified. Allow these people to register with as many DES providers as they feel might meet their need.
Pay DES services (well) for reduction in benefit in a sliding scale with all reduction recognized and earning sufficient to end benefits really well paid with annual bonus for folk that stay off benefit.
Confirm payment owed to DES program through Centrelink records of actual benefit reduction.
Forget all the ‘quality assurance rubbish inflicted by the funding bodies other than QA certification. Make a rule that 50% of all surpluses, including cumulative surplus, to be returned to the Commonwealth at the end of the financial year.
There would also need to be some underlying funding level sufficient to ensure doors stayed open (but that wouldn’t need to be high).
There you go – effective disability employment service reform in a 2 page document.
It won’t happen – we will have either a repeat of the draconian reform of 1996 or we’ll drop off the radar with no change at all or more paperwork and bureaucracy will be inflicted upon us.
Such is government .
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Your Comments Sarah Faith from Forster-Tuncurry wrote on 17 Apr 2011 12:11:03 PM Such an interesting article .... opened my eyes to some facts I had no idea about!
Looking forward to working with you very soon!
I'm giving fair warning of my intention to expose examples of the current DES-ESS contract's exploitation.
I have written to the Commonwealth expressing my concerns about clear manipulation of the present contract....
The new contract for Disability Employment Services (DES) will not bring performance improvement.
Government will scratch it's head, blame the economy, blame people with disability, talk about educating employers and spend money on consultations before coming to the conclusion that people with disability must meet more stringent 'mutual obligations'....
Each year, around about the International Day of People with a Disability (IDPwD) NOVA Employment holds a formal graduation for students that have participated in our pre-employment programs....
Profiting from poverty
Profiting from Poverty
I am genuinely horrified by this disaster: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/02/the-demerit-system-is-ruthless-social-policy-designed-to-keep-the-poor-powerless
I believe that we presently represent the job hopes of around 1500 people, in various stages of their progression to independent employment....
New Contract but no change!
New Contract but no change!
Today marks the first day of a new Disability Employment Service (DES) contract.
There are new players and new rules....
'It's nice to be busy' and 'busy is better than idle' and all of my mum's other sayings about work being good for you, and all of them said; we're drowning!
The administrative burden of a new Disability Employment Service contract (starts July 1st) and the mountains of paperwork required for an NDIS dollar (approximately 10X that of the former TTW program) has seen us add 3 extra staff to the admin team and we are still receiving a large volume of enquiries that are causing us some time delay in getting back to folk....
Podcasts I've been learning all about Podcasts (I suspect that this may be a long road!)
However, getting paid to be inspired is not the worst way to spend a Monday afternoon and that is just how my day has gone....
I am truly fortunate to work with the very best people in this great nation and we are truly lucky to be part of the best short film festival this side of anywhere!
"Focusonability" voting starts today and there is an even larger number of films (287) than last year....
On the money Sometime over the next week a new Disability Employment Service contract will be announced.
We are moving into a new world of greater consumer choice and greater mobility of job seekers....
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....