I thought this morning I might have a bit of a rave about social inclusion and seeking a place to start, chose Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org). Type in 'social inclusion' and you will find yourself redirected to 'social exclusion', also a work in progress. Apart from suggesting that this might be a good place for readers to leave their mark, I was reminded that, around the world, while social exclusion is recognised as damaging for society, achieving inclusion is difficult - really hard if you don't talk about it!.
So, a pat on the back for the Federal government and www.socialinclusion.gov.au
The Rudd government appears to have made a genuine and significant commitment to reaching out to the most excluded members of Australian society and to those conditions, such as unemployment, that are a major cause of exclusion.
Now, in the context of an economic downturn, it is more important than ever to ensure that people with disability, the elderly, Indigenous Australians and people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness, have a place to turn in an environment that prevents folk falling through any cracks.
In an indication of the seriousness with which the government has approached the needs of disadvantaged groups a high level team of Ministers including the Prime Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, the Deputy Prime Minister, Ms Julia Gillard and Senator Ursula Stephens are tasked with the oversight and development of an integrated approach.
The social inclusion website is a great place to find out more about this vital subject.
Now, could it be improved?
My word. Take a look at: http://www.socialinclusion.gov.au/Pages/ResearchPapers.aspx
Anything much about disability, other than in the context of other disadvantaging conditions. We can do better than that surely? A good place to start would be a proper consideration of the role of the Disability Employment Network.
First question: In Australian society is it a good idea to have the employment of people who have a disability an opportunity for commercial profit, or a national safety net program that receives sufficient funds to care for X number of people?
There are merits to both pathway: If you have a for profit agenda organisations will be encouraged to utilise innovation and initiative to get as many people from welfare to taxpayer, motivated by the knowledge that they can improve their own financial standing in the process (economists have a name for this, which I forget, but it is essentially enlightened self-interest. The downside is that the most disadvantaged will not be as 'profitable' and will be left behind as the more readily employable are creamed off (sounds like an idea to increase social inclusion that would start off well, peaks and then fade).
If you have not for profit agenda (and I think the 'charitable' status of some organisations in disability employment is open to serious question) you aren't free of problems; charities by their nature will spend on the most disadvantaged so the cost can go up and the numbers can decline (sounds expensive and not easy to grow).
I have asked this question with an agenda - I believe that you can have both.
The Federal government is in the process of redesigning disability employment and has proposed 2 streams: essentially on-going need for support and short term assistance to find employment.
You can overlay the strengths of the for-profit and not for profit sectors with the 2 streams. The Minister might like to consider protecting what is now the capped program for some 50,000 people while opening up the remainder of DSP recipients to all providers of government employment services.
Next question: how could we afford it?
In the context of social inclusion we might better ask how can we not? but leaving that aside, here's a plan:
Don't pay for having people on the books, pay a fixed sum for results or pay according to reduction in pension receipts - If a $10k bounty was placed on the removal of a person on DSP into the role of taxpayer (after 6 months employment) NOVA would be in and I am sure the majority of employment service providers would also back themselves to succeed - you don't need a huge machine to monitor results, data is available from Centrelink and an annual audit would protect Commonwealth money from misuse.
New Minister - new ideas.
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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....
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.