There's rumours of a shake-up in the Job Active program - word is, the program isn't making a real difference and employers don't like it!
There's plenty of evidence to suggest that, despite the best intent of Government and funding body, the Disability Employment Service (DES) is similarly in the doldrums.
Should we be surprised?
Not with even a casual evaluation.
I should state that while I have been involved with Job Active (or its predecessors) and DES for 30 years, my experience is largely DES centred.
Back to performance.
Consider the management principle you get what you measure.
If I hold an employment services contract, whatever the target group, I will be subject to audit. Under review will be a range of outcomes and my performance will be judged against that of other competing organisations - for all providers and all contracts this is very much a live or die measure centred on a 1 Star to 5 Stars 'Star Rating' program.
Star Ratings are published every 6 months.
You can look up an organisations 'Star Rating' with the idea that you will then choose a provider on respective merit (nobody does!).
Despite pleading for many years minimum outcomes gain the same kudos as maximum outcomes. For people on the DSP an 8 hour a week job = a 38 hour a week job, complete financial independence counts for nothing, manufactured positions are rewarded.... And so it goes.
The introduction of 'for profit' providers created dramatic change as community based NfP's were outperformed in a shake-up that improved numbers of participants and numbers of outcomes. The creators of the changes must have been justifiably delighted.
Whether these changes made any real difference in the lives of people with disability is more contentious.
Take for example recognition of Apprenticeships and Traineeships. There is recognition in the Star Ratings for A&T placements (5%) so worth chasing IF.... Those positions are taken up from day 1.
Reality check program designers, employers don't say come here young person with a disability and start your apprenticeship. They say, start work by all means and IF you work out we might think about your indenture'.
NOVA does dozens of these each month for which we get precisely nothing, we can live with it and it's a shame that the achievements of people with a disability can't be better recognised?
A 'For Profit' provider simply wouldn't chase A&T's - effectively denying strong foundation job outcomes to their clients. I don't hold them responsible, they are doing what they were created for - rewarding their owners and shareholders.
Wondered about the casualisation of the workforce?
Why so many part-time and casual jobs - never used to be that way?
What is rewarded in present contracts? - Achieving a benchmark set by Centrelink that says if you get this bloke 8, 15, 23 hours a week you get a full outcome.
So if you can get an employer to break a job into 2 x 15 you get 2 x full outcome payments.
Better yet, get 5 people on DSP (so minimum automatic 8hrs per week) to handle a full time position 1 day a week each you get 5 x the payments and Star Rating recognition.
Over the next few days while things are quiet I will continue on this theme and propose some sensible changes that could make a real difference - in the meantime are you surprised the system is not well thought of?
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