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'.
Can people with disability be better serviced and can performance of DES providers make more of a difference through actual effort rather than changing the way statistics are captured?
Thankfully - yes!
However, that's never going to happen all the while present practice remains unchanged.
Significant improvement for service providers could be achieved through the creation of carrots as well as stick (the present 'carrot' is survival). DES providers get plenty of 'stick' - censure for slow response, recovery of funds for insufficient documentation.
The new contract has seen the addition of 2 extra staff just to keep up with 'reduced red tape' - the doublespeak that accompanies the onerous latest changes
Step 1: low cost incentives
Like an annual 'best performer' challenge, include a monthly update on overall performance measured against a transparent annual goal.
At present there are no numerical KPI's available that might suggest expected performance. Management 1:01 'how many by when?' is an alien concept. Rather what happens is retrospective punishment (the Star Ratings) that are too little, too late.
Step 2: Mutual Obligation
Reduce the pressure of financial penalties for job seekers deemed to be non-compliant.
The DSP is a poverty level payment, taking away what little people have, particularly for people as at risk as our fellow Australians with disabilities is, frankly 'Un-Australian' and worse, it doesn't work! Instead those with disability frequently are forced to accept their fate and do with even less than the pittance they subsist on.
Step 3: Gaming
Crack down on contract gaming (and do so quickly for goodness sake) The 8hr automatic benchmark for DSP recipients fails to recognise and encourage greater participation leaving people with a disability trapped in small hour part time employment on eth fringes of inclusion rather than protected in it's heart.
I am not the aharpest tool in the DES shed and so if I can identify opportunities to exploit minimums for maximum performance recognition you can bet others can to.
Step 4: Encourage better performance
Qualify providers against meaningful measures that make a difference in the lives of people with disability. Stuff that you think might count for people in receipt of the DSP; hours worked and wages earned don't count.
Ask me why the Australian workforce has become casualised!
14% of all jobs found by my organisation are as Apprentices and Trainees - great career development roles? Not of us, they don't count toward our Star Ratings because my staff go back to employers and develop the roles occupied by former job seekers and, since this didn't happen when the job was negotiated, they aren't included in any figures or as part of NOVA's performance.
This denies every party recognition and suggest people with disability are less capable than they in fact are.
And I could go on - but all of the things I have said are simply t
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