My relationship with the previous Minister for Disability Employment (a woman called Kate Ellis) was problematic.
I wrote Minister Ellis the following (towards the end of 2012):
“The incoming programs have little real knowledge of disability and no commitment to an agenda of social inclusion – they are not interested in anything beyond easy results and on-site post placement support (essential for the least able) is either simply not provided or limited to initial assistance”.
Cutting out the spare words in Ms Ellis’s reply, I was politely told to shove it.
How could the process be wrong?
The math was/is faultless!
- Absolutely, can’t argue it, the problem is that the whole thing was set-up for another purpose than that of properly offering meaningful employment to people with disability.
Surely not Martin?
‘Fraid so and here’s the proof: Employment Outcomes down by 16%.
Maybe not so bad?
Let’s think about it.
100 people under the old more caring system gained better employment outcomes. Under the better, you beaut system presided over by the previous Minister, that number is now 84 – this requires a 20% improvement just to restore things to the way they were.
The present contract holders are not capable of this level of improvement.
But wait, there’s more (and sorry, no steak knives)
The level of participation amongst the reduced number of workers is even worse
15.6% all placements amongst disability employment services are less than 8hrs a week, a further 29% get less than 15hrs a week. 31% of all workers in such program are employed for between 15 and 29 with 21% working for more than 30hrs a week*.
That’s pathetic and a damning reflection of ‘the race to the bottom ‘ I predicted in this blog less than 2 years ago.
What’s to be done?
Remove the people that can’t aim high – measure ‘outcomes’ on the level of participation achieved not a simple yes/no (which is what presently happens and I know it sounds incredible and is clearly wrong but there you go – that’s how it is.
Having removed the contract ‘gamers’ and the artificially constructed barriers to participation let the aspiration and ability of people with disability restore things to where they were and then let’s press on from there.
Ask people with disability what they need (remember when we used to do this), listen and act on the wishes of the programs recipients rather than the programs administrators.
Make the ‘Star Ratings’ about hours and wages ‘cos these are what counts.
*Source: Evaluation of Disability Employment Service 2010-2013 (Final Report)
NOVA hrs (average all sites)
0-7 = 0
8-14 = 14.7%
15-29 = 50.1%
30+ = 35.2%
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