The Honourable Kate Ellis MP is the person responsible for funding of disability employment services. Can you see what’s wrong with the following:
Kate says, “We will continue to enlist the services of existing expert providers under the Disability Employment Services Employment Support Service that are performing at the highest 4 and 5 Star levels. They will be assured of continued funding through to 2015.
Those that are only performing at average (3 Star) or lower levels will be invited to demonstrate their capacity through a procurement process that will be open to other providers. To support providers in preparing for this transition, the existing contract for providers will be extended by 8 months to conclude in March 2013”
That’s right, you've guessed it – there’s no thought to the consequences of the actions indicated above.
This announcement will affect 86% of the people currently serviced by Disability Employment Services. The method used for determining performance is fatally flawed since, as any thinking person would realise there is no actual definition of what constitutes ‘performance’ and the measurement is on a forced scale that means no matter how good every service is approximately 85% can’t be 4 or 5 star services (since ‘performance’ is measured against all other providers).
What does this announcement achieve?
It creates uncertainty for job seekers and sets service providers in a mad race to ensure they are not required to take part in a procurement process. In its present form this process results in the widespread rorting that took place prior to the last tender process. Practices included job carving, creaming and skimming that meant job seekers lost out (and so did the Commonwealth – which is taxpayers like you and me).
An example, and I use a fictitious family restaurant chain that’s completely unlike any presently operating in this country: McBurgerjacks.
A DES provider approaches McBurgerjacks in Western Sydney, simultaneously; in Eastern Sydney another DES provider approaches their local MBJ’s store. The pitch is the same; we have people interested in working in your place, what have you got? Both MBJ’s managers say, ‘a full time position for a keen hard worker’. The DES providers then differ;
Service A brings along their client Dave, who is interviewed, gets the job and begins to work 38 hours a week. As a result Dave is able to get off the pension, spends enough time at work to develop meaningful relationships, and begins to play an active roll in his community as taxpayer and consumer. MBJ’s get a subsidy for the first 3 months of Dave’s employment.
Service B says to MBJ’s hey we have 4 people who would each like to work 8 hours a week – we’ll give you 4 x the job start subsidy and you’ll be helping 4 times the number of people. MBJ’s buys in (it’s costing them exactly nothing), Mandy, Mavis, Margaret and Igor start work, they don’t earn enough to reduce their pension, nor do they spend sufficient time at the store to either develop their careers or build real friendships.
Which service is performing better?
You guessed it, service B gets the ‘Stars’. If they really want to get ahead they rotate the workers out after 4 months or so, maximising their return, making the employer feel good and making an absolute fortune out of the process.
Recently I introduced a change in the way NOVA Employment recognises internal performance. I made a rule that no work under 15 hours a week would count toward staff incentive and work recognition. We still get some 8-15 hour a week positions and I accept that for some workers such time is sufficient. However, NOVA wants each person that comes to us to participate to the greatest extent possible. However, following this decision the number of small, part time jobs dropped dramatically while the number of positions obtained continued to grow. I appreciate my staff getting behind my decision and I would like to acknowledge their skill in ensuring the best possible outcome for people with disability.
Now we need a Minister that’s prepared to do the same. Stop the silly wasteful procurement process that has seen so much damage done to eth career hopes of people with disability. Bring in a fair system that licences employment services and allows consumers choice in their service provider. Let the market decide who gives good service, create an environment in which ‘quality’ can thrive on its own merits and the unworthy are allowed to sink.
Before I finish and on a more practical note – every contract, lease, rental and deal NOVA has is tied to 30th June 2012 – changing the date to give us time is most unwelcome, wasteful and ill considered. This Minister’s decision will result in cost and an administration burden that reduces the services available to job seekers. It certainly won’t improve them.
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Your Comments Sarah Faith from Forster-Tuncurry wrote on 10 Jul 2011 7:37:47 AM Welcome back. Even though we haven't met yet!
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'....
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Profiting from poverty
Profiting from Poverty
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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!
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"Focusonability" voting starts today and there is an even larger number of films (287) than last year....
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Making a tough job tougher!
Making a tough job tougher
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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....
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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....
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"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
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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....
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