“Prior to implementing these proposals, the Department undertook extensive industry consultation...”
Excellent; and a collaborative approach is generally best.
However, something that seems to have disappeared over the past decade or so is the genuine involvement of service recipients – the folk that are on the pointy end of programs like NOVA.
Each week I would speak with many job seekers and the general impression I get from those discussions is people with disability want a job they enjoy, work that challenges them, a role allows for career development. These things are generally described as being full time, certainly at award wage and in conditions identical to those of people who do not have a disability.
Surely it is people with disability that should decide the type nature and aims of the programs that are designed to support them?
In times past, performance indicators (shaped by people with disability) included stuff like; not counting employment as having started until any subsidy had finished, a minimum of 15 hours employment per week and incentives and rewards for full time employment.
Service users could choose their provider, register with multiple providers, be in a sheltered workshop and registered with an open employment service, be at school (but wishing to leave if a full time job became available and so on.
Key Performance Indicators decided by people with a disability and in their interests.
The clock rolls on.
Can you be in ‘employment’ and have your wage entirely paid for by a service provider?
Yes, I’m reliably told employers are presently being offered a contract that subsidies wages for a period of 30 weeks (this time period meets the funding bodies KPI – 26 weeks – and escapes the ‘contrived employment’ check).
Are short hour positions common?
Are they what! Casual and limited (all you have to achieve for many job seekers is 8 hours employment to get similar rewards as full time work) hour employment abound.
Can service users choose?
Maybe, if they dance around, rant and rave and generally make themselves difficult – the majority are led wherever they may be taken.
People in receipt of the Disability Support Pension are generally disenfranchised, voiceless and ill informed of their options. That’s not their fault and they shouldn’t be disempowered. There is a general lack of understanding of the fragility of their position and the availability of advice is limited.
This needs to change and KPI’s for disability employment services aligned with consumer wishes not meaningless numerical targets – ‘participation’ may be high but if that’s so good how come only a few thousand people actually escape the poverty of welfare each year? How come Australia languishes so low in comparison to other economies when it comes to participation and income?
It wasn’t always this way.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
We can again be the best.
We need meaningful measurements of ‘Stardom’ based on job retention, wages earned and hours of participation.
Frankly; stuff ‘industry consultation’ – why ask those with vested interest?
Time to talk to consumers.
Change can only come from the ground up – it’s time for consumers to regain their central role in the identification of best practice and the design and conduct of services supposedly acting to their benefit.
More to come!
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