The following is of course only my viewpoint - it's not NOVA's - and yes, I take prescription medication.
I'll start by saying that NOVA did not tender for what is now to be known as Job Services Australia and was formally known as the Job Network. We would not wish to be part of such as it is not what we are constituted for: it's not bad, it's just different.
The Job Network supported people to find employment and was the replacement for the old Commonwealth Employment Services.
It is/has been my privilege to know some of the participant Job Network CEO's as colleagues and as friends.
The tender process that has just concluded has been the subject of controversy and media interest and I listened carefully to Minister Brendan O'Connor speaking with the press (wisely) before the results were announced last Friday.
Here's the edited highlights. All employment program (there's 6 or 7 of them) will now be handled by single sites although, for the purpose of competition, there may be more than 1 provider in any area.There were 280 providers, there are now 141 with some 50 previous providers now apparently entering into sub-contracting arrangements with the successful tenderers. To quote the Minister this means that 'the vast majority of previous providers have new contracts'. I make no comment on the math as I am not much good at it either.
More people have lost their jobs through this tender process than occurred when the perfectly dreadful Pacific Brands decided to give Australians jobs to some foreigners (I forget whom, but don't buy Bonds ever again).
How were the contracts awarded?
Not on Star Ratings (the governments dreadfully flawed performance measurement system) - many services that lost their contracts had excellent results. On what basis then?
Perhaps some measurement of how well they assisted unemployed persons?
A better gauge of performance: perhaps something transparent that we could all see was fair?
Maybe total numbers - you got X, I got Y - you win I lose?
Jury of peers?
Surely something reasonable and fair?
Nope, fraid not. Contracts were awarded on the basis of tenderers response to a series of questions. Those that most impressed the tender adjudicators of their ability to at some point in the future improve upon the existing services got the gig.
I have a great example of a small town program that has lost its service provider (4 Star service). Every person working for this program now knows they have to find new work by July 1st.
The Minister says their skills are so good the new providers will snap them up.
2 questions: 1. If they are so good why take their work away? 2. Who'll pay them to wait?
Why do we put up with this nonsense?
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