On the 14th of this month the following press release was sent to our media:
“Delivering quality and stable employment services for people with disability”
The release came from the relevant ministers; The Hon Bill Shorten MP - Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation and The Hon Kate Ellis MP - Minister for Employment Participation, Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care.
The press release says in part:
“Today the Australian Government released the Disability Employment Services Star Ratings – which reveal the services that are performing well and those that need to improve.
These March quarter Star Ratings will be used as a basis to determine, which service providers will be required to re-bid for their existing business later this year.
Services performing at the 4 and 5 star level will not be required to re-tender but will be given the opportunity to expand and assist more job seekers in new areas”.
Full copy: http://ministers.deewr.gov.au/shorten/delivering-quality-and-stable-employment-services-people-disability
There are 2 problems.
1. The first is that the Star Ratings are a deeply flawed instrument and will be unceremoniously dumped after new business is awarded.
The Star Ratings distribute results in a bell curve and so, while the difference between program A and program B might be minor, their Star Rating might be significantly different.
If you replaced 80% of the present program providers with the 20% presently achieving 4 or 5 stars then 6 months later you will still have 80% of the new programs achieving 3 stars or less and you could repeat the exercise for ever and always have the same result.
2. In order to escape loss of business and qualify for expansion programs resort to tactics like this:
8 hours or more weekly – 100% wage subsidy at 13 and 26 weeks (up to $4160 total subsidy)
15 hours or more weekly – 100% wage subsidy at 13 and 26 weeks (up to $7800 total subsidy)*
* you can write me and I will send copies of the advertising.
The 13 and 26 week marks are milestones at which data is collected. There's little negative effect upon a programs Star Rating if the participant ends work at 26 weeks and 1 day. The 8 and 15 hour marks are generally the minimum for measurement of an outcome. Finding a person who has a disability a 38 hour a week job offers service providers little incentive. The reward is in plenty of small efforts - break a 40 hour a week job into 5 X 8 hours and you get 5 times the payments and a significantly improved Star Rating.
Smartly thought through, tactics like these skew the Star Ratings and appears to present programs as ‘high performers’ when all they’ve done is temporarily distort the marketplace. These are tactics that disadvantage small business owners who do not accept the offer of free labour and they set up people who have a disability to fail - presenting them not on their inherent worth, but on the basis of either object of pity or burden of charity.
This same system then lets large foreign owned ‘for profits’ take the profits they have acquired overseas.
I appreciate I am a dinosaur. That I need to accept the changes, I need to go with flow and generally stop making a fuss and no – it is simply wrong to exploit the misery of those in systemically imposed poverty.
Quality used to be measured in terms of level of participation (hours worked) wages earned and independence from welfare. These are surely the truest measure of achievement.
What would be even worse would be to keep quiet.
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Your Comments Allan from Melbourne wrote on 16 May 2012 4:03:50 PM
I was involved in disability employment programs immediately after the DSA came into effect. The original idea was to work with the most disadvantaged job seekers - the wording is still the same, it is the emphasis that has changed, from most DISADVANTAGED to MOST disadvantaged - more people and a decline in the support for the most deserving.
Nancy from Manly wrote on 21 May 2012 9:36:08 AM I don't want to work 8 hours a week - I want more money and I can work more. Maybe I can't work full time but I would like to try - can NOVA call me please?
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'....
Each year, around about the International Day of People with a Disability (IDPwD) NOVA Employment holds a formal graduation for students that have participated in our pre-employment programs....
Profiting from poverty
Profiting from Poverty
I am genuinely horrified by this disaster: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/02/the-demerit-system-is-ruthless-social-policy-designed-to-keep-the-poor-powerless
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!
New Contract but no change!
Today marks the first day of a new Disability Employment Service (DES) contract.
There are new players and new rules....
'It's nice to be busy' and 'busy is better than idle' and all of my mum's other sayings about work being good for you, and all of them said; we're drowning!
The administrative burden of a new Disability Employment Service contract (starts July 1st) and the mountains of paperwork required for an NDIS dollar (approximately 10X that of the former TTW program) has seen us add 3 extra staff to the admin team and we are still receiving a large volume of enquiries that are causing us some time delay in getting back to folk....
Podcasts I've been learning all about Podcasts (I suspect that this may be a long road!)
However, getting paid to be inspired is not the worst way to spend a Monday afternoon and that is just how my day has gone....
I am truly fortunate to work with the very best people in this great nation and we are truly lucky to be part of the best short film festival this side of anywhere!
"Focusonability" voting starts today and there is an even larger number of films (287) than last year....
On the money Sometime over the next week a new Disability Employment Service contract will be announced.
We are moving into a new world of greater consumer choice and greater mobility of job seekers....
Making a tough job tougher!
Making a tough job tougher
It isnt easy to get a decent job and its harder to do so if you have a disability.
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....
Not so bad! Taken from: Today's Guardian at 4.09pm Tuesday 7th November 2017:
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....
Last week (14-16) it was my privilege to attend the 1st World Supported Employment Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
"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
There have probably been few people more openly critical of the Disability Employment Service (DES) Star Ratings than me.
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....
NOVAs greatest asset is its staff. I suspect you would struggle to find the CEO of any organisation state their staff are not vital and at the core of business reputation and results....
A corner turned?
We are presently holding events to promote employment for people with disability - nor surprise there, that's our job.
What has been a surprise is the willingness of employers to come along and listen and more importantly, to consider adopting inclusive employment practices across their organisations....