Probably the single most destructive event in the history of disability employment services in our country is in progress and there’s not much you, I or anyone else can do about it – that doesn’t mean that as many people as possible shouldn’t know or that those that care about the folk most effected shouldn’t speak up.
So here goes:
Our major funding body, the Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations (DEEWR) decided that pretty much all - 85% of all business – should be put up for tender*.
It is important to note that an artificial construct that painted many programs as ‘poor performers’ was used as a rationale for the process. I have spoken repeatedly about the flawed rationale and methodology used in the assignment of the Star Ratings – the perverse incentive to cut corners to exploit job seekers/workers and to effectively devalue people with disability was (I hope) an unintended but nevertheless very real result.
So now the results are out and the number of specialist providers is reduced, the number of organisations participating is reduced and some first class organisations - some 60 - no longer operate in the marketplace.
I should say that NOVA’s own share has been significantly reduced. I hope that what I now write will be seen as being objective from that loss (to the extent that’s possible, I have tried) .
However, that’s not the real tragedy.
People with significant disability, particularly those with development al disability are having their choices made irrelevant as a ‘transition’ program comes into effect that, without their consultation and without the consultation of the folk that have chosen to employ them, replaces their service provider and their local contact with strangers.
That’s not cool – imagine coming home to find a stranger in your house and your stuff moved from one room to another, no option for input, no consultation, no right of reply just ‘that’s how it is’!
25+ years in disability services has taught me the importance of personal relationships in the development of effective career pathways for people with disability. Gaining trust is of major importance. Frankly, NOVA’s clients demand that staff earn their trust; it’s not given lightly and is dependent upon actions matching rhetoric.
34,000 very vulnerable Australians are about to have their world turned upside down. The service provider many of them volunteered to join and the remainder exercised choice in picking can no longer look after them – it doesn’t matter that some made their choices more than 20 years ago, it doesn’t matter that many have formed deep relationships with staff with each considering the other to be a friend.
The employers of these workers were not offered a choice, they had no say. Many have not yet been told that the choice they made has been overturned by our government – placed an order with Coles and Woolworths will now turn up with their version of your choice (this is truly outrageous).
By DEEWR’s own admission the tool used to measure performance was powerfully influenced by corrupt data: “Changes outlined in the DES General Deed Variation 4 took effect from 1 July 2012. This means that from 1 July 2012 DES Employment Outcomes can no longer be claimed where employment is contrived, not ongoing or not in open employment”. – DEEWR circular October 2012.
With the obvious conclusion that the best rewards were on offer to the biggest exploiter’s rorting was rife. In the context of a management system that fascinated on minutiae and essentially ignored morality programs centred on individual need and care were condemned by a politically savvy government propaganda machine as ‘poor performers’.
The big losers were and will be people with disability now condemned to service from players dependent upon offering them as free labour to employers who knowing no different will assume their wages are completely subsidised because they are of no real value.
Under the present regime Australians who have a disability have slipped from top ten to being ranked motherless last against their international peers when it comes to employment opportunities and social participation.
The actions of the Commonwealth in allowing this to occur are deplorable. Sadly there is nothing to suggest things are likely to get better any time soon.
* There was/is no logical reason for the process. A Senate committee recommended it not proceed. University studies showed there was no prospect of improving employment outcomes and that the transfer would be perilous and unlikely to deliver improvements in productivity – DEEWR’s own suggestion that staff transfer to new providers acknowledges their recognition the process is simply a drive to reduce their own administrative burden – you can’t sack 500 public servants and not reduce workload somehow.
What a disgrace.
Would you like a face-to-face meeting with Martin via Skype? Click the button below to make an appointment
Subscribe to this Blog - blog.novaemployment.com.au Copy the link above and paste it into your favourite Reader to subscribe to an RSS feed of this blog. To watch a short video explanation of RSS and how it helps you save time reading the web click here
Your Comments There are currently no comments on this article
Review Australia's $1bn disability employment service criticised over poor outcomes and reduced employment - https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/mar/31/australias-disability-employment-down-3-in-past-decade-as-service-scheme-criticised-for-poor-outcomes....
Thank you Mark Zuckerberg (not!) Friends of NOVA may have seen our Facebook page is down - courtesy Mark Zuckerberg NOVA/Focus are victims of much larger forces - no idea when or if we'll be restored - more as events unfold....
They Don't Count Gaining or holding formal qualifications can set a person up for a lifetime career. Holding appropriate qualifications that can lead to lifelong careers, tradespeople generally make a good income and enjoy well deserved respect....
Benchmarks To access NOVA Employment or any Disability Employment Service (DES), almost everyone is required to be assessed by the Services Australia Services (Centrelink) to determine their "Benchmark" hours: Benchmark hours are the pay point for service providers; being the minimum working hours required for the DES provider to bill the Government and the assessed maximum hours a person is deemed capable of working with DES support....
International Day of People with a Disability
International Day of People with a Disability
It's IDPwD and we have a 1 hour 'special' screening on SBS from 4.30 this afternoon.
Our Ryan Goodwin has done a great job of selecting some of the great entries from NOVA's 'Focusonability' short film festival - we love the Festival and hope that you'll love these films, gathered from around the world....
2020 - the first half When the going gets tough, the tough get going
Good! - Now they've left us, let's look at reality - when the going gets tough, many people suffer and dis-proportionally, people with disability suffer more....
Countdown Clock II
What's the countdown clock all about?
It's our closing time and a countdown to the end of a truly remarkable month of extraordinary effort by my staff....
Countdown Clock Regular viewers will have noticed a countdown clock ticking away (above)
What's that all about?
Can't say - you have to wait till 4.30pm (a little earlier for staff)
Just the best 3 One thing we all love is a winner which is why there's a smile on my face it will be pretty hard to shift.
There's a nightmare pandemic sweeping the world (carried off my mum), the economy has tanked in a never before seen disaster that's left more than a million Aussies unemployed and the only news seems to be bad news....
More than Money!
If asked, most of us would say we went to work for the money, to pay our bills or support our family.
All true, and yet work means so much more:
Prior to finding a job with NOVA employment Glenn* struggled to keep jobs for more than a few months and was generally working as a dishwasher in restaurants which he found to be quite unsatisfying work....
Life Changers II
How are you in the mornings (or evenings, or nights)? NOVA is an 'old school' Disability Employment Service - we find work in the general community with identical pay and conditions as those enjoyed by people who dont have a disability....
Life Changers Required! Received yesterday:
I was unemployed for 24 years because of my disability. I was looking for a job for the last 2 and half years. With the help of (NOVA Staff) I found suitable job and working in the law company for last one year....
Don't know about you but I have felt pretty bruised from all the horrible stuff brought upon us by this damn virus - seeing so many folk losing their jobs is particularly awful and the uncertainty generated for everyone, particularly for workers who have a disability is dreadful to see....
Best Ever II
Following from last post:
NOVA Employment has operated for 30 years. Comparing all results from previous years, February 2020 has been our most successful to date - Following on from January that's 2 in a row and every indication March will also be a record breaker....
NOVA Employment posted another 'best ever' result for the first month of 2020.
Despite the most dreadful natural disasters and with many businesses closed for the holidays, the NOVA team delivered more new workers than in any previous January results, beating past 5 years average by 25% and previous (2017) 'best ever' numbers by 5%....
Depressing cracked record!
A good friend will occasionally pull me up with the reminder that I have a tendency to rant, 'rave on slop jaw' if I remember correctly....
Big Win! Saturday night saw a big win for the NOVA team and for people with disability when our Podcast partners NOVA Entertainment- no relationship other than mates - received the following:
BEST ORIGINAL PODCAST - BRANDED
Focus On Ability; Nova Employment & the Nova Entertainment Podcast Team , NOVA Entertainment
BEST ORIGINAL PODCAST - UNBRANDED
Hamish & Andy; Hamish Blake & Andy Lee, PodcastOne Australi
Taken from the web: https://www....
Received the following yesterday morning:
Hi Nova, just wanted to give my feedback in regards to my mother getting a job through you guys and the amazing impact it has had!! The job that mum has received has changed her outlook on everything! She is now much more confident in her self and her abilities....
Welfare Benefits and Health
It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's truer that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power: David Brin
DES providers don't need nor should they have been given the authority to suspend welfare benefits (see above)....
I have spoken previously on, to quote former President Bush, 'the soft bigotry of low expectations' - if you are a member of a marginalised group the public don't expect much and are surprised when anything much is achieved!
I've been in this game for more than 30 years and have been privileged to see literally thousands of terrific men and women leave NOVA To gain (and retain) great jobs....