The World Cup draws to an exciting conclusion and I have recovered from my shock at the initial lack lustre performance of the Socceroos (a rubbish coach) and my shame over the shambling disaster that was England.
Sometime tomorrow Spain will be World Champions for the first time (note the confidence) and I can start to regain a regular sleeping pattern.
Which will allow me to begin an interesting project: In the ‘World Cup’ of supported employment whereabouts do we stand?
In the early 90’s Australian programs were world class – probably the very best in the world: exciting innovative and mutually concerned about ensuring our job seekers received world class service.
A series of philosophically driven changes of course from our government, coupled with a change in funding bodies initially dislocated and then conspired to destroy the camaraderie and esprit de corps so vital in a winning team. Following a series of savage ‘efficiency dividends’ (Orwellian!) real funds were cut by 20% and ill considered and inconsistent demands for ‘performance’ drove disability employment services toward accepting persons with higher levels of ability.
The present government is frankly just as disconnected, albeit benignly. Enormous sums of money are being turned over by both non-profit and for profit, agencies in the commoditisation of employment services. A process that is encouraging the sign up of many thousands of hopeful candidates who will enter a contracting (ignore this month), or at least tight, labour market.
The pressure to get ‘results’ that are measured by performance indicators designed to drive service provision toward most for least (placements/support) remains despite a change in government and funding body policy advisers control disability employment service direction.
So, in a World Cup of disability service provision where do we stand?
I don’t know.
I have conducted some brief research into European service delivery and it appears that the British Isles has come on in leaps and bounds, the Americans have such a large and varied range of programs that they are both classier and far worse dependent upon location, the Kiwi’s (on the surface) appears to have some exciting things happening, I couldn't comment on the Canadian experience and that’s about as far as I have got.
However, for the sake of our job seekers and in recognition of a highly competitive streak I intend to find out.
This project will occupy some of my time over the next 12 months or so (I’ll share the journey here) and in the meantime if you have any insights into ‘best practice’ in either overall or specific disability employment programs I would really appreciate you sharing.
As for the World Cup – there’s always 2014 – Engerrlund!
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