Reforms Invited

Can you imagine starting a journey without knowing the starting point, present position or final destination?

Doesn’t work in business – you need to know where you’ve been, where you are, and where or what is the end goal.

Which helps explain, at least in my opinion, why Australian Disability Employment is in the doldrums.

Here’s a shopping list that gives what I would need to be more effective:

A numerical target that gives me a stretch goal. Something along the lines of; “;NOVA Employment will deliver 1000, 52 week employment outcomes in the 2012 – 2013 Financial Year”;

Without giving away any secrets I can tell you that we are a way behind. However, now I have a quantity that encourages me to make some quick sums; maybe a breakdown like 12/1000 which gives me a minimum 84 outcomes per month.

This number can be broken down further by locality and economy, leading me to create individual goals for my staff and monitor progress to ensure success is achievable.

There’s other information that would immediately improve outcomes – I’m told our funding body has access to heaps of data. To the best of my knowledge and outside of occasionally released ‘Star Ratings’ (generally useless as data is obsolete), basic performance indicators is not available.

Improvement should be driven by empowering People with Disability (PwD) to ask the right questions – stuff like:

How many placements did your service make last month? Full time or Casual? How much is the average hourly rate for the positions you find? What’s your average retention rate?

And a dozen other indicators of genuine quality.

These are the things that matter to PwD

1. Publish this data on a monthly basis and, as far as possible in real time – fair to Providers, fair to employers and most of all; fair to people with disability.

2. Ruthlessly cull out ‘services’ that fail to meet agreed minimum standards for results or otherwise ‘cherry pick’ and game the DESS-ESS contract. 2 years to get your house in order then annual opportunity to stay or leave.

To quote the great prophet (Bob Marley), “;when the rain falls, it don’t fall on one man’s housetop”;

Finally, create harmless competition (the present system encourages short cuts) and make a public fuss of excellence: “;You call these medals and ribbons baubles; well, it is with such baubles that men are led.”; (look it up!)

Martin Wren