Civil Society Australia

Fixing Employment Services
Personalising Centrelink and Welfare


Developing Supports that Work for JobSeekers
Personalising Systems to Support People in Need

 
 
 

 
National Conference
Monday 25 - Tuesday 26 March 2019

Call for Reform Proposals 
Call for Papers and Other Contributions

Users of Services/Clients of Centrelink 
Call for Participation in Getting Organised
 


 
Fixing Employment Services

Australia's employment services system has evolved over the last thirty years from a government service monopoly (the Commonwealth Employment Service) to a system of competitively-tendered contractors, for-profit and not-for-profit (now jobactive and Disability Employment Services).

Despite this evolution, the experience of employment services by jobseekers has remained largely unchanged: isolated and anxious jobseekers are referred by officials to training programs, manufactured work experience assignments, short-term make-work schemes and listed job vacancies, with little positive impact on their self-esteem, social networks, skill development, real work experience or employability. Recent reports indicate that 70% of NewStart recipients have been unemployed for more than 12 months (long term unemployed).

The high cost of the employment services system and its poor outcomes have been subject to little public scrutiny. Without direct experience of being a 'client', politicians and policy makers are largely unaware of the system's dysfunction.

The employment services system requires major reform. The main issues to be addressed include:
  • The absence of individually-tailored, person-centred services in practice
  • Lack of peer-based and community-based mutual supports
  • Churning of jobseekers through training programs divorced from real workplaces
  • Lack of person-controlled technology to integrate work, training and jobseeking history
  • Absence of support for group enterprise & self-employment development
  • Endless meetings between case-managers and jobseekers with no purpose
  • Misdirected accountability of services to funders but not to users of services
  • Lack of appropriate incentives for employers to employ long-term unemployed people
  • Little financial transparency in the costs and expenditures of the system
  • The isolation of disability employment services from real world business and work

Suggestions for reform of the employment services system, its operations, processes and culture, are invited. Jobseekers, people with disabilities, families, friends, support organisations, community groups, services and policy makers are invited to contribute to this people-driven process.

CLICK HERE to submit a suggestion or proposal for reform.

CLICK HERE to offer a paper or other contribution to the Conference. Deadline: 31 January 2019

CLICK HERE if you are a user of employment services.
 

Personalising Centrelink and Welfare

Australia's spending on welfare services is currently $154 billion and is expected to grow to $187 billion by 2019 and $227 billion by 2025. Most of this money simply churns welfare recipients through the mill of programs, eligibility reviews, case management briefings, short-term interventions and form-filling cycles. Most of it does not enable its recipients to re-enter mainstream social and economic life.

Government attempts at 'welfare reform' over the last three decades have failed to reduce the number of Australians in receipt of welfare. Policy-makers and politicians have mistakenly believed that welfare recipients respond to financial incentives and welfare-to-work pathways designed by bureaucrats, and are surprised when the evidence does not back them up. They persistently ignore the social and cultural underpinnings of disadvantage and welfare dependence.

 

A start has been made in re-thinking welfare in indigenous communities, but in mainstream communities the old paradigm of outsourced service delivery and passive welfare remains intact.

'Middle-class welfare' has expanded as a consequence of governments offering electoral inducements to selected electoral constituencies. The growth in middle-class welfare has compounded the inability of governments to tackle welfare dependency and its corrosive impact on people living with genuine disadvantage.

Australia's welfare system requires major reform. The main issues to be addressed include:

  • The social isolation and demoralisation of welfare recipients
  • Information and power asymmetries between institutions and individuals
  • The importance of peer-based and community-based mutual supports
  • Churning of recipients and service users through programs and agencies
  • Lack of person-controlled technology to integrate work, education, training and social history
  • Absence of support for group enterprise & self-employment
  • No means for recipients and service users to personalise their support
  • Misdirected accountability of services to funders but not to users of services
  • Insufficient scope for innovation in mutualising supports
  • Inadequate means of measuring expenditure and productivity gains in welfare reform
  • Lack of an organised voice for recipients and service users
  • Lack of appropriate incentives for employers to employ disadvantaged people
  • Middle-class welfare and its harm to the integrity of the welfare system
  • The resilience of provider-centred cultures in services and Centrelink

Suggestions for reform of the welfare system, its financial outlays, operations, processes and culture, are invited. Recipients of social security payments, people with disabilities, families, friends, support organisations, community groups, services and policy makers are invited to contribute to this people-driven process.

CLICK HERE if you are a client of Centrelink or a user of employment services.

CLICK HERE to submit a suggestion or proposal for reform.

CLICK HERE to offer a paper or other contribution to the Conference. Deadline: 31 January 2019

CLICK HERE to register for the 25-26 March 2019 National Conference.
 



Venue

The Angliss Conference Centre is located in the Melbourne CBD, on the corner of LaTrobe and King Streets, on the fifth floor. It is close to train and tram services. Flagstaff railway station is one block away in LaTrobe St, and Southern Cross station is three blocks away in Spencer St. Trams 23, 24, 30, 34, and City Circle run along LaTrobe Street.

There are numerous accommodation options close by, to suit all budgets.

Start and Finish Times

The Conference begins at 9.15am on both days, finishing at 5.00pm on day one and 4.00pm on day two.

CLICK HERE to register. 

Member Discounts

Membership of Civil Society Australia in its four categories (Individuals, Associations, Small Business, Services) carries a significant discount on registration fees for this event. You may become a member of Civil Society Australia and register at the member rate on the Registration Form.

Further Information

CLICK HERE for further information.

CLICK HERE for Civil Society Australia website.
 


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