Building an industry of choice: service quality, workforce capacity and consumer-centred funding in disability care

Social isolation Disability Employment Work-life balance Industries Australia

Disability services in Australia are undergoing large-scale, systemic reform.  In recent years, to improve outcomes for people with disabilities and the efficiency of services, Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies have developed and trialled a range of market-based funding models within which ‘choice’ and ‘control’ are key principles.  This report is concerned with the impact of these funding models on disability services workers, with particular focus on their capacity to provide high quality services.  The findings suggest service quality and workforce capacity may be best safeguarded where: direct employment and contracting models are carefully managed or avoided; overall levels of government funding and payments to consumers and service provider organisations are sufficient to support decent pay and safe working conditions; workers are supported to upgrade and develop their skills; and there is a properly resourced strategy to build workforce capacity and sustainability.  The findings provide food for thought in the context of the design and launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

This report was prepared for United Voice, Australian Services Union, and Health and Community Services Union.

Authors: Natasha Cortis, Gabrielle Meagher, Sharni Chan, Bob Davidson & Toby Fattore

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