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BSL Comment Apr 2003 v3

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www.bsl.org.auBrotherhoodCommentISSN 1320 8632April 2003A regular update from Social Action and ResearchWho will care? Staffing challenges in community careThe number of people requiring support to remain Recruitment for personal care and respite services only met on a random/as neededliving at home is challenging Victorian community (both in-home and community, and overnight) was basis. It is of concern that about one-care organisations, particularly the providers of a concern for many organisations, with more than third of organisations met with staffhome care, personal care and/or respite care half of providers of each of these services stating quarterly or even less frequently.services. Of particular concern is the difficulty in that they had had difficulty recruiting staff duringrecruiting and retaining appropriate staff. The the past 12 months. Difficulty recruiting home Implications for communitynumber of people requiring support to live in the care staff was experienced by 43 per cent of care providerscommunity will grow markedly over coming respondents. Of the organisations that reportedService providers need to considerdecades: unless community care becomes a more difficulty with the recruitment of direct care staff,how they will support theattractive employment option, this will place more than a third stated that it had been aincreasing numbers of people whofurther strain on organisations. problem for more than two years. require community ...
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www.bsl.org.auBrotherhoo
April 2003
d Comment ISSN 1320 8632
A regular update from Social Action and Research
Whowillcare?Staffingchallengesincommunitycare
The number of people requiring support to remain living at home is challenging Victorian community care organisations, particularly the providers of home care, personal care and/or respite care services. Of particular concern is the difficulty in recruiting and retaining appropriate staff. The number of people requiring support to live in the community will grow markedly over coming decades: unless community care becomes a more attractive employment option, this will place further strain on organisations.
The Victorian Department of Human Services (HACC program) funded the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Victorian Association of Health and Extended Care to investigate the issue of recruitment and retention of direct care staff among Victorian community care providers. Recruitment difficulty Data from the 159 organisations which participated in the research confirmed that most community care work is provided by middle-aged women. Of the 8600 community care workers encompassed, 90 per cent were women and more than 50 per cent were aged 45 and over. Staffing was structured around part-time and casual employment, with the majority of organisations employing a mix of part-time and casual staff. Of the part-time staff, 60 per cent worked between 15 and 24 hours per week. It should be noted that only half of organisations employed staff on the basis of a guaranteed minimum number of hours of work per week. Just over 70 per cent of organisations required staff to provide their own vehicle for work, with the majority of these organisations providing some form of reimbursement. Surprisingly, about 30 per cent of organisations did not pay staff for travel time between clients.
Recruitment for personal care and respite services (both in-home and community, and overnight) was a concern for many organisations, with more than half of providers of each of these services stating that they had had difficulty recruiting staff during the past 12 months. Difficulty recruiting home care staff was experienced by 43 per cent of respondents. Of the organisations that reported difficulty with the recruitment of direct care staff, more than a third stated that it had been a problem for more than two years.
Service providers having difficulty with recruitment ranked personal care positions as the most difficult to fill. This can be partly explained by looking at whether qualifications are a prerequisite for employment. While more than 40 per cent of organisations that provide personal care and respite care required workers to hold appropriate qualifications prior to employment, for home care only 15 per cent do so. Approximately 44 per cent of organisations were concerned about the turnover rate of their direct care staff. Of these, 55 per cent reported that it had been an issue of concern for more than two years. Organisations were also asked to estimate the direct care staff turnover in the past 12 months, with about 20 per cent reporting a rate greater than 20 per cent. Organisations expressed a high level of commitment to the training needs of staff. About 90 per cent of organisations provided in-service training to staff, 71 per cent supported staff increasing their skills through upskilling workforce programs, 58 per cent utilised State Government-funded training places, and 46 per cent supported new apprenticeships/traineeships. The support given to staff varied considerably. About one-third of organisations met with staff monthly, though some met as regularly as weekly and others
only met on a random/as needed basis. It is of concern that about one-third of organisations met with staff quarterly or even less frequently. Implications for community care providers Service providers need to consider how they will support the increasing numbers of people who require community care services. Attracting and retaining adequate numbers of suitable staff will be vital. The research identified a number of employment practices that should be re-considered by organisations looking to address their staffing difficulties. continued on page 3 Contents 4 The need for better balance between economic and social goals 6 Senate Poverty Inquiry 7 East Timorese asylum seekers 8 Transition workers assisting secondary students 10 Corporate social responsibility 11 Life Chances Study: children’s views 12 Innovative job creation 13 Private investment in affordable housing
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In this issue
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Recent Brotherhood research, featured on our front page, has explored difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff for community care services to enable older people and others with special needs to remain living at home. Daniel Perkins outlines the failure of economic policy in the 1990s to deliver improved employment outcomes and more accessible services. This analysis provides the background for the Brotherhood’s developing work to explore job creation initiatives which will have social and environmental benefits. Pam Temby reflects on a pilot project at the Atherton Gardens housing estate, providing paid work experience and training leading to employment. John Spierings of the Dusseldorp Forum describes the recent review of the effectiveness of transition
Recent submissions The Brotherhood puts forward its views when it believes that it can make a considered contribution to a better understanding of the needs of low-income Australians based on its research or policy analysis or its experience in providing services. Submissions or statements made in the last 18 months include: Submission to the Independent Review of Breaches and Penalties in the Social Security System, November 2001 Submission to the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness: Response to National Homelessness Strategy Consultation Paper, November 2001
Published in April 2003 by Brotherhood of St Laurence, 67 Brunswick Street Fitzroy, Victoria, 3065 Australia ABN 24 603 467 024 Telephone 03 9483 1183 Facsimile 03 9417 2691 E-mail publications@bsl.org.au April 2003
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workers assisting secondary students considering leaving school before completing Year 12. The Brotherhood’s advocacy work has also included making a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Poverty and Financial Hardship; joining with other organisations to urge the federal government to create a special visa class for East Timorese asylum seekers who have been in limbo for up to 10 years; and, with the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, convening a forum about fostering private investment in affordable housing. This issue of Comment also presents learning from work in progress: about corporate social responsibility from the Ethical Business Project, and about children’s views of government responsibility from the Life Chances Study.
Response to FaCS Briefing on Australians Working Together [welfare reform] package, February 2002 Submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into participation requirements and penalties, July 2002 Response to Retirement Villages Act 1986 discussion paper, September 2002 Submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into Poverty and Financial Hardship, March 2003 Submission to the Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care, Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, March 2003.
Included with the mailout is the latest Changing Pressures bulletin, which highlights the experience of low-income families struggling to pay for private rental accommodation or a mortgage, and points to the need for a national housing policy framework to ensure adequate affordable housing. Deborah Patterson Editor (03) 9483 1386 dpatterson@bsl.org.au
New position as head of Social Action and Research The Brotherhood of St Laurence and the University of Melbourne have collaborated to create a new position, Professor of Social Policy. The professor’s main role will be to provide intellectual and strategic leadership for research and policy development at the BSL, management of Social Action and Research and participation in the BSL Executive. The post is a university appointment at the Centre for Public Policy, and will involve some teaching there. The BSL sees the position as an innovative partnership, which will strengthen our research capacity and enhance links with academic policy researchers. The position has been advertised, and at the time of writing, the selection process is well under way.
2003 subscriptions are now due – see cover sheet Brotherhood Comment is published three times a year by the Social Action and Research Division of the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The Brotherhood of St Laurence works for the well-being of Australians on low incomes to improve their economic, social and personal circumstances. It does this through direct aid and support, and by providing a wide range of services and activities for families, the unemployed and the aged. The Brotherhood also researches the causes of poverty, undertakes community education and lobbies government for a better deal for people on low incomes.
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Importantly, organisations should consider greater variety and flexibility in the positions they offer. Traditionally, the industry has been based on part-time and casual work, but the research indicated that there were people who wished to work full-time. Offering full-time positions will probably be necessary to attract both men and young women. Organisations must also consider guaranteeing workers a minimum number of hours of work each week. Recruitment processes demonstrated little variety—generally an advertisement is placed in the local paper—and little innovation. Word-of-mouth referrals, information sessions, and the offering of new apprenticeships or traineeships were strategies used by some organisations with varying results. Of interest is the very limited success obtained from working with job network agencies to recruit staff. Recruitment methods warrant further investigation, particularly into working with Job Network agencies and whether there are strategies used by other industries that should be tried. Middle-aged women were the employees of choice for some organisations, sometimes to the point where men and younger women appeared to be disadvantaged. Continuing this practice, aside from being of questionable legality, is likely to make it increasingly difficult for some organisations to meet their future staffing needs. Wage rates for community care workers are low, an issue which many organisations thought had an adverse effect on the recruitment and retention of staff. Whilst these services are largely funded by governments (placing some limits on what staff can be paid), service providers do have a responsibility to reconsider their remuneration of staff. It is unacceptable that some staff are not paid for time spent travelling, or for their attendance at training and meetings. By its nature, community care work is isolating and requires staff to demonstrate considerable initiative and flexibility. To ensure adequate support, staff must have the opportunity to meet regularly with supervisors and other workers. The current arrangements of some organisations that allow for only infrequent meetings are not sufficient.
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Implications for governments Qualitative data strongly suggested that better rates of pay—and the ability to pay workers for the time spent travelling, attending meetings and training sessions—would assist the recruitment and retention of staff. Clearly, governments (as purchasers of community care services), as well as organisations, need to reconsider the adequacy of pay and conditions of community care workers, particularly in light of the staffing challenges posed by the ageing of the population. Governments also need to take a role in improving the image of the community care sector and in encouraging people to consider employment within the sector. Promoting community care as a worthwhile and attractive career option is a vital step in addressing the looming staffing crisis. The research report Who will care? The recruitment and retention of community care (aged and disability) workers may be downloaded from the Brotherhood’s website, or purchased through the bookshop for $12 plus p&p (e-mail publications@bsl.org.au, or phone (03) 9483 1386). Philippa Angley (03) 9483 1377 pangley@bsl.org.au
The BSL experience Christine Morka, the BSL’s manager of community care programs, comments: We provide services and care management to enable frail older people and younger people with a disability to remain living at home. Staffing issues are important for our clients who rely on paid carers for help with daily tasks such as housework, showering, cooking and transport. We are only too aware of the concerns of clients and families when service providers are unable to supply paid care workers in a timely manner, or unable to provide regular care by the same carer: Client A has a significant medical problem due to a leaking bowel. Understandably she is very embarrassed and her self-esteem has been reduced by her forced lifestyle change. It causes her considerable stress to explain her medical condition and personal needs to others. A change in care workers escalates her anxiety level and affects the way she feels about her situation. Client B is a younger woman, a sole parent with a degenerative neurological illness, who requires a great deal of intensive assistance. If there is a change of care worker she has to repeat all her requirements with the new carer and give instruction on how to assist her. She does not need any extra pressures in her life, yet it happens too often due to carer burnout and changeover. Often care workers are unable to commit themselves to the long-term care of clients. The low status, low salaries, limited training and lack of support in difficult situations may force them to leave the industry and to seek other work.
3 April 2003
Brotherhood Comment
Working for progress: The need for a better balance between economic and social goals
Work is continuing at the Brotherhood on Social pressures economic management under proposals for labour market interventions that will Evidence indicates that many Australians feel more Labor and Liberal governments has bboetttherprqouvailditeyeomflpilfoeyfomreanltlaAnudstcroalnitarnisb.utDeatnoiela insecureabouttheirjobsandfutures,andlesscsoufnfisciisetentntlwyofrakilteodtmoeeptrothdeuccei connected to their communities (Hamilton & apac ty Pedrifkfienrsenotutkliinndesotfhperroagtiroenssal.eforsuchafocuson Denniss 2000). A recent Newspoll survey found and needs of the labour force. a that compared with ten years earlier: There are around one milli on Australia is currently experiencing a period • 80 per cent of people feel less secure in their jobs Australians who are currently ionfunmrievsalhleadveecmoonroemtihcansudcoceusblse.dRseianlcpeetrhceapita91percentofpeoplesaythattheyfacemoreiwdeannttiifnyg6f1ul4l,-t4i0m0epweoorpkl.eAasBSofffiigciuarlelys 19c6o0s(Bell2000)omicgrowthhasaveragedstressandpressureunemployed(ABS2003),563,000 , econ • around 70 per cent of people feel that they have a2r0o0u2n),da4npdeirnfcleanitonovaenrdthinetepraessttdreacteasdeha(vOeECDlesstimetospendwithfamilyandfriendsfwuortrhkeerrs8a0s0,u0n0d0eraesmavplaoilyaebldeatnodstaart remainedlow.Tthevitalsigns,wearetoldall(Steketee2000).workbutnotactivelylooking(ABS , are tghoaotdt.heHocwurerveenrt,fsiuxabtsitoanntiwailtheveicdoennocemincoowuitncdoimcaetsesAustraliansworksomeofthelongesthoursinthe2N0e0w2sbta).rtTahnedlaYtoesutthfigAullroeswfor ispolarisingsocialopportunitiesandcreatingaOECD(OECD2002),andthesehaveincreasedby(Other)recipientsindicateatnhcaetthere 3.4% in the 1990s, while most other countries divided society. The Brotherhood of St Laurence saw a reduction in hours worked (Parham et al. were 393,100 long-term unemployed believes that it is time for a rethink about the type 2000). Moreover the proportion of people working people in December 2002—more oafresowcilileitnygwtoemwiaskhetioncgreetatitnegatnhdetrhe.esacrificesweover50andover60hoursperweekincreasedpmeoorpelethtahnantsiixceyeaasrsmeaanryliears,tahnedsignificantlyoverthelastdecade(ABS2002a).ABSfigureswrecord(ACOSS2003).
Economic management under Labor and Li b eral governments has consistently failed to produce sufficient work to meet the capacity and needs of the labour force
The past two decades have seen significant changes in the way society is organised, and the role of government in managing social infrastructure and providing a safety net for those in need. Social responsibility has become increasingly ‘privatised’, with governments withdrawing support and shifting responsibility onto families and individuals, while public services have been progressively privatised and exposed to market forces. As a result Australians find themselves facing an ever increasing set of risks and uncertainties arising from changes such as the shift away from universal health care, the growing cost of education and reduced community services. While this reorganisation has provided significant economic returns, the social costs are becoming more and more difficult to ignore, and the government claim that the ‘growth first’ approach will provide benefits to all is proving to be highly illusory.
4 April 2003
Society is also becoming increasingly polarised. Data from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling indicates that the distribution of income and wealth has become less equal since 1984 (Harding & Greenwell 2002) and that based on current trends, the share of wealth held by the lower half of families will continue to decrease until at least 2030 (Kelly 2002). This trend toward greater inequality is also evident in growing regional disparities and concentrations of high and low wealth / income emerging within all major capital cities (McCarthy and Wicks 2001). Employment Perhaps the biggest failing has been in employment policy. Until the mid-1970s, full employment was viewed as a cornerstone of stable society, and the right to work was seen as a basic human right. Since then, however, this policy goal has been subordinated to the desire to control inflation. The goal of full employment has been reduced to that of full-employability, and
The growth of full-time jobs has stagnated and new jobs are increasingly part-time and temporary service sector jobs with relatively low pay and skill requirements (Borland, Gregory & Sheehan 2001). Part-time work already accounts for 27.9% of all employment, the second highest level in the OECD (Evans et al. 2000), with this number predicted to reach 31% by 2006 (Access Economics 2002). The number of high-income jobs available has increased, but the number of middle and upper middle income jobs has declined since 1980 (Borland, Gregory & Sheehan 2001). Economic growth appears to be leaving behind the low skilled and less fortunate, resulting in greater
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polarisation of income and employment References indicator 2000 , The Australia outcomes, growing numbers of working poor Access Economics 2002, Business Outlook: Institute Discussion Paper no. 35, (Borland, Gregory & Sheehan 2001), and a large December quarter 2002 , Access Economics, The Australia Institute, Canberra. group of the population permanently excluded, or Canberra. only marginally attached to the labour force. Harding, A and Greenwell, H 2002, ACOSS 2003, Overcoming joblessness in Trends in income and expenditure Time for a new direction Australia: 12 budget priorities , ACOSS, inequality in the 1980s and 1990s , What is clear is that the balance between Strawberry Hills, NSW. NATSEM Discussion Paper no. 57, economic efficiency and social well-being is not National Centre for Social and being well managed, and that a substantial gap Argy, F 2003, Where to from here: Australian Economic Modelling, Canberra. has emerged between the health of the economy egalitarianism under threat , Allen & Unwin, and quality of life (Argy 2003; Hamilton & Denniss St Leonards, NSW. t K r e e ll n y d , s S i 2 0 w 0 e 2 a , l tShiimnuelqautianligtyf , u t N u A re TSEM 2000). While the Brotherhood of St Laurence n recognises that a healthy economy is a vital Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2002a, paper presented to the Australian component in building a society that can provide a A M B e S a , s u C r a in n g b e A rr u a s . tralia’s progress, Cat. No. 1370.0 ,3CoOncfteorbeenrc.eofEconomists,Adelaide, high quality of life to all citizens, its role should be that of a means, not an end in itself.
Economic growth appears to be leaving behind the low skilled and less fortunate A new synthesis is required that can achieve a more A U u n s d t e r r a e lia m n p l B o u y r e e d a u w o o r f k S e t r a s t,isStiecpste2m00b2erb,2001,A M u c s C tr a a rt li h a y s , T A & d d Wic s k s s i , n J g i 2 n 0 e 0 q 1 u , alTitwyo appropriate balance between social, environmental re and economic considerations. Government has a Cat. No. 6265.0, ABS, Canberra. and poverty , St Vincent de Paul vital role in showing more enlightened leadership Society, Summer Hill, NSW. and developing policies that will provide a better A A u u s s t t r r a a l l i i a a,nFBeubrreuaauryof20St0a3t,isCtiacts.N20o.036,20 L 2 a . b 0 o , ur force O ganisation for Economic quality of life for all. Social and environmental r functions need to be valued beyond their capacity to ABS, Canberra. Cooperation and Development be exchanged in the market, while economic policy Bell, S 2000, ‘Unemployment, inequality and ( O O u E tl C o D o ) k ,2v0o0l2,72 O , E P C a D r i E s. conomic needs to be driven by the contribution it can make . to wider social and environmental outcomes. the political economy of redistribution’, The Economic and Labour Relations Review , Parham, D, Barnes, P, Roberts, The Brotherhood of St Laurence is committed to vol. 11(supplement), pp. 137–158. P & Kennett, S 2000, Distribution engaging government and community in this debate. of the economic gains of the WebelievethatthefirstandmostimportantstepinBInoerlqaunadli,tyJ,aGnrdegecoroyn,oBmi&cSchheaenhgaen,,inPB20or0l1a,nd,J, 1 P 9 ro 9 d 0 u s: c t S iv t i a t f y f C R o es m ear i c ss h i o P n a , per , this process is to restore a commitment to full m employment, commencing with the creation of p Gr o e o g r: o i r n y, e q B u a & l it S y h a ee n h d a e n c , o P n o (e m d i s c . ) c hWanorgkeriinchA,uswtorralki Canberra. employment opportunities in areas of social value a , suchaseducation,healthandcommunityservitchees,UCeninvtreersfitoyr,SMtrealtbeoguircnEe.conomicStudies,VictoriaSEvaaunnsd,erCs,20P,0T1,hoSmocpisalonc,haCn&gend acrnudctiahlereolneviorfoenmmpelnot.ymTheinstsitnraptreogvyidriencgogmneisaenisngineconomicprosperity:attitudesato eo Evans, J, Lippoldt, D, & Marianna, P 2000, growth and welfare’, Just Policy , pplestlivesandenablingthemtoparticipatefullyTrendsinworkinghoursinOECDcountries,no.23,September.in socie y, as well as the extensive benefits that will OECD Labour Market and Social Policy – . flow to the wider community Occasional Papers No.45 , Organisation for Steketee, M 2000, ‘Unhappy days Daniel Perkins Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris. are here again’, The Australian , 03 1381 17 June. (dpe)rk9in4s83@bsl.org.auHamilton,C&Denniss,R2000,Tracking well-being in Australia – The genuine progress
5 April 2003
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