Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme (DWES)
“Service Provider’s Black List”
The Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme is a new initiative from the Victorian Government designed to further protect the safety and wellbeing of Victorians living in disability group homes.
Consistent with feedback from the disability sector and key stakeholders, the Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme will require disability service providers to conduct an additional pre-employment check under the scheme, prior to making an offer of employment.
The Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme will be implemented in collaboration with disability service providers so that the scheme can commence on 29 September this year (2014).
- The Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme strengthens existing pre-employment screening processes to better protect people living in disability group homes.
- Both government and non-government disability service providers will be covered by the scheme.
- People who pose a proven risk to the health, safety or welfare of people with a disability living in group homes will be listed on the Disability Worker Exclusion Scheme.
LISA Comment: The Department of Human Services, Victoria (the department), is under political pressure to rush this very legalistic and moralistic scheme into operation. CSOs have major concerns it has not been well thought through!
The department has certainly not considered the front-end of this scheme, nor of its own major problems in respect to the range of questionable activities of many of its own staff, for which its management, at all levels, is unable / unwilling to properly address.
Clearly identifying the perpetrator of questionable activities in the field of disability services can be a complex, moral and very personal problem for which other staff feel the need to keep well clear.
This is especially so in department managed services, as those reporting risk exposure by, and the persecution of management who want to send the message to, ‘take the pay and look the other way’, as we don’t want the messy problem of dealing with questionable staff.
Bullying in the workplace can be a double edged-sword. It can be a tool to intimidate workers, supervisors or managers.
A worker is considered to be bullied if an individual, group, supervisor or manager repeatedly behave unreasonably towards them, and such behaviour creates a risk to their wellbeing.
Whereas, bullying can be a work avoidance tool by those workers who claim being bullied by managers or supervisors who attempt to set, monitor and maintain reasonable work value expectations.
The expectation of reasonable work performance should not be deemed bullying, so long as such has been by reasonable management standards. However, management standards are like hen’s teeth in the public service, where being a group home house supervisor is often not an enviable task.
Department managed group homes also suffer from ‘house politics’. These being almost solely as a result of staff lore, resulting from the house supervisor being unable to set, monitor and maintain staff work value expectation to achieve consistent service level and quality within departmental care policies, standards and values, without being bullied.
Direct care staff who are keen to provide their residents with meaningful and consistent quality of life care, strive to have the home be a mentally healthy workplace.
Extra 1: Investigation Guidance for Service Providers by the ODSC, Victoria.
Extra 2: Service Quality Audit – The Future, by Disability Speaks, South Australia.
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