- A ‘Catch-22’ is a ‘no win situation’.
- Supervise or manage without conflict is a public service avoidance technique.
Public service managers and supervisors within the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, have a unwritten lore which expects them not to give the manager above them any problems. They are expected to be self-sufficient, and not to expect assistance to manage their staff.
Although this lore extends through all levels of management, the most affected area is that of House Supervisor in DHS group homes (SSAs).
Manage or Supervise without conflict is a traditional public sector management issue avoidance tool, allowing managers and supervisors to maintain their comfort zone and avoid the need to use fortitude and effective man-management practices to set, monitor and maintain direct care staff work value expectations necessary to ensure service level and quality is within departmental care policies, standards, values, guidelines, and community expectations.
The manage and supervise without conflict philosophy, allows the managers and supervisors of government direct care services in Victoria, services for people with an intellectual or multiple disability, to ensure that they are always considered nice people by their direct care staff. Being content to reduce service standards to clients/residents, rather than risk having discontented staff.
The majority of the residents of government direct care supported accommodation services, have insufficient capacity to effectively question their service level and quality standards. And most advocates have been driven away by the overwhelming and long standing ability of government departments to treat customers with contempt, saying that any complaint they may have is just their opinion.
The supervise without conflict principle can work, but only where the staff being supervised do not have the job security of a government captive market service.
In a government, public service, captive market, secure employment situation, like the Department of Human Service, Victoria, house supervisors do not actively and consistently set, monitor and maintain direct care staff work value expectations to ensure service level and quality to the resident is within the direction, intention and spirit of departmental care policies, standards and values. Rather, most ensure their staff are content, at the expense of the residents, to meet the ‘Supervise without conflict’ lore.
This ‘lore’ also extends to the non-government, CSO, sector. As the department funds the CSOs, it is responsible for their service standards. Where a consumer complains to the department about service quality, the department frequently sides with the CSO, to avoid conflict with the CSO, as department bureaucratic processes can easily silence consumers who have no choice of service provider within captive market service provision