Business Services – Future Directions
The Business Services Review was a joint initiative commissioned by ACROD and the Department of Family and Community Services to identify strategies to ensure that business services are equipped to deal with the issues and pressures of operating a successful business while providing quality employment for people with disabilities.
As the Business Services Review has progressed, it has provided a valuable opportunity for both the sector and Government to examine the expectations on business services and their role in the provision of quality employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
The Review has recognised the important dual role of business services as both employers of people with disabilities and successful businesses. It has established that business services need to see themselves, and be seen by others, as quality employers of people with disabilities. The Review has also clearly demonstrated that the duality of focus of business services requires them to effectively balance two key priorities to achieve success.
A Viable Future – Strategic imperatives for Business Services provides clear insight into the major issues and drivers of performance that must be addressed by the sector if quality employment outcomes for people with disabilities are to be achieved.
The strategic plan recognises the broader reforms being sought by Government and identifies three key priorities for business services:
- Establishing a new perspective for business services which recognises their dual role. The core role of business services is as employers who provide work conditions comparable to those found in other employment;
- Improving performance by establishing an agreed performance and benchmarking framework; and
- Developing the industry by establishing a range of strategies to assist business services improve their operation, their position in the wider employment market and to gain the skills and understanding needed to drive continuous improvement.
All players have been impressed with the way that business services and other key stakeholders have approached the Review. There is a very positive desire for improvement and change to provide better employment conditions and outcomes for people with disabilities.
The report poses some significant challenges for many business services over the next few years. However, the strategic plan for business services, along with other supporting reform initiatives such as the Award Based Wages Project, provide a basis to ensure quality employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
The Commonwealth Government and ACROD accept in principle the recommendations of the Report and the Department of Family and Community Services will continue to work with ACROD to implement the recommendations over the next 3-4 years.