Getting welfare to work for the 'hardest-to-help': case studies from the Australian frontline.

This is a Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change (CERIC) seminar taking place at Leeds University Business School on Wednesday 19 September 2018

Australia has one of the most efficient (cost-effective) welfare-to-work systems in the OECD. Yet low placement rates and high fall-outs from employment among long-term jobseekers with complex needs is one of the areas in which the Australian system performs poorly. My latest research is focused on understanding why some offices are able to more effectively help the most seriously disadvantaged jobseekers, while most cannot. In this presentation I will outline our early findings from an intensive case study analysis into the way four high performing Australian employment services offices work most effectively with highly disadvantaged jobseekers. My detailed data collection method included interviews with frontline staff, field observations, and case history data collected over an 18-month period. Of particular interest are the activation strategies and case management practices being pursued by our sample agencies. I will conclude this work-in-progress presentation by arguing that in the context of a performance framework that places a premium on achieving outcomes with ‘harder-to-help’ clients, managing how clients are streamed becomes a key component of ‘activation’ work alongside the employability support that agencies provide to broker them into work.

Forthcoming CERIC seminars

10 Oct 2018 Dr Liisa Lahteenmaki (University of Turku)

14 Nov 2018 Dr Chiara Bennassi (King's College, University of London)

28 Nov 2018 Professor Sian Moore (University of Greenwich)


About the speaker

Dr Siobhan O'Sullivan undertakes research into the delivery of contracted employment services in Australia, the UK, and around the world. She has a broad interest in the welfare state and 'mission drift'. She also has an ongoing interest in animal welfare policy and environmental ethics. You can listen to Siobhan podcast 'Knowing Animals' here: