• Social Scaffolding

Project Updates: March'21

Updated: Jul 6

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2021. After a year of too many video calls and not enough face-to-face, it has been a refreshing start to lead and participate in gatherings and discussions.


The start of this year has seen the team focused on continuing consulting projects in the areas of social enterprise development, impact investment, disability employment and strategy facilitation.


If any of these case studies resonate with your business needs, do get in touch.And if you prefer comms via LinkedIn, we encourage you to connect with the Social Scaffolding LinkedIn page for continued and

regular updates.

12 months with COVID19 and the sector continues to grow

COVID19 became a reality for Australians in March 2020, creating disruption and uncertainty across

society.


The disability sector battled through a range of challenges, including massive declines in attendance rates, requirements to remain open due to essential service status, financial impacts threatening sustainability, PPP shortages, social distance ratios impacting group activities and development of new services to fit within the new restrictive operating environment.


12 months on, and the sector has been able to demonstrate its resilience and strength of purpose which are highlighted by some impressive figures posted in the latest NDIS Quarterly Report (Q2 2020/21).


The 1st July 2020 marking a major milestone where the NDIS was available nation-wide and there was 27% growth in the number of participants supported since December 2019, increasing by 93,500 to 430,000.


During this stressful period, NDIS service providers have also demonstrated incredible resilience and growth with advancements in the following areas:

  • 12% growth in the number of registered service providers.

  • Payments to providers exceeding $20b to deliver participant supports throughout 2020.

  • 9% increase in average payments per participant in 2020, growing from $47,800 to $52,300.

  • 60% of providers reporting an optimistic outlook about the sector, compared to 48% reported in September 2019.

Adding to the official numbers, a significant change we witnessed over the past 12 months was a greater sense of urgency within the NDIA and a realisation that without a strong and financially viable service provider community, the sector will fail to meet its mission. What this resulted in was faster decision-making with both participant-critical and provider-critical needs, and adjustments to prices and supports to ensure providers remained financially viable and open for business.


To some extent, over the past 3 months we have seen a normalisation of operating conditions, which will provide the sector with some ‘thinking space’ to consider what else could be done to amplify the benefits of the COVID experience. We are seeing providers take actions on this front and would encourage our clients to start conversations about how they move forward in this new environment.

Equalising employment makes good business

L-R: Scott Horton, Declan Hart, Ange Boyd, Alex Baker, Andrew, Andrew Kiel and Steve Waters at the recent Inclusive Employment Movement breakfast.


In an increasingly complex and competitive world it is essential that businesses look to build a more equitable and inclusive workforce, that will strengthen them as we progress through and beyond COVID19. Research has shown that organisations which build a strong and sustainable diverse workforce outperform less diverse peers on profitability. Organisations that are most focused on disability engagement are growing sales 2.9 times faster and profits 4.1 times faster than their peers [1] Businesses have told us that people with disability bring high potential and a diverse range of skills and abilities to the workforce, and are capable of working in a wide range of occupations and industries – from professional roles through to manual labour roles. Furthermore, that employees with disability:

  • have very positive attitudes and motivation towards work.

  • offer equal or greater levels of performance and productivity than other workers.

  • have fewer absences and increased tenure.

  • are no more likely to be injured at work than other employees – in fact have lower rates of workplace injury incidents.

  • offer high levels of innovative thinking and creativity in solving problems.

  • do not cost employers any more than employing people without disability.

Whilst many employers appear to acknowledge the benefits of hiring people with disability there still seems to be a disparity in the level of employment of people within the disability sector – with employment rates still as low as 53%. To change this story and increase sustainable employment opportunities for people with disability, Social Scaffolding, together with our Inclusive Employment Movement partners – Troocoo, the Endeavour Foundation and Leap in! – held two breakfast seminar sessions on 10 and 11 February for employers about increasing employment opportunities for people with disability. Ange Boyd, spoke about the friction that exists in organisations between creating a diverse and inclusive workforce and the unconscious or conscious perceptions about the potentiality of people with disability in the workforce, as well as the beliefs that a person’s disability could place restrictions on the delivery of the role and the organisation (before they even meet the person). These conscious or unconscious perceptions often become the anchoring point in the decision making around hiring a person with disability, resulting in fewer people with disability being employed in the labour market. What people with disability tell us is that they want employers to see what is behind the visible or invisible parts of a person to the skills, attributes, talents and experiences they would bring to the role and the organisation. There needs to be a conscious shift of the anchor point so that it is focused on the things that the person with disability can do – their skills, attributes, capabilities – and the high value that they would bring to the organisation. So what should employers do? Start! Harness the array of talents and opportunities that people with disability can and do bring into their jobs and careers. If the last 12 months has taught us anything it has been about being flexible and innovative in our thinking to get the job done. Consider the diverse range of skilled and talented people we have in our community and take advantage of the untapped workforce potential that people with disability bring to meet the needs of business. If you would like more information about getting started or furthering your organisations steps in creating and sustaining a diverse workforce, by employing people with disability Social Scaffolding would love to talk with you. [1] Accenture: Enabling Change, Getting to Equal 2020: Disability Inclusion

Social Enterprise Funding


L-R: Elise Parups (EO QSEC), Di Farmer MP Minister (Employment and Small Business), Emma-Kate Rose (Outgoing President QSEC), Richard Warner (Incoming President Richard Warner).


Further to updates about the social enterprise sector in our last newsletter, we distributed our newsletter moments before the Queensland government announced their commitment to social enterprise: “Over the coming two years the Queensland Government will work to develop the market and foster strong and vibrant social enterprises across the state,” - Di Farmer MP (Minister for Employment and Small Business). It is therefore a great time to be a social entrepreneur or running a social enterprise in Queensland. The State Government announced this $8 million in funding to further develop the social enterprise sector in the State. Social Scaffolding alongside sector leaders, is contributing to the work of QSEC, as they develop and progress recommendations to Government namely:

  • Social procurement: Advancing social enterprise buyer and supplier relationships, trading and support to increase access to social procurement opportunities.

  • Sector capacity building: Education, training, accelerators, research, partnerships and collaborations, pilot programs, network building and regional support.

  • Sector finance: Support to grow the capital required for diverse social enterprises from grants, loans, blended funds, impact investment readiness and partnerships.

Whilst the government and QSEC are still finalising the details, when we know of the opportunities for social enterprises and employment – we will update everyone. We see some great opportunities for social enterprises working with people of different abilities to accelerate and grow their product and service offerings and ultimately create more employment and career opportunities for people of all abilities. If you are a growing social enterprise wanting to extend your reach and in particular employment opportunities for disadvantaged people, contact Social Scaffolding for an update.

Event Inclusive Employee Movement

The Inclusive Employment Movement is a collective of like-minded professionals who are committed to breaking down barriers to meaningful employment for people with disabilities.


It is our vision that people of all abilities can have careers working in main-stream organisations doing whatever sets their hearts on fire. We believe that it can start with a great conversation.


Let’s start talking!

Join us for breakfast with our founding members and special guest speakers in

Brisbane on Wednesday 24 March 2021.


Places are limited so please get in touch to find out more:

andrew@socialscaffolding.com.au.