Street Level Leniency or Unjust Inconsistency? An Examination of Brach Recommendation Decision Making in a for profit Job Network Agency
The Howard government’s Mutual Obligation reforms have placed greater requirements on job seekers, increased compliance monitoring and imposed harsher penalties for failure. Under the restructured employment service, the Job Network, non government for profit and not for profit organizations are now involved in making breach recommendations to Centrelink. For profit agencies are confronted with potentially conflicting demands; supporting job seekers, policing their activities and ensuring organizational profitability. This exploratory study examined breach recommendation decision making practices in a for profit Job Network provider in Victoria. Findings showed a lack of decision making procedures, inconsistent application of natural justice and evidence of strategic breaching practice. Job seekers who fail to attend a first interview are more consistently and readily breached than others. Staff exercise considerable discretion about job seekers with whom they are already engaged, often basing their decisions on quite different factors. Inconsistent relationships with Centrelink and potential damage to working relationships with job seekers were of concern to staff. The study concludes that stronger requirements for investigation of individual circumstances and attention to natural justice must be built into the contractual obligations of Job Network providers.
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Volume (Year): 6 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
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