Australian Mutual Obligation Scheme
Policy practice has a distinctive power that has been demonstrated full throughout the professional history of social work. By the help of policy practices, social work has been successful in changing the lives of millions of people around the globe. So the concept of policy practice is defined as the usage of social work expertise to propose policy changes in order to get the goal of social as well as economic justices. It is the main element of social work and it is practised in all the levels of social work that is the individual, family and community levels. It also covers the micro, macro and mezzo levels (Cummins et al., 2011).
However, Social policy provides a set of framework for the welfare state and the institutions apply those social policies to achieve the wellbeing of the citizens. Social policy is a set practice of government and human services actions that tend to improve the wellbeing of society(Carson and Kerr, 2017).
Policy practices are the practices to change the legislation of agencies in particular community settings either by changing policies, improving the ongoing policies or by discourages fail policy initiatives of others. Policy practices include participating in the formulation of policy in order to achieve the goals of social work. These practices sometimes need changing of position of a certain individual who is not showing good performance despite guided by good policies. It also extends the policies from the individual level to the national or community level(Pawar, 2019).
Social work always contributes to the formulation of Social policies in Australia and worldwide.
Analysis of the Social work legislative and policy practices
The Australian Association of Social work has been involved in key debates like the requirement of care given to young people at home, equal pay plans, and state assistance to widows, capital punishment and battered babies. This association is also very active in supporting the rights of aboriginals of Australia. The importance of social work in social policy formulation has been increased due to the introduction of a new field called the individualistic economic rationalist social and public policies. Such policies solve social problems using managerial solutions rather than focusing on achieving broader goals to solve social problems. For instance, they do not set broad objectives like to pursue social justices (Gillingham, 2007).
However, some of the critics say that Social work is going away from social work and is focusing on social control. The privatization of the economic rationalization of the welfare services is also one of the examples of opposition to the ethics and core value of social work. Social workers have unique positioning and expertise and social workers use those factors to pay roles and social policy development (Gillingham, 2007)
Dierent models of social policymaking in Australia
Most of the 1980s the Australian struggled towards policy-making based on the individual right model. This model mostly used by the Scandinavian countries and is well known for its equality strategies. The policy makers are not taking this fact in mind whether this model will work in Australia or not but the designed policies based on this. The current trend in the welfare policies of Australia like the wage policy and employment policies follow this model (Mitchell, 1997).
But it showed that this model will not work in the medium of social work of Australia as the feminist group argued that this model rotates around the benefits provided to the male members of the society. This gap between the mainstream theory and that of the practical evidence let to the development of analytical models and that model will be re-implemented in order to examine the role of social work. The model will build up a relationship among, family, state and market and it will implement the breadwinner model and the individual model again. The first ever policymaking that was designed by the individual right model is the equal pay and it took 20 years for Australian women to get equal wages to that of man (Mitchell, 1997).
Origin of Mutual Obligation Policy
The idea of mutual obligation is not new but it dates back to the early 20th century. It is that time when the Fabian Socialists, Beatrice Webb and Sidney introduced the doctrine of Mutual Obligation. They introduced it against the poor English laws and the unrelated laissez-faire philosophy. This philosophy was asking the unemployed to attain the worst possible jobs to decrease their dependency on the government. The sates were only pr3eventing them from death by providing the possible job that might not be good for them and laissez-faire have no other positive obligations. So the Australian socialist rejected this philosophy and introduce the doctrine of mutual obligation (The Obligation is Mutual Discussion paper on mutual obligation, 2007).
Since 1997 the government OF Australia is trying to lessen down its unemployment. It has introduced a policy to reduce the rate of unemployment for the long-term. The policy introduced by the federal government of Australia in 1997 to eradicate unemployment is called the mutual obligation policy. Its aim is to increase employment by generating jobs and by creating employment in return for their social security payments. The policy came forward due to the failed attempt of the previous government to eradicate poverty and generated employments (Parker and Fopp, 2004a). Its core concept is the welfare assistance provided to the age of unemployment. It has decided for some return policies for the job seekers. It will design projects that will improve the competitiveness of the job seekers in the job market and it also demands the job seeker to invest back to his or her community (Vanstone and Abbott, 2001).
Australia designed a policy to eradicate unemployment and to make Australia prosperous. The policy was designed to create a network of jobs through a project called Job Network and, the problem that this policy is discussing is unemployment in Australia. The proposition that supports this problem is the increasing number of unemployment in the country (Chenoweth, 2008).
The representation of the problem come out as Australia developed various post-war initiatives like that of Great Britain. From the early days of the federation in 1901, the welfare system of Australia was constructed focusing the families and it has highlighted a male worker to support his family. All the efforts at that time were to fix wages and to think about the protection of those earners who were responsible for the whole family. The minimum wage rate was fixed based on the number of children a man had and the needs of his wife were also considered. Due to this policy, Australia was known as the welfare state of wage earners. At that time wages were kept very high by artificial means and a system was made that encourages families to full fill their own needs. That gave rise to the phenomenon of self-reliance (Chenoweth, 2008).
After the period of liberal policies in the year, 1970 Australia got into trouble brought by the pressure of world-wide economic policies. The rice of neo-liberalism and classical economics gave rise to new policy makings by breaking down the old connection between labour and capital. Economic policies started focusing on the reduction of the rate of inflation rather than job creation. As a result, underemployment increased tremendously.
Then in 1978 Australia introduced a solution for the issue of unemployment. The policy development project called job Network was introduced under the policy of Mutual Obligation. The mutual obligation will engage people in the job seeking activities. The job network is run by charity organization and NGOs and it provides hundreds of services. Jobs should be listed through such electronic system perfectly. The clients are supervised by a case manager and then they have to go through further assessments. The client should be evaluated based on their performance(Gillingham, 2007).
This problem representation that left some areas as unproblematic and full filled its objectives. It is now the tenth year of the policy and it can be operated for longer runs now. Due to this policy, Australia is now experiencing prosperity will low unemployment rate. The problem of unemployment could be solved differently but it is the over makeover of the Australian Market that needs a policy that could create jobs. Because Australian has a huge mass of middle class that need jobs and due to this policy the welfare provision of the middle class has improved. It is the main strategy of Australia to invest in employment generation and to make people work. A high number of people are motivated to work due to the incentives given by this policy (Gillingham, 2007).
Although the policy remains effective in its ten years duration it remained silence to address the unemployment in the rural areas because the job network provides job to those areas which are accessible. The people of the rural areas are unable to access the Job Network centres and they are given less opportunity. The policymakers have done little research in those areas that need more unemployment and opportunities (Chenoweth, 2008).
The impact of the policy of Mutual obligation on the target group
The policy has reduced the rate of unemployment by 5 by 2000.The policy has represented the problem of unemployment in the rest of Australia tremendously. It has introduced a program like the WFD programs of the government I support of its Job networking. WFD is work for the Dole is program funded by the government of Australia that provides employment for eligible candidates. It involves the local communities that are having quality projects. This project identifies the core values of the community and provides a job based on those qualities. It never takes away the job from the deserving ones. It is an approved activity of this policy. It covers a huge range of activities in areas like tourism, heritage, sport, community care, restoration of community facilities and the environment (Yeend, 2000a).
Apart from the achievement of the projects that are running under his policy the government has directly invested in the community through this policy. Recently the government has announced 465.5 million to generate employment for young people. The package is for the expansion of work opportunities for the dole and the introductions of new programs. The policy has also reduced the abuses in the payment of benefits. It has also generated additional opportunities under its job Network. It has introduced new career coinciding programs for the community. The government has also introduced new programs and provided an extra 20 for the 388 new projects under WFD. This project will generate 13000 new places and the will cover the age group of 18-24 (Yeend, 2000b).
However, the mutual obligation policy defended its aim of reducing unemployment by its newly designed projects of WFD and job network.
The problem of the current Mutual Obligation policy
If the principles of the income support policy could be kept in mind then the current policy of Mutual Obligation of the Federal government of Australia have a various problem.
It stigmatized the recipient of the income support from the government. These policies exaggerate the needs of the poor and increase the number of fraud in the payment of the welfare money. The policymakers use a punitive attitude toward the low income or poor sector of the community. Secondly, the policy is focusing on determining the claim rather than assistant the community to meet their needs (The Obligation is Mutual Discussion paper on mutual obligation, 2007).
Their focus has shifted away from improving the employment toward work first Approach. They have set very strict criteria to be eligible for the welfare program of the government. The recipient had to fill a form, come for an interview and they had to participate in the services of the job Network, WFD and other such activities. The participant is also asked to give back to his or her community as well so all these requirements discourage the members of the community and ask for unnecessary claims. These qualities shift the basic aim of the policy from help towards hassle (The Obligation is Mutual Discussion paper on mutual obligation, 2007).
The welfare policy is shaped more as an order issue that only focus on the enforcement and this nature of the policy removes the responsibility of communities, families and individuals to get out and explore their potentials. They are more focused to fulfil the criteria of the policy so that they can be part of the projects run under the Mutual obligation policy of the Australian Government. The policy has no focus on work ethics and people want to do the right thing but they lack the discipline to apply. So the focus on the criteria to get jobs from the government (The Obligation is Mutual Discussion paper on mutual obligation, 2007). The project of Job Network, run under this policy is not focusing on the people of rural areas and neither are they being counted while collecting data to implement the number of income-generating projects designed by the policy.
Reform Proposal and Feasibility assessment of the policy
The main strategy of the policy is to generate employment and the policymakers should listen to public decisions on the policy before implementing it (Youth Action., 2019). The data shows that people are not earning much from a few hours of work offered by WFD and the job Network. Many of the people got pensioned who wanted to work.
The data gathered by the researchers of the Job Network should be revisited and the individual with low income should be included who were missed out. So that they will get access to the opportunities to provide by the Job Network.
The policy needs to focus on skill building of the youth rather than spoon feeding them with the readymade projects. The following principles should be included in the policy
The focus of the policy should be on the complex barriers which do not let the youth to explore their talent.
The policy just not bright the skill deficit but try to build up a relationship among the youth so that they will be encouraging each other to get their goals.
The policy should include funds for training the evaluation of the community member so that the unemployed can get the jobs of their own choice and will be made they part of those training groups.
The policy should focus on helping the unemployed rather than just implement the policy for the sake of implementation. The policy can help to generate a platform and to do investment if anyone want has a brilliant business idea.
The percentage of the disabled adults has increased to 15.4 and these people have no limitation to do work so the policy focuses on generating employment opportunities for modernly disable who have the skills to deliver various services (Acoss.org.au. ,2008).
The analyzed reform in the policy is feasible both economically and technological. Because it is just asking for community-based policy-making and the government has already released funds for that but they need to be utilized carefully.
The application of advocacy skills in relation to the Australian Mutual obligation scheme
Social workers are different from other professional because of their skills in advocacy. Advocacy is an important component of social work and its aim is to engage in actions that will be helpful for people in advancing their rights, causes, and dignity. Social workers empower the community, individual and families through the phenomenon of advocacy. They provide service that improves the family dynamics of the society and helps the organization to have policy-oriented decisions (Mantell, 2013).Policy making is made effective by the coalitions of advocacy. The belefs syatem should be set that guides the chooices of the native and the stae. The aligment of all the activities on a platform can driven change.
Advocacy means that the right of the individual in the community is met or not, their voice is heard or not. It also includes that their views are taken into a concern or not. The local has access to the services provided by the project or not (Sosin and Caulum, 1983).
The implementation of any income support program or policy needs a social contract and that is an actual or an indirect contract within the government and the local community. This contract shows the mutual understanding of the state and the citizens. Mutual obligation policy focuses on the idea of the social contract and the policy is focusing on meeting the needs of the community. It focuses on the inequalities in the community where it is going to implement the policy (Kinnear, n.d.).
However, the critics say that the project of Job Network does not provide equal service to all the members of the community. The people of the urban areas are being facilitated by this project and the rural areas have no access to the centers of job Networks.
This example shows that Mutual obligation policy has missed out some component of advocacy and the social workers need to improve their advocacy skills.
The Australian Mutual obligation scheme has been successful in decreasing the rate of poverty in the country. Its vision is to generate employment and making the people serving their community in return for the job offers. It has designed various employment generated projects like the job Network and WFDs. But some areas of the policy need some changes. It needs to explore the talent and skills of the individual through its project rather than fitting them in the designed projects.
The policy of Mutual Obligation is based on a bunch of fallacies about the social structure of Australia nad the nature of unemployment. These fallicies developed because the policy is focusing more on the individuals rather then their mutual obligations. This fact gives very minor recognisation to the techniques in which the market in Australia works and the economiy of the country is designed. It should focus on the personal responisbilites of the popele that the need to contribute in the economic upbring of the society by getting better outcome from te pople who are marginalized.
ADDIN ZOTERO_BIBL uncitedhttp//zotero.org/users/local/LY9XXHSK/items/QF982FT8,omitted,custom CSL_BIBLIOGRAPHY Acoss.org.au. Poverty ACOSS., 2018.
Carson, E., Kerr, L., 2017. Australian Social Policy and the Human Services. Cambridge University Press.
Chenoweth, L., 2008. Redefining Welfare Australian Social Policy and Practice .
Cummins, L.K., Byers, L.E., Pedrick, 2011. Policy practice for social workers New strategies for a new era.
Gillingham, P., 2007. The Australian Association of Social Workers and Social Policy Debates A Strategy for the Future Australian Social Work 60, 166180. https//doi.org/10.1080/03124070701323808
Kinnear, P.L., n.d. Mutual Obligation A Reasonable Policy 15.
Mantell, A., 2013. Skills for Social Work Practice. Learning Matters.
Mitchell, D., 1997. Reshaping Australian social policy alternatives to the breadwinner welfare state.
Parker, S., Fopp, R., 2004a. The Mutual Obligation Policy in Australia The rhetoric and reasoning of recent social security policy. Contemporary Politics 10, 257269. https//doi.org/10.1080/1356977042000316718
Pawar, M., 2019. Social Work and Social Policy Practice Imperatives for Political Engagement. The International Journal of Community and Social Development 1, 1527. https//doi.org/10.1177/2516602619833219
Sosin, M., Caulum, S., 1983. Advocacy A conceptualization for social work practice. Social Work 28, 1217.
The Obligation is Mutual Discussion paper on mutual obligation, 2007.
Vanstone, A., Abbott, T., 2001. Australians Working Togetherhelping people to move forward a statement, May 2001.
Yeend, P., 2000a. Mutual Obligation Work for the Dole. Department of the Parliamentary Library.
Youth Action., 2019.
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