Job Assessment – What Assessment?

I was thinking about JCA’s, the process and the number of inappropriate assessments that are turned out. You could argue that it’s the clients fault because they provide the evidence, but given the time frame in which they’re conducted you could equally argue that it’s the assessor’s inability to understand the client that is at fault. Ann Neville wrote in 2011 that her research had shown that it was the mismatch between disability and the assessors qualifications. I won’t argue with that as I’ve seen assessments signed off by exercise physiologists, whose training in the area of intellectual disability would be slim at best, non existent at worst.

But it raises the question as to why assess in the first place. Certainly the JCA process with its deficits approach effectively means that the client is disadvantaged from the start. But again why assess and why send in a report to the employment consultant that has the capacity to prevent the consultant from seeing the real client.

I would argue that if DES is to truly operate in a person centred way, using customised employment strategies, then JCA’s are of no value. Before you scream blue murder, ask yourself to clearly explain the difference between someone with a benchmark of 8 hours and 9 hours? Better still explain it to someone who doesn’t work in the DES system.
Customised employment practices require the use of Discovery, of developing an understanding of natural supports and integrating them, understanding the client in their own environment and understanding the client from a functional perspective. None of these factors can be understood or explored in the current assessments processes and this is only the start of the customised employment process.

It seems to me that the system is mismatched with the client and that process is more important that truly understanding the client. It might be easier to change the system and let consultants do their job in a true person centred manner.


About Peter Smith

Disability practitioner at Praxis Disability Consulting, PhD researcher - Sydney Medical School, Research affiliate - Centre for Disability Studies, Sydney. Lecturer in Counselling and Case Management - ACAP. Counsellor and Psychotherapist at Praxis Counselling and Therapy. Interests: Disability employment, person centred practice, self determination theory, existential therapy, personal counselling
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