About

Housed at the University of Melbourne, in conjunction with the University of New South Wales and La Trobe University, Getting welfare to work is a long-standing research program on welfare and employment services reform at a national and international level.

Housed at the University of Melbourne, in conjunction with the University of New South Wales and La Trobe University, Getting Welfare to Work is a long-standing research program on welfare and employment services reform at a national and international level.

About Getting Welfare to Work

Employment services policy and delivery is constantly in flux. The sector is persistently subject to design, redesign, regulation and re-regulation in Australia and elsewhere. It needs dedicated, independent, reliable research that can inform policy design and provide both government and providers with evidence of best practice.

Getting Welfare to Work began in 1998 with surveys of frontline staff working in the employment sector in Australia, the UK, the Netherlands and New Zealand. Since 2008, in partnership with Jobs Australia, the National Employment Services Association (NESA), and Westgate Community Initiatives Group (WCIG), we have continued to closely monitor reforms in Australia and internationally through what is now the world’s largest and longest running comparative study of employment services delivery.

We have collected more than 20 years of data on frontline practice and the impacts of welfare reforms on services delivery, across multiple countries. We have built on this core body of research over subsequent Australian Research Council Linkage projects with additional interview and case-study based research on:

  • Mission drift among not-for-profit organisations, as part of the Increasing Innovation and Flexibility in Social Service Delivery project (2011-15); and
  • The practices of high performing agencies in supporting more disadvantaged jobseekers into sustained employment, as part of the From Entitlement to Experiment project (2016-19)

Information on our current and past research projects is available at the Research Projects tab.

Future research will focus on the next wave of employment services reform - the digitalisation of social services delivery - and what this means for:

  • The nature of not-for-profit and contracted providers involvement in services delivery; levels of professionalisation and service tailoring at the frontline, and
  • Jobseekers' access to and experience of employment support
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View Dr Siobhan O'Sullivan speaking about digitalisation and the implications for social services