Number 19: Patterns of economic and social participation among FaCS customers




Author:  Peter Saunders, Judith Brown and Tony Eardley

This paper reports on the analysis from the 1998 Customer Participation Survey of FaCS Customers. These findings are valuable in providing a baseline understanding of patterns of customer participation prior to the release of the McClure report and announcement of the AWT package.

The key finding of this report is that the overall degree of participation amongst customers is high, with only 14 percent reporting no participation at all.

Economic participation - important findings are:

  • 20 percent reported participation in paid work (averaging 28 hours per fortnight)
  • 40 percent reported participation in job search (averaging 11 hours per fortnight)
  • 11 percent reported participation in study (averaging 33 hours per fortnight)
  • 5 percent reported participation in self-employment (averaging 31 hours per fortnight)
  • The research has developed two indices that combine measurements of various types of participation into a single measure. Using one of these indices, the Composite Index of Economic Participation, economic participation of Newstart customers was equivalent to 8.2 hours a week of paid work.

Social participation - important findings are:

  • almost 50% reported participation in child care and 12.5% reported participation in adult care
  • 20% reported participation in voluntary work (averaging 14 hours per fortnight).

Characteristics and patterns of participation - important findings are:

  • female participation for all forms of social participation (child care, adult care and voluntary work) is higher than for males
  • most forms of social participation tend to decline with age.

Barriers to participation - important findings are:

  • caring responsibilities (for young children and adults with a disability) and a permanent medical condition (requiring ongoing treatment) clearly limit participation.



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