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Overview of Income Management Policy

Question:

Discuss about the Income Management for Policy Analysis.

According to Mendes (2013), income management policy can be specified as a policy in accordance with which a percentage of welfare payments are to be expended only on the goods which were categorized as priority quality such as clothing, education, food, housing and health care. Provisions were available for both class of people; the one who wanted to manage their income voluntarily and the one situations of child neglect and situation where children of welfare recipients are not having admission in school. The two main objective of income management policy were:

  • Being assured that all the funds which were provided for welfare of student were actually expended in that way.
  • to curtail the flow of cash which was being spend on betting and substance abuse

The main problem with the policy of income management was that no substantive evidence could be recognized regarding the attainment of significant change with the key policy along with the behavior of people. As per Mendes, Waugh and Flynn (2013), due to same reason the efficiency of policy were not able to be ascertained. Even no evidence regarding the change in expenditure of food and alcohol was available. The mixed reviews from people and data which were available were the reason due to which no single opinion regarding the policy can be created. However, it was reported by many of the people that management of money has became easier as well as improved. But no evidence relating same can be assessed for overall improvement as no significant change in financial harassment as well as improvement in financial management skills can be assessed. On the other hand report regarding worsening the financial condition due to issues such as alcohol, betting and drugs were also submitted by the people.

A slight improvement in the condition of running out money in case of voluntary money management was assessed but no significant change in compulsory income management was assessed. It could be evaluated from above discussion that rather than building management skills and independent, the policy of income management has made people more dependent on the welfare system. According to the words of Mendes, Waugh and Flynn (2014), the reason behind the same was that people were following the policy without judging the same in appropriate manner. They were assured that if they follow the policy the income is managed in best possible way and were stressed out if the things do not work even after following the policy sincerely.

The aim of developing assumptions is to understand the policy better by evaluating the unexamined assumptions. These assumptions are conceptual logics which are deep seated within the implicit problem representations. Once the problem is identified, all the underlying assumptions and presuppositions are to be identified and evaluated. As per the words of Lovell (2016), the main assumption taken in this regard is in the area of social disadvantage attached to income management. This focus of developing assumptions means concentrating attention to the various type of knowledge that strengthen the public policies related to income  such as premises based on psychological or biomedical factors like developing a wide conception of governing that influence the judgement of experts and professionals in the field of income management.

Evaluation of the Policy

Income management exclusively attempts to concentrate on some aspects that are cultural or behavioral and are also connected to social disadvantage; the social disadvantage attached to income management is limiting access income generated from harmful products by promoting choices and behaviours that are socially responsible. This can also be initiated in other ways that tend to address the location aspects of disadvantage. In this sense, it aims to share elements that are in common with various current research regarding poverty and disadvantage. Some basic assumptions in this regard are as follows- 

The management of income is drawn most directly on the approach of ‘new paternalism’ to the welfare income policy. According to the views of Klein (2016), under this approach, the ruling governments is viewed as an active participant in re-shaping behaviour of its citizens, in particular, of those citizens who are supportive income recipients and are especially disadvantaged. Such paternalist policy often includes secured supervision by the government of the lives of people are poor and have become dependent on income support. This approach denotes a shift in focus from helping the poor by income support and various other welfare services. These assumptions control patterns of behaviour amongst people in regarding their own interests.

This assumptions assumes that the extent that income management is supported by education regarding financial literacy and savings incentives. The ‘capabilities approach’ emphasizes that poverty should be viewed as ‘capability-deprivation’. According to this assumption, the freedom in human, results when they have capabilities to make choices on how to live their life. Absence of this freedom requires not only the provision of income but also formulating policies that are aimed at identifying a wide range of barriers of freedom.

This assumption related to the location where the income management is most needed. As per the views of Dee (2016), many recent researches have suggested that there are wide range of indicators of disadvantage like huge unemployment, low income, poor housing facilities, and poor health of people, low educational level, weak social connectedness and many criminal convictions. All these indicators are restricted to relatively small number of geographical locations. This concentration of social disadvantages persists over extended duration of time and possibly become worse as time passes.

Developing support for managing income involves some basic assumptions regarding the need to address variables other than the income adequacy factor for the purpose of overcoming social disadvantage that is implicitly connected with income. The reasons which influence the need of development of policy comprise the existence of social problem as well as increase in social harmful behavior after consumption of alcohol and drugs.

Assumptions Related to Social Disadvantage

The formation of income management policy could be more appropriately assessed if the same is connected with the main objectives for whose attainment it has been developed. The main objective of income management policy has been specified above. They mainly emphasized on decreasing the amount available for gambling, drugs and alcohol, reducing the hardship faced by people through directing  welfare payments to the priority needs of recipients as well as any other dependents; decrease in amount of welfare payment subject to percentile of harassment and abuse with the available welfare payments.

The government was having aim of developing stability in the lives of people. According to the opinion of Parsons and et.al (2017), the same was necessarily required to resolve the social problem faced by people.  It was a belief of government that restricting the spending relating to socially harmful products will result into decreasing rate of socially harmful behaviors. Another assumption which was behind the development of income management policy was that people required to be address the factors which are necessary for overcoming social disadvantage.

A belief existed that income management policy will explicitly attempt to make learn people relating to behavioral or cultural aspects. The same would be relating to social disadvantage through decrease the rate of spending available for harmful products. It was expected that the same would lead to promote socially responsible choices and behaviours. The formation of this policy was required to reconstruct the existing citizen behavior; specifically to those who are specifically disadvantaged.

The formation of policy was required for transmitting the behavior and attitude from parents to children in providing explanation relating to intergenerational welfare reliance and poverty more generally. The main objective behind same was to develop trust upon the welfare system. Income management was required to be supported by education, financial literacy and other common element to take appropriate decision relating to spending of available income. As per the opinion of Montalban (2016), the belief that availability of policy relating to income management will provide the same advantage to general public and the same leads to its formation.

Technically, the factor of sameness contradict the ‘differences’ and diversity that exists between people who are disabled.  However, this sameness requires them to realize that ‘others’ are same as the able-bodied. In contrast with this, ‘difference’, is seen as providing scope for identifying the ‘differences’ that exists in people with disability along with their disadvantaged position and providing them with ‘special’ or redistributive treatment that will be based on providing equal access to income. However, this kind of redistributive treatment is complex because reinforcing these ‘differences’ of disabled people from the able-bodied norm is a problematic task. Both the factors- sameness and difference treat disabled with special policies. With this policy, the power to transform disability into power and privilege will be lost. Although both sameness and difference are loaded with problems, they become useful lens for analyzing and understanding the PCW category and their evolvement and governance. This policy can be used for suggesting that PCW people were previously governed through difference, and now being governed through sameness as a result of the Welfare in the Work reforms.

Assumptions Based on Paternalistic Approach

In accordance with Rowley, Lawn and Coveney (2015), this means that like the other unemployed, people with PCW have to search and maintain their employment and sustain the obligations of their contract. They will be subjected to penalty if any failure occurs in this regard. It is also argued, that sameness sometimes fails to deliver equality to PCW people as it sustains the rights and duties of able-body ones as the standard through which people are regulated in NSA. This implies that current systems of privileged people and those of disadvantaged ones are ignored. This also neglects the needs of needs of people with a PCW as they differ in various senses from the able bodied norm and the structural barriers of these people’s experience in relation to employment, continue to be unaddressed. There are not sufficient scholarships on the mechanical income management of people with a PCW under the measures of New Income Management, specifically under the measure of long-term payment of recipient.

This problem emphasizes the importance of evaluating policy intersections and their connections with governance. The author of the book WPR- Bacchi suggests that policies are generally situated within a network of related policies and are needed to be considered as part of analysis. In recognition of this, the researcher of the income management will have to analyse various policy documents in this regard for understanding the people with PCW and their governance in modern reforms. They also have to analyse the income support system for such people along with their relation to changes that occur in the system of disability care and support. This analysis comprises of the SSOLA (Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment) and Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) Act 2010, which are basic legislations of New Income Management reforms. This trend which is focused on moving more people with disability into employment through various welfare reforms has become more consistent with time (Fisher and et.al, 2015). Recently, the budget measures of 2014-15 of the government of Federal Abbott Liberal National Coalition proclaimed many further changes to the employment eligibility of DSP. In accordance with the words of Corr and Carey (2017), these changes comprise of compulsory activities which are work-oriented on DSP recipients who are 35 years and under and have a capacity to work at least 8 hours/week.

Income management policy restricts the spending of money on alcohol, drugs and betting but did not emphasize the manner in which it affects the society. Even though no appropriate evidence regarding the success of application of policy is attained; no effective measures have been taken to ascertain the reason behind the same. The emphasis on financial harassment is made but silence regarding harassment exists in the policy. Assessment of other reasons which encourage spending of non-social activities should be ascertained so that efficient control on this spending can be made. No specification regarding these issues has been provided in the policy regarding the same. Thus, the same has affected the effective implementation of the policy. Moreover, no provision relating assessment or checking is available in policy regarding its effective application (Arden, Manathunga and Bottrell, 2017). Due to same reason it cannot be ascertained whether any significant change due to same has occurred or not.

Assumptions Based on Capabilities Approach

As the policy is implemented as an operational process by tailoring the program as per the needs of individual; but has not emphasized all the variants which affects the society. In accordance with the views of Lancaster, Seear and Treloar (2015), this policy is not restricted to all the individuals as the voluntary scheme is also available. As mixed report regarding the results of effectiveness of policy exists it could not be assessed that whether success has been attained in same or not.  The main emphasis has been made on the manner in which people could deal with the daily issues of managing money expenditure and decrease the rate of expenditure of non-social or harmful spending. However, no emphasis has been made on other indirect variants which affect the income management.

The other outcomes which have been analyzed after assessing the income management policies are that the policy had not build independence as well individual capability of managing income. Thus, the specified aspect requires to be focused in order to enable people manage the available funds with them in more appropriate manner. A fact which cannot be denied that policy has made life of many people easier through relieving them with the methods of managing funds. It was accepted by most of the people that managing funds has become easier with the acceptance of provision of polices (van Toorn and Dowse, 2016).

Another approach which is required to be assessed regarding this policy is that emphasis has been made on management of income but the other variants which indirectly affect it were not accessed. The policy should be provided along with assistance regarding managing the funds so that public could know the reason behind provision of the policy. This will make people independent and will allow them to make decision relating to their income in more appropriate manner. Moreover, they will not just follow the provision but will be able to assess the reason behind the same. The prospective of amending the manner of thinking of people is also required to be reconstructed in order to attain the objective of the policy. In accordance with the opinion of Pereira (2014), it will allow people to assess the manner of spending and restrict expenditure relating to non-social activities. Appropriate importance to morality nature should also be provided so that people could be encourage to not to spend on activities such as alcohol, betting etc. Other variants which are required to be assessed are focusing on individual financial management capacity.

References

Books and journals

Arden, M., Manathunga, C. and Bottrell, D., 2017. Identity Construction Through Australian University Student Mobility Program. Student Culture and Identity in Higher Education, p.1.

Corr, L. and Carey, G., 2017. Investigating the institutional norms and values of the Productivity Commission: The 2011 and 2015 childcare inquiries. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 76(2), pp.147-159.

Dee, M., 2013. Welfare surveillance, income management and new paternalism in Australia. Surveillance & Society, 11(3), p.272.

Fisher, M., Baum, F., MacDougall, C., Newman, L. and McDermott, D., 2015. A qualitative methodological framework to assess uptake of evidence on social determinants of health in health policy. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 11(4), pp.491-507.

Klein, E., 2016. Neoliberal subjectivities and the behavioural focus on income management. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 51(4), pp.503-523.

Lancaster, K., Seear, K. and Treloar, C., 2015. Laws prohibiting peer distribution of injecting equipment in Australia: A critical analysis of their effects. International Journal of Drug Policy, 26(12), pp.1198-1206.

Lovell, M.E., 2016. The normalisation of income management in Australia: analysis of the parliamentary debates of 2007 and 2009–10. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 51(4), pp.433-448.

Mendes, P., 2013. Compulsory income management: a critical examination of the emergence of conditional welfare in Australia. Australian Social Work, 66(4), pp.495-510.

Mendes, P., Waugh, J. and Flynn, C., 2013. A community development critique of compulsory income management in Australia.

Mendes, P., Waugh, J. and Flynn, C., 2014. Income management in Australia: A critical examination of the evidence. International Journal of Social Welfare, 23(4), pp.362-372.

Montalban, M., 2017. A critical analysis of the Australian Defence Force policy on maternal health care. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Parsons, K., Katz, I., Macvean, M., Spada-Rinaldis, S. and Shackleton, F., 2016. Alternatives to Income Management.

Pereira, R.B., 2014. Using critical policy analysis in occupational science research: exploring Bacchi's methodology. Journal of Occupational Science, 21(4), pp.389-402.

Rowley, D., Lawn, S.J. and Coveney, J.D., 2015. Two heads are better than one: Australian tobacco control experts.

van Toorn, G. and Dowse, L., 2016. Policy claims and problem frames: a cross-case comparison of evidence-based policy in an Australian context. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, 12(1), pp.9-24.

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