The following post is a reply from Stephen Dering, in response to our earlier article Daring Derings Gone. Since our comments close after a set period of time, to prevent spam, we decided to post Stephen’s response as a stand alone article.
There are a lot of rumours going around in relation to the company I set up 4 years ago. Because of a number of legal processes, we have not been in a position to respond to these rumours and put these right until those processes have completed.
In October 2009 we started a number of new contracts where referrals are to come from Jobcentre Plus – we cannot refer people directly onto programme. By Feb 2010 only 7% of the actual referrals were coming in that was expected. This is common to all companies in the same sector, we are not the only ones affected – every other organisation has a similar experience of low referral levels.
Therefore we had to undertake a review of which services are viable and which are not and to focus on those which are viable. In our market sector we receive fees for job outcomes achieved. No job outcomes = no fees therefore in some areas it is not viable to operate.
Unlike charitable organisations we do not get grants or legacies to deliver services. We have to make a profit.
We have therefore made some changes to remove or suspend the non-profitable elements and to focus on the areas that are profitable. That means in some areas like Melbourne, we have handed our service over to another provider who has the resources to carry on the work. In Cheshire we have terminated the service where the volume of customers was too small to be viable. In Brisbane we have entered into a joint agreement with partner organisation Interwork to deliver employment services together.
In many areas such as Birmingham, Derby, London, South East, Northern Ireland and France, our services are not affected at all and we continue to exceed expectations in the level of job outcomes. For example, we started delivering Employment Services for the first time in Devon & Cornwall in December and are delivering job outcomes that exceed contract requirements. In 2009 we worked with over 1,000 people and supported 244 into work. So far in 2010 we are on course to achieve a similar level of people into work through a tighter, more focused team working in areas which are the most viable.
Our Operations Manager is indeed leaving us at the end of March – however, she is going to Remark to manage a new service in April that is going to compliment the services that Dering provide by providing support in the workplace once Dering has supported a person into work. Therefore this is something that we welcome and look forward to working with her on.
Dering Employment Services
14 thoughts on “Daring Derings Gone PII: Stephen Dering Writes”
So basically Mr Dering is saying that he is packing his bags and departing the shores of Oz, after only 7 months or so. But he will continue to squeeze a few Aussie dollars by virtue of his partnership with Interlink in Brisbane.
I wonder if the 5 staff he employed will be moving over to the new employers? And what about his NSW employee/s?
The bigger question here is will Dering apologise? What on earth was he doing going through with the charade of appointing a Managing Director knowing full well the concept was dead in the water. How much of his tight finances did he waste on the process? Will he reimburse out of pocket expenses that the winnning candidate may have incurred. What would have happened if the candidate had resigned from his job? The irresponsibility is astounding.
The Dering concept is now dead. The staff abosrbed by partner organisations will work with alll disasbilities and take up any of the deaf client base that was already very small. I imagine Interwork will be looking at buying out the contract so that it is theirs in their own right. They too will not be focusing solely on the deaf. It will be a general disability service. The deaf market is simply too small.
Make no mistake. Dering is gone. Not only in name but in trust and reputation also. The spin is fine but there are so many questions left an answered.
I am wondering why you removed my posting that made the very point Mr Derrring did.
“Unlike charitable organisations we do not get grants or legacies to deliver services. We have to make a profit.”
It is this basic fact that charities are using tax exemption status AND hearing professionals, to undermine grass root service provisions so they can ‘corner the market’ in provision of services. Why aren’t grass roots given the same status ? Deaf are attacking Mr Derring for issues beyond his control. There isn’t a level playing field, there should be.
Grass roots networks are doomed.
MM …. I am not sure what happened to your original posting. I certainly have not seen it. I will try to find out what happened to it, In the meantime if you would like to submit it again I am happy to have a look at it.
I am sure there is a lot of undermining going on. I am sure Dering has come in for stick across the board. Jealousy, ego, past conflicts and so on all probably came in to play.
The problem that I have is not so much that it is a grass-roots service, I support that, but what has occurred here in Australia. Peoples hopes were raised. People he had already employed, the potential Managing Directors he interviewed, the deaf clients and so on. And suddenly he was gone.
The simple fact remains that within three weeks of interviewing for a Managing Director here in Australia, verbally offering a contract and going through an elaborate interview process he was gone. WHY? He must have known the situation well before he went through with the process. This was in his control!
You can forgive people misreading the market. Hell more experienced people than Dering have done that – Look at how many banks went bust in the recent GFC. But what I find hard to accept is that people were strung along and indeed one could very well have found himself out of a very well paid job. This was sheer madness. The field is not level and Dering has some tough battles but these sort of mistakes and lack of courtesy to the people Dering was serving simply are unforgivable. All it needs is for Dering to come out and say, I made a mistake I was wrong – SORRY. Until that is forthcoming you cannot blame people for their lack of trust and indeed their hostility.
Hmmm seems grass root endevour is paying the unfair price of tax privileges given to charity by the state. We know the state (UK) does this because it takes the heat off them and the onus for access services by law gets by-passed in off loading it as support to charities via the begging bowl. Maybe the OZ system is different, there is obviously a communication breakdown of some kind (Where have we heard that before !). We just heard here the major deaf charity pulling out of employment support and advice for the deaf, because there is no ‘profit’ for it, so even charities need to make a buck it seems. Unlike Mr Derring no deaf here said a word when a whole charity pulled out leaving deaf jobless with no back up… I think your Australian disability law is like ours, bloody pointless.
MM .. You seem to miss the point. Whatever difficulties dering has with the big boys he made buisiness decisions that led to his own downfall. He misread the Australian market, he seems to have poorly researched the system here and worse has led people to believe he was committed when he clearly was in no position to commit. The damage here seems to have been largely self-inflicted … You are defending the indefensible.
I suppose I am reluctant to have a go at deaf trying to do things for themselves, there are so few of them as it is. Unfortunately it requires considerable support from the deaf community to work. A poor business decision, bad PR, I am sure Derring isn’t the first, nor will be the last. We expect so much MORE from the deaf, and expect so much LESS from the mainstream don’t we ? Why ?
No we dont MM. Like the mainstream we demand transparency. When that transparency is not forthcoming, be it hearing or deaf, then we all need to be judged evenly. the mistakes in business are fine the stringing along of people is not.
We are all disappointed that Dering fell over here. Like in my original article I asked that Dering be judged as a business gone wrong not as a Deaf business gone wrong. You are critical of deaf everywhere why go soft on this occassion?
Mainly because Derring was one of the few ‘success’ stories deaf ever had here. I’m not overly critical of deaf business, never have been, I’d like to see more of it. He appears to have made a mess of it in OZ. Deaf are hyper critical of their own, always have been. In reality they expect standards far higher than they expect from hearing, just the same as deaf everywhere are expected to be twice as good as hearing just to stand still, and 3 times as good to be an equal.
I dont think they do. But the cock ups stand out more thats for sure.
The deaf sector is part of the minority group. Do you all agree?
Then, the Deaf sector itself has probably the smallest minority group of the whole minority group. It was pointless of Derring to come to Australia in the first place!
Congrats on leaving a blazin’ trail on Australia, Derring. And you have left us wondering how much ‘incompetence’ you are!
Whether Stephen Dering is Deaf, deaf, hearing impaired or (insert label here) is not the point. No one is judging his business acumen by his ability to fear sound, or not, as the case may be.
As Gazza states, it is the misleading spriuking that occurred pre, during and post arrival on Australian shores.
From Day 1, the self-congratulatory language of “winning DEN contracts” when no knew contracts were available for winning (sub-contracting is a very different business practice), to the most recent announcement of “handing over services” (Dering did not have contracts in Melbourne to hand over), it seems to be exemplary spin, worthy of a yo-yo competition.
Even now, the Dering .au website is full of incorrect details that are misleading and do not reflect the current state of playof service delivery, or rather, lack-thereof.
But this no doubt very expensive lesson, one of trying to take over Australia’s employment services for Deaf and hard of hearing people, missed one important feature to start with.
All of the Australian services for Deaf were high achievers, supported by excellent, committed and loyal staff, well versed in their roles, rich with employment knowledge and a proven understanding of the local labour market. DEEWR’s own star ratings reflected the first class service being provided.
So it’s no wonder the clients didn’t make the change. They were already happy with what they have – an excellent, community based, supportive and culturally aware service.
Can’t beat that. Clearly.
Thank you Curious. Put better than I ever could.
I read yesterday there are rows in the UK too with people leaving. So it looks quite a serious cash flow issue.
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