As a not-for-profit social enterprise, Clean Force’s approach is guided by its mission of “empowerment through employment” and vision to “inspire, transform and enable people to realise their potential.”
This vision underpins Clean Force’s devotion to improving the lives of its workers, many who have a disability (primarily mental illness), to optimise their self-determination, and career progression for an improved quality of life and self-sufficiency. Creating a mentally healthy workplace is an inherent part of this aim.
Video commissioned as case study by SANE Australia with support from Safe Work Australia, as part of the Heads Up campaign by The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (the Alliance).
Having no shareholders means that Clean Force invests surplus funds into workplace support for employees, traineeship development, employment services and community-focused projects. In a current workforce of around 180, Clean Force presently trains, employs and supports over 80 people who due to mental illness, disability, and other disadvantages have high practical and emotional in-work support requirements.
Co-founder Jim believes passionately in the power employment has on a person’s self-worth: “A significant proportion of our team members experience psychological illness combined with a learning difficulty or other disability and or illness. Working helps them to develop self-esteem, financial independence and a social network.”
Video: Craig Tolley, featured on SBS Insight, shares how working at Clean Force Property Services impacted positively on his life.
Clean Force operates as an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE) of the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services who partially fund case management support for Clean Force’s supported workforce. This funding is being transitioned to funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which gives individuals the decision about how support payments that are allocated to them can be spent. Employees with an NDIS package have therefore been able to fund their own employment support at Clean Force – further empowering them to become self sufficient.
Clean Force believes it is good business practice to directly employ all their staff. Consequently all staff are directly employed and subcontractors are used only for some specialised services. Both staff and the staff of subcontractors are paid at, or above, award wages for the relevant role.
Clean Force uses the productivity wage tool that is built in to all modern awards and this gives staff who have a lower level of productivity the opportunity to work as efficiently as any staff member.
Employees and their families have experienced profound changes in their lives through opportunities provided by Clean Force, including markedly increased self-esteem, independence, and health and wellbeing. One supported employee commented, “I used to be admitted to the hospital at least every three months for a week. Now I only see my doctor.”
Clean Force have had the value of the social impact independently verified. A “Social Return on Investment” study carried out by Social Ventures Australia in 2014 concluded that for every $1 invested in Clean Force there is $6.10 of community benefit derived. A copy of this study is available on request.
Clean Force in the media:
- ‘Purpose over profit: how social enterprises are boosting employment’, via ABC Lateline (featuring Clean Force Property Services)
- ‘Clean Force breaks down disability stigmas’ on SBS Small Business Secrets