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Australian Spatial Analytics

PBO Rate Card: What You've Told Us So Far

Over the past 6 weeks, we have received an incredible 40+ responses to our invitation for work-integrated social enterprises (WISE) to help shape a 'rate card' that can inform a collective approach to negotiating PBO approaches that fund essential supports for vulnerable jobseekers. Thank you to everyone who participated and shared experiences with us. 

The data, while based on a relatively small sample of WISEs, clearly shows the breadth of factors and models that influence success in achieving the kind of long-term, meaningful life-changing employment that social enterprise create for people excluded from mainstream employment. 

The data (refer tables below) show that the costs of providing training and wrap-around supports generally decrease over time (in this case, we used a 3 year timeframe) reflecting the high initial intensity of support which is gradually counterbalanced as employees become more confident and capable with workplace expectations and culture.

Year 1 - WISE Sector





Year 2 - WISE Sector





Year 3 - WISE Sector





Here are some of the other highlights from the sector feedback:

“Training and support costs vary by participant. People come with lots of different needs, and they change substantially over time. Support needs to be highly flexible and personalised, and available on demand. There are no "cookie cutter" solutions - and as a sector we need to be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to implement them, or we risk recreating some of the same unhelpful processes that jobactive agencies engage in.

Types of Support

  • Dedicated support: 1:10 ratio widely supported by the sector
  • Employability training, qualifications, life skills and counselling, therapeutic support, short courses (White Card, Tag & Test, other certificate training), cohort group specialists (i.e. autism training specialist)

Costs of support - influenced by intensity and the extent to which the supports are embedded or sourced externally

  • Supervisory staff costs (16 hours per week on average)
  • Productivity costs: whilst there is no set figure for all WISE, productivity costs have been calculated to be as high as 30%
  • Opportunity costs: WISE can incur an opportunity cost, especially where business models rely on the quality of a product or service and supervisors salaries can be much high to manage cohort workforce changes and challenges.
  • Transport, seasonality (keeping in touch during pause in operations)
Average participant hours
  • General trend shows an increase in the hours worked per week over time for most cohorts.
  • Employees may need to take breaks from their employment due a range of factors, including for personal reasons (health, relationship, medical, education, language, mental health respite/rehabilitation), changes in access to safe and affordable accommodation, justice system requirements, changes to care arrangements (disability cohort) and for childcare arrangements.
  • Breaks can result in supported absences of between 2 - 12 weeks, with most employees able to resume work at similar hours (with some adjustment to tasks) or part-time.


  • Transitions occur at different times depending on cohort and business models and there is a cost to the enterprise in nurturing the relationships with new employers, as well as during the transition in support of the participant.
  • On average, 50% of cohort staff will transition to further employment in a 12 month period (this may be in another SE or elsewhere)

It has been invaluable to have such a diverse and rich set of experiences and data shared with us. Thank you again to all those who contributed to the development of this data set. It will enable us to have a more fully-informed conversation with the Federal Government as we continue to co-design a proposed PBO program for WISEs. 

How you can get involved 


Collaboration recap

With the rate card survey now officially closed, we look forward to bringing you an update in July on the proposed program criteria and parameters for enterprise and employee participation, including further information about process for formalising an Expression of Interest.

Click here to add your details to the list of enterprises we will contact.

Want to Know More About PBOs?  

If you've just joined the party and would like to know more about PBO mechanisms and what they can do for the social enterprise sector to create impact, check out our PBO webpage for more. 
Thank you for your ongoing support for PBO mechanisms in the jobs-focused social enterprise sector.

Please contact us at anytime for a chat about the PBO.

The WBE PBO team. 
(Luke and Angharad)
Invite a friend or colleague to join our PBO journey
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