Call to Delay Tender Process for Disability Employment Services
29 November 2011 at 10:59 am
Disability Employment Australia has called on the Federal Government to delay the proposed public tender process for Disability Employment Services in the light of recommendations in a Senate Inquiry report.
Disability Employment Australia CEO, Lynette May said, ‘This is a fantastic result for people with disability in Australia. The Senate’s report firmly supports quality of service for job-seekers and employees with disability, and their employers.
“We call on the government to address the report’s recommendations, and to delay the Disability Employment Service (DES) tender process.’
The report is a result of an inquiry conducted by The Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee, following concerns raised by Australian Greens spokesperson on Disability Services, Senator Rachel Siewert.
‘The DES program is in its infancy, after 18 months of evaluation we now have
the evidence to inform a program review,” said May.
‘It is essential that the government take heed of the Senate’s recommendations to delay the tender process and to consider alternative purchasing models.
‘This would help alleviate unnecessary disruption to DES clients, staff, and the employers they work with throughout Australia.’
‘This report is timely given COAG’s adoption of the National Disability Strategy and the
endorsement of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which will see a shift towards person-directed servicing,” said May.
“Currently, the DES framework rewards providers for the number of employment outcomes they achieve, but fails to acknowledge the quality of these placements.”
May continued, ‘By ignoring quality outcomes, we are at serious risk of letting people with
disability down. We firmly believe that DES should remain an employment program with a strong social inclusion agenda, which is tied to the Disability Services Act 1986.’
The Executive Manager at Personnel Employment, Craig Harrison, a provider of DES services in South Australia said, ‘‘Significantly, the report gives recognition to the importance of the sustainability of employment, which supports our push towards quality outcomes.’
Harrison says a public tender process would disproportionally destabilise the current system which can operate better with quality control and licensing that better fits the client base.
“Open tender puts at risk the long term relationships between organisations and agencies, families and employers. Under a tender process, transition arrangements would not apply,” said Harrison.
Disability Employment Australia is the peak body for Australia's Disability Employment Services (DES). There are 244 DES organisations with almost 2000 sites across Australia. DES providers are both private and Not for Profit.
One in five Australians of working age have a disability, but only 53% participate in
the workforce compared with 81% for people without a disability. Australia’s DES currently assist approximately 140,000 individuals with disability gain and maintain meaningful employment in the open labour market.
The Senate’s report can be accessed at: