Fifield Cuts Red Tape for Disability Employment Services
6 January 2014 at 11:01 am
The Federal Government says it has made its first changes to lessen the administrative burden on Disability Employment Services providers.
According to Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, the Government is serious about cutting red tape and ensuring appropriate accountability for providers.
“I have tasked my Department with running a fine-tooth comb through the guidelines and other documents used to administer Disability Employment Services, in order to streamline documents and provide greater clarity about program requirements,” Senator Fifield said.
“Any changes to these guidelines will now only occur on a quarterly basis, to deliver certainty about program settings and allow providers to focus on any changes in the knowledge more will not occur unexpectedly.
“Providers will also now have 56 days to claim outcome fees, double the current claim period, allowing them more time to collect necessary documents to support the claim.
“Disability Employment Services providers will also no longer need to keep paper copies of records if they have an electronic copy.
“These are common sense initiatives, as part of the Government’s commitment to reduce bureaucratic red tape.”
Senator Fifield said the measures were a small but meaningful first step in the Government’s promise to reduce unnecessary red tape for DES providers.
“We want providers to focus their efforts on what they do best––finding jobs for people with disability, injury or health conditions––rather than struggling under burdensome paperwork,” he said.
National Employment Services Association CEO Sally Sinclair welcomed the changes, saying: “Australia’s employment and related services industry peak body, It gives frontline disability employment service provider staff confidence in being able to adapt to changes made by Canberra at specific times, and allows them to get on and work with people with disability looking for work.”
Sinclair said that she was happy to see Senator Fifield’s understanding of the issues faced by providers during a recent meeting with NESA, during which red tape reduction was raised.
Many NESA members estimate that around half of the time of their frontline staff is consumed by administration.
“By reducing red tape we can better direct resources to where they're needed resulting in more effective employment services for Australians who need them.
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with Minister Fifield and his department to bring about positive change for disability employment service providers and people with disabilities they support.”
NESA plans to release its position paper on strengthening disability employment services early in the new year.