Disability Employment Service Providers Trial
Thursday, 19th March 2015 at 9:21 am
The Federal Government has announced an 18-month trial of new ways for Disability Employment Service providers to work with jobseekers and employers – a move that has been strongly supported by the disability sector.
“The trial is just one of many red tape reduction measures being undertaken across Government as part of the Coalition’s red tape repeal day,” Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, said.
The Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2015) Bill 2015 (the Bill) is aimed at amending or repealing legislation across seven portfolios that affect business, individuals and the community sector that are not the subject of an individual stand-alone bill.
“The proposed changes will give DES providers greater flexibility to determine the way they deliver services to people who are in the ‘ongoing support’ phase of their DES participation. The changes will also reduce administration requirements,” Senator Fifield said.
“From 1 April 2015, DES providers, participants and employers will be empowered to decide how best to work together while participants are in the ongoing support phase, rather than being required to conduct mandatory face-to-face meetings.”
All 141 DES providers across 2276 sites nationally will be able to participate in the 18 month trial.
“Some 12,198 people with disability and their employers (754 DMS participants and 11,444 ESS participants) will directly benefit from this announcement,” Senator Fifield said.
"Providers will be able to work with participants to determine the most effective method of engagement, which may include video conferencing, email, or telephone to better fit the needs of participants and their employers.
“There will also be a relaxation of participant plan update requirements, and providers will now be able to contract third-party providers as part of their ongoing support services.
“This will free up providers’ time to focus on providing direct support to participants and their employers, as well as increasing flexibility to enable the purchase of the services participants need.
“All DES services are contracted until 2018, providing an opportunity to reshape the system at that time.”
Peak industry body, Disability Employment Australia (DEA) has welcomed the trial saying that at its best it will significantly reduce red tape and and unnecessary compliance.
DEA CEO Rick Kane told Pro Bono Australia News that the sector is keen to see the detail within the trial.
“The area of ongoing support for disability employment is essential to maintaining jobs and building capability and confidence for employees,” Kane said.
“We hope to hear the details within the next couple of weeks and the aim is to get as many services providers on board as possible.”
He said the announcement of the trial was an example of how good communication and respectful dialogue between the Department, the Minister and the disability employment sector could improve the program and deliver better outcomes for the participants.
Martin Wren, CEO of NOVA Employment which operates out of Sydney and services more than 1300 disability employment candidates, said the Government’s move “to remove mindless red tape is truly welcome”.
“The Minister has made steady and progressive improvements towards addressing the administrative burden [facing the sector],” Wren said.
“Up until now the system has not worked for many of the recipients with its one-size-fits all approach and the trial will allow them to customise their service.”