Media Release by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

More flexible arrangements for Disability Employment Service providers

The Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, today announced an 18-month trial of new, more flexible ways for Disability Employment Service providers to work with jobseekers and employers.

“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,” Minister Fifield said.

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.

Minister Fifield said that the Government was serious about cutting red tape and making processes more efficient to ensure people with disability get the best employment services possible.

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.

“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,” Minister Fifield said.

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,” Minister Fifield said.

“Better and more flexible arrangements for DES providers will help improve employment outcomes for people with disability.”

“The Government will continue to look for opportunities to reduce the administrative burden in the disability employment sector as part of our broader reform agenda for DES.”

“All DES services are contracted until 2018, providing an opportunity to reshape the system at that time,” Minister Fifield said.

“A better DES system will give more people with disability the best chance possible of finding and keeping a job.”