Launched earlier this month, the new Disability Employment Services (DES) Quality Framework represents a significant step towards elevating service quality and ensuring the rights and needs of participants are at the forefront of DES. In our previous article, we delved into the four quality elements of the Quality Framework. Now, let’s explore what good practice looks like for each quality element.

The Quality Framework will assess DES providers against four elements: Participant Rights, Understanding Quality, Provider Capability, and Compliance. These elements have been prioritised as critical to the foundation of effective service delivery and driving positive change in the DES landscape. Prospert notes that two key themes are emphasised across all four elements –  ongoing training and development of staff and ensuring participants’ voices are heard and used for continuous improvement.

DES Quality Framework

Here’s a summary of what good practice looks like for each element – along with specific examples in the context of holistic employer engagement:

Participant Rights

To meet the ‘Participant Rights’ outcomes, DES providers must ensure participants have accessible information about their rights and responsibilities, enabling informed decisions. Staff should receive training to uphold participant rights, and organisations should embed appropriate policies and procedures. Participant-focused onboarding processes and actively seeking feedback for continuous improvement are crucial aspects.

A crucial aspect of participant onboarding is seeking their feedback on where they wish to work. A simple tool such as Prospert’s Key 3, enables every job ready participant to have choice and control in how their consultant is reverse marketing them to prospective employers.

Understanding Quality

DES providers demonstrating good practice in ‘Understanding Quality’ involve participants in service planning, assessing their needs and capabilities for tailored support. They collaborate with employers and community services to create diverse pathways to employment, while also providing end-to-end recruitment services which go beyond placement. Valuing feedback from participants and employers facilitates ongoing improvement in the delivery of services.

A great way to elicit feedback is to measure participant and employer satisfaction using a tool such as Prospert’s Service Review.  Providers who invest in seeking constructive feedback on their services are in a great position to deliver high quality.

Provider Capability

For the ‘Provider Capability’ outcomes, organisations must ensure staff, management, and boards possess the required skills to support participants’ employment outcomes. Robust systems offering ongoing informal and formal development are essential. Actively involving participants and stakeholders in continuous improvement is good practice. Robust risk processes ensuring safety and management systems supporting participant-centred services are key elements.

Uplifting capability through a commitment to ongoing professional development is a key pillar of success.  Coaching and mentoring makes a significant impact for provider staff fortunate enough to receive such tailored advice.

Compliance

Under the ‘Compliance’ element, data becomes essential to DES delivery. Providers need to use compliance data for service improvements and actively seek participant feedback. A culture of continuous improvement involves managing disputes and responding to complaints promptly. Empowering participants to provide feedback and resolve issues without fear of consequences is vital.

Similarly, understanding why certain employers may feel “burnt” is crucial to turning negative attitudes around.  Prospert advocates taking a proactive approach to “put fires out” before employers become disappointed

The new DES Quality Framework presents an unprecedented opportunity for DES providers to elevate their service quality and positively impact the lives of people with disability and, by inference, the employers who hire them. By implementing the elements of good practice within each quality element, providers can ensure participant rights are respected, individual needs are met, and continuous improvement becomes a cornerstone of their service delivery. Stay tuned for our next article, where we take a closer look at indicators and measurement tools for the new Framework.

At Prospert, we understand the significance of these elements and the importance of their implementation in driving positive outcomes. As a leading consulting firm, we are dedicated to supporting employment service providers in achieving excellence in DES. Reach out to our team to explore how we can help your organisation excel in the new DES Quality Framework, making a difference in the lives of participants.