The new DES Quality Framework is a significant development aimed at improving the quality and effectiveness of Disability Employment Services (DES) in Australia. The Framework represents a paradigm shift in how DES provider performance is measured. By placing the views and experiences of people with disabilities at the forefront, this framework recognises the need for change.

Developed through extensive consultation with the disability employment sector and participant representative organisations, it aligns with the Labor Government’s commitment to placing people with disabilities at the centre of policy and programs.

Addressing the urgent need 

Australia is home to around 4.4 million people with disability including 2.1 million of working age. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities has remained stagnant for over two decades, reaching rates three times higher than the general population. The Australian Government has recognised this ongoing challenge, announcing it would develop a new specialist disability employment services model set to launch on 1 July 2025. In the meantime, the DES Quality Framework aims to foster collaboration, innovation, and high-quality service delivery to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

The four quality elements 

The DES Quality Framework comprises four quality elements designed to enhance employment outcomes and effectively support participants. These elements ensure that DES providers deliver services of the highest calibre, with a strong focus on participants’ needs and aspirations:

  1. Participant rights: Participants comprehensively understand their rights and responsibilities within the DES program. They are empowered to access available support systems, improving their employability and achieving positive employment outcomes.
  2. Understanding quality: DES providers develop a deep understanding of participants’ needs, supporting them in building their capacity to achieve employment goals and aspirations. Additionally, providers collaborate effectively with employers and community services, ensuring a holistic approach to participant support while understanding the local labour market and employer expectations.
  3. Provider capability: DES providers cultivate a culture of continuous improvement by implementing appropriate policies, systems, and processes. They invest in developing staff and management capabilities to deliver high-quality services and effectively manage risks.
  4. Compliance: DES providers proactively use existing compliance and assurance processes to support quality service delivery and drive continuous improvement. Adhering to established standards ensures a consistent and reliable experience for participants.

Implementation and ongoing consultation 

The DES Quality Framework is not a static document but an ongoing initiative that will evolve through continuous consultation and implementation processes. In the second half of 2023, participants, DES providers, and disability organisations will be able to provide valuable feedback to further refine and embed the framework. This inclusive approach ensures that the experiences and perspectives of those involved in the program play a crucial role in shaping its success.

What’s next? 

The introduction of the DES Quality Framework is a significant milestone in the efforts to enhance disability employment services in Australia. Prospert deeply understands the practices that contribute to high-quality service delivery and outcomes. We invite you to reach out to our team to prepare for Quality Assessment Ratings and Quality Scorecards, ensuring your organisation is equipped to meet the Framework’s standards. Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis and insights from Prospert on the new Framework.

Together, we can drive positive change in disability employment services and create a more inclusive and equitable society for everyone.