As the countdown begins to the new Disability Employment Services (DES) tender, employment services providers face a landscape of uncertainty.  With constant speculation on when and in what form the DES tender process will take, providers are right to tread cautiously. 

The impending changes to the DES program are influenced by many factors–all outside a provider’s control.   These include: National Disability Insurance Scheme Review; DES Quality Framework; revised performance measures; Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, Abuse;and more. These strong headwinds have created a sense of uncertainty impacting providers and their staff. 

Further, with Workforce Australia contracts under review by Parliament, DES providers are wondering about their growth prospects in a future procurement round. 

At Prospert, we understand the challenges that employment services providers face and are here to guide you through preparing for the upcoming DES tender. Here are some valuable tips and advice to help you navigate this uncertainty and position your organisation for success: 

  • Engage Your Board: Consult with your board early in the process to build a strong business case for the DES tender. Ensure you have the necessary financial and human resources to prepare a compelling tender submission.  
  • Embrace Growth Opportunities: Strategically consider geographic expansion for your DES program. Understand expansion criteria, research potential locations, analyse demographics and employment landscapes, and assess competition. Ensure alignment with your mission, values, and strategic plans. 
  • Amplify the Participant’s Voice: Step up your efforts to ensure that the participant voice and experiences are at the centre of your services. Identify ways that you can demonstrate person-centred delivery in your tender submission.  
  • Cultivate Employer Relationships: Strengthen your relationships with employers, as they will be critical during the tender process. Demonstrating your expertise and connections in the employer community can give you a competitive edge. 
  • Consider Partnerships: Evaluate your current partnerships and consortium arrangements. Are they aligned with your strategic goals? Explore new partnerships and consider complementary services. Decide whether a standalone or consortium bid is the right approach for your organisation. 
  • Invest in Staff: Alter the role of managers to focus on community and employer engagement. Retaining and training your staff is essential for future-proofing your DES program. 
  • Assess Financial Implications: Understand the financial contribution of DES to your organisation’s revenue. Create financial models to project the impact of changes in Employment Service Areas on your organisation’s financial health. 
  • Focus on Performance Improvement: Maintain a strong focus on improving your DES program’s performance. Build a library of case studies that showcase successful outcomes and highlight the positive impact your organisation has on individuals and employers.  

Prospert’s tender management capability helps providers navigate ambiguity and prepare for multiple scenarios. Our strategic process includes:  

  1. Feasibility Study and Tender Business Case

Before diving into the tender preparation, conducting a thorough feasibility study and developing a comprehensive business case is crucial. This involves delving deep into your current operations and growth options, including competition analysis, caseload mix and size, and placement flow. Develop an early bid strategy and assess the feasibility of expansion. Consider performing financial modelling for various bid scenarios, evaluating multi-year profit and loss projections, net present value, and payback period. Identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies. This phase ensures that your bid recommendations are sound and aligned with your organisation’s goals. 

  1. Bid Preparation and Tender Writing

The bid preparation phase is where you solidify your value proposition and design a compelling service delivery model. Your value proposition should be clear and tailored to address the evolving needs of DES. Test and document your service delivery model, gather evidence from case studies and engage with employers and the community. Research potential regions and sites, and manage the tender writing process efficiently, coordinating writers, subject matter experts, data analysts and content approvals. A well-structured and persuasive tender submission is essential for securing government contracts leaving this all to non-expert writers is fraught with risk. 

  1. Program Management and Transition to a New Contract

As you prepare for the transition to a new contract, develop a robust implementation roadmap. Review your tender commitments and identify operational gaps. Operationalise your service delivery model, consider HR restructuring and transition planning, and ensure your facilities and ICT infrastructure are updated to support the new contract. Effective communication and marketing strategies and legal and financial due diligence play a pivotal role in this phase. A successful transition ensures that your organisation is ready to hit the ground running from day one of the new contract. 

What next? 

As the DES landscape evolves, preparing for the upcoming tender requires careful planning, strategic thinking, and a proactive approach. Prospert is here to guide you through the process, offering expertise and support every step of the way. With our assistance, you can position your organisation to thrive in the changing DES environment. 

Five actions to consider: 

  1. Critically evaluate if your organisation is tender ready 
  2. Resolve with your Board “why” you wish to bid and where 
  3. Identify capacity and capability gaps that may prevent you achieving your tender goals 
  4. Consider the “how” of tendering and the role of external experts 
  5. Avoid waiting too long for all the ambiguities to resolve themselves  

Ready to take the next step? Contact Prospert Today!