New Specialist Disability Employment Services Model
The Need for a New Model
The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that no Australian with disability is left behind, and that people with disability have equal opportunities to access the community and gain employment.
In an effort to improve systems and services for job seekers and employers, the Government is developing a new specialist disability employment services model to replace the current Disability Employment Services (DES) program. The new model will ensure that people with disability are not left behind and employers can utilise an untapped workforce. It is crucial to learn from the experiences of people with disability. The Department of Social Services has been consulting with people with disability, employers, academics, disability representative organisations and providers on the design of the new model.
Designing a New Model
The department is working with people with disability, employers and providers on the design and implementation of a new specialist disability employment services model to ensure it supports both people with disability to find and maintain employment, and businesses who employ people with disability to ensure their employment is successful. The new specialist disability employment services model will:
- Continue the Government’s focus on program service quality
- Have greater integration with other programs and services, such as Workforce Australia and the NDIS, and
- Provide flexible support which meets the needs of people with disability.
The Bigger Picture
Reforming disability employment is one piece of the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to improving outcomes for people with disability. The new specialist disability employment services model will be informed by the cumulative knowledge gained through engagement sought in concurrent bodies of work including:
- the Australian Disability Strategy
- Employ My Ability – the Disability Employment Strategy
- the Disability Royal Commission, and
- the National Disability Insurance Scheme participant employment strategy.
The Consultation Process
It is crucial that we learn from the experiences of people with disability to inform the design process. The department has been consulting with people with disability, employers, academics, disability representative organisations and providers on the design of the new model.
DES Reference Group
The department established the Disability Employment Services (DES) Reference Group on 16 November 2016 to support the 2018 reform of disability employment services. The Reference Group was not a decision making body, but was established to provide advice and guidance to the department.
The Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Ben Gauntlett, chaired the DES Reference Group. Membership included disability representative organisations, employers, employment service peak bodies, and academics. The Chair provided the Reference Group's final recommendations to the department for consideration in July 2022. The Reference Group has now been closed.
The department undertook public consultation to give more people a chance to provide feedback on how the new model can best help people with disability prepare for work, find and keep a job, and progress their careers.
The department released a Consultation Report on 8 August 2022 on DSS Engage. It summarises the feedback received from public consultation, which comprised of 152 submissions. Submissions were received from a range of individual and organisational stakeholders, including people with disability, their parents and carers, employers, employment service providers, disability advocates, disability representatives and academics.
The department will continue to undertake consultation with key stakeholders including people with disability, employers, disability advocacy organisations and providers to inform final details for the new model. This will include testing ideas, discussing implementation issues and focusing on solutions to the issues identified in previous consultation.
There will be further opportunities to contribute to the ongoing consultation process in the future.