I am making 2 posts today – a copy of the recommendations from the Senate inquiry into the recent Senate inquiry into the purchasing of disability employment services and a comment on the process so far.
First, the recommendations:
The committee recommends that the Department consider exploring alternative purchasing models for DES-ESS, especially in relation to the purchasing of specialist provider services.
The committee recommends that any purchasing process for DES-ESS, including competitive tendering, be delayed by a further 12 months to avoid unnecessarily disrupting service provision during a time of improving performance.
The committee recommends that the contract duration be extended from three- to five-years. The contract should include a mid-point review to ensure that consistent poor performance is identified and addressed.
The committee recommends that the scale of the proposed tender be limited to service providers below the national star-rating median.
The committee recommends that a transition strategy for clients be released at the same time as the Exposure Draft Request for Tender to allow interested parties to provide feedback at an early stage to the Department.
The committee recommends that the Department, in consultation with key stakeholders, consider the DES performance framework regression modelling information with a view to public release in ways that are accessible, meaningful and helpful to advancing program objectives.
The committee recommends that the Department develop a robust and quantifiable quality assessment mechanism for services under the DES-ESS, and incorporate that assessment mechanism into the performance framework.
The committee recommends that the Department consider a trial monitoring program of 52-week employment outcomes for clients of DES-ESS providers.
The committee recommends that the Department establish regular, proactive monitoring practices to identify incidents where the star-rating system is manipulated by providers.
The committee recommends that the Department include in the Disability Employment Services – Employment Support Services contract:
Definitions of inappropriate practices; and
Provision for the removal of providers who are found to engage in any practices listed in the included definitions.
The committee recommends that the Department collect and publish statistics regarding:
the number of reports of alleged inappropriate practice;
action taken in response to these reports; and
the number of providers found to have engaged in inappropriate practices.
It is interesting that the recommendations acknowledge 'inappropriate practices'
To my knowledge there has been no response from the Minister or the Department (DEEWR).
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