On job with colleague in wheelchair using computer with two monitors combined with laptop

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth has announced an investigation into the Disability Employment Services Star Ratings following a coding error that impacts the application of the system.

Until the coding issue is resolved Formal Performance Assessments based on Star Ratings and the publication of Star Ratings for the DES program have been suspended.

The Star Ratings system measures the relative rate at which DES providers achieve employment and other outcomes, taking into account economic and labour market conditions.

The coding error means that historical data outside the two-year assessment period was incorrectly retained in the calculation of Star Ratings, resulting in the scope for inclusion in the Formal Performance Assessment being incorrect in a small number of cases. However, there is no impact on the provision of any current services to participants.

Minister Rishworth said she was “deeply concerned” about what occurred. “The Star Ratings are an important part of monitoring performance of DES providers and I have been clear that broad reform to the DES program is required,” she said.

In the recent Budget the minister announced immediate adjustments will be made to the DES program to improve quality, while the government conducts the detailed reform work to implement a new system.

The DSS will contact all DES service providers with further advice following this announcement.

DES has received significant criticism, and much is deserved, according to Nova Employment CEO Martin Wren. “This latest issues with the performance of the Star Ratings measurement system means people with disability will be even less able to identify effective and efficient providers,” he told F2L.

“Greed is at the base of the problem, coupled with a lack of faith in the ability of people with disability to hold down work that is anything other than token roles with minimum hours, minimum or supported wages,” he said. “A system that those with disability might find useful when choosing an employment service provider is not available. They should be able to access feedback from other job seekers on the program they are considering trusting their careers to.”

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