Employment Services Tender: Sensible changes but job seekers will still suffer

The CEO of Jobs Australia, the national peak body for non-profit employment services providers, Mr David Thompson AM, today welcomed the release of the Request For Tender for Employment Services 2015-2020, and particularly welcomed changes that have been made since the July Exposure Draft.

The final RFT incorporates a series of changes in response to feedback from Jobs Australia and other stakeholders, including:

  • Decision-making in relation to benefit sanctions will remain with Centrelink, and will not be outsourced to employment services providers;
  • Tenderers will have more time to finalise legal arrangements for partnerships;
  • Small providers will be able to tender for part of an Employment Region; and
  • Minimum job search requirements have been lowered, with the requirement reduced from a minimum of 40 job searches a month down to a minimum of 20.

“These are sensible changes, consistent with the feedback that Jobs Australia provided to the Minister, and we’re pleased to see that this has been taken into account,” Mr Thompson said.

“There was a great deal of concern amongst existing employment services providers that making decisions about benefit sanctions would be a new source of red-tape, would distract from their core task of getting people into jobs, and would undermine the relationship between case managers and their clients,” Mr Thompson said.

Changes that allow tenderers to bid for part of a region were also welcomed.

“This gives small, local organisations that are in touch with their local communities a better chance of being able to win a contract,” Mr Thompson said.

Mr Thompson was disappointed, however, that harsher measures for job seekers under 30 years of age remain in the tender documents.

“The ridiculous six months on, six months off arrangement that the Government wants to apply to people under 30 is still reflected in the tender,” Mr Thompson said.

“This means that providers have to continue developing a separate service model for those job seekers and factor the costs and payments into their financial modelling.

“If the legislation doesn't pass the Senate – and it doesn't look like it will – then  it will all be redundant,” Mr Thompson said.