Investigation into Star Ratings for Disability Employment Services program

Dept of Social Services

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

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.

Based on the information the Department of Social Services has to date, the coding error means that historical data outside the two-year assessment period was incorrectly retained in the calculation of Star Ratings. This resulted in the scope for inclusion in the Formal Performance Assessment being incorrect in a small number of cases.

Importantly, there is no impact on the provision of any current services to participants.

Minister Rishworth has taken immediate action including:

  • Instructing the Department of Social Services Secretary Mr Ray Griggs AO CSC to establish an external investigation into the coding error and application of the Star Ratings system
  • Suspending Formal Performance Assessments based on Star Ratings and the publication of Star Ratings for the DES program until the coding error has been resolved

Minister Rishworth said she was “deeply concerned” about what has occurred.

“The Star Ratings are an important part of monitoring performance of DES providers. I have been clear that broad reform to the DES program is required,” Minister Rishworth said.

“That is why in the recent Budget I 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 Government is committed to a DES program that provides improved outcomes for both participants and taxpayers.”

Minister Rishworth said she would continue work on a new Quality Framework to ensure the views of DES participants are embedded in the ratings system.

“I am very keen to see what we can do to boost quality of these services and lift up the whole system to provide better outcomes for people living with disability,” Minister Rishworth said.

“We need a more rich, highly specialised employment service to deliver good outcomes.”

The Department of Social Services will contact all DES service providers with further advice following this announcement.

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