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Senate inquiry critical of Employment Services tender process

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The inquiry was launched on 13 May in response to widespread criticism of the tender process results, including the claim that many not-for-profit and community service providers had missed out for no good reason.

“Much of the dissatisfaction which has been strongly expressed by unsuccessful tenderers lies in the apparently inexplicable failure of the tender process to acknowledge the solid performance of many not-for-profit service provider applicants. Serious concerns were expressed regarding the design and structure of the tender process,” the report stated.

Addressing Parliament about the tender process report, Committee Chairman Liberal senator Gary Humphries said that the inquiry had “arisen out of a considerable amount of dismay and concern in the Australian community”, and that “the committee found that the process, perhaps inadvertently, fails to recognise the value of the additional community services provided by not-for-profit organisations.

“There needs to be a selection process which can identify the best quality providers and which is able to achieve a balance between probity and effectiveness without compromising the interests of taxpayers or the philosophies which underpin care.”

Mr Humphries went on to say the Committee had heard evidence that there seemed to be limited verification of claims made in tender submissions. “Not one witness–successful and unsuccessful tenderers–could tell the committee that their referees had been contacted, and they received no contact from DEEWR.”

Committee member Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert said that, in light of these findings, the Government needed to look at reshaping the tender process for the future. “The Government must ensure future processes:

  • Capture the additional value provided by community organisations that integrate job search support with other community services for disadvantaged job-seekers; and
  • Check on claims made by tenderers by contacting prospective partners and referees.”

The full report can be seen here

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