Helping stakeholders have their say on a new model of employment services

Helping stakeholders have their say on a new model of employment services

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The 2000-person-strong Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business oversees the provision of employment services by contracted providers who assist jobseekers to find work and employers to find staff.

The Australian Government sought input on a new employment services model

The main Australian Government contract to provide employment services is due for renewal in 2020. The government is using this as an opportunity to re-think the service delivery model given the changing nature of work and significant advances in technology. The Department of Jobs and Small Business asked Nous to undertake national consultations with stakeholders to gauge reactions to the ideas set out in a discussion paper produced by an advisory panel and to elicit further views.

We engaged with 540 stakeholders across Australia

Nous deployed a team that included four senior principals design and deliver the consultations, which covered all capital cities and several regional locations, in just three weeks. We ran 23 roundtables and community forums, as well as four consultations with departmental employees in cities and regions. Each session was based on the discussion paper and designed for open debate and fresh ideas.

We engaged a total of 540 stakeholders; including employment service providers, employers, community service organisations, state and local officials, jobseekers, registered training organisations and peak bodies. We briefed the department daily so lessons could be applied and important insights captured to test in subsequent consultations.

Stakeholder feedback is shaping the government’s thinking

We synthesised the consultations’ outputs into a report that elicited reactions to the discussion paper, captured the novel ideas proposed and highlighted policy implications. Most notably, stakeholders agreed that there should be greater capacity in the system to service the needs of job seekers who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or who face multiple barriers to employment. They also appreciated the potential of online technologies to create that capacity while improving the customer experience.

What you can learn from the Department of Jobs and Small Business

Expert facilitation from senior, knowledgeable people improves the quality and value of engagement.

Stakeholders must be reached where they live and work: it is not enough to only visit major capitals.

Openness to feedback and flexibility to adjust the content and the approach maximise engagement’s effectiveness.