On International Day of People with Disability, we discuss this year’s theme, and offer an overview of Victoria’s Action Plan 2018-2025. We also look at how the Victorian government’s new Social Procurement Framework (SPF) can benefit Victorians with a disability.
International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is a United Nations sanctioned day celebrated each year on December 3. Aimed at increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability, the day also celebrates their achievements and contributions to our communities.
The theme this year is Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. This theme focuses on empowering individuals with disabilities for the “inclusive, equitable and sustainable development” envisioned in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”, an ambitious and visionary action plan to help guide the international community towards a peaceful and prosperous world, where dignity of an individual person and equality among all is applied as the fundamental principle, cutting across the three pillars of the work of the UN: Development, Human Rights and Peace and Security.
In this respect, we need to ensure that people with disabilities have equal participation in all spheres of society, and that environments are accessible and enabling for everybody. With urban development expected to increase, with an estimated 6.5 billion people projected to live in urban areas by 2050, Goal 11 of the Agenda is particularly pertinent: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Action Plan 2018-2025
In Victoria, the Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) led a collaboration between various government departments and agencies to develop Getting to work: Victorian public sector disability employment action plan 2018-2025. The plan aims to increase the representation of people with disability in the public sector workforce from four to six per cent by 2020, then 12 per cent, by 2025.
Three focus areas group the plan’s 21 actions:
1. Build awareness through access of information
2. Attract and recruit people with disability
3. Support employees with disability.
Importantly, the plan recognises that every workplace is unique and that a range of approaches will be required to raise awareness and drive change.
Said Paul Grimes, the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner:
The public sector offers meaningful work and progressive career experiences. Our inclusive culture enables and supports people with disability to realise their full potential. The public sector performs better when our workforce reflects the diversity of the Victorian community.
Social Procurement Framework
Effective from 1 September 2018, the SPF requires departments and agencies to ask tenderers about the social and environmental benefits they offer. Along with a range of other considerations, this can include asking tenderers how they can involve people with a disability in the project or support them through the tenderer’s business.
Government departments and agencies are encouraged to tailor the social procurement questions they include in tender requests to the specific context so opportunities to benefit people with a disability are considered in relation to the particular project.
A simple and effective way to demonstrate high levels of compliance with the SPF, is for tenderers to work with an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE) in their operations generally or for the particular project. Tenderers can also demonstrate their inclusive employment practices that provide for Victorians with a disability to be employed and ideally some ongoing monitoring of targets.
It’s mandatory to have an SPF evaluation criterion and for higher value projects, this criterion must have a weighting of at least 5%. If two tenderers make offers that are assessed on other criteria as being similar, the SPF criterion can be used to justify appointment of one on the basis of a stronger SPF response.
On higher value projects, government agencies can:
- specify performance standards or set targets on labour hours performed by Victorians with disability and ask suppliers to demonstrate how they will meet such targets
- set targets for supplier expenditure with relevant Victorian social enterprises or ADEs and ask suppliers to demonstrate how they will meet such targets.
These targets are then incorporated into the resulting contract as contractual commitments.
Appendix B2 of the Guide to Individual procurement requirements under the SPF Detailed guidance for opportunities for Victorians with disability, explains the rationale:
Paid work is one part of economic participation that builds a sense of self-worth and independence. When people with disability have higher incomes through work, they have more spending power as consumers and are more able to invest in housing and education. People with disability also contribute as producers of goods and services.
ADEs and a range of social enterprises create employment opportunities for Victorians with disability:
- ADEs are Commonwealth-funded (and generally not-for-profit) organisations that seek to operate in a commercial context, specifically to provide supportive employment opportunities to people with moderate to severe disability.
- In 2016-17, of the more than one million people with disability living in Victoria, 4,166 Victorians with disability were registered with an ADE.
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IMAGE: International Day of People with Disability
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A participant in the UN Global Compact, CourtHeath seeks to raise awareness about the sustainable development goals and the principles of the Global Compact with business and government organisations in Victoria. The elimination of all forms of discrimination in respect to employment and occupation is Principle 6 of the Global Compact. The Global Compact repudiates labour discrimination internationally.
Written by Pauline Bernard and Wendy Cavenett
[category courtheath's blog]
disability, procurement, Victoria