Councils as employers of choice: how hiring and procurement decisions can create employment for people with disability

Maria Mupanemunda

How can local governments create employment opportunities for people with disability?

At a glance

Across Australia, employment rates for people with disability remained unacceptably low, even before the impact of COVID-19. Local councils can help to improve this situation by reviewing how they hire staff and where they purchase goods and services.

Dive deeper

As both major employers and procurers, local governments can create jobs for people with disability either within their own organisations or across their supply chains.

Good practice disability employment strategies recognise and address organisational structural and functional barriers that would inhibit people with disability from participating.

Similarly, all council purchasing decisions across the procurement cycle should take into account social value – that is, the economic, social and environmental impacts on the community.

Three organisational factors that drive successful social procurement and also good practice in disability employment are:

  • rules: to establish a supportive policy environment
  • resources: to enable policy compliance
  • relationships: to allow stakeholder collaboration (Barraket, Keast & Furneaux 2016).

Leveraging local government hiring and procurement decisions can help to narrow the disability employment gap. A wider range of collaborative policy initiatives is needed, however, for meaningful progress within the larger disability employment ecosystem across Australia.

This research is a product of the Bayside Regional Partnership Disability Employment Project, an initiative of the BSL NDIS Local Area Coordination Team, the BSL Research and Policy Centre and the seven local governments servicing the Bayside Peninsula Region. The project aims to support Victorian councils in becoming employers of choice for people with disability.

This paper is part of wider BSL research into the value and potential of social procurement in expanding opportunities for disadvantaged jobseekers.

Last updated on 15 March 2021



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