Disability Employment Services (DES) Certification

HDAA is accredited and authorised to assess disability employment services funded by the Department of Social Services and those providing disability employment services under the NDIS.

As a Disability Employment Service, you help make our communities Better. You support people with disability to make the contribution they want to, helping them to live fuller lives. HDAA is proud to work alongside you to strengthen the quality of your services, helping employers and colleagues see disability in a different light, unlocking a people’s capabilities and shaping lives with new purpose and hope.

We believe in the principle ‘nothing about us without us’, so as a HDAA client, your DES/SES assessment team will include an assessor with a disability who has experience of DES/SES services and will work alongside the Lead Assessor to focus on engaging service users who bring an important consumer perspective to the assessment process.

Throughout, we will work with you as your partner, focused on the shared goal of strengthening your organisation to meet the needs of people with disability and realising the opportunities that exist.

About the Disability Employment Services and Supported Employment Services Scheme (DES/SES Scheme)

The DES/SES scheme is a positive framework that’s designed to:

  • Give people with disability greater confidence in the outcome’s employment services can achieve for them.
  • Ensure all services meet a set of Standards for Disability Employment Services.
  • Make the assessment of quality more objective and measurable.
  • Treat all services equally.
  • Reduce government intervention in the day to day operation of services.
  • Support services to continually improve.

The Department of Social Services Quality Assurance System applies to disability employment providers funded by the Department of Social Services to be assessed by an independent certification body.  HDAA is an independent certifying body.  Organisations must comply with, and demonstrate, continuous improvement against the NSDS during the course of their assessment and certification to the Standards.

The standards used for the DES/SES are the National Standards for Disability Services (NSDS) introduced in 2013 to replace the DSS (Disability Service Standards). The 10th issue of the scheme (the procedure that guides how the NSDS are applied for DES services) was published in June 2020 and incorporates changes with the implementation of the NDIS and Practice Standards.

The DES scheme consists of two parts:

  • Human Services Scheme Part 1 – containing the common requirements for bodies certifying Human Services.
  • DES/SES scheme (HS Scheme Part 3). Additional requirements for bodies certifying Disability Employment Services and Supported Employment Services.

ADEs and the NDIS

Funding of Australian Disability Enterprises is transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  As the NDIS rolls out, people with disability supported at Australian Disability Enterprises become NDIS participants.

Once a employee has a plan approved under the NDIS, funding to support the person will be via the NDIS and the ADE service providing employment will be assessed to the NDIS Practice Standards.

Providers with funding from both The Department of Social Services and the NDIS are required to comply with both the NSDS for DES/SES and the NDIS Practice Standards, with separate reporting provided to the Department of Social Services and the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission.

Please note:

  • If your ADE service receives Temporary Viability Support (TVS) funding your service will be required to maintain your DES/SES certification.
  • If your ADE service receives rural and remote funding under the DEA program you are still required to undertake your NSDS audit until 31 March 2021


The following resources may be useful as you prepare for your next DES assessment:

We can help with your Disability Employment certification.

We’re an expert DES/SES certification body. We can discuss your service’s individual needs with a simple phone call.