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Improving the Programme Assurance Mechanisms for JSCI Change and Circumstances Reassessment

Client: Department of Employment

Background: The Job Seeker Classification Instrument (JSCI) is used to assess the support needs of job seekers, and determine their eligibility for assistance from employment service providers. The assessment also identifies job seekers with multiple or complex barriers to employment who may require further assessment.

When a job seeker’s circumstances change, or there is an indication that they need to move to a higher level of servicing, providers are required to conduct a Change of Circumstances Reassessment (CoCR), which requires documentary evidence of the change(s). This documentary evidence, reviewed by random audits by the Department, is the basis for the assurance mechanism for the CoCR. From an assurance perspective, there are a number of risks and limitations to the current CoCR process.

Sustineo was engaged to review the JSCI CoCR and to provide recommendations to strengthen its programme assurance mechanisms.

Approach: In order to undertake the review of documentary evidence requirements for JSCI CoCR, the Sustineo team engaged a mixed-methods approach. This included a review of comparable programmes in other departments, industries and in the international context, as well as engagement with stakeholders including Department of Employment staff in the National Office and state / territory offices, interviews with a selection of service providers in all states and territories, and the peak bodies for these providers.

Outcome: Sustineo’s review of the JSCI CoCR program assurance mechanisms resulted in a set of recommendations to the Department on directions and strategies to improve the programme assurance mechanisms and more effectively engage with service providers to ensure compliance. These directions included process and system improvements, as well as broader strategies addressing provider education and engagement to strengthen capacity and preparedness to comply with the programme assurance requirements.

Importantly, the directions identified by the Sustineo team were linked to broader developments in the Government’s digital reform agenda, and the opportunities for the JSCI CoCR process to achieve significant improvements in efficiency and effectiveness by moving to a job seeker online self-service model integrated with the Government’s single client portal (

The recommendations covered short, medium and long-term directions for the Department to implement improvements in the programme assurance mechanism in a staged manner and aligned with the timetable for broader developments in digital service delivery.