Awards guidelines

Nominations for the 2016 National Disability Awards are now closed. Finalists announced for the 10th National Disability Awards

Aim of the Awards

The National Disability Strategy, 2010–2020 sets out a ten year plan for improving the lives of Australians with disability, their families and carers. Produced in partnership by the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments under the auspices of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the Strategy represents a shared vision for an inclusive Australian society that enables Australians with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens. Further information about the National Disability Strategy can be found on the DSS website.

The Australian Government has been celebrating International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) since 2007. IDPwD is a United Nations sanctioned day that occurs annually on 3 December. It is unique among community awareness days, as it unites disability organisations, businesses, federal, state and local governments and the community. The day is a collaborative effort to celebrate and acknowledge the rights of people with disability to be active citizens. Both individuals and organisations across the country are encouraged to celebrate.

Celebrating IDPwD and the National Disability Awards (the Awards) each year provides an opportunity to ensure that the achievements and needs of Australians with disability, their families and carers remain visible.

The Awards are the Government’s main celebration of IDPwD, aiming to honour and recognise the outstanding achievements of individuals, teams and organisations that have improved the lives of Australians with disability and contributed to increased recognition of equality and human rights for all Australians.  This is the 10th year that the Awards have been held.

In 2016 Awards will be presented in the following eight categories:

  1. Lesley Hall Leadership Award
  2. Employer of the Year Award
  3. Excellence in Community Partnerships
  4. Excellence in Inclusive Community Design
  5. Excellence in Inclusive Service Delivery
  6. Excellence in Technology
  7. Excellence in Education And Training
  8. Excellence in Justice And Rights Protection

The Awards align closely with the key priority areas for action under the National Disability Strategy, including striving for more inclusive and accessible communities, and greater rights protection, economic security, and disability and mainstream support for all Australians with disability and strongly recognise that disability is more a reflection of societal barriers and discrimination, rather than a person’s diagnosis.

The Awards strive to demonstrate and highlight best practice that can then be replicated nationally in improving mainstream responses from individuals, organisations, businesses and governments so that we are all encouraged to start thinking in terms of an inclusive, rights-based Australian community.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in the Great Hall, Australian Parliament House, Canberra on 7 November 2016.

2016 Award Categories – Recognising excellence

This year, nominations are being sought across the following eight categories:

1. Lesley Hall leadership award

Recognises excellence in development of reform opportunities across all areas of Australian life that improve the lives of Australians with disability.

Nominations are sought from individuals with disability who demonstrate outstanding achievement in areas of reform over a significant period to improve outcomes for Australians with disability; or who demonstrate leadership qualities in their community through promoting, raising awareness and / or making significant positive changes to the lives of Australians with disability.

2. Employer of the year award

Recognises excellence in workforce diversity through providing sustainable employment opportunities for Australians with disability.

Nominations are sought from individuals or organisations (small, medium or large) that have made an outstanding contribution to increasing access to employment opportunities, and providing quality employment outcomes, for Australians with disability.

3. Excellence in community partnerships

Recognises excellence in developing cross-sector community partnerships that improve access and participation in Australian life for people with disability. Nominations are sought from partnerships across any or all of the National Disability Strategy outcome areas that demonstrate greater inclusion for Australians with disability in, for example, physical, health and well-being, economic, social, sporting or cultural environments.

4. Excellence in inclusive community design

Recognises excellence in collaborative and innovative design of places and communities that place a high value on the contribution of people with disability. Nominations are sought from community developers providing examples of best practice that enable Australians with disability to live in accessible and well-designed communities. This could be a town, precinct, municipality or any community.

5. Excellence in inclusive service delivery

Recognises excellence in innovative service design led by Australians with disability, or innovative services that apply person-centred approaches for Australians with disability that demonstrate genuine engagement with Australians with disability.

Nominations are sought from Australians with disability leading the design of service delivery in, for example, health and well-being, economic, social, sporting or cultural services, that supports their greater participation and inclusion, or from organisations demonstrating increasing choice and control for people with disability in service delivery, enabling people with disability to live more independent lives.

6. Excellence in technology

Recognises excellence in innovative design and use of accessible technologies to improve the lives of Australians with disability, or in providing communication and information systems that are accessible, reliable and responsive to all Australians, including Australians with disability.

Nominations are sought from people or oganisations delivering positive and effective outcomes for Australians with disability through technology, by maximizing choice and control, supporting innovation, ensuring sustainability, in providing communication systems that are accessible, reliable and responsive to Australians with disability, or in providing innovative technology accessible to all abilities.

7. Excellence in inclusive education and training

Recognises excellence in inclusive education or vocational training that delivers improved economic and social outcomes for Australians with disability. This award also recognises practice that demonstrates effective education and training support for Australians with disability to transition from school to work or other types of community participation. Nominations are sought from people or organisations demonstrating inclusive education and training outcomes that enable Australians with disability of all ages to be successful and valued learners in any aspect of Australian society.

8. Excellence in justice and rights protection

Recognises excellence in justice, rights protection and advocacy practices for Australians with disability.

Nominations are sought that demonstrate either individually or systemically, elimination of discrimination and upholding rights and equality assisting people with achieve individual autonomy; enabling active involvement in decision-making and supporting full participation for Australians with disability, in the economic, civic and social life of our communities.

Conditions of entry

  1. The Lesley Hall Award leadership award is only open to individual nominees with disability.
    All other nominations are open to Australians with disability, Australians without disability, volunteers, teams, committees, partnerships, alliances, cooperatives, public, private and non-government organisations that have taken significant steps to improve the lives of Australians with disability (private sector organisations can include small, medium or large businesses). Small – medium enterprises: up to 100 staff; Large enterprises: over 100 staff
  2. All individual nominees must be Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia.
  3. All organisations should be operating in Australia for Australians with disability.
  4. Nominations for a best practice initiative or project must include details of an individual/s or organisation to be acknowledged as an Award finalist.
  5. Employees of the Department of Social Services (DSS) and their immediate family, and members of the judging panel, are not eligible.
  6. You may wish to seek a nominee’s agreement to be nominated and advise that their information may be used for publicity and promotional purposes. DSS will contact finalists to seek their approval prior to the release of any information.
  7. Nominations must address each field in the nomination statement. Nominations that are not completed in full against each field cannot be considered.
  8. Nominations should closely consider the assessment evaluation criteria outlined below in completing the Nomination Statement.
  9. Nominations may be submitted online, via email or post.

Judging and Award presentation

  • An independent judging panel, comprising individuals with an understanding and lived experience of disability, will review the nominations and make recommendations to the Government with finalists announced in a national media release.
  • The judges’ decision will be final and no correspondence or discussion will be entered into.
  • The Awards ceremony will be on 7 November 2016 in the Great Hall,
    Australian Parliament House, Canberra.
  • All finalists will be invited to the ceremony, where Award winners will be announced.

Assessment evaluation criteria

The Awards will be judged on the following evaluation criteria:

  1. Relevance of the nomination to the Award descriptions (the achievement).
  2. Demonstrated outcomes, successes and positive impact on Australians with disability that could include demonstrated innovative, quality or leading practice elements that distinguish the approach from others or that could then be replicated by others (the impact).
  3. Demonstrated commitment to upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to enable a disability rights-based culture, and commitment to reflecting and reinforcing the community and universal-based approaches underpinning the National Disability Strategy as outlined below (taking a rights-based approach).

Nominations from those who go above and beyond will be well regarded, as will nominations that reflect a rights-based approach and truly capture the spirit of the Awards and their intent.

The judging panel will particularly be looking at nominations that support the community and universal-based approaches underpinning the National Disability Strategy, that:

  • are led by people with disability
  • better involve people with disability in design, funding, delivery and evaluation of policies, programmes and services
  • demonstrate greater community engagement in removing barriers and supporting inclusion of people with disability in the life of their communities
  • take a more universal approach so that services, environments and communities are accessible and usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for specialised modification
  • take a life course approach that takes into account a person’s needs and aspirations over their lifetime, paying particular attention to milestones and times of transition
  • take a person-centred approach where policies, programmes and services for people with disability are designed to respond to the needs and wishes of each individual
  • focus on independent living where services and equipment that facilitate the greatest level of independence and the enjoyment of a lifestyle that reflects the choices of people with disability
  • demonstrate partnerships and interconnectivity between mainstream areas and disability
  • raise the standard above normalised practice in mainstream services and programmes (ie going above and beyond those organisations who are specifically funded to provide specialist services to people with disability)
  • focus on greater inclusive practices.

Important dates and information

Nominations close:
5pm AEST Thursday 30 June 2016
Nominations will be acknowledged within 10 days of the nomination closing date. If you do not receive an acknowledgement within this time please contact us.
Awards ceremony:
7 November at Australian Parliament House, Canberra.
Nomination submission:
Lodged online at: OR

By email:

By Post: National Disability Awards Manager
Disability, Carer Policy and Access Branch
(Level 7, Aviation House, 16 Furzer St, Phillip ACT 2606)

GPO Box 9820
Canberra ACT 2601

Note: If submitting by post the nomination must be post marked on or before 30 June 2016.

Nomination attachments:
Online nominations can include attachments with the following file types: PDF, DOC, DOCX, RTF, JPG, JPEG, PNG; however the size limit is 5MB.

Emailed nominations can include attachments with the following file types: PDF, DOC, DOCX, RTF; however the size limit is 10MB. Any nominations including attachments which exceed this size limit will need to be split between multiple emails and the same reference must be made in the subject line to ensure all emails are connected. If sending photos as attachments, please limit to 3 photos only.

Name and contact details for 2 referees may accompany each nomination; and/or nominators may also wish to provide written references that support your nomination.
Alternative formats:
Nomination forms can be downloaded above, or hardcopies, including Braille, can be ordered by contacting us.
An audio version of these Guidelines and the nomination form is available by using the Listen feature on this website.

Further explanation of the Awards can be obtained by contacting us.

Privacy and confidentiality

  1. The information provided on the nomination form is collected by DSS and may be made available to the judging panel and other contracted service providers for the purposes of the Awards.
  2. The nominees will be requested to give DSS permission to publish details of the nomination for the purpose of promoting the Awards, including biographies and photographs, published on the IDPwD website and other promotional materials and media releases.
  3. Any photographic film, either still or motion, will remain the property of DSS who shall have free and full rights to the use of the name, photograph or film, or recommendation of any nominee in perpetuity.
  4. The DSS privacy policy contains information about how you may access any personal information held about you and how to seek the correction of such information. It also contains information about how you may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles, and how DSS will deal with such a complaint.