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Department of Human Services

FOI Information Statement

The Freedom of Information Act 1991 (FOI Act) provides members of the public with a legally enforceable right of access to information held by South Australian Government agencies, subject to certain restrictions (or exemptions) that are set out within the legislation.

The following information statement for the Department of Human Services is published pursuant to Section 9 of the FOI Act.

Structure and functions of the Department of Human Services (DHS)

The department is structured as follows:

* Office of the Chief Executive
* Community and Support Services
Disability and Reform
Youth Justice
* People and Culture
* Finance and Business Services

The functions of the department are based on a broad mandate to assist members of the community who, through circumstance, may be vulnerable, at risk of harm, or isolated, and to connect them with choices and opportunities within South Australia. The department works closely with people across South Australia to build communities where people are involved and they feel connected, safe and supported – consistent with its vision: Fairness, opportunity and choice for all South Australians. The department's services are provided on both a regional and local basis from offices around the State.

The department also includes the following directorates within Community and Support Services:

Concessions and Support Services
Community Services
State Recovery
Early Intervention Research

The department's Annual Report provides further comprehensive information on the department's functions and performance.

The direction of the department is also influenced by the work of advisory boards and committees. A list of boards and committees and their functions is provided in the department's Annual Report. Meetings of these bodies are not open to the public and minutes of their meetings are not available for public inspection.

DHS functions affecting the public

The work of the department encompasses a range of services designed to make a tangible and positive difference to the wellbeing of all members of the community. Our work falls broadly into the areas of, family support, disability, community support and services for older people, community partnerships, youth, women, volunteers, Aboriginal.

Public participation in agency policy development and the exercise of the agency's functions

The department regularly seeks external expertise and community opinion in the development of policy, including from statutory and non-statutory advisory committees. To connect with the community, consultation may be undertaken in the planning, development and implementation of policy.

The department consults with major interest groups and service providers, circulates discussion papers, calls for submissions on particular topics, and convenes public meetings on legislative reform and policy initiatives. The department also utilises the services of volunteers in a range of capacities and functions to assist in the provision of services to the community.

Types of documents held by DHS

The department holds a wide variety of documents that fall broadly into the categories described below:

  • corporate files containing correspondence, memoranda, minutes etc on the department's operations
  • accounting and financial reports on the department's business activities
  • client records (eg case notes, payment and debt records)
  • property records (eg, rates information, housing maintenance work orders and invoices)
  • personnel files relating to departmental employees
  • internal policies, procedures, and guidelines prescribing how various programs, activities and functions are to be performed
  • general administrative instructions and industrial circulars
  • general publications including annual reports, books, discussion and background papers, reports, reviews, serial publications, pamphlets, posters, greetings and common phrases, surveys, strategies, directories, evaluations, assessments and proposals

Documents available for inspection at DHS in accordance with the provisions of another Act

Under the South Australian Co-operative and Community Housing Act 1991, DHS maintains the following registers:

  • a register of all housing co-operatives' names registered under the Act;
  • a register of all housing associations' names registered under the Act; and
  • an individual register for each registered housing co-operative and housing association under the Act.

Upon payment of the prescribed fee, a person may inspect the above registers, or obtain a certified copy of, or extract from, an entry in a register maintained under the Act. For information on how to arrange inspection of these registers or to obtain a copy of information held in a register, inquiries should be directed to:

Manager, Community Housing Regulation
Department of Human Services
GPO Box 292
Adelaide SA 5001
Telephone: 8207 2637

Documents available free of charge from DHS

Generally, the department's publications are available without charge and can also be accessed online. Requests for documents can also be made via email to DHS Enquiries.

Documents available free of charge include the following:

  • pamphlets
  • posters
  • application forms for services
  • strategic plans
  • fact sheets
  • annual reports
  • media releases
  • newsletters
  • community consultation/discussion papers

Departmental policy documents

The department maintains a substantial number of internal policy and procedure documents. These include policies and procedures relating to:

  • carers and volunteers
  • operational programs and service delivery (eg housing and disability services)
  • financial management
  • risk management
  • governance
  • human resources
  • information communication technology
  • workforce health, safety and welfare
  • procurement
  • records management

View a list of policies

Members of the public wishing to access internal policy documents can obtain copies (or arrange to inspect copies if they prefer) by sending a request by email to DHS Enquiries, by contacting departmental offices during normal business hours (8.45am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday) or by contacting the Senior FOI Officer, whose details appear below. There is no charge for accessing internal policy documents.

Requesting access to documents under the FOI Act

In accordance with Section 13 of the FOI Act, an application for access to records held by the department, including records concerning personal affairs, must:

  • be in writing; and
  • specify that it is made under the FOI Act; and
  • provide sufficient detail to enable the identification of the document(s); and
  • show an Australian address for the service of notices; and
  • be accompanied by the prescribed application fee ($34.25 from 1 July 2017) – note that additional processing charges may be incurred, depending on the nature and complexity of the request; and
  • specify the preferred form of access (eg provision of a hard copy or inspection at a pre-arranged time and location); and
  • be lodged at an office of the agency.

An application for access to records held by the department may be downloaded: FOI - Application for Access to Documents form

A fee reduction may be granted in circumstances prescribed by the Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges Regulations) 2003

Requesting the amendment of documents

In accordance with Section 31 of the FOI Act, an application for the amendment of an agency's records concerning a person's personal affairs must:

  • be in writing; and
  • specify that it is made under the FOI Act; and
  • provide sufficient detail to enable the identification of the document(s) to which access has been given; and
  • contain information showing why it is believed the document(s) is incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading; and
  • must be accompanied by such information as is necessary to complete the agency's records or bring them up to date; and
  • show an Australian address for the service of notices; and
  • be lodged at an office of the agency

An application for the amendment of personal records held by the department may be downloaded: FOI - Request for Amendment form

No application fee is payable in respect of an application for the amendment of records.

Where to send applications

Applications for access to documents, or for amendment of personal records held by the department, should be addressed to:

Senior FOI Officer
Department of Human Services
GPO Box 292
Adelaide SA 5001
Telephone: 8413 9094

Applications may also be lodged electronically, by emailing them to

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DHS [sm v5.4.7.1] .

Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
20 Jun 2019
The DHS website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016