Message from the Chief Executive

The Department of Human Services (DHS) brings together a range of services, funding and policy responsibilities, which together support fairness, opportunity and choice for all South Australians. We are uniquely positioned in the public sector to pave the way to reducing the barriers faced by people living with disability and creating a more inclusive South Australia.

Building on South Australia’s first State Disability Inclusion Plan – Inclusive SA 2019–2023, all State authorities were tasked with developing their own Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP). DAIPs are to align with Inclusive SA’s key priority areas, and State authorities are required to report against the implementation of their DAIP actions annually. The DHS DAIP outlines the actions that will be progressed by the department over the next four years to reduce the barriers faced by people living with disability. For this reason, I am pleased to deliver the DHS Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2020–2024.

DHS has undertaken significant community consultation in the development of our DAIP, providing a greater role for people living with disability in leading and contributing to government decision-making. DHS is committed to continuing to support active participation in consultation and engagement activities that bring about meaningful change.

We recognise there is still a lot of work ahead of us and achieving our vision for an accessible and inclusive South Australia will take time. The priority areas outlined in our DHS DAIP will continue to evolve as the needs of people living with disability evolve.

We can only achieve our vision by acknowledging and respecting the crucial role people living with disability play in shaping our community. I look forward to continuing our efforts to promote positive action.

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive
Department of Human Services

Acknowledgement of Country

Aboriginal people have made, and continue to make, a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the State of South Australia.

The South Australian Government acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the State’s first people and recognises Aboriginal people as traditional owners and occupants of South Australian land and waters.

The South Australian Government acknowledges that the spiritual, social, cultural and economic practices of Aboriginal people come from their traditional lands and waters, and that Aboriginal people maintain cultural and heritage beliefs, languages and laws that are of ongoing importance today.

About the Department of Human Services


DHS brings together a range of services and policies designed to support vulnerable people and to help build resilient communities. We have lead responsibility, on behalf of the South Australian Government, in the areas of disability, early intervention to support health, safety and wellbeing of children, youth justice, domestic violence intervention and screening services. DHS has lead policy responsibility in relation to women, youth, problem gambling and volunteers.

The department provides over $3 million in grants annually to community organisations to improve community participation, wellbeing and quality of life for South Australians, particularly those who are experiencing disadvantage. DHS also delivers a range of concessions and services to eligible South Australians and provides interpreting and translating services.

Our aim is to empower the South Australian community by providing a range of services and funding, and to lead policy reform that supports fairness, opportunity and choice.

Our Vision

Our vision is fairness, opportunity and choice for all South Australians.

Our purpose is to deliver strategies, programs and services that improve the wellbeing and safety of South Australians.

Our strategic goals are:

  • Better services and programs that make a lasting difference for individuals, families and communities.
  • A customer-focused organisation that puts people first.
  • Accountable, efficient, open and collaborative government.
  • A motivated, skilled, safe and inclusive workforce.
Our Staff

DHS is committed to increasing workforce diversity and providing greater employment opportunities for people with disability. As at September 2020, 4.2 percent (133 employees) of the DHS workforce identify as having a disability, of whom 80 percent are in ongoing contracts. The average age of employees with disability is 47 and the average tenure is 11 years.

The DHS Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2017–2020 outlines four objectives that we as a department have committed to:

  1. Increase employment numbers.
  2. Foster a sense of belonging and equal opportunity.
  3. Increase opportunities for development.
  4. Foster inclusive leadership.

We remain focused on working towards eliminating or reducing barriers which prevent full participation at work and providing accessible workplaces and technologies to enable staff with disability to contribute fully.

As a department we are currently updating this strategy to ensure we can harness the knowledge and experience of employees including those who identify as having a disability. Through these avenues, we will continue to explore actions to promote engagement and lead innovation in diverse employment practices.

On a practical level DHS has a dedicated space on the intranet with easy-to-access information. The department has made it mandatory for all employees to undertake disability awareness and inclusion training within the first three months of employment. We also offer broader training opportunities including Mental Health First Aid training to ensure all DHS employees are well informed and contribute to a culture of inclusiveness.

DHS was the first South Australian Government department to introduce paid disability leave for our employees, which offers additional leave options should they need to take time away from the workforce due to the nature of their disability.

Page last updated 26 May 2023