Strategic Plan


Our Strategic Plan lays out our priorities to deliver on :

  • Increasing inclusion, independence and shared decision-making for all.
  • Supporting our communities when it matters most.
  • Delivering modern services for our communities.


Acknowledgement of Country

We, the Department of Human Services (DHS), acknowledge and respect Aboriginal peoples as South Australia’s First Peoples and the Traditional Owners and occupants of lands and waters of South Australia. We respect and celebrate the varied cultural and spiritual identities of Aboriginal communities.

Aboriginal people have the right to live free from discrimination of any kind, and to exercise and enjoy their rights to family and culture in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Terminology statement

The term Aboriginal has been used throughout this document to reference all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. DHS acknowledges and respects this preference of the South Australian Aboriginal community in written and spoken language.

Message from the Chief Executive

It might sound obvious, but delivering human services is at the core of DHS, and we must never lose sight of the people whom we serve and assist, especially when we are planning and designing policy, programs and services.

I am proud to deliver the Strategic Plan 2022–2024 that places people – our clients, customers, communities, partners, volunteers and staff – at the centre of our Purpose and priorities.

Our Purpose is making a difference so South Australia thrives. This will be at the heart of everything we do.

We are setting three ambitious priorities:

  • Increasing inclusion, independence and shared decision-making for all.
  • Supporting our communities when it matters most.
  • Delivering modern services for our communities.

These are not standalone pillars, nor does one hold more importance than another. Just like the complex and diverse communities that we serve, our priorities are interconnected, and they are stronger because of that connection.

We are steadfast in our focus to develop and implement modern, innovative and relevant services across our entire community so all South Australians can be connected and included.

Our Plan empowers every single one of us at DHS to be leaders in the human services sector. It requires us to consistently look forward and not only adopt, but embrace, innovative technologies, strategies, and programs that drive lasting outcomes.

In return the Plan prioritises investing in our staff and volunteers to ensure they are equipped with the right skills and experience to deliver for our communities. We will continue to foster a safe, healthy, and respectful workplace where all staff feel empowered to seize opportunities and deliver change.

We are committed to increasing inclusion, independence and shared decision-making for all. We will be the policy leaders across Government and in the human services sector, while delivering and funding modern services and programs that bring positive social impact, reach people early, and are culturally responsive. But we cannot do this alone.

Our partners are vital to ensuring that we deliver on our Purpose. We are committed to building great relationships with our system partners and a constructive, collaborative culture. We will listen and learn from people with lived experience and sector knowledge so that we keep people safe and supported when it matters most. We will celebrate and support those working directly within our communities who deliver services to those who need them most.

We renew our commitment to actively supporting positive outcomes for Aboriginal people, families and communities and are intent on embracing the diversity of our vibrant community. Our programs and services will consciously reflect the needs of our diverse South Australian communities, in particular our culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people living with disability, and the LGBTIQA+ community.

We will proudly amplify the unique voices and lived experiences of the people and communities that we support and serve.

I am excited about the possibilities ahead as we all come together to bring this Plan to life.

Ngaityalya (Kaurna, thank you).

Lois Boswell (she/her)
Chief Executive


Priority 1: Increasing inclusion, independence and shared decision-making for all

Our partnerships through policy, programs and services strengthen communities and enable South Australians to actively participate in community life.

Priority outcomes

  1. Positive social impact underpins all that we do.
  2. Our work is developed in partnership with communities, lived experience and sector knowledge.
  3. We drive evidence-based policy and thought leadership on inclusion that makes a difference for our communities.
  4. We drive and encourage research and development, innovation, and the trialling of new approaches in the human services sector.

Priority deliverables 2021/2022

  • Provide leadership and community assistance in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Deliver the Social Impact Framework.
  • Implement the Women’s Leadership and Economic Security Strategy.
  • Develop the safeguarding smartphone app.
  • Deliver the strategic proposal for the future of Highgate Park and HFI trust for consideration of the Trustee.
  • Deliver an integrated ‘inclusion’ agenda through strategic alignment of all DHS social policy initiatives, strategies and plans.
  • Advance a step-change in Aboriginal practice and programs in partnership with Aboriginal Communities.
  • Ensure DHS funding programs support a coherent service system and demonstrate measurable impact.

Priority 2: Supporting our communities when it matters most

Our programs and services ensure South Australians are safe, empowered and connected in their communities.

Priority outcomes

  1. We deliver and fund the right services and supports at the right time.
  2. We work in partnership to provide person-centred supports that empower individuals and families to maintain and strengthen their connection with their community.
  3. We help people and households to stay safe and connected to the services and supports they need.
  4. We influence whole-of-government early action through system learning, research and evaluation, policy development and effective partnering and implementation.

Priority deliverables for 2021/2022

  • Lead the Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce to deliver a culturally responsive, human-centered strategy to supporting remote Aboriginal visitors in Adelaide.
  • Progress implementation and evaluation of the new Child and Family Support System.
  • Launch the Youth Justice Child Diversion Program.
  • Expand the countering violent extremism Inclusion Intervention program for participants over the age of 25.
  • Launch the Gambling Harm Minimisation Investment Plan 2021–2026.
  • Optimise funding, programs and services to support people experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence, including through preventative measures.
  • Deliver reforms to existing programs that support vulnerable South Australians to be safe, empowered and connected in their communities.

Priority 3: Delivering modern services for our communities

Our services reflect the changing needs of South Australians and are focused on supporting positive and lasting outcomes.

Priority outcomes

  1. All services provided or commissioned are developed to maximise outcomes, safety and quality with no unnecessary red tape.
  2. We integrate our services to ensure we understand the supports and care our communities need and then deliver them.
  3. Our services and programs are driven by data and the best available evidence, research and practice and we always measure and evaluate outcomes.
  4. We will make it easier and more accessible for people to connect with DHS, including through digitising and streamlining all possible services.

Priority deliverables for 2021/2022

  • Launch South Australia’s NDIS Restrictive Practices scheme.
  • Launch the South Australian Aboriginal Language Interpreting Service.
  • Implement strategies to prepare DHS to operate under the NDIS from July 2023.
  • Advance the Youth Justice State Plan.
  • Progress the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre capital build.
  • Develop an integrated, department-wide clinical governance framework.
  • Deliver the Disability Accommodation Services Trainee Recruitment initiative.
  • Progress system and customer experience improvements in the worker screenings regime.
  • Respond to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability and implement system improvements and recommendations.

Keys to our success

DHS is steadfast in its commitment to enabling positive and enduring outcomes for the people we support, particularly Aboriginal people, families and communities of South Australia.

The biggest key to our success is our people, our dedicated staff and volunteers. DHS recognises that to achieve our goals and priorities we need to invest in our staff, along with the systems and tools, that enable them to continue making a difference in the lives of South Australians.

Success factors

  • DHS is committed to amplifying the voices of the people and communities whom we support and serve.
  • DHS is committed to working with people with lived experience and ensuring all our approaches are culturally safe.
  • DHS will invest in our staff and volunteers to equip them with the right skills to deliver quality outcomes and support career development within a culture of wellbeing and safety.
  • DHS is committed to actively supporting positive outcomes for South Australians in need.
  • DHS will embrace new and emerging technologies, systems and ways of thinking and see this as critical to our success.

Priority deliverables 2021/2022

  • Launch DHS’ next Reconciliation Action Plan.
  • Implement a modern enterprise accountability framework.
  • Develop a multi-year department workforce strategy.
  • Deliver the DHS 'I Work for SA' Your Voice 2021 survey Action Plan.
  • Develop a multi-year strategic budget plan.
  • Develop a new asset management and accommodation strategy.
  • Invest in new business technology platforms to support modern operations.
  • Modernise data, intelligence and information management systems.
  • Drive customer service initiatives and reforms under the whole-of-government strategic customer experience program.

Page last updated 4 September 2023