Department of Human Services

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Overview: about the agency

Our strategic focus

Our Purpose

The Department of Human Services (DHS) delivers strategies, programs and services that improve the wellbeing and safety of South Australians.

Our Vision

Fairness, opportunity and choice for all South Australians.

Strategic Goals

  • 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 Approach

  • We focus on prevention, early intervention and connected services
  • We champion collaboration and engagement to get results
  • We reduce red tape
  • We prioritise agile and proactive design and delivery
  • We use data and evidence to plan and improve.

The Department

  • Commissions human services across the not-for-profit sector
  • Invests in the community through grants and funding
  • Provides core services in areas including:
    • youth justice
    • disability accommodation
    • concessions and rebates
    • employment-related screening
    • family safety and support
  • Leads government reform agendas, including disability inclusion and the transition to the NDIS, intensive family support services and women’s equality and safety.

Our organisational structure

DHS Organisational Structure 2018-19. There is a link to a plain text version on this page.

The above chart reflects the department’s organisational structure as at 30 June 2019. Changes to the organisational structure came into effect from 1 July 2019. View the current organisational chart.

Organisational chart in plain text

Changes to the agency

During 2018-19 there were the following changes to the agency’s structure and objectives as a result of internal reviews or Machinery of Government (MOG) changes:

  • On 1 July 2018, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC) assumed responsibility for Multicultural Affairs from the department, and the SA Housing Authority (SAHA) commenced operations as a statutory corporation, separate to DHS.
  • In August 2018, the organisational structure of the department was reorganised to improve management-reporting processes and realign leadership roles. This included the establishment of the Community and Support Services Division, which consolidated functions that support and engage communities including Screening, Concessions and Support Services, Community Services and the State Recovery Office. A new Disability and Reform Division was also established to consolidate all aspects of disability service and NDIS reform processes.
  • On 1 October 2018, the Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD) joined DHS from DPC as part of MOG changes. EIRD plays a leading role in collaboration between the government and academic sectors; ensuring child abuse and neglect early intervention and prevention is informed by evidence.

Our Minister

Hon Michelle Lensink MLC is responsible for the Human Services portfolio which comprises the communities, status of women, youth justice, NDIS and disability services and social housing programs.

Through DHS, the Minister has responsibility for community services and grant programs, concessions and financial resilience programs, youth justice, screening services, disaster recovery, and lead policy responsibility in relation to youth, volunteers and carers. Addressing domestic and family violence and managing the transition to the NDIS are key priorities of the Minister.

Our Executive team

DHS Executive Leadership Team as at 30 June 2019.

Tony Harrison, Chief Executive

Tony Harrison was appointed to the position of Chief Executive in June 2016 and is responsible for the overall leadership and strategic direction of the department. Functions reporting directly to the Chief Executive include:

  • Finance and Business Services
  • Office of the Chief Executive
  • People and Culture
  • Youth Justice
  • Office for Women.

Lois Boswell, Deputy Chief Executive

Lois Boswell was appointed to the position of Deputy Chief Executive in August 2016. Functions reporting directly to the Deputy Chief Executive include:

  • Community and Support Services Division, which includes Screening, Concessions and Support Services, Community Services, State Recovery Office, Early Intervention Research Directorate and Communications and Engagement
  • Disability and Reform Division, which includes NDIS Reform and Services and Strategy and Accommodation Services.

Andrew Thompson, Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Business Services

Finance and Business Services provides financial services to the department, including budgeting, financial analysis, monitoring and reporting, management accounting, strategic financial advice and liaison with the Department of Treasury and Finance. It also monitors financial compliance and coordinates financial authorisations, risk management and provides financial and accounting policy advice.

The division is also responsible for the department’s Procurement and Grants Unit and Business Technology and Infrastructure functions.

Gerrie Mitra, Group Executive Director, Disability and Reform

The Disability and Reform Division oversees disability service delivery areas, disability reform and NDIS implementation activities. The division comprises:

  • Strategy and Accommodation Services
  • NDIS Reform and Services.

Joe Young, Executive Director, Strategy and Accommodation Services

Strategy and Accommodation Services is responsible for supporting people with a disability in community based group homes, and residents at Highgate Park and the Northgate Aged Care Service. The directorate is also responsible for the transfer of government disability services to the non-government sector and the implementation of activities associated with the Disability Inclusion Act 2018. This includes consultation around a State Disability Inclusion Plan and progressing Disability Access and Inclusion Plans across government agencies.

Nick Ashley, Executive Director, NDIS Reform and Services

NDIS Reform and Services has oversight of the key elements of the planning and implementation of the transition to the NDIS and supports service transfer activities. The directorate also oversees services delivered through the Disability Transition Unit (formerly Disability SA - Community Services), Domiciliary Equipment Service, Independent Living Centre and Continence Resource Centre.

Kim Summers, Executive Director, People and Culture

People and Culture provides strategic leadership, advice and operational implementation of strategies that support the recruitment, performance, development, management and wellbeing of DHS employees. The DHS Incident Management Unit operates as an independent function within the division.

Michael Homden, Executive Director, Youth Justice

Youth Justice is responsible for the statutory supervision of young people in contact with the justice system. Responsibilities include the administration of the Adelaide Youth Training Centre and supervision of young people on community-based orders.

Fiona Mort, Director, Office for Women

Priorities of the Office for Women include addressing violence against women, improving women’s participation in leadership and decision-making and women’s economic empowerment. The Office for Women also provides high quality statewide information and referral services through the Women’s Information Service and executive support to the Premier's Council for Women.

Nancy Rogers, Director, Office of the Chief Executive

The Office of the Chief Executive is responsible for a range of functions including executive support, governance responsibilities, correspondence and briefings, Cabinet coordination, Parliamentary business, coordination of policy advice on inter-governmental and intra-governmental matters, business intelligence and legal services.

Legislation administered by the agency

Carers Recognition Act 2005
Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016
Children’s Protection Law Reform (Transitional Arrangements and Related Amendments) Act 2017
Cost of Living Concessions Act 1986
Disability Inclusion Act 2018
Disability Services Act 1993
Julia Farr Services (Trusts) Act 2007
Not-for-Profit Sector Freedom to Advocate Act 2013
Supported Residential Facilities Act 1992
Volunteers Protection Act 2001
Youth Justice Administration Act 2016

The South Australian Housing Trust, trading as the SA Housing Authority, is responsible to the Minister for Human Services to deliver better housing opportunities for all South Australians.

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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