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From the Chief Executive
In accordance with the Public Sector Act 2019, I am pleased to present the annual report for the South Australian Department of Human Services (DHS) for the year ended 30 June 2019. The report outlines the achievements and performance of DHS, including the financial performance of the department, for the 2018-19 financial year.
A primary focus of the department has continued to be the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with the full Scheme becoming operational in South Australia from July 2018. I am pleased to report that the transition of state government disability clients to the NDIS is now complete.
Almost 30,000 South Australians are now accessing the NDIS, including around 16,000 who are receiving support for the first time.
On 1 November 2018, the department introduced free screening checks for volunteers, fulfilling the Government’s election commitment to abolish all fees payable by volunteers for screenings undertaken by the DHS Screening Unit. The passing of the Statutes Amendment (Screening) Act 2019, which commenced on 1 July 2019, enshrines this in law.
Also commencing on 1 July 2019, the new Working with Children Check established under the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 has replaced the previous child-related employment screenings. Wide-ranging communications were undertaken to prepare organisations for this reform, with a stakeholder kit released in May 2019 to provide information and tools about the new check.
In 2018, a review was undertaken of the operational administration of the major household concessions managed by ConcessionsSA to identify potential efficiencies and improvement opportunities. In the past 12 months, the department has been undertaking a program of reforms to progress the priority recommendations which include reducing ‘red tape’ and simplifying the application process.
Released on 1 March 2019, Committed to Safety: A Framework for Addressing Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence was developed by the Office for Women following consultation with the women’s safety sector and wider community. The document outlines a wide range of actions to address domestic, family and sexual violence and reflects South Australia’s commitment to the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children. The department has also continued to implement the Government’s election commitments to support women and children at risk of domestic and family violence, through the implementation of the personal protection app and the statewide trial of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme.
Since 2015, the department has released an annual Youth Strategy for South Australia, identifying priority areas for government focus and providing a platform for collaborative work. In 2018-19, DHS commenced the development of a three year Youth Action Plan for South Australia (2020-2022). This longer timeframe aims to deliver a more strategic, sustainable and systemic approach, and will support coordinated and longer-term investment for young South Australians. It is anticipated that the Youth Action Plan will be finalised and launched in early 2020.
In the past 12 months, the department also experienced a significant change to its role and functions as a result of Machinery of Government (MOG) changes and the ongoing transfer of state disability services to the non-government sector. Through MOG changes, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet assumed responsibility for Multicultural Affairs and the SA Housing Authority commenced operations as a statutory corporation, separate to DHS.
Further changes to the department’s organisational structure came into effect from 1 July 2019, including the establishment of the Community and Family Services Division which comprises Safer Family Programs, the Community Services Directorate and the Early Intervention Research Directorate. Safer Family Programs was established through MOG changes, which brought together staff and functions from the Department for Education and Department for Child Protection. The new unit consolidates direct service delivery and commissioning of non-government child abuse and neglect early intervention and prevention services that were spread across several government agencies.
Finally, I wish to take this opportunity to thank all DHS staff for their ongoing contribution to improving the wellbeing and safety of South Australians.
Department of Human Services