Department of Human Services

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The agency's performance

Performance at a glance

Number of NDIS participants with approved plan or supported in the Early Child Early Intervention gateway in South Australia 29,034
Approximate amount of funding allocated in household and transport concessions $160 million
Approximate number of eligible South Australians who received household concessions and rebates through DHS 184,000         
Screening applications received and finalised during financial year 174,597         
Approximate amount of grant funding distributed through Grants SA $3.2 million
Number of projects funded through Grants SA 274         
Over $12 million in funding was distributed through the Family and Community Development Fund $12 million
Total funding distributed through the SA HACC program $24.6 million
Approximate number of hours of service across the community through the SA HACC program 300,000
Number of women provided with information or advice through the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service 765
Number of client contacts with the Women’s Information Service 102,526         
Number of Gambling Help Services funded through the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund 28
Number of young people who attended events during SA Youth Week 9,664
Total number of downloads of the WeDo volunteering app 4,333
Number of interpreting assignments completed by the Interpreting and Translating Centre 63,000

Agency contribution to whole of Government objectives

Key objectiveAgency’s contribution
More jobs The NDIS is predicted to create 6,000 full-time equivalent jobs in South Australia, with a number of initiatives being undertaken at both the Federal and state level aimed at market and workforce readiness, transition support and growth stimulation. South Australia is leading the design of a framework for the development of the National NDIS Workforce, in collaboration with the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victoria.

In 2018-19, the department’s total spend with Aboriginal businesses was $4 million with 30 different businesses. This exceeded the 0.5% target committed to by DHS, achieving over 1% of total spend.
Lower costs DHS administers a range of concessions and rebates that provide assistance to low income South Australians. Concessions are provided for energy, water, sewerage, Emergency Services Levy (fixed property), Cost of Living Concession and Medical Heating and Cooling Concession. The department also supports people in financial need through the Emergency Electricity Payment Scheme, GlassesSA, the Personal Alert Systems Rebate Scheme, Transport Concession Card and the Funeral AssistanceSA Program.

The South Australian Concessions Energy Discount Offer (SACEDO) is an ongoing energy offer available only to South Australian energy concession customers. In 2018-19, a new 20% discount deal was negotiated with Origin Energy on usage and supply charges, up from 18%, which commenced on 15 April 2019. This rate is fixed until 31 December 2019.

Free screening checks for volunteers commenced on 1 November 2018. Volunteers (and students) were previously charged $59.40 (GST inclusive) per screening application.
Better Services 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. The review recommendations continue to be implemented and are delivering better outcomes for customers, including processing times for customer applications being reduced from two to three months to less than one week.

Commencing 1 July 2019, individuals are able to undertake their own screening check applications from start to finish. A new online application platform was implemented during 2018-19 to allow applicants to apply directly for screening checks.

Agency-specific objectives and performance

Agency objectivesIndicatorsPerformance
Provide efficient screening services Percentage of screening applications assessed within five business days of receipt. During 2018-19, the DHS Screening Unit received and finalised over 174,000 screening applications. Of these, 76% (132,735) were finalised in under five business days and 98% (171,615) within 30 business days of receipt.
Provide efficient, customer-focused concessions Recommendations from a review of ConcessionsSA are implemented to streamline administration and service delivery processes and achieve efficiencies. A program of reforms commenced to progress the priority recommendations of the review. A single combined application form for all household concessions was introduced. Operational systems were also improved so that customers no longer need to provide copies of a range of documents with their application or when their living arrangements change.
These changes have resulted in a significant reduction in the time taken to process applications, from two to three months to less than one week. ConcessionsSA is also due to process 250,000 less sheets of paper each year.
Support volunteers and encourage volunteering (1) Fees payable by volunteers for screening checks are abolished. The State Government fulfilled its election commitment by abolishing screening fees payable by volunteers from 1 November 2018. As at 30 June 2019, over 42,000 volunteers had benefited from the introduction of free screening checks for volunteers.
Support volunteers and encourage volunteering (2)Extend the WeDo app.Stage three of the full implementation of the WeDo app was completed in March 2019 and included supporter packages to increase the rewards available to volunteers and information to businesses.
Improve outcomes and opportunities for young people across South Australia A three-year Youth Action Plan for South Australia (2020-2022) is developed. Consultation on the Youth Action Plan took place during SA Youth Week in April 2019.
It is anticipated that the Plan will be finalised and launched in early 2020.
Protect the community and improve outcomes for young people in the youth justice system Number of Youth Justice clients who had one or more secure youth training centre admissions. In 2018-19, 299 Youth Justice clients had one or more secure youth training centre admissions, compared to 329 in 2017-18.
To reduce training centre admissions, whilst also protecting the community, DHS is leading the co-design of the Young People Connected. Communities Protected. State Plan to strengthen the range of connected supports for young people across the youth justice continuum. 
Promote equality and inclusion for the LGBTIQA+ community Hold a LGBTIQA+ roundtable to consult with the community and stakeholders on mechanisms to ensure that voices are heard at the highest levels of government. The LGBTIQA+ roundtable was held on 12 April 2019 at the Next Generation Health Club, Memorial Drive. A report from the roundtable will be issued in late 2019.
Minimise the harms from problem gambling Implement Phase 2 of the Gambling Harm Minimisation Strategy, targeted to people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. The second phase of the Gambling Harm Minimisation Strategy was developed to educate individuals from CALD backgrounds and to minimise the risk of further gambling harm occurring. A suite of targeted educational materials will be made available for gaming venues by October 2019.
Advance women’s equality and safety (1) Develop a personal protection app to provide at-risk individuals with direct access to the South Australia Police and domestic and family violence services. Since 26 November 2018, women in contact with the Domestic Violence Crisis Line have had access to the personal protection app as part of a safety plan. The app has been provided to over 40 women since it was introduced.
Advance women’s equality and safety (2) Trial a Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. The statewide trial of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme commenced on 2 October 2018. Additional funding was provided in the 2019-20 State Budget to extend the trial until the end of June 2020.
Advance women’s equality and safety (3) Hold a series of regional domestic and family violence roundtables. Regional roundtables were held in Mount Gambier, Whyalla, Port Lincoln and Murray Bridge.
Advance women’s equality and safety (4) Develop a Women’s Employment and Leadership Strategy. Consultation was held to inform the development of the strategy. The final strategy will be delivered in 2019–20.
Advance women’s equality and safety (5) Celebrate the 125th anniversary of Women’s suffrage in South Australia. Celebrations were launched on 13 March 2019, and a range of events are taking place throughout the year. Small grants were provided to 28 organisations for commemorative activities.
Transition clients to the NDIS and support the full implementation of the NDIS in South Australia (1) All existing state-funded clients transition to the NDIS by 30 June 2019. In 2018-19, the target to complete the transition of all State Government disability clients to the NDIS was achieved. As at 30 June 2019, 29,034 South Australians had transitioned to the NDIS.
Transition clients to the NDIS and support the full implementation of the NDIS in South Australia (2) Finalise the step down of state individualised funding arrangements for clients in receipt of contracted services as they transition to the NDIS. As people moved to the NDIS, State Government funding ceased and the NDIS commenced payment for services. Disability host grant and brokerage payments ceased on 30 June 2019 (with the exception of out-of-scope payments).
Transition clients to the NDIS and support the full implementation of the NDIS in South Australia (3) A Disability Advocate is appointed to support people with disability through the NDIS transition. On 27 November 2018, it was announced that Dr David Caudrey had been appointed as the Disability Advocate. The position commenced in January 2019, for a one-year term and is attached to the Office of the Public Advocate.
Transition clients to the NDIS and support the full implementation of the NDIS in South Australia (4) Adult Therapy Services and Child and Youth Services are transitioned to the non-government sector. Minda Inc was selected as the new provider of ASSIST Adult Therapy Services through a competitive tender process. The business transferred on 30 November 2018 and staff commenced on 3 December 2018.

Child and Youth Services successfully transferred to the employee led mutual, trading as Kudos Services, on 1 October 2018 to provide Early Childhood Early Intervention and child and youth services under the NDIS.
Transition clients to the NDIS and support the full implementation of the NDIS in South Australia (5) Clients, families, employees, unions and the sector are consulted on the design and implementation of a process for existing clients to receive their supported accommodation services from the non-government sector. The following consultation was undertaken as part of a continuous process of listening and responding to stakeholders:
  • OzTrain conducted a consultation with staff, with the report released in December 2018.
  • The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) consulted with clients, with the report released in April 2019.
  • KPMG consulted with the non-government sector.
Transition clients to the NDIS and support the full implementation of the NDIS in South Australia (6) A market process is commenced in collaboration with the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) to transfer the commercial services of Domiciliary Equipment Services (DES) to the non-government sector. The department undertook a market process with DTF to transfer DES to the non-government sector. An initial market sounding concluded on 8 February 2019. A formal market process to identify a new provider commenced on 12 March 2019 and concluded in July 2019. However, a number of transfer objectives were not able to be satisfied.

Corporate performance summary

Budget Performance Indicators2018-19
Percentage of screening applications finalised within one calendar month (for screenings received and finalised in the same financial year) 95% 98% Yes
Number of active NDIS participants with approved plans 1 32,284 27,900No
Percentage of interpreting and translating centre clients satisfied with accuracy of services 2 99% 95%No
Percentage of interpreting and translating centre assignments completed to agreed or standard timelines 2 98% 95%
Percentage of agencies funded through the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund which achieve agreed outcomes within DHS service agreements 100% 100% Yes
Number of clients engaged in the Financial Counselling Assistance Program 2,000 2,444 Yes
Agencies funded through Grants SA achieving agreed outcomes as defined in service agreements 85% 92% Yes
Proportion of case plans completed in six weeks 75% 83% Yes
Proportion of community-based orders successfully completed 75% 79% Yes

1 The published target represents the total number of South Australians anticipated to receive NDIS support by 30 June 2019. In South Australia, 29,034 participants had approved plans or were referred to Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) supports as at 30 June 2019. 1,134 participants with approved plans have exited the Scheme, resulting in 27,900 active participants (including ECEI).

2 Due to the small number of feedback survey respondents, small fluctuations in feedback are amplified in percentages. In 2018-19, 41 survey respondents provided a response to 281 questions in total. Of these responses, 14 (5%) were deemed to be unsatisfactory. Survey responses assist the Interpreting and Translating Centre to address areas of concern and improve services.

Employment opportunity programs

Program namePerformance
Aboriginal Traineeship Program This is a State Government initiative to increase employment opportunities for Aboriginal people aged between 17 and 35.
The department’s program allocation for the 18 months from January 2019 until June 2020 is 11 trainees. As at 30 June 2019, six trainees have been recruited.
DHS Graduate Program The department did not conduct an annual graduate intake in 2019, primarily due to Machinery of Government changes that resulted in Housing SA commencing operations as a statutory corporation, the SA Housing Authority, separate to DHS. Housing SA had previously been the primary recruiter of the department’s graduates.

Agency performance management and development systems

Performance management and development systemPerformance
The department’s Performance Development Framework provides a clear, structured approach to workforce development by supporting managers and employees to establish and maintain effective Performance Development Reviews.

Reporting the completion of Performance Development Reviews on HR21 is mandatory to meet the department’s reporting requirements.
The percentage of employees with a Performance Development Review in the past 12 months has increased from 73.6% in 2017-18 to 83.6% in 2018-19.

As at 30 June 2019, 70.7% of Performance Development Reviews were current, having been reviewed in the second half of the 2018-19 financial year. Of the remaining reviews, 12.8% had expired being over six months, 11% had expired being over 12 months and 5.5% were not recorded, of which 1.7% were new starters with less than 90 days of service.

Work health, safety and return to work programs

Program namePerformance
Health & Safety Plan 2016–2018 Modelled on the Building Safety Excellence in the Public Sector (BSEPS) strategy, the Health & Safety Plan 2016–2018 assists DHS to maintain an effective health and safety management system and support an organisational culture where health and safety is an integral part of everything we do. In 2018–19, DHS continued to work closely with stakeholders to deliver the Plan and address shared risks as duty holders to improve safety performance across the department.
Influenza Vaccination Program The Influenza Vaccination Program is part of the DHS Health and Wellbeing Program and contributes to infection control strategies and the prevention of seasonal pandemic influenza. All employees are encouraged to participate in the program, which promotes a healthy workplace, reduces influenza-related absenteeism, increases productivity and engagement, and prevents the flu spreading to other staff and clients.
Wellbeing and Safety Consultative Committee Following reforms to the department and Machinery of Government changes, a review was undertaken to consider how DHS could best support its workforce and consult on work health and safety (WHS) issues into the future.

As a result, the Wellbeing and Safety Consultative Committee (WSCC) was established to provide strategic advice to the Chief Executive and Executive Leadership Team. It is also the principal forum for discussion and feedback about WHS strategic policy/program matters, monitoring and reviewing risks and performance, providing recommendations for strategic safety improvements and corrective actions.
Risk Management DHS maintains a responsive safety management system to reduce the likelihood of serious harm or injuries to its workforce. The BSEPS strategy includes a target to reduce the overall number of new workplace injury claims for the public sector. The target is a 30% or more reduction in new claims by 2021–22 (from base year 2011–12).

In DHS, the number of total new workplace injury claims continues to trend downward. During 2018–19, 196 claims were received, which represents a 12.5% reduction from the 224 claims received in 2017–18.
Early Intervention DHS provides an integrated hazard and incident reporting system that initiates hazard alerts to key stakeholders. The BSEPS strategy requires agencies to initiate a return to work at the earliest opportunity, with 80% (or more) of all return to work assessments to be undertaken within two business days of a workplace manager/supervisor being notified of an injury.

As at 30 June 2019, the department remains compliant with 88.27% of all return to work assessments being undertaken within two business days.
Health and Safety Education The department delivers programs on key health safety and injury management topics to target audiences. These include:
  • Passport to HR Success covers some of the fundamental human resource processes, with the target audience being middle line managers with direct reports and human resource responsibilities. The program includes a comprehensive WHS component.
  • Accommodation Services - Shift Supervisors Leadership Program delivers an ‘Identifying and Managing Risks’ topic that covers preventive risk management including identifying what potential and current risk factors may influence their ability to carry out their roles and what can be done to prevent workplace injuries.
  • Certificate III in Individual Support and Certificate IV in Leadership and Management deliver topics on workplace hazards, consultation, risk management, injury prevention, safety systems and the Employee Assistance Program.

Workplace injury claims2018-192017-18% Change
Total new workplace injury claims 196 224 -12.5%
Fatalities 0 0 0%
Seriously injured workers* 0 1 -100%
Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed as frequency rate per 1,000 FTE) 25.46 24.64 +3.3%

* Number of claimants assessed during the reporting period as having a whole person impairment of 30% or more under the Return to Work Act 2014 (Part 2 Division 5)

Work health and safety regulations2018-192017-18% Change
Number of notifiable incidents (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Part 3) 11 9 +22.2%
Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Sections 90, 191 and 195) 0 4 -100%

Return to work costs**2018-192017-18% Change
Total gross workers compensation expenditure $6.66m $6.58m +1.2%
Income support payments - gross            $2.85m $2.67m +6.7%

** Before third party recovery

Data for previous years is available at Data SA under Government reporting and policy.

Executive employment in the agency

Executive classificationNumber of executives
SAES1 22

The number of executives is based on the number as at 30 June 2019.

Data for previous years is available at Data SA under Government reporting and policy.

The Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has a workforce information page that provides further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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