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.

Our Values

  • Service
  • Professionalism
  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Collaboration and Engagement
  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Courage and Tenacity
  • Sustainability.

Our functions, objectives and deliverables

The department’s 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.

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 National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), intensive family support services and women’s equality and safety.

Changes to the agency

During 2019–20 there were the following changes to the agency’s structure and objectives as a result of internal reviews or machinery of government changes.

  • Following machinery of government changes, the Community and Family Services Division was established, comprising the Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD), Safer Family Services and Community Services. The new division consolidates direct service delivery and commissioning of non-government child abuse and neglect early intervention and prevention services that were previously spread across DHS, the Department for Education and the Department for Child Protection. During 2019–20, the division has led a significant co-design process to develop key elements of the new child and family support system in collaboration with the non-government sector.
  • From 4 May 2020, the State Recovery Office commenced reporting into the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC). This consolidated recovery resources into DPC and supports a coordinated and strategic focus on recovery, both for the 2019–20 bushfires and COVID-19.

Our Minister

Minister Lensink is responsible for the Human Services portfolio. Through DHS, the Minister has responsibility for:

  • community and family services and grant programs
  • concessions and financial resilience programs
  • remaining disability programs
  • youth justice
  • screening services, and
  • lead policy responsibility in relation to youth, volunteers and carers.

Addressing domestic and family violence and supporting the transition to the NDIS are key priorities of the Minister.

Our Executive team

DHS Executive Leadership Team as at 30 June 2020.

Lois Boswell, Acting Chief Executive

Lois Boswell was appointed as the Acting Chief Executive on 22 March 2020 and is responsible for the strategic agenda, performance and governance of the department. Functions reporting directly to the Acting Chief Executive include:

  • Finance and Business Services
  • Disability Services
  • Disability and Inclusion
  • Community and Family Services
  • Youth Justice Services
  • Office for Women
  • Office of the Chief Executive.

Kim Summers, Acting Deputy Chief Executive

The Acting Deputy Chief Executive is responsible for the People, Strategy and System Services Division which includes the following functions:

  • Analysis and Improvement
  • Business Technology
  • Communications and Engagement
  • COVID-19 Response
  • Human Resources, Wellbeing and Safety
  • Incident Management Unit
  • Organisational Development
  • Screening Unit
  • Strategic Reform Programs

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, coordinates financial authorisations, and provides financial and accounting policy advice.

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

Joe Young, Executive Director, Disability Services

Disability Services is responsible for supporting people with a disability in community-based group homes and residents at the Northgate Aged Care Service and Highgate Park. The directorate is also responsible for the transfer of government disability services to the non-government sector and oversees services delivered through the Disability Transition Unit (formerly Disability SA - Community Services) and Domiciliary Equipment Service.

Nick Ashley, Executive Director, Disability and Inclusion

Disability and Inclusion has oversight of the implementation of activities associated with the Disability Inclusion Act 2018. This includes implementation of the first State Disability Inclusion Plan and progressing Disability Access and Inclusion Plans across government agencies. The directorate is also responsible for inter-government relations in disability, including ensuring that the NDIS continues to be refined to achieve the best outcomes for South Australians.

In addition, Nick Ashley is responsible for Concessions and Support Services which provides a range of concessions to eligible South Australians and delivers high quality and professional interpreting and translating services through the State Government Interpreting and Translating Centre.

Ann-Marie Hayes, Executive Director, Community and Family Services

Community and Family Services is responsible for the design, delivery and commissioning of family support and early intervention programs and strategies such as the cross-sector reform of the Child and Family Support System. The division works with children and families at risk of harm, neglect and family violence by intervening to disrupt the patterns of intergenerational trauma, and parenting support. Broad Parenting and Family Support programs inclusive of Parenting SA also operate from this division as does the Child Safe Environment program.

In addition, the division is responsible for Aboriginal services and the LGBTIQA+ community, grant programs such as Grants SA and SA Home and Community Care, food security and emergency relief, financial wellbeing and resilience services, community and neighbourhood development, Office for Problem Gambling, services to support young South Australians, support for people with exceptional needs and voluntary out of home care for children with disability, and supporting the volunteering strategy for South Australia.

Katherine Hawkins, Executive Director, Youth Justice Services

Youth Justice is responsible for the statutory supervision of young people in contact with the justice system. Responsibilities include the administration of the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre (formerly Adelaide Youth Training Centre - Kurlana Tapa), supervision of young people on community-based orders, and progressing the implementation of the Young People Connected, Communities Protected: South Australia’s Youth Justice State Plan 2020–2023.

Fiona Mort, Director, Office for Women

Priorities of the Office for Women include addressing violence against women by implementing the Government’s election commitments and actions under the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, and supporting the advancement of women’s leadership and economic participation. 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, corporate governance, correspondence and briefings, Cabinet coordination, Parliamentary business, coordination of policy advice on inter-governmental and intra-governmental matters, risk management, business continuity 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 for the delivery of better housing opportunities for all South Australians.

Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021

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