Department of Human Services

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Annual Report 2020–21


Hon Michelle Lensink MLC

Minister for Human Services

This annual report will be presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of the Public Sector Act 2009, Public Sector Regulations 2010, Public Finance and Audit Act 1987, Carers Recognition Act 2005, Gaming Machines Act 1992, Julia Farr Services (Trusts) Act 2007, Water Industry Act 2012, Youth Justice Administration Act 2016,and the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting Requirements.

This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the Department of Human Services by:

Lois Boswell

Chief Executive

Date: 30 September 2021

From the Chief Executive

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 2021. The annual report provides a snapshot of the achievements and operations of DHS, including the financial performance of the department, in the 2020–21 financial year.

The past 12 months was another challenging, yet rewarding year as we continued to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and implement service reform across the department.

The South Australian Government has continued to provide additional financial and emergency assistance to families and non-government organisations adversely impacted by the pandemic.

In the past year, we have been responsible for the administration of a range of measures including the once-off boost payment of $500 and bringing forward the 2020–21 Cost of Living Concession payment, the International Student Support Package, the Residential Rental Grant Scheme, and the South Australian COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment.

We have also allocated the final funding committed to South Australia under the National Partnership on COVID-19 Domestic and Family Violence Responses to address the impact of COVID-19 on domestic, family and sexual violence.

Since March 2021, we have been working closely with SA Health on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout to disability clients and staff. Disability care residents and disability care support workers were amongst the first prioritised groups to receive the vaccine. Specific sites were established to ensure vaccines could be administered to people with a disability and their support staff in a safe place, including at the Northgate Aged Care Service and Highgate Park. Appropriate arrangements were also put in place for regional sites.

A focus for the department over the past year has been the development and introduction of a legislative framework to provide stronger safeguards for the use of unauthorised restrictive practices by NDIS service providers. In May 2021, both Houses of Parliament passed the Disability Inclusion (Restrictive Practices - NDIS) Amendment Bill 2021, which will amend the Disability Inclusion Act 2018 and ensure that South Australia is compliant with the National Principles for restrictive practice authorisation.

The amendments will be supported by regulations and guidelines that provide additional clarity and detail about the interpretation and implementation of the legislative requirements. The authorisation scheme will commence from 2022.

To strengthen safeguards for disability clients, we also undertook a three-month CCTV pilot in two southern suburbs supported accommodation homes. Commencing in April 2021, the pilot investigated the effectiveness of CCTV as an additional safeguarding measure, while maintaining the privacy and dignity of the residents in their own home.

The pilot was assessed by surveying families, guardians and staff and reviewing incidents reported during the three month trial period. Based on the success and feedback of the initial pilot, we will now trial the use of CCTV cameras in at least five further homes.

We have continued to reform the Child and Family Support System, which supports the most vulnerable families with early intervention services to help keep children safe at home. This includes launching the new Intensive Family Support Services on 31 March 2021, to replace the former Targeted Intervention Service and Family Preservation Service. Delivered by seven non-government organisations, the new services have a focus on targeting families with the right support at the right time and measuring their outcomes.

Following a review of the South Australian Home and Community Care (SA HACC) program, a more contemporary program was developed that better reflects the current environment and community needs. Key components of the new Community Connections program started on 3 May 2021, with the program designed to support socially isolated people whose independence and quality of life is at risk and who are unable to benefit from alternate services such as the NDIS, Mental Health and My Aged Care.

We have also established a further four Safety Hubs to provide a single-entry point for integrated services in regional South Australia. The Hubs are a safe local place where women can speak confidentially to trained workers or volunteers, who can provide information, support, and referrals to appropriate services.

Other highlights of the past 12 months include:

  • establishing a new Statewide Perpetrator Response service to bolster early intervention services for South Australians at-risk of committing domestic violence
  • finalising a review of personal alert technology available under the Personal Alert Systems Rebate Scheme, now known as Personal AlertSA
  • launching the new Volunteering Strategy for South Australia 2021–2027, which builds on the foundation created by the state’s previous strategy
  • transitioning Domiciliary Equipment Service and the Independent Living Centre to new arrangements under the NDIS
  • NDIS worker checks commencing on 1 February 2021
  • releasing the inaugural report on the operation of the State Disability Inclusion Plan, which provides and update on progress made against the actions in Inclusive SA.

In closing, I would like to thank all DHS staff for their dedication and commitment during another demanding and challenging year.

Lois Boswell
Chief Executive
Department of Human Services

Overview: about the agency

Overview: about the agency

Our strategic focus

Our Purpose

The Department of Human Services 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 services
  • 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.

Our organisational structure

DHS organisational structure as at 30 June 2020. There is a link to a plain text description on this page.

The above organisational chart reflects the structure of the department as at 30 June 2021. View the current organisational chart.

Plain text version of the organisation chart as at 30 June 2021

Changes to the agency

During 2020–21 there were the following changes to the agency’s structure and objectives as a result of internal reviews or machinery of government changes.

The new organisational structure came into effect on 1 March 2021, to support an organisational model that is designed around four streams: strategic coordination, direct service delivery, services and partnerships and corporate supports.

Changes to the department’s structure included:

  • The establishment of the Strategic Policy and Reform Division, bringing together the full body of policy and program reform across the department as a central unit, which will use its expertise to partner with other divisions to deliver reform.
  • Integrating Youth Justice Services and the Office for Women into the Community and Family Services Division, to further integrate domestic violence policy and support with child and youth policy, and strengthen service delivery to shared client groups.
  • The establishment of the Community Investment and Support Division, which brings together all procurement, sector business and customer support functions.

The aim of the new structure is to ensure the department remains adaptive to operational requirements, and staff and services are aligned to functional areas that reflect their specialist skills to provide the best possible experience for our client group and create efficiencies and a more collaborative approach to functions.

Our Minister

Hon Michelle Lensink MLC, Minister for Human Services

Minister Lensink is responsible for the Human Services portfolio.

Through DHS, the Minister has responsibility for the administration of concessions and rebates, financial resilience programs, provision of statutory youth justice services, screening services, advancing the inclusion of people with disability, early intervention and support services and lead policy responsibility in relation to youth, volunteers and carers.

Key priorities of the Minister include the prevention of domestic and family violence and the reform of DHS Accommodation Services to operate under the NDIS.

Our Executive team

DHS Executive Leadership Team as at 30 June 2021

Lois Boswell, Chief Executive

Lois Boswell was appointed to the position of Chief Executive in September 2020 and is responsible for the overall leadership and strategic direction of the department. Prior to then, Lois served as the Acting Chief Executive since March 2020 and was the department’s Deputy Chief Executive from 2016.

Nick Ashley, Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Business Services

Appointed to the role of Chief Financial Officer in May 2021, Nick oversees the Finance and Business Services Division which is responsible for budgeting, financial analysis, monitoring and reporting, management accounting and strategic financial advice. The division also monitors financial compliance, coordinates financial authorisations and provides financial and accounting policy advice.

Nick is also currently responsible for the functions of Procurement and Community and Social Investments within the Community Investment and Support Division, which includes the administration of grant funding to the not-for-profit sector.

Katherine Hawkins, Executive Director, Strategic Policy and Reform

Established in March 2021, the Strategic Policy and Reform Division is responsible for delivering policy and program reform in partnership with other divisions across the department. This includes the design, delivery and commissioning of intensive family services support programs and strategies. The division is responsible for strategies to support young South Australians and the LGBTIQA+ community, and for leading the implementation of the Volunteering Strategy for South Australia.

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

The Community and Family Services Division is comprised of:

  • Communities and Justice, which is responsible for the statutory supervision of young people in contact with the justice system, including the administration of the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre. The Directorate is also responsible for strategies and funding to support people with exceptional needs, children with a disability in voluntary out-of-home care and targeted Aboriginal populations.
  • Safer Family Services, which is responsible for the provision of intensive family support and assistance to children and their families at risk of harm, neglect and family violence, especially those with multiple and complex needs.
  • The Office for Women, which has a strong focus on addressing domestic, family and sexual violence and supporting the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of life in South Australia. The Office for Women also provides statewide information and referral services through the Women’s Information Service.

Joe Young, Executive Director, Disability Services

The Disability Services Division, through the Accommodation Services Directorate, provides supported independent living services to people with disability living at community based groups homes and the Northgate Aged Care Service. The division also includes the DHS Equipment Program, which funds and arranges equipment and home modifications for South Australians who are not eligible for these services through Commonwealth Government funding options.

Sue-Ann Charlton, Executive Director, People and Performance

Appointed in November 2020, Sue-Ann is responsible for the People and Performance Division which provides strategic advice and leadership, and implements operational strategies that support the recruitment, performance, development, management and wellbeing of DHS employees.

In addition, Sue-Ann is responsible for:

  • Incident Management Unit, an independent function within the division, which is responsible for the efficient management of incidents involving DHS clients and staff members, including Critical Client Incidents.
  • Business Improvement and Technology Directorate, which is responsible for providing information, systems and technology support to the department.
  • Communications and Engagement, which is responsible for the provision of media management, digital communications and design, communications advice and support across the department, events and sector engagement.

Kelly Biggins, Acting Executive Director, Community Investment and Support

Appointed to the role of Acting Executive Director in May 2021, Kelly oversees the following functions within the Community Investment and Support Division:

  • DHS Screening Unit, which provides screening checks that help protect children and vulnerable adults.
  • Concessions and Support Services, which administers a range of concessions and rebates that provide assistance to low income South Australians, and is responsible for the operations of the DHS Interpreting and Translating Centre.

Karen Chee, Acting Director, Office of the Chief Executive and Governance

The Office of the Chief Executive and Governance is responsible for a range of functions including executive support to the Chief Executive, corporate governance, Cabinet coordination and Parliamentary business, correspondence and briefings, coordination of policy advice on inter-governmental and intra-governmental matters, Royal Commission responses, risk management, business continuity and legal services. The Director also has reporting responsibility for staff in the Office of the Minister for Human 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.

The agency's performance

The agency's performance

Performance at a glance

Achievements during the 2020–21 financial year include:

  • Allocating approximately $175 million in household and transport concessions to approximately 227,000 eligible South Australians.
  • Distributing approximately $1.8 million in COVID-19 Support Grants to 246 projects through Grants SA.
  • Through the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund, approximately $5.69 million was allocated to 12 gambling help services in each State Government region and 16 targeted services.
  • Distributing an estimated $12.98 million through the Family and Community Development Fund to services which advance the welfare of children, youth and vulnerable South Australians.
  • Administering donations to those people affected by the Cudlee Creek and Kangaroo Island fires. While the SA Bushfire Appeal officially closed on 31 July 2020, funds were still received after this date. As at 30 June 2021, just over $9 million had been distributed through 2,979 gift payments.
  • Receiving and finalising 229,720 screening applications, with 70.9% of applications finalised by the Screening Unit in one week or less (162,876).
  • Completing 70,457 interpreting assignments and 1,207 translating assignments through the DHS Interpreting and Translating Centre.
  • Recording 35,549 contacts with clients of the Women’s Information Service (WIS), compared to 63,663 in 2019–20. This outcome reflects the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on the WIS shopfront and outreach centres.
  • Providing 879 free pairs of standard glasses to eligible Aboriginal customers. DHS partnered with Vision 2020 Australia to provide 350 free pairs from May 2020 and has now embedded this practice into the GlassesSA program.

Agency response to COVID-19

During 2020–21, the department continued to administer and deliver payments to support vulnerable South Australians whose income and employment prospects were significantly impacted by COVID-19. This included:

  • The once-off $500 cash boost and bringing forward the 2020–21 Cost of Living Concession (COLC) payable to eligible homeowners and tenants receiving Centrelink JobSeeker Payment. As at 30 June 2021, more than 7,400 households had received payments totalling $4.6 million in 2020–21.
  • The International Student Support Package provides $500 emergency cash grants to support international students impacted by coronavirus restrictions. In the past 12 months, over 4,200 payments were made to students totalling approximately $2.8 million.
  • SA COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment provides $300 to people who miss work due to a COVID-19 cluster or public health direction and do not have paid leave or income support. During 2020–21, 694 recipients received payments totalling $208,200.
  • Residential Rental Grant Scheme with two rounds of grants up to $1,000 (to landlords) for residential tenants on JobSeeker or JobKeeper in rental hardship. During 2020–21, 370 payments were made totalling $262,279.
  • The allocation of $4.1 million through the Vulnerable South Australians Support Package, which provided non-government organisations with additional funding for food relief, emergency relief and financial resilience and wellbeing to support vulnerable families and communities impacted by COVID-19.

In 2019–20, the Commonwealth Government provided additional funding to each state and territory through the National Partnership on COVID-19 Domestic and Family Violence Responses to address the impact of COVID-19 on domestic, family and sexual violence. Under the National Partnership, South Australia received $9.796 million over the 2019–20 and 2020–21 financial years in four rounds.

In the past 12 months the department allocated funding through Round 3 and 4 which included:

  • $1.75 million to implement the new Safe and Secure Housing program to support victim-survivors find appropriate housing
  • $1.5 million to introduce the Safe and Well Kids program to support children and young people who are experiencing domestic violence
  • a further $1.05 million for the continuation of perpetrator services and new perpetrator interventions for young men
  • a further $600,000 for Individual Safety and Support Packages
  • $325,000 to fast-track five additional regional Safety Hubs.

Through the DHS Interpreting and Translating Centre, the department also provided translation and interpreting services to support South Australian Government departments to communicate with, and deliver services to, non-English speaking people and families. This included:

  • providing telephone interpreting services to the COVID-19 Help Line, the Hotel Quarantine teams, and in the mental health sector, especially for those in quarantine
  • engaging highly skilled and experienced translators to translate critical public health information on COVID-19 symptoms, risk factors, testing and treatment and vaccinations
  • providing support to SA Health clinicians and hospital staff to communicate with non-English speaking patients with COVID-19 and their families
  • supporting SA Health to conduct phone interviews with people testing positive to COVID-19 and their close contacts, and supporting interstate contact tracing teams, including in Melbourne.

Through the DHS Screening Unit, the department assisted essential organisations and workers with screenings to enable replacement or temporary workers more quickly in areas of high risk and high need, particularly within the health sector and disability care.

Agency contribution to whole-of-Government objectives

DHS contributed to the achievement of the South Australian Government’s objectives as follows:

Key objective

Agency’s contribution

More jobs

On 12 March 2021, the State Government announced a recruitment drive to hire 175 trainee disability support workers over two years to work in DHS Accommodation Services. The $9.5 million initiative is part of the Government’s 2020–21 State Budget commitment of $32.9 million over four years to support 750 additional traineeship and apprenticeship places in government agencies and funded projects. As at 30 June 2021, 39 trainee roles had been filled in Accommodation Services following an advertisement and recruitment process from March to mid-May 2021.

Lower costs

During 2020–21, DHS continued to administer a wide range of concessions and rebates that provide valuable assistance to households on low or fixed incomes who are experiencing cost-of-living pressures. These include:

  • Cost of Living Concession (COLC) payment made to low   income households in recognition of cost of living pressures. Households can direct   the concession towards their greatest need, whether that is electricity, gas,   water bills or council rates.
  • Energy concession, which is applied as a   reduction on the customer’s bill from their energy retailer. This arrangement   is administered under a service agreement between DHS and energy retailers.
  • Medical Heating and Cooling concession for South   Australians on a low income or pension who have a qualifying medical   condition, and who require the use of medical heating or cooling in their   home to prevent a severe exacerbation of their condition.
  • Water and Sewerage Concession Scheme, which provides   a concession that is calculated as up to 30% of a recipients’ total water   bill for a financial year (subject to minimum and maximum amounts) and a   maximum sewerage rate remission of $118.40 per annum.
  • Residential Parks Concessions Scheme, which provides   eligible residents of a residential park with a quarterly concession to   assist with their utility costs.
  • Emergency Services Levy (fixed property)   Remission, which provides eligible South Australian residents up to $46 per   year on the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) (fixed property) for their   principal place of residence.
  • Transport concession, which provide a 50%   reduction (approximately) on the price of Adelaide Metro tickets.
  • Emergency Electricity Payment Scheme, with up to $400   every three years for families experiencing financial crisis who cannot meet   their electricity debts. Payments are made directly to the customer’s energy   provider.
  • Funeral AssistanceSA, which provides a basic   dignified funeral, including associated costs, to those who have insufficient   assets to cover funeral costs.
  • GlassesSA, which provides low-cost prescription   glasses from participating optometrists and free contact lenses for specified   eye conditions.
  • Personal AlertSA, with rebates of up to $380 for the   purchase and installation of approved personal safety monitored devices and   up to $200 yearly for monitoring services.

During 2020–21, the DHS Screening Unit continued to provide free screening to volunteers, benefiting over 50,000 volunteers and saving volunteers and organisations over $2.9 million.

Better Services

Intensive Family Support Services

The recommissioned Intensive Family Support Services commenced on 31 March 2021, replacing the Targeted Intervention Service and Family Preservation Service. The new model is based on the most recent research regarding interventions that work for families whose children are at risk of entering the child protection system. Services include risk and safety planning, are trauma responsive and culturally safe.

A total of $52 million has been allocated over four years, with services being delivered across metropolitan Adelaide and the regions by Centacare Catholic Family Services, Centacare Catholic Country SA, Relationships Australia South Australia, Kornar Winmil Yunti, Uniting Country SA, Anglican Community Care and Aboriginal Family Support Services.

Community Connections Program

The SA HACC program permanently ceased on 30 April 2021 and was replaced by a new Community Connections program, which was developed following sector engagement. The new program has been established to support socially isolated people to increase their independence and to build strong, sustainable social and community connections.

The Community Connections program addresses a service gap for people who are not eligible for mainstream programs such as the NDIS, My Aged Care or National Carer Gateway, but who need extra support to build social networks and community connections to regain their independence. Key components of the new program commenced on 3 May 2021 following a tender process, with formal commencement beginning on 1 July 2021.

Personal AlertSA

During 2020–21, DHS completed a review of personal alert technology under the Personal Alert Systems Rebate Scheme, and rebranded the scheme to Personal AlertSA (PASA). Following a tender process, new suppliers and products have been available to PASA customers from 1 February 2021.

The scheme now offers a broader and more contemporary range of device styles with improved capabilities. All devices now have falls detection and 4G technology, with some also having GPS capabilities. The GPS devices, available in both a pendant and Smartwatch style, can increase people’s independence as users remain connected to their personal alert support when participating in the community.

Agency-specific objectives and performance

Agency Objective: Modernising Services

Services reflect the changing needs of South Australians with a focus on efficiency and sustainable outcomes.



Child and Family Safety Networks are implemented across South Australia.

The Child and Family Assessment Referral Networks (CFARNs) program provides local level coordination to parents and children with complex needs, as well as intensive case management support. There are currently four CFARNs in South Australia, with three operated by DHS and one by Relationships Australia.

During 2020–21, ten new statewide local coordination sites called Child and Family Safety Networks (CFSNs) were established to supplement CFARNs. The CFSNs facilitate local level resource sharing, service coordination and advice.

Implementation of the Social Impact Framework to better guide investment in community services.

A Social Impact Framework has been developed to provide consistent rigour in how DHS designs and commissions future programs to maximise impact, and to achieve balance in investment across different needs groups, geographical locations and service types. The department consulted with funded peak bodies and there was general support for the potential of the Framework to better inform DHS investment in programs and services.

The Social Impact Framework will be launched in early 2021–22.

Employment-related screenings and processes are streamlined.

The Screening Unit reviewed the types of screenings provided and explored opportunities to streamline and reduce costs for organisations and applicants. Consultation with around 60 government agencies and large to medium use organisations commenced in late November 2020.

Broader consultation was delayed due to the commencement of NDIS worker checks.

Commencement of capital works to consolidate contemporary youth custodial services at a single improved site.

In the 2020–21 State Budget, the Government committed $18.7 million over three years to consolidate the provision of youth custodial services into a single site at Goldsborough Road to provide young people in custody with access to better facilities and programs. An architect has been appointed to the project, with the Department for Infrastructure and Transport engaged as the project specialist with responsibility for managing project procurement processes.

During 2020–21, the department worked closely with key stakeholders to ensure the new infrastructure considers the needs of Aboriginal young people, young people with complex needs and both the physical and psychological influence of the environment. Following extensive consultation, the concept design was presented to staff and key stakeholders, including the Training Centre Visitor.

Digitisation of Family Safety Meetings is finalised to improve the collection and sharing of data.

The department worked with an external vendor to finalise the digitisation of Family Safety Meetings through the development of an online Family Safety Portal, which will improve the collection and sharing of data and support online meetings. The Office for Women developed the specific digitisation functions, policies and procedures which support digitisation, and worked with key stakeholders, including South Australia Police, to ensure the portal meets the business needs of all Family Safety Meeting members.

The testing stages of the Family Safety Portal identified the need for additional system enhancements to ensure that information is secure. This has resulted in a delay in the full rollout of the portal.

Independent Living Centre services are transitioned to new arrangements under the NDIS.

As funding previously supporting the work of the Independent Living Centre (ILC) was redirected to the NDIS as part of the State’s contribution, options were considered about how to continue to deliver ILC services into the future. In late 2018, market sounding was undertaken with the department calling for a Registration of Interest and Request for Information. This identified the Catalyst Foundation’s interest and capability to deliver ILC services.

In February 2021, the department accepted a proposal from Catalyst to continue operating some ILC services post 30 June 2021. On 1 July 2021 Catalyst commenced providing independent information and advice on equipment and technology, community education and attendance at expos, under the ILC banner.

Accommodation Services continues to be reformed to operate in line with the NDIS.

DHS Accommodation Services has continued to embed improvements in its service and work towards registration with the Quality and Safeguarding Commission to operate commercially.

Service improvements include:

  • establishment of a service agreement between   clients and Accommodation Services
  • consistent training and development for all staff
  • improved reporting through anonymous complaints   option for staff, clients and families
  • review of all restrictive practices in use and   working to ensure all appropriate documentation is completed.

An audit by external providers against NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission requirements was conducted in November 2020. Initial feedback from the external auditors was that Accommodation Services is on track for successful registration for three areas of the service in 2021. These areas are community nursing, transport and community participation.

Services provided by the Domiciliary Equipment Service are transitioned to the non-government sector.

As part of the State Government’s strategy to transition out of state disability services, DHS released a public tender in August 2020 for the supply of equipment to deliver services provided by the Domiciliary Equipment Service (DES). On 14 December 2020, DES closed with ALTER, a non-government supplier, commencing a contract to deliver refurbished and readily-available loan equipment services to DHS Equipment Program clients.

The DHS Equipment Program was established to fund South Australians who are otherwise ineligible for equipment and home modifications through Commonwealth Government funding options.

A new Aboriginal Language Interpreting Service is developed within the Interpreting and Translating Centre.

The department is working with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Aboriginal organisations and communities, TAFE SA, the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters, and other government and non-government service agencies to create a new Aboriginal Language Interpreting Service (ALIS) within the DHS Interpreting and Translating Centre. The ALIS is an initiative under the South Australian Government Aboriginal Affairs Action Plan 2021-2022 to address a significant shortage of trained and readily available Aboriginal language interpreters.

An ALIS Project Team commenced in the Interpreting and Translating Centre in May 2021, and is responsible for designing and implementing the new service. A phased roll out of the new service is scheduled to commence in late 2021.

Commencement of NDIS worker checks in South Australia.

NDIS worker checks commenced across all Australian states and territories on 1 February 2021, with the exception of the Northern Territory where they commenced on 1 July 2021. NDIS worker checks are:

  • valid for five years
  • portable across roles, organisations and   jurisdictions
  • subject to ongoing monitoring of national police   records and misconduct and disciplinary records of the NDIS Commission.

The introduction of NDIS worker checks represented an unprecedented achievement of the states, territories, and the Commonwealth coming together to agree on a nationally consistent screening policy designed to help NDIS providers keep people with disability safe from harm.

Agency Objective: Building Inclusion, Independence and Resilience

Accessible communities where all South Australians can participate, achieve their aspirations, and build resilience and independence.



Development and launch of the Second Volunteering Strategy for South Australia.

The department partnered in a four-stage development process to produce and launch the second Volunteering Strategy. The first two stages involved consultation and were undertaken during 2019–20. Stage three involved the development of the second Strategy document, integrating feedback from key stakeholders including an online consultation process hosted on YourSAy from 17 February to 26 March 2021.

Stage four was the public launch, with the Volunteering Strategy for South Australia 2021-2027 launched at the annual National Volunteer Week Parade on 17 May 2021.

Strategies in the Strong Futures: SA Youth Action Plan 2020–2022 continue to be implemented.

DHS provided funding to a range of programs and initiatives aligned to the priorities of the Youth Action Plan including:

  • Funding to the Youth Affairs Council of South Australia   (YACSA) ($414,774 in 2020–21), for sector support and advocacy as the peak   representative body for South Australian young people and the youth sector.
  • COVID-19 Recovery Grant to YACSA ($120,000 in   2020–21), to fund a dedicated 12-month Recovery Project Officer to support   the youth sector in meeting its recovery needs.
  • COVID-19 Recovery Grant to the Working Women’s   Centre ($120,000 in 2020–21), to fund a 12-month Youth Project Officer to   provide awareness raising and education to priority groups, undertake   research on the impact of COVID-19 on these groups and develop the centre’s recovery efforts.
  • $550,000 to the Local Government Association SA   for a program of one-off youth-led COVID-19 recovery grants. Launched on 17   August 2020, councils are implementing 14 youth-led recovery projects across   23 local government areas.
  • Funding to the Port Augusta Social Vision Program ($271,188 in 2020–21), which includes two components, the Port Augusta Youth Centre and the Salvation Army Youth Safe Transport Service, that support better outcomes for vulnerable and/or at-risk young people in Port Augusta.

Women’s Leadership and Economic Security Strategy is finalised.

The finalisation of the Women’s Leadership and Economic Security Strategy was delayed due to COVID-19, to ensure that it responded to changed circumstances and supported women’s economic wellbeing in recovery. On 5 March 2021, a Roundtable was held with a range of leaders from South Australian businesses including members of the Chiefs for Gender Equity, to discuss the key priorities that should inform the Strategy.

Key issues identified through the Roundtable were included in the Women’s Leadership and Economic Security Strategy 2021-2024, which was finalised and launched in August 2021.The Strategy targets three crucial areas of employment and entrepreneurship, leadership and recognition and financial wellbeing.

Actions continue to be progressed under Young People Connected, Communities Protected: South Australia’s Youth Justice State Plan 2020–2023.

Several actions under the Youth Justice State Plan have been realigned with new or ongoing projects. Of 14 actions due by 30 June 2021 (based on revised due dates), or considered ongoing business, nine have been completed and five are in progress.

Completed deliverables during 2020–21 include:

  • further development and marketing of the Youth   Justice Victims’ Register to empower victims of crime and consider their   voices in understanding the impacts of crime
  • investment in new technologies, including the   installation of body scanners at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre to   reduce the need for partially clothed searches
  • implementation of an electronic logging system at Kurlana Tapa.

State authorities are supported to publish their Disability Access and Inclusion Plans.

The department supported State authorities by developing a guideline that outlines the requirements State authorities must meet when developing and consulting on the development of their Disability Access and Inclusion Plans (DAIPs). The guideline was made available on the Inclusive SA website along with other resources including a toolkit and DAIP template.

A community of practice forum was also established that enabled agencies to share information and learnings. Three virtual forums were held in mid-August 2020 covering the topics of consultation, data collection and preparation for publishing.

First annual report prepared on the operation of the State Disability Inclusion Plan.

The first annual report on the operation of the State Disability Inclusion Plan 2019–2023 (Inclusive SA) was tabled in both Houses of Parliament on 18 February 2021, as required under the Disability Inclusion Act 2018. DHS conducted cross-government consultation to prepare the annual report, which outlines the progress State authorities have made on the actions in Inclusive SA.

Of the 39 actions outlined in Inclusive SA, two have been completed (Action 3 and Action 20) and all others are ‘In progress’ with varying timeframes for implementation, as set by the responsible State authority.

Community consultation is undertaken to guide the development of options for the future of the Highgate Park site.

Think Human was engaged by the department to undertake community consultation on options for the future of the Highgate Park site and the Home for the Incurables Trust that owns it. Consultation was undertaken between July and October 2020, with more than 360 people involved in the consultation process. The consultation focussed on people with lived experience of disability from metropolitan Adelaide and regional South Australia, Aboriginal people living with disability, and subject matter experts working in the disability sector.

Highgate Park will now be sold with any proceeds used to promote greater community inclusion and benefit people living with disability. The full consultation report is available on the DHS website.

Agency Objective: Intervening Earlier

Vulnerable South Australians receive the right support early to reduce risk and build individual and community wellbeing.



Continue reform of the Child and Family Support System.

In the past year, the department continued to reform the Child and Family Support System to achieve the best outcomes for families and children. This includes the:

  • establishment of the Adult Supporting Kids (ASK)   website for families seeking information and support regarding child safety
  • establishment of a new pathways service to ensure   centralised referral management, service matching and enable future reporting   on outcomes for government and non-government delivered intensive family   services
  • development of a South Australian nuanced   Cultural and Trauma Responsiveness training package in conjunction with   SNAICC (Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care), to be   delivered by local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs)
  • commencement of a two-year pilot in Central and   Southern Adelaide of Breathing Space* (run by Centacare), a service targeting   young women whose children have been removed and placed in the child   protection system.

* Correction: The department’s 2019–20 annual report incorrectly reported on page 17 that a Breathing Space program was established in the Northern suburbs.

Safety Hubs are extended into regional South Australia.

As at 30 June 2021, six Safety Hubs have been established in regional South Australia to provide targeted information and referrals for women and their children to enable access to the local level support they require.

In the past year, the following four Safety Hubs have been delivered:

  • KWY Port Augusta Safety Hub, opened November 2020
  • The Haven at Gawler, opened December 2020
  • The Haven at Mount Barker, opened March 2021
  • The Haven at Mount Gambier, opened May 2021.

Safety Hubs were previously established at Murray Bridge (launched in August 2019) and Berri (launched in September 2019).

Early support and intervention services are established for perpetrators of domestic violence.

During 2019–20, the focus of the South Australian perpetrator response was the establishment of a telephone information and referral service to enable frontline workers and self-referring perpetrators of domestic and family violence to make early contact and be linked with specialist perpetrator responses. The new service is supported
with the allocation of $400,000 per annum, indexed from 2021–22, in the 2020–21 State Budget.

To establish the new statewide early intervention counselling service, providers were invited to respond to a Request for Tender between April and May 2021. Following a comprehensive evaluation process, No to Violence (NTV), a nationwide non-government organisation, was selected to deliver the Statewide Perpetrator Response from 1 July 2021. The procurement process assessed all tenderers against a range of evaluation criteria including the capacity to deliver, knowledge of and experience with the client group, community networks and communications.

Strategies to increase safeguards for people with disability are supported.

In response to the Safeguarding Task Force Supplementary Report, the State Government allocated $1.2 million over three years in the 2020–21 State Budget for the establishment of a new statewide advocacy service. Following a tender process, Uniting Communities was selected to provide the service which commenced in December 2020. The statewide individual advocacy service provides legal representation for people to challenge NDIS decisions, as well as educate and empower people with disability to advocate for themselves.

In addition to the new advocacy service, the role of the Disability Advocate, Dr David Caudrey, has been extended until 2023. This position has played a key role in collating evidence about how the transition to the NDIS has progressed in South Australia and capturing any unintended systemic gaps as a result of the disability reform process.

Therapeutic environment strengthened at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre.

The therapeutic environment at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre is being strengthened through the development of an Enhanced Support Team, which will pilot a model of therapeutic care and focus on intensive behaviour support planning and interventions for young people with complex needs, including those with a disability. The Enhanced Support Team comprises allied health professionals with disability expertise and commenced in August 2021.

The department also commenced the development of a Sensory Modulation Framework to provide children and young people with the knowledge and resources to help them understand their sensory processing needs and to develop self-regulation skills. The Framework will include a set of practical recommendations on how to modify environments to respond to the varied sensory processing needs of children and young people in custody.

Implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in South Australia.

During 2020–21, DHS provided feedback through the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) in regard to the implementation of a National Preventative Mechanism (NPM) for Youth Justice Services under the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

AGD is leading the implementation of OPCAT in South Australia, with each state and territory required to nominate a NPM as the independent monitor to undertake preventative visits to places of detention. The draft South Australian OPCAT Implementation Bill 2021 designates the Training Centre Visitor as the NPM in respect of children and young people detained in the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre.

Establishment of the Aboriginal Cultural Trail and Connection Space at Kurlana Tapa.

Aboriginal Elders, children and young people were engaged in the design and development of the Aboriginal Cultural Trail and Connection Space at Kurlana Tapa, which was officially opened on 23 February 2021. This initiative provides a unique space for Aboriginal children and young people in custody at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre.

The cultural trail and connection space include a Restorative Connection Shelter, Desert Dance space, Ibis Theatre, a Kaurna Shield Shelter, Metal Coolamon, waterhole and fire pit, which will be used for a range of educational, cultural, language and recreational activities.

Acceleration of the Transition to Home program to enable discharge-ready people with disability to move from hospital to community accommodation.

The Transition to Home (T2H) step down program was implemented in March 2020, as part of South Australia’s existing Long Stay Transition to Discharge Project. The T2H program facilitates the timely discharge of people with disability from hospital into the community.

In the past year, DHS continued working with the Department of Health and Wellbeing, Local Hospital Networks and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to accelerate the T2H program to enable discharge-ready people with disability move to community accommodation. The program increased from 20 to 24 beds, three service coordinators were appointed, and clients were provided with capacity building.

Corporate performance summary

The following is a summary of the key corporate service achievements in 2020–21:

  • DHS achieved reaccreditation as a White Ribbon Workplace for the next three years, reaffirming our commitment to combating gendered-based violence, challenging disrespectful behaviours and fostering greater inclusivity and equality for all women. To achieve reaccreditation, the department successfully met 15 criteria under three standards to create a safer and more respectful workplace.
  • In October 2020, the department released its first Disability Access and Inclusion Plan, which supports Inclusive SA, the State Disability Inclusion Plan 2019–2023. Developed following extensive consultation with staff and the community, the DHS Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2019–2024 outlines the actions the department will progress over the next four years to improve the accessibility and inclusiveness of our services and supports for people with disability.
  • The Aboriginal Recruitment Guide was launched in October 2020, which supports managers to undertake culturally inclusive recruitment and provides advice on the avenues that are available to assist in the recruitment of Aboriginal people.
  • On 17 March 2021, the Screening Unit connected to the Working with Children Check (WWCC) National Reference System (NRS), which enables the exchange of information about negative WWCC decisions across Australia. Integration to the WWCC NRS represents the ongoing commitment of the Government to continually improve the WWCC scheme and information sharing capabilities to contribute to the protection of children across Australia.
  • The DHS Aboriginal Workforce Strategy 2021–2023 was officially launched on 28 May 2021. The Strategy outlines the department’s commitment to action through four key focus areas with specific actions that will support DHS to be a department of first choice for Aboriginal people.
  • The department’s Australian Service Excellence Team maintained the Australian Service Excellence Standard’s (ASES) international accreditation rating with the International Society for Quality in Health Care External Evaluation Association (IEEA). ASES is owned by DHS and designed with the non-government community service organisations to improve management practices, business systems and service delivery.

Employment opportunity programs

Skilling SA Public Sector Project

Five trainees under 30 years of age were employed by the department under this initiative, which is being led by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment (OCPSE).

Three Aboriginal trainees, including two of the five aforementioned trainees, were hosted in the department through a Group Training Organisation.

Aboriginal Workforce Employment Initiatives

During 2020–21, 22 Aboriginal people were employed by the department, with three appointed to identified Aboriginal employment positions. There were a further eight appointments from the OCPSE Aboriginal Employment Register.

Disability Support Traineeships

A total of 39 trainee disability support workers, out of a goal of 175 over two years, were employed by the department and appointed to positions within Accommodation Services.

Agency performance management and development systems

Performance management and development system

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 Plans (PDPs).

PDPs are to be formally discussed at least twice per year in annual and mid-cycle 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 last 12 months has increased from 67.9% in 2019–20 to 73.9% in 2020–21.

As at 30 June 2021, 58.4% of Performance Development Reviews were current, having been reviewed within the last six months.

Of the remaining reviews:

  • 15.5% had expired being over six months
  • 14.7% had expired being over 12 months
  • 6.8% were not recorded for staff with at least 90 days of service
  • 4.6% were not recorded for staff with less than 90 days of service.

Work health, safety and return to work programs

Program name


Work Health & Safety and Injury Management Audit and Verification

In the past year, the department participated in a verification audit of its Work Health and Safety (WHS) and Injury Management (IM) system. The WHS and IM systems are conforming with legislative requirements, with some areas identified for improvement.

The WHS Verified Self-Assessment (VSA) audit, conducted by Deloitte, is an element of the broader Audit and Verification Systems (AVS) program managed by OCPSE. The VSA provides the participating agency with an independently verified assessment of its Safety Management System and a view on the implementation of that system at a series of selected worksites.

The IM audit, conducted by ReturnToWorkSA, is designed to protect the integrity and fairness of the scheme through worksite inspections, audits and evaluation against legislation, regulations and service standards.

Safety Management System

A review of the Safety Management System (SMS) was undertaken which identified various gaps and determined that it was antiquated in its approach. A fully revised SMS was developed that is contemporary, considers the altered risk profile of our department and provides clear line of site to Building Safety Excellence in the Public Sector, and reflects internal policy, objectives and risks.

The new SMS has been approved and implemented.

Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace

The department has maintained the ‘Gold’ standard accreditation as a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Skilled Workplace for our investment in developing mental health first aid skills in our people. The department has also demonstrated a strong commitment to embedding the MHFA program into our culture through senior leadership support, relevant policies, development of a Mental Health Strategy and continuous improvement.

Influenza Vaccination Program

The DHS Influenza Vaccination Program is part of the department’s health and wellbeing initiative, contributing to infection control strategies and the prevention of seasonal pandemic influenza. All staff are encouraged to participate in the voluntary program. The program promotes a healthy workplace, reduces influenza-related absenteeism, increases productivity and engagement, and prevents flu spreading to other staff and clients.

Wellbeing and Safety Webinar Series

In conjunction with Corporate Health Group, the department’s Employee Assistance Provider (EAP), a new series of webinars were developed to provide employees and managers with tools, knowledge and support to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

The webinar topics are:

  • Employee Wellbeing Check
  • Resilience at Work
  • Change (accepting a new landscape)
  • Fatigue/Sleep Hygiene
  • Emerging Mental Health Issues.

Corporate Health Group also facilitated a webinar for staff with family and friends in India. The 45 minute online session provided an avenue for staff to share their experiences and concerns and discuss support services available for staff and their family.


In August 2020, the department transitioned to MySAFETY, the State Government’s new work health and safety system.

Staff use MySAFETY to report the following as they occur:

  • workplace hazards
  • workplace incidents, with or without injury
  • client incidents
  • feedback - complaints, compliments and   suggestions
  • bullying concerns.


Teamgage was implemented across the department in
2019–20 as part of our commitment to building a strong workplace culture where staff feel supported and heard. The online platform builds employee engagement by regularly collecting workplace feedback.

In May 2021, a question was included seeking staff feedback on wellbeing and safety. This enables the DHS Wellbeing and Safety Unit and divisions to monitor and address identified concerns and potential risks.

Workplace injury claims

Workplace injury claims



% Change
(+ / -)

Total new workplace injury claims








Seriously injured workers [Note 1]




Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed as frequency rate per 1,000 FTE)




The information in the Workplace injury claims table in regard to the total number of new workplace injury claims and frequency rate per 1,000 FTE is reflective of the total number of claims received. Of the 197 claims received in 2020–21, only 147 were accepted as compensable. The Building Safety Excellence in the Public Sector targets are based on ‘accepted’ claims only.

Note 1: 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 regulations

Work health and safety regulations



% Change
(+ / -)

Number of notifiable incidents (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Part 3)




Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (Work Health and Safety Act 2012 Sections 90, 191 and 195)




Return to work costs

Return to work costs [Note 2]



% Change
(+ / -)

Total gross workers compensation expenditure




Income support payments - gross [Note 3]




Note 2: Before third party recovery

Note 3: The increase in income support payments is attributable to the increases in the average payment, number of days lost and rate of significant injury.

Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

Executive employment in the agency

Executive classification

Number of executives







The number of executives is based on the number as at 30 June 2021.

Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

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.

Financial performance

Financial performance

Financial performance at a glance

The following is a brief summary of the overall financial position of the agency. The information is unaudited. Full audited financial statements for 2020–21 are attached to this report.

Statement of Comprehensive Income

Statement of Comprehensive Income





Total Income





Total Expenses





Net Result





Changes in property, plant and equipment asset revaluation surplus





Total Comprehensive Result





* Variation between 2020–21 Budget and 2020–21 Actual

The 2020–21 Actual total comprehensive result is a deficit of $9.171 million, which is $13.384 million favourable when compared to the 2020–21 Budget. This is primarily due to a decision to transfer Crown land, formerly occupied by the Strathmont Centre, to the Department for Environment and Water.

This decision resulted in the budgeted return of anticipated sale proceeds to the consolidated account not occurring, leading to the improvement compared to the projected deficit. This improvement was partially offset by a decrement applied to the asset revaluation surplus following an asset valuation.

Statement of Financial Position

Statement of Financial Position





Current assets





Non-current assets





Total assets





Current liabilities





Non-current liabilities





Total liabilities





Net assets










* Variation between 2020–21 Budget and 2020–21 Actual

The net decrease in net assets between the 2020–21 Budget and 2020–21 Actual result is mainly due to the:

  • reduction in current assets, reflecting lower than anticipated cash held
  • reduction in non-current assets, reflecting the impact of asset revaluation and the transfer of Crown land to the Department for Environment and Water
  • net reduction in liabilities, reflecting the impact of actuarial revaluations of liabilities for long service leave and workers compensation.

Consultants disclosure

The following is a summary of external consultants that have been engaged by the agency, the nature of work undertaken, and the actual payments made for the work undertaken during the financial year.

Consultancies below $10,000 each



Actual payment

All consultancies below $10,000 each - combined



Consultancies above $10,000 each



Actual payment

Certifii HCS Pty Ltd

Certification audit of Accommodation Services against NDIS Practice Standards


Deloitte Access Economics Pty Ltd

To provide advice and assist with the development of a strategy aimed at improving the employment and economic situation of women in South Australia


Ernst & Young

Review sector pay and conditions between Disability Modern Award and Enterprise Bargaining Agreement



Cultural Review of Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre



Policy advice on government owned Specialist Disability Accommodation housing



Review of regulation of Supported Residential Facilities


Maven Consultancy

To provide guidance on Allied Health Professionals engaged in countering violent extremism intervention


Peter Hibbert Family Trust

Data breach root cause analysis and recommendations for future improvement



Review of the Critical Client Incident Policy


Quantum Certification Services Pty Ltd

Independent gap analysis for the NDIS Practice Standards


Reconciliation South Australia Incorporated

To assist in the development of the revised Reconciliation Action Plan


SNAICC - National Voice for our Children (Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Corporation)

Undertake the Culturally Responsive and Trauma Informed Service Delivery Pilot Project to develop training programs for staff


Think Human Pty Ltd

To facilitate community engagement regarding the future of the Home for the Incurables Trust


Torque Holdings Pty Ltd

Independent audit of Registered Training Organisation materials and advice on systemic issues identified





Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

See also the Consolidated Financial Report of the Department of Treasury and Finance for total value of consultancy contracts across the South Australian Public Sector.

Contractors disclosure

The following is a summary of external contractors that have been engaged by the agency, the nature of work undertaken, and the actual payments made for work undertaken during the financial year.

Contractors below $10,000



Actual payment

All contractors below $10,000 each - combined



Contractors above $10,000 each



Actual payment

Anne Nicolaou Consulting

Review Clinical Governance and Practice Framework and draft Safe and Well Roadmap



Relocation of office furniture


Bookabee Services Australia

Facilitation of a two-day staff training program on Aboriginal sensitivity and respect


Boundary Solutions Pty Ltd

Installation, maintenance and support of access control, CCTV and electronic security systems


Community Data Solutions

Community business intelligence projects


Connected Self Pty Ltd

Development of framework, practice guidelines and implementation plan for trauma responsive project


Contact 121 Pty Ltd

Call centre service fees for Accommodation Services


Creative Systems Pty Ltd

Supply and installation of office equipment and furniture


Dana Shen - DS Consultancy

Review Aboriginal gambling help services and provide advice about the best way to support Aboriginal people and their communities in relation to gambling harm


Dana Shen - DS Consultancy

Trauma responsive and healing system framework


Detail Studio Pty Ltd

Fit out of office spaces at Riverside, new training rooms and accessible bathroom at Endeavour House


Exon Security & Alarms

Supply and installation of CCTV and security systems


Finsbury Green Pty Ltd

Supply and installation of graphic window film


Flinders University

Review of DHS demographic data and report for DHS Yunga Nungas evaluation


Greencap Pty Ltd

Asbestos management register update


Healthcare Australia Pty Ltd

Provision of occupational therapy services


Inlingua Text Pty Ltd

Professional typesetting services for translated documents


JTWO Solutions Pty Ltd

Assessment of cloudstep application


KPPM Strategy

Review of gambling help services targeting at-risk populations and provide advice about the service elements needed in the design of future contracts


Landscape Construction Service Pty Ltd

Landscaping for Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre cultural space


Lorraine Merrick

Targeted consultation process with Aboriginal organisations to better understand the unique needs of Aboriginal people under the Community Connections program and develop options for the practical implementation of the new service model


Mossop Construction + Interiors

Alterations to office spaces (including mail room) and construction of new training rooms and accessible bathroom


NEC Australia Pty Ltd

Hire of System Centre Configuration Manager Engineer


Objective Corporation Limited

Objective Consulting Services Program


Parenting Research Centre Inc

Evaluation of Northern and Western Intensive Family Support pilot programs


PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (Australia) Pty Limited

Community and Family Services Business continuity plan, communication and toolkit


Procurement Partners Pty Ltd

Facilitation of probity services for recommissioning of Intensive Family Support Services to Early Intervention Research Directorate


SA Commercial Blinds Pty Ltd

Supply and installation of blinds


Sally Rhodes Consultancy Services

Counselling services to clients


Signarama Norwood

Supply and installation of graphics at Riverside


Steelguard Industries Pty Ltd

Installation of TV security housings


Strategic Solutions Co

Preparation and facilitation of workshop



Services provided to enable business intelligence solutions in Microsoft platform for DHS Equipment Services



Update of concessions system to allow the administration of the Switch for Solar program, which is a joint initiative with the Department for Energy and Mining


T & T Electrical Services P/L

Supply and installation of new network outlets


The Australian Centre for Social Innovation Inc

To develop a Theory of Change for the South Australian gambling landscape and identify key levers and actions to prevent and minimise gambling harm


The Conference Company Ltd

Conference management services for the International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect 2020


The Trustee for F2 Group Trust

Business analyst and project management support for the ASK Portal project


The Trustee for Reach Your Potential Trust

Provision of advice on lived experience for the development of the ASK Website


The University of Adelaide

Developing a practice framework for engaging with young people with complex needs


The University of Adelaide

Developing a practice framework for engaging with young people with complex needs and SA Prevalence Study which sought to analyse South Australian gambling data to explore whether the characteristics of people gambling at risky levels in the community reflect the characteristics of people accessing gambling help services


The University of Queensland

Research and development of a practice framework for intervention service providers - countering violent extremism


University of South Australia

Review of Sector Support and Advocacy Funding Guidelines in alignment with the DHS Social Impact Framework


Workforce Hire

Investigation services





Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

The details of South Australian Government-awarded contracts for goods, services, and works are displayed on the SA Tenders and Contracts website. View the agency list of contracts.

The website also provides details of across government contracts.

Other financial information

Pursuant to section 73BA of the Gaming Machines Act 1992, the Minister is required to report on the application of the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund during the preceding financial year. This information is provided on page 47.

Other information

Nil to report.

Risk Management

Risk Management

Risk and audit at a glance

The DHS Risk Management and Audit Committee (RMAC) assists the Chief Executive in the identification of risks, determining priorities for action, developing and implementing strategies for effective risk management and ensuring accountabilities are met. The Committee oversees the focus of and receives reports from Internal Audit.

RMAC members are appointed by the Chief Executive with the Chair being an independent external member. In 2020–21, two new external members joined the Committee following the resignation of long-standing members. Furthermore, two internal members changed, with the change of membership invigorating and bringing new focus to RMAC.

Internal Audit undertake audit activities that provide assurance over the adequacy and effectiveness of controls and processes in place to manage departmental risks, and identify opportunities to strengthen control weaknesses and contribute to the delivery of DHS strategic objectives and services. Internal Audit also considers the risk of fraud and maladministration in the course of their work. This includes assessment of current control environments to ensure effective protection against fraud and maladministration as a standard objective of most of their reviews.

The Incident Management Unit (IMU) is responsible for undertaking all investigations relating to potential fraud, misconduct or maladministration. This ensures consistency and efficiency in the department’s response to incidents and potential fraud and has strengthened controls and investigatory capacity.

The IMU is also responsible for coordinating correspondence and final reports to the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) on investigations conducted by the department involving DHS staff and non-government organisations. Investigations are undertaken primarily by the IMU; however, investigations may be assigned to Internal Audit where appropriate.

Fraud detected in the agency

Category/nature of fraud

Number of instances

Incidents related to discrepancies in clients’ funds


Incidents related to missing property


False or misleading documentation


NB: Fraud reported includes actual and reasonably suspected incidents of fraud.

Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud

DHS has a zero tolerance to fraud and maladministration with all incidents of discrepancies in client records, funds and/or property to be recorded on the internal DHS recording system.

In November 2019, the department established a Corruption and Fraud Prevention Committee as a sub-committee of the Executive Leadership Team. The Committee meets quarterly and was established to strengthen the department’s response to, and prevention of, fraud and corruption. The Committee monitors and oversees prevention control mechanisms across the agency and provides regular reports to the Executive.

During 2020–21, the Committee undertook a detailed fraud risk assessment across the department. This involved consultation with all DHS divisions to identify any control weaknesses or potential threats of fraud or corruption.

The Corruption and Fraud Prevention Committee also oversees the annual fraud and corruption awareness week. Each year the department identifies a week when it promotes the prevention of fraud and corruption. This involves daily bulletins to staff via the DHS intranet on various aspects of potential fraud.

Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

Public interest disclosure

Public interest disclosure



Number of occasions on which public interest information has been disclosed to a responsible officer of the agency under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2018:



Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

Note: Disclosure of public interest information was previously reported under the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993 and repealed by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2018 on 1/7/2019.

Reporting required under any other act or regulation

Reporting required under any other act or regulation

Gaming Machines Act 1992

Act or Regulation


Gaming Machines Act 1992

73BA - Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund

(6) The Minister responsible for the administration of the Family and Community Services Act 1972 must, on or before 30 September in each year, prepare a report on the application of the Fund during the preceding financial year and must cause copies of the report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament.

The department, through the Office for Problem Gambling, administers the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund (GRF) to provide programs that aim to minimise the harm caused by gambling. This includes face-to-face gambling help services that are available across South Australia, services targeting cohorts at increased risk of experiencing gambling harm, online and telephone gambling help services, as well as community education and information campaigns. During 2020–21, approximately $5.69 million was allocated through the GRF to 12 gambling help services in each State Government region and 16 targeted services.

Changes to the Gaming Machines Act 1992 proclaimed on 1 August 2020 expanded the scope of the GRF to allow for investment in prevention, early intervention, public education and gambling research. Under the reforms, the Government committed an additional $1 million into the GRF to increase the services and support available to South Australians.

In 2020–21, the Office for Problem Gambling undertook a comprehensive consultation process to explore options for future investment under the GRF that achieve the intent of its expanded legislative scope. This involved consulting with key stakeholders in the South Australian gambling environment, reviewing existing data and academic literature, examining the policy direction taken in other jurisdictions, and leading a rigorous co-design process with help services, industry and people with lived experience of gambling harm.

The Office for Problem Gambling continued to progress foundational activities to support delivery of a future strategic investment approach for the GRF. This included engaging UnitingCare Wesley Bowden to deliver the Unplugged Program, a free, two-hour workshop for school communities aimed at educating young people and their carers on gaming, and the links between gaming and gambling to establish healthier gaming habits, reduce the risk of gambling harm and create healthier lifestyles.

Julia Farr Services (Trusts) Act 2007

Act or Regulation


Julia Farr Services (Trusts) Act 2007

9 - Annual report

(1)  The administrative unit of the Public Service that is primarily responsible for assisting a Minister in relation to the provision of disability services in the State must include in its annual report for each financial year a statement that sets out, insofar as is reasonably practicable, the following information, as at 30 March of the financial year to which the report relates, with respect to the persons who are residents of the Fullarton campus on 30 June 2007:

  1. the number of persons resident at the Fullarton campus;
  2. with respect to the persons resident at a place other than the Fullarton campus, a broad description of the nature of their accommodation;
  3. during the preceding period of 12 months -
    1. the processes used to plan and implement the relocation of any person to accommodation other than the Fullarton campus;
    2. the number of persons who returned to accommodation at the Fullarton campus, and the circumstances of their return.

(2)  A report under subsection (1) should be prepared in a manner that does not identify a particular person.

As at 30 March 2021, there were no residents living at the Fullarton campus, now known as Highgate Park.

Residents of Highgate Park participated in the Reconnecting to Community project, which provided an opportunity to move to community accommodation. In April 2020, the final resident moved to a private aged care facility, and shortly afterwards chose to move to the Northgate Aged Care facility.

During the preceding 12 months no previous residents returned to Highgate Park, which is now closed.

Water Industry Act 2012

Act or Regulation


Water Industry Act 2012

87 - Consumer Advocacy and Research Fund

(6)  The administrative unit of the Public Service that  is, under the Minister, responsible for the administration of this Act must, on or before 30 September in each year, present a report to that Minister on the operation of the Fund during the previous financial year.

(7)  A report under subsection (6) may be incorporated into the annual report of the relevant administrative unit.

(8)  The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before both Houses of Parliament within 12 sitting days after the report is received by that Minister.

The Consumer Advocacy and Research Fund (CARF) was established to support research or advocacy in relation to water usage that promotes the interest of consumers with a disability, on low-income and/or in regional areas.

The administration of CARF was transferred from DHS to the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) effective 1 January 2021. A report on the operation of CARF during the previous financial year is included in the DEW annual report for the 2020–21 financial year.

Youth Justice Administration Act 2016

Act or Regulation


Youth Justice Administration Act 2016

9 - Chief Executive’s annual report

(1)  The Chief Executive must, not later than 30 September in each year, submit to the Minister a report on -

  1. the operation of this Act and the work of the Department in relation to the administration of this Act for the financial year ending on the preceding 30 June; and
  2. any other matter as the Minister may direct.

(2)  The Minister must, within 12 sitting days after receipt of a report under this section, cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of Parliament.

During 2020–21, DHS progressed improvements to support the provisions of the Youth Justice Administration Act 2016. The improvements, which align with Young People Connected, Communities Protected: South Australia’s Youth Justice State Plan 2020–2023 and respond to recommendations by the Training Centre Visitor and Ombudsman SA, include:

  • commissioning a number of independent reviews at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre with findings informing further improvements
  • installing full-size body scanning technology at Kurlana Tapa, reducing the need for partially clothed searches
  • establishing the Aboriginal Cultural Trail and Connection Space at Kurlana Tapa, which provides a healing, education and connection space for Aboriginal young people in custody
  • investing in community organisations, such as the Service to Youth Council, to deliver specific community service responses to increase connections to community, providing young people with a diverse range of opportunities and long-term supports
  • establishing the Communities and Justice, Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations (ACCO) Forum, to facilitate better partnerships with ACCOs and explore joint decision-making processes with Aboriginal communities, in line with Closing the Gap targets.

The department also continues to develop more therapeutic responses for young people under youth justice orders and is:

  • Establishing an Enhanced Support Team at Kurlana Tapa, which is comprised of skilled practitioners to work alongside youth workers in the accommodation units, responding to those young people with complex needs.
  • Developing a Sensory Modulation Framework to better equip young people with the tools to help them understand their own sensory processing needs and develop self-regulation skills.
  • Improving accessibility for young people, including modifying client-facing documents for easier comprehension and enhancing traditional verbal communication practices with visual aids.

All non-DHS staff who have unsupervised contact with children and young people in the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre, with the exception of registered teachers and health practitioners, have undergone a psychological suitability assessment in line with legislative requirements. Youth Justice Services continues to ensure all staff requiring to be assessed, undergo psychological suitability assessment in line with legislative requirements.

The Young People Connected, Communities Protected: South Australia’s Youth Justice State Plan 2020–2023 progress report was published on the DHS web page in June 2021.

In alignment with recommendations of the Training Centre Visitor, DHS will report annually on the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Justice Principle. Prior to this, a review of the Principle will be undertaken, with planning underway.

Reporting required under the Carers Recognition Act 2005

Under Section 6 of the Carers Recognition Act 2005, the department is required to ensure all officers, staff or agents are aware and understand the principles of the Carers Charter, and promote consultation with carers or their representatives in policy or program development and strategic or operational planning.

The following summarises actions by the department to ensure compliance with Section 6 in 2020–21:

  • Staff gained an awareness of the principles of the Carers Charter during induction and training.
  • Flexible work and carer leave arrangements were available across the department. This includes paid leave entitlements for employees with primary care responsibilities for a person with disability. This leave is in addition to family carers leave and special leave with pay.
  • DHS continued to fund four South Australian carer support organisations beyond the cessation of the SA HACC program on 30 April 2021. The services were specifically funded as they are not available to carers through the national Integrated Carer Support Services (ICSS).
  • The department worked closely with the four statewide carer support organisations during the roll-out of the ICSS and NDIS. This included consultation and cooperation with Carers SA, which was nominated by the Commonwealth Government as the South Australian Regional Delivery Partner under the ICSS.
  • In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, DHS continued to liaise with Carers SA and other peak bodies in the development of long-term recovery strategies which consider the specific needs of carers.

In addition to the above, carers were included as a priority cohort in the new Community Connections program, following the cessation of the SA HACC program. The new program better reflects the current environment and community needs and targets people who are ineligible for the NDIS, My Aged Care and other Commonwealth and State Government programs. Carers SA is the carer representative on the Community Connections Program Advisory Group to inform the implementation of the program.

Public complaints

Public complaints

Number of public complaints reported

Complaint categoriesSub-categoriesExampleNumber of
Professional behaviour Staff attitude Failure to demonstrate values such as empathy, respect, fairness, courtesy, extra mile; cultural competency 25
Professional behaviour Staff competency Failure to action service request; poorly informed decisions; incorrect or incomplete service provided 7
Professional behaviour Staff knowledge Lack of service specific knowledge; incomplete or out-of-date knowledge 0
Communication Communication quality Inadequate, delayed or absent communication with customer 3
Communication Confidentiality Customer’s confidentiality or privacy not respected; information shared incorrectly 0
Service delivery Systems/
System offline; inaccessible to customer; incorrect result/information provided; poor system design 1
Service delivery Access to services Service difficult to find; location poor; facilities/ environment poor standard; not accessible to customers with disabilities 4
Service delivery Process Processing error; incorrect process used; delay in processing application; process not customer responsive 6
Policy Policy application Incorrect policy interpretation; incorrect policy applied; conflicting policy advice given 8
Policy Policy content Policy content difficult to understand; policy unreasonable or disadvantages customer 0
Service quality Information Incorrect, incomplete, out dated or inadequate information; not fit for purpose 28
Service quality Access to information Information difficult to understand, hard to find or difficult to use; not plain English 0
Service quality Timeliness Lack of staff punctuality; excessive waiting times (outside of service standard); timelines not met 2
Service quality Safety Maintenance; personal or family safety; duty of care not shown; poor security service/ premises; poor cleanliness 5
Service quality Service responsiveness Service design doesn’t meet customer needs; poor service fit with customer expectations 45
No case to answer No case to answer Third party; customer misunderstanding; redirected to another agency; insufficient information to investigate 17
   Total 151

Source: DHS Client Feedback System.

Note: complaints data relies on complaint categories being entered into the Client Feedback System. This data was only recorded for 151 out of 215 complaints received for the reporting period.

Additional Metrics

Additional MetricsTotal
Number of positive feedback comments 119
Number of negative feedback comments 215
Total number of feedback comments 334
% complaints resolved within policy timeframes 77% (165)

Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

Service improvements

The following summarises actions by the department to improve its management of complaints, and service improvements resulting from complaints or client feedback in 2020–21:

  • To ensure that organisations or applicants do not need to repeat their query/issue each time they make contact, the Screening Unit commenced recording the name of the initial customer service officer on the relevant file. The organisation or applicant is now referred to the same officer the next time they make contact.
  • The Screening Unit also implemented mechanisms to enable applicants being complex risk assessed to speak to the senior assessment officer working on their file. This included the risk assessment officer contacting the applicant at allocation of the file and including direct contact details of the assessment officer in correspondences to the applicant.
  • The Concessions Hotline implemented a script matrix for staff to assist in responding quickly to customer enquiries about the once-off boost of $500 and bringing forward the 2020–21 Cost of Living Concession payment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To support Companion Card holders who have multiple carers, Concessions and Support Services provided letters for additional carers to carry in lieu of the Companion Card.
  • In response to complaints from clients, family members or guardians about the level of care provided or compatibility with fellow home residents, DHS Accommodation Services initiated individualised reviews of level of service and living arrangements.

Compliance Statement

  • The Department of Human Services is compliant with Premier and Cabinet Circular 039 - complaint management in the South Australian public sector.
  • The Department of Human Services has communicated the content of PC 039 and the agency’s related complaints policies and procedures to employees.

Page last updated : 12 Oct 2021

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