Department of Human Services

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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.

Page last updated : 27 Oct 2021

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