Department of Human Services

Start of main content.

A shift in thinking about how to create true social impact


Have you ever wondered if the Department of Human Services measure the success of programs we fund? Do we know if they make an actual difference in society?

The short answer to those questions is YES! For more detail on how, look no further than the Social Impact Framework.

This document helps service providers and government to assess how well a program is meeting the evidence-based conditions for social impact. It was developed by DHS in partnership with the Australian Alliance for Social enterprise (TAASE) at the University of South Australia.

“The framework represents a significant shift in thinking about how government assesses and optimises the impact that its investment in the community sector has on our communities and our State, and how it builds collaborative partnerships with the non-government sector,” says Ruth Ambler, Executive Director of DHS Community  Investment and support.

Three main criteria

  • Is the service/program/initiative aligned to clearly defined purposes and outcomes?
  • Does it meet best practice service design criteria?
  • Is it delivered through a partnership with service providers?

These three elements are underpinned by an Assessment Tool that covers a range of discussion points, designed to spark deeper shared understanding of how a program, initiative or service is generating impact for individuals, families and communities.

“The aim is to enable a shared understanding of what makes a quality service, so that service delivery is more responsive and effective in generating social impact,” explains Ruth. “The whole framework demonstrates the values of collaboration, accountability and focus on outcomes.”

Read more about the Social Impact Framework, or access the Framework and Tool in pdf or docx.

Page last updated : 19 Apr 2022

This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2021 DHS .[sm v5.5.6.6]