Department of Human Services

Business activities

Q: How will the Department support organisations that may be significantly disadvantaged due to loss of / impact on service delivery?

A: There are essential services that will need to continue, and the state government will support these.

There are also services that will be considered non-essential at the peak of the risk and both state and federal governments are regularly reviewing economic support packages for affected businesses.

DHS has developed a Pandemic Readiness Planning “toolkit” for service providers and to help with decision making and business continuity planning.

If organisations have contract or grant funding for activities that are affected by COVID-19, please speak with your DHS contact about flexible arrangements.

Q: Mandatory training for some programs is due over the next couple of months. Can we delay this?

A: If mandatory training programs cannot be delivered within the recommended social distancing guidelines, DHS will work with you to develop alternative plans.

Q: If several residential care workers are quarantined, can workers from other programs step in to assist even if they do not have mandatory qualifications?

A: DHS acknowledges that some workforce flexibility will be required during this period, however, service providers must still ensure minimum safety standards are met.

DHS will work with individual providers to try and resolve any workforce issues if and when the need arises.

Q: If a worker or family member contracts the virus and a whole office is quarantined for two weeks, how do we deliver contracted services?

A: This will depend on the nature of the work. It is possible, in some cases, that contingency measures can be put in place, such as telephone or video-conferencing services. This will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Workforce flexibility and co-ordination will remain an ongoing point of consideration, including with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Q: NDIS services are now businesses and ceasing service provision has a profound impact on organisational income. When should we consider ceasing provision of non-urgent service provision, for example, therapy provision?

A: The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released key information for NDIS clients and providers.

DHS will continue to work with the NDIA, providers and the NDIS to ensure providers receive the best possible advice.

Q: Are there any guidelines around the advance payment that the National Disability Insurance Agency has given providers? How do we allocate spending against each client or is it not for specific client expenses?

A: Although we don’t have the information to answer this specific question, we continue to lobby the National Disability Insurance Agency on your behalf and ask that they are pragmatic and agile in responding to these new situations.

Q: What support is available for crisis accommodation services should a client or staff member test positive?

A: If a client or staff member tests positive to COVID-19 they must notify SA Health.

If they are unable to self-isolate at home, or if they are homeless, the South Australian Housing Authority would work to source the person suitable accommodation.

Q: Can the South Australian Housing Authority provide additional funding now that our fundraising and other income-generating measures have stopped?

A: There are various economic stimulus and funding measures available from both state and federal governments.

The JobKeeper scheme has been modified to be more accessible for charities and NGOs and small South Australian businesses may also be eligible for a $10,000 emergency cash grant.

The $250 million Community and Jobs Support Fund also aims to aid business continuity and prevent job losses.

The South Australian Housing Authority has set up the COVID-19 Relief Call Centre, which can provide information on a range of issues including hardship support and short-term accommodation options for people who are otherwise unable to self-isolate.

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Page last updated : 12 May 2020

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