Department of Human Services Standards

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What are the Department of Human Services Standards

The Department of Human Services Standards (the Standards) represent a single set of service quality standards for department funded service providers and department-managed services. The Standards comprise the department’s four service delivery standards and the governance and management standards of a department endorsed independent review body.

The Standards help to meet the Victorian Government’s commitment to reducing red tape faced by funded service providers by streamlining departmental accreditation requirements. On 1 July 2012, the Standards replaced the former program specific standards: Standards for Disability Services in Victoria, Registration Standards for Community Service Organisations and Homelessness Assistance Services Standards.

The Standards and independent review process seek to ensure that people experience the same quality of service no matter which service provider they access. The Standards aim to:

  • embed and promote rights for people accessing services
  • assure the community that service providers are providing services that meet clients’ needs
  • develop a common and systemic approach to quality review processes
  • build greater transparency in quality requirements between the department, service providers, clients and the community
  • enable service providers to select an independent review body from an approved panel that meets their requirements and expectations
  • foster a culture of continuous quality improvement that is embedded in everyday practice and supports the meaningful participation of people in giving feedback about the services they require and the quality of services they receive
  • reduce red tape to help ensure service providers have more time and resources to provide services by reducing the number of quality reviews they are required to undertake.

The standards are summarised as:

  • Empowerment: People’s rights are promoted and upheld.
  • Access and Engagement: People’s right to access transparent, equitable and integrated services is promoted and upheld.
  • Wellbeing: People’s right to wellbeing and safety is promoted and upheld.
  • Participation: People’s right to choice, decision making and to actively participate as a valued member of their chosen community is promoted and upheld.

Which funded service providers need to undertake independent reviews?

Department funded service providers, that receive funding in scope of independent review, including those registered under the Disability Act 2006 and/or Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, that deliver services directly to clients are required to:

  • undertake an independent review against the Standards once every three-year service agreement period, regardless of the number of departmental activities they are funded to provide
  • achieve and maintain accreditation against the Standards.

During the transition period only to the Standards, department funded service providers previously reviewed against the department’s former program specific standards are not required to maintain their accreditation/certification against these former standards. Rather, service providers are required to be independently reviewed against the Standards within three years of their last on-site accreditation/certification or mid-cycle/surveillance audit.

Once the first review has occurred against the Standards, organisations must maintain their accreditation.

For example, if your organisation undertook a certification audit against the former Standards for Disability Services in Victoria in December 2010, and a review for Homelessness Assistance Services Standards in April 2011, your organisation will need to undertake an independent review against the Standards by April 2014.  The exception to this three year period is where funded service providers need to undertake an independent review earlier due to other applicable statutory requirements for example, renewal of registration under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 and/or Disability Act 2006.

The exact timing of a service provider’s independent review against the Standards, within the specified time period above, will be dependent on a number of factors, including the service provider’s strategic and quality planning timelines, the timing of other quality review processes the service provider undertakes, and the capacity of the service provider’s selected independent review body to undertake the review.

For further information regarding activities in scope of independent review and applicable funding thresholds, refer to the following:

Department of Human Services Standards evidence guide

The Department of Human Services Standards evidence guide supports service providers to undertake an independent review against the Standards and meet the requirements of the Standards.

Independent review bodies

The department has endorsed a number of independent review bodies to conduct reviews of funded service providers against the Standards.

File audit tools

To assist the review of staff, volunteer and carer files and client files, the department has developed file audit tools for use by independent review bodies.

Self-assessment report and quality improvement plan

Service providers that are required to undertake an independent review are required to use their chosen independent review body's self-assessment process.

Service providers that receive funding below a certain threshold for in-scope activities may be exempt from independent review. For further information, refer to the Department of Human Services Standards Policy scope of independent reviews for funded service providers.

Service providers exempt from review may be required to undertake a self-assessment report and quality improvement plan using the department’s self-assessment template.

Service providers exempt from independent review that apply for registration or renewal of registration under the Children, Youth and Families Act and/or the Disability Act will be required to undertake a self-assessment report and quality improvement plan using the department’s template.

Mapping tools

Mapping tools have been developed to enable organisations to map the Standards against the former Standards for Disability Services in Victoria, Homelessness Assistance Service Standards and Victorian Registration Standards Community Service Organisation Registration.

Standards and Regulation Unit fact sheets and information updates

Fact sheets and information updates have been developed to provide updates on the Standards, as well as registration under the Disability Act and Children, Youth and Families Act and their related requirements.

Department of Human Services Standards Quality Reference Group

The Quality Reference Group includes members from community service organisations, Aboriginal community controlled organisations, sector peak bodies, and the Department of Human Services. It provides information and discusses matters regarding the implementation of the Department of Human Services Standards and registration of service providers under the Disability Act and the Children, Youth and Families Act as they relate to the Standards.

Policy, procedures and forms for registration of disability service providers and community services

The department’s policy, procedures and forms for the registration of disability service providers and community services sets out the registration requirements for disability service providers and community services under the Disability Act and/or Children, Youth and Families Act.

National Disability Insurance Agency

The launch of National Disability Insurance Agency, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), has seen an agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and Victorian Government for the existing Quality Assurance and Safeguards of the State of Victoria to remain in place during the launch, until a nationally consistent risk-based quality assurance approach is developed.

National Disability Insurance Agency service providers may be required to be registered by the department under the Disability Act.  Registration information is available from the link below.

Useful documents

Contact information

Standards and Regulation Helpdesk
Telephone: (03) 9096 2745
Email: dhsstandards@dhs.vic.gov.au

Email list

If you wish to receive information about upcoming workshops, email updates, etc please email dhsstandards@dhs.vic.gov.au

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