Human Services Standards

What are the Human Services Standards

The Human Services Standards (Standards) (gazetted as Department of Health and Human Services 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.

Easy English versions of the Standards

The Standards have been developed in Easy English as a word only version and with pictures version. The documents are titled Rules: We call them the Human Services Standards.

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 years, regardless of the number of departmental activities they are funded to provide
  • achieve and maintain accreditation against the Standards.

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

Human Services Standards evidence guide and resource tool

The Human Services Standards evidence guide (evidence guide) supports service providers to undertake an independent review against the Standards and meet the requirements of the Standards. The evidence guide has been updated to include an Aboriginal culturally informed addendum.

The evidence guide, including the Aboriginal culturally informed addendum, is not a checklist but a guide to evidence that demonstrates a service provider meets the Standards.

An Aboriginal culturally informed resource tool has been designed to be used by service providers in conjunction with the evidence guide and culturally informed addendum.

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 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.

Human Services Standards fact sheets and information updates

Fact sheets and information updates on the Standards, as well as registration under the Disability Act and Children, Youth and Families Act and their related requirements, are available from the link below.

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 Health and Human Services. It provides information and discusses matters regarding the implementation of the 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 Commonwealth and Victorian Governments have agreed that quality and safeguards are important to effectively support the phasing of service providers to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). NDIS participants in Victoria and the community need to be confident that NDIS registered providers are capable of delivering services that are high quality and safe.

All governments and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) are working on the design of a nationally consistent quality and safeguarding framework. Existing Victorian and Commonwealth quality and safeguarding arrangements will apply until the new framework, including agreed roles and responsibilities, is implemented.

Registration information is available from the link below.

Contact information

Standards and Regulation Helpdesk
Telephone: (03) 9096 2745

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