The use of an independent certification process will not be required by either the Social Services Regulator under the Social Services Regulation Act 2021, or by the department through organisations’ Service Agreements, post 1 July 2024 and is being phased out during the 2023/24 financial year.
The Human Services Regulator has recently communicated to all providers in scope of the Human Services Standards, the approach to phasing out the certification process, including that no independent reviews will be required post 31 December 2023. For further important details, please refer to the correspondence sent to your organisation on 11 May 2023.
In summary, if an organisation’s certification expires or mid-cycle / surveillance review is due after 31 December 2023, the organisation will not be required to undertake any further independent reviews to achieve or maintain certification. In line with this, Clause 3.6 of the Service Agreement with the department (requiring certification against the Standards) will no longer apply after 31 December 2023.
Organisations that are currently exempt from independent certification, and which are due to submit a self-assessment during the period 1 January 2024 to 30 June 2024, will not be required to submit their self-assessment to the Human Services Regulator.
Where an organisation’s certification expires or mid-cycle / surveillance review, (or self-assessment for relevant organisations) is due prior to 31 December 2023, that organisation will be required to successfully complete the required review in line with existing registration policy arrangements.
Organisations are reminded of their continuing legislative obligation to comply with the Standards and broader requirements of the Act/s under which your organisation is registered, until the establishment of the new Social Services Standards on 1 July 2024, and are encouraged to consider how you will monitor your compliance with all relevant requirements both now and in the future. Further information and resources available to monitor and strengthen your compliance with the Standards can be found at https://www.dffh.vic.gov.au/human-services-regulator
If you have any queries regarding these changes please address these in the first instance to HSStandards@dffh.vic.gov.au or to your key departmental contact.
If you have any questions about the reforms, please contact the Social Services Regulation Reform team at firstname.lastname@example.org