Changes to regulation of social services

12 October 2021
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing is making changes to the way that social services are regulated.

The social services regulation reform will establish a modern and fit-for-purpose regulatory framework. The new system will establish a single set of Social Service Standards and a single registration process for hundreds of community organisations, as well as an independent regulator, with a statutory office holder to be appointed.

Services covered will include family violence, homelessness, Supported Residential Services, and disability services not within the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It will also oversee children youth and families services.

This reform will better support safe service delivery and service users’ human rights, including freedom from harm, neglect and abuse. It will also provide a separation from policy design, funding models and service agreement management and strengthen the regulation of department-delivered services.

New Social Services Standards will form the foundation of the regulatory framework. These will replace the current Human Services Standards and the Accommodation and Personal Support Standards. The new regulator replaces the current Human Services Regulator and provides decision-making separation between the responsibilities of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and decisions exercised by the regulator.

The regulator will be required to provide education and guidance to service providers and must make decisions that are intelligence-led, proportionate and minimise regulatory burden.

The reforms will be phased in from 1 July 2023 to give time for the sector to transition to the new arrangements.

More information about the social services regulation reform can be found in the Social Services Regulation Reform Information Sheet (September 2021 update).