About the Human Services Regulator
The Human Services Regulator is responsible for leading and implementing the regulatory role of the Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, and the Secretary of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (the department) arising from the:
- Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act 2010
- Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 – including the Victorian Carer Register
- Disability Act 2006
- Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005
In addition, the Human Services Regulator is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Human Services Standards and related independent review processes for department funded family violence and homelessness services.
The current Director, Human Services Regulator is Anthony Kolmus. The unit sits within the Strategy and Regulation division of the department.
The Human Services Regulator unit has 4 teams:
- Child Safeguarding Regulation
- Standards and Regulation (including Supported Residential Services Regulations)
- Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
- Strategy and Analytics
What we do
Our primary aim is to regulate human services to minimise harm and to protect the safety and rights of children, young people and adults who receive services bound by the following regulatory schemes:
- Child Safe Standards and Reportable Conduct Scheme (available on the department's Providers website)
- Victorian Carer Register (including section 81/82 Reports of Abuse and independent investigations) (available on the department's Providers website)
- Human Services Standards (available on the department's Providers website)
- Accommodation and Personal Support Standards (available on the health.vic website).
The Human Services Regulator delivers a state-wide regulatory compliance and enforcement program by:
- Conducting regular inspections of in-scope services and investigating alleged breaches of legislative obligations
- Responding to notifications and monitoring risk
- Providing compliance guidance and direction and, as relevant, imposing proportionate sanctions where organisations fail to meet legislative requirements and place service users at risk.
The Human Services Regulator uses an evidence-led, risk-based approach to regulating in-scope organisations. We are collaborative, accountable, proportionate, effective and clear.
The Human Services Regulator works closely with peak bodies, relevant departmental program areas and other peer regulators to ensure that services are delivered safely across a range of sectors. These stakeholders include:
- Commission for Children and Young People
- Disability Services Commissioner
- NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
- Office of the Public Advocate
- Victorian Disability Worker Commission.
The Human Services Regulator’s approach to promoting and monitoring the regulatory compliance of in-scope organisations is outlined in the department's:
- Human Services Regulator regulatory strategy (pdf)
- Human Services Regulator regulatory strategy (accessible Word)
- Human Services Regulator compliance and enforcement policy (Word)
- Human Services Regulator annual regulatory plan 2022-2023 (Word)
The Human Services Regulator is a sector regulator for the Child Safe Standards. The Child Safe Standards aim to reduce and prevent abuse occurring in organisations working with children and young people. For more information on the Child Safe Standards and the Human Services Regulator’s role, please visit the department’s Child Safe Standards webpage.
Upcoming changes to the way social services are regulated
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing is making changes to the way that social services are regulated. On 16 September 2021, Parliament passed the Social Services Regulation Act 2021 (the Act), which gives effect to a comprehensive new regulatory scheme for Victorian social services.
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:
- Children, youth and families
- family violence
- supported residential services
- disability services not within the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
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 will replace 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 2024 to give time for the sector to transition to the new arrangements.
To find out more, read the Social Services Regulation Reform information sheet (September 2021 update) (Word).
Cessation of independent compliance certification
As previously advised during the development of the Social Services Regulation Act 2021, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (the department) can now confirm that the use of independent review bodies to certify service providers compliance with the Human Services Standards (including the four service delivery standards and the governance and management standards of the independent review body), will no longer be required under the new regulatory framework commencing on 1 July 2024.
The use of an independent certification process will not be required by either the Social Services Regulator or by the department through organisations’ Service Agreements post 1 July 2024 and will be phased out during the 2023/24 financial year.
The Human Services Regulator will provide further information on how the phasing out of the certification process will occur with finalisation of the above arrangements to occur by late March / early April 2023. 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.
Contact the Human Services Regulator:
- General enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Enquiries about service provider registration: email@example.com
- Enquiries about the Victorian Carer Register: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Enquiries about the Child Safe Standards: email@example.com
- Enquiries about supported residential services: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Enquiries about social services regulation reform: email@example.com
- Mail: Level 17, 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000
- Telephone: 1300 310 778