27 September 2023

Public called to weigh in on social services

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Victorians are being called on to help shape the regulation of social services across the State with a new regulatory scheme in the works.

Launching the draft Social Services Regulations 2023, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) said the Social Services Regulation Act 2021 established a new regulatory framework which would simplify registration and reporting requirements for social service providers, establish a set of standards and a single independent regulator.

It said the new scheme aimed to keep people who used social services safe from harm such as abuse and neglect.

“The current regulation of social services is disjointed,” DFFH said.

“The system involves separate schemes developed years ago,” it said.

“Most social services already have accountability measures in place.

“But these arrangements are inefficient.”

DFFH said the social services sector had highlighted the need for reform to uphold its commitment to safety and make the regulatory landscape more efficient.

“The Government is therefore replacing the current schemes with one regulatory framework.”

The Department said key elements of the new scheme included a new independent Social Services Regulator; a set of six Social Service Standards for all registered social service providers; a mandatory registration for social service providers; a Worker and Carer Exclusion Scheme; and a graduated set of education and enforcement tools to support early intervention and enable the Regulator to respond proportionately to risk.

It said the draft regulations covered which services were subject to the new scheme; what social service providers needed to do to meet the six Social Service Standards; registration requirements for social service providers; and Worker and Carer Exclusion Scheme, including the scheme’s scope, along with other matters.

“Regulations setting out fee levels for the scheme, transitional arrangements, and standards specific to the supported residential services sector will be developed separately,” DFFH said.

Further information on the draft regulations, open for public comment until 21 June, can be accessed at this PS News link.

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