26 September 2023

Regulator to strengthen support services

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Support services delivered by more than 1,200 organisations are to be brought under the authority of a single regulator, with the establishment of a new social services watchdog to strengthen protections for vulnerable Victorians.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Luke Donnellan said the Social Services Regulation Act would streamline and simplify the existing regulation of social services, reduce red tape for the community sector and bolster enforcement powers to protect people from harm.

“Services covered will include family violence, homelessness, Supported Residential Services, children youth and families, and disability services not within the National Disability Insurance Scheme,” Mr Donnellan said.

“The new system will establish a single set of standards and a single registration process, as well as an independent regulator with a statutory office holder appointed,” he said.

“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 regulatory decisions exercised by the regulator.”

Mr Donnellan said the new regulator would be able to identify shortcomings in service delivery; work with providers to improve standards; issue fines to providers in breach of their responsibilities; and de-register organisations for serious non-compliance.

The Minister said the regulator would also be able to recognise other regulatory schemes to deliver a more coordinated system for organisations required to comply with more than one scheme.

“Service users and providers have been engaged in the design of the reform over the past two years and will contribute to developing regulations for the new regulator,” he said.

Mr Donnellan said Scheme would be phased in from 1 July 2023.

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