Human Services Victoria

Enabling better Victorian services and lives

HDAA has been working with Victorian human services organisations since human services standards were implemented back in 2009.  Since then, we have worked with hundreds of Human Services organisations providing assessment and certification to the Victoria standards.

HDAA is one of only a select number of independent review bodies approved to assess services and issue certification to the Department of Health and Human Services Standards.  The HSS program enables the standards and independent review process to be used in three service areas:

  • Child protection and family services.
  • Homelessness services.
  • Disability services.

Service providers that meet HSS, must also achieve and maintain certification to a governance standard.  HDAA offers your organisation a choice of DHHS approved governance standards including:

  • National Standards for Disability Service (NSDS).
  • ISO 9001 – Quality Management System – Requirements (ISO 9001).
  • National Safety and Quality in Health Service Standards (NSQHS).

We have both the experience and expertise to provide you full support in your progress to HSS certification.  Your support team and assessors will ensure that your organisation gains maximum benefit from the assessment and that the process of becoming certified is as easy as it can be.

About Human Services Standards (HSS)

The HSS came about after community organisations identified the need to streamline and improve the Department’s previous approach to reporting.  The aim of the HSS was to reduce the regulatory burden faced by funded organisations by creating a set of standards for use across human services; thereby improving the efficiency of certification, monitoring and evaluation processes.

The HSS has been in effect since 1 July 2012.  If you provide child protection and family services, homelessness services or disability services, your organisation needs to:

  • Be accredited by a department-endorsed independent review body (such as HDAA) once every three years, regardless of the number of departmental programs the organisation is funded to provide.
  • Demonstrate compliance with the Department of Health and Human Services Standards and the governance and management standards of an approved independent review body such as HDAA.

The Human Services Standards seek to ensure that service providers and the services they deliver achieve consistently positive outcomes for service users and the Victorian community at large. 


Key principles associated with the HSS are:

  • Clients should be at the centre of service delivery with their rights promoted and upheld.
  • Your policies, processes and systems consider and uphold client rights and needs.
  • The assessment process should provide assurance to people accessing services and the community as to the quality of the services they will receive.
  • The service delivery process should be efficient, reduce duplication and provide greater flexibility for the community sector to meet quality assurance obligations.
  • The standards support continuous quality improvement and support the participation of people who access services in quality improvement processes.

HSS and Governance Standards

The HSS includes the following standards, each with supporting indicators that focus on:

  • Empowerment.
  • Access and engagement.
  • Wellbeing.
  • Participation.

In addition, HDAA can offer your organisation a choice of approved governance and management standards, being:

  • National Standards for Disability Service; or
  • ISO 9001; or
  • National Safety and Quality in Health Service Standards.

We can help you pick the right governance standards for your organisation.  This needs careful consideration as the choice can have a substantial on-going impact on how your service operates.

Please talk to us about your service’s assessment needs and current certifications to help us identify the best approach to meeting the HSS governance requirements.

Preparing for your HSS assessment

You can Contact Us by email or phone 1800 601 696 to discuss your service’s particular needs.  Together, we can choose a start date that gives you enough lead time to effectively plan for and work through your assessment.

To support your assessment planning, we will provide you with information and guidance in regard to the evidence requirements, clarification of the specific time frames to meet your assessment cycle needs and an easy to use, detailed self-assessment document and improvement action plan system.

Your Certification

An Assessment for Certification involves two key stages:

    • Stage 1 – a self-assessment and document review of your quality management system by a HDAA Assessor. A report of the findings of Stage 1 is provided to assist you prepare for Stage 2.
    • Stage 2 – a visit to your Head Office and to a sample of your sites/locations, meeting with people who use your services, volunteers, staff, management and Board.

    Assessment for Initial Certification

    The key features of your Assessment for Initial Certification are:

    • Pre-visit coordination.
    • Pre-review of documentation by Assessment Team – desktop.
    • On site visit by the Assessor(s).
    • Post-assessment report development.
    • Quality review of assessment reports by an independent Principal Assessor.
    • Draft assessment report then provided for your feedback.
    • Review of Report by certification panel and certification decision.
    • Final assessment report forwarded to you and the Department.

    Throughout the Assessment we work with you to provide:

    • Access to HDAA’s Program Support team to clarify the requirements of the standards and discuss the assessment or other relevant matters.
    • A fully participatory and inclusive approach by our Assessment Teams.
    • Experienced and skilled Assessors who have worked with these standards and other human services assessment programs.
    • Assessors with relevant disability and child safety services expertise.

    At conclusion of your assessment, your final Report is a blueprint for improvement and risk management.  Your Assessor is available to discuss your assessment and answer any questions you may have at each step in the process.

    Getting started: Your Self-Assessment

    You need to complete a self-assessment against the HSS. Your self-assessment is a key component in your Certification or Recertification assessment process.

    Our self-assessment tool is available to help you assess your organisation’s current performance against the HSS and we can combine this with the governance standard you have chosen – NSDS or ISO 9001 or NSQHS.  All you need to do is contact us and we’ll send you our self-assessment system that covers it all.

    The HDAA self-assessment can be used to:

    • Initiate discussions about quality assurance and continuous improvement.
    • Document evidence.
    • Identify areas where your quality and risk management systems need development.
    • Automatically generate an improvement action plan that can be used to track your progress.
    • Identify further action that your organisation may need to take to gather the necessary evidence.

    Your self-assessment report is an important baseline to identify what actions need to be taken, if any, and to inform what needs to be done to successfully complete your certification.  Your office support team are there to provide the support you may need and give guidance of next steps following on from the completion of your self-assessment report.

    Maintenance Review (Surveillance Assessment)

    After you’ve gained certification, a Maintenance Review is completed periodically to assess your ongoing implementation of the Standards and to measure progress with your improvement plan.

    The frequency of your Maintenance Assessment depends on the governance standard you choose.  ISO 9001 requires annual assessment and the NSDS require Maintenance Assessments at 18 months from your Certification or Recertification assessment.

    The Maintenance Assessment includes on-site visits and, at a minimum, ensures that:

    • Previously identified improvement actions are completed, as stated in the improvement plan.
    • Management review, monitoring and internal assessment processes are functioning effectively.
    • The quality management system is being implemented.
    • There is demonstrated commitment to maintaining the service delivery system.
    • There is involvement of clients.

    The steps involved in the Maintenance Assessment are usually:

    • Pre-visit coordination.
    • A review using a sample of standards.
    • Discussions with clients.
    • Discussions with staff.
    • Provision of a full Maintenance Assessment Report.

    Recertification Assessment

    Certification is made following the Assessment and is for a period of three years.

    The recertification process is an assessment to a selection of each of the Human Services Standards plus a part of your chosen Governance Standard.  The recertification assessment will be similar to Stage 2 of an assessment for certification.

    Recertification is required to maintain certification.

      We Can Help You With Your HSS Assessment

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      Victoria HSS Information and Resources

      For more information on the scheme requirements, please see:

      The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) provides on their website the necessary policy, procedures and forms for disability and community services providers who are registered or wish to become registered. These resources are regularly updated.

      Information for providers about HSS is on the DHHS website and can be accessed here. This includes:

      • Human Services Standards policy.
      • Human Services Standards evidence guide and resource tool.
      • Human Services Standards self-assessment tool.
      • Staff, volunteer, carer and client file audit tools.
      • Standards and Regulation Unit updates.
      • Registration requirements for community services.
      • Registration requirements for disability service providers.