New Social Services Regulator

Vulnerable Victorians, including those in Melton and Moorabool, will be better protected with the new Social Services Regulator commencing February 5.

The regulator is set to streamline and simplify regulation of social services and reduce red tape.

Children and Disability Minister Lizzie Blandthorn made the announcement on February 1, that Jonathan Kaplan will serve as the new independent regulator tasked with protecting people from harm.

“We are strengthening safeguards in our social services sector, ensuring Victorians can be confident they will be protected,” Ms Blandthorn said.

“Mr Kaplan’s track record demonstrates he has the experience and credentials to be the new regulator.”

Mr Kaplan was previously the chief executive of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, which regulates education and training in schools, vocational education and training providers to enforce child safe standards.

He said he is delighted to be taking up this vital role.

“[It] will serve to strengthen oversight of the social services system, protecting the rights of those Victorians who need these services the most,” he said.

From July 1, the new system will establish a single set of social service standards and a single registration process for hundreds of community organisations.

Services covered will include family violence, sexual assault, homelessness, supported residential services, and disability services not within the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

It will also oversee government-funded children, youth and family services.

The new regulator replaces the human services regulator and provides decision making separation between the responsibilities of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and decisions made by the regulator.

The regulator can identify shortcomings in service delivery and work with providers to improve standards, issue fines to providers and initiate criminal proceedings for aggravated breaches of the standards where there has been wilful and serious non-compliance.

To improve regulatory oversight and make the system easier to navigate for people with disability, legislative amendments will consolidate Victoria’s social services safeguarding entities.

The disability services commissioner will merge with the new social services regulator this year, with similar reforms planned for the Victorian disability worker commissioner and disability worker registration board of Victoria within the next two years.

A complaints division will be established to cover all regulated social services, once further legislative amendments have been made, informed through key stakeholder consultation.