Sector Bulletin: Transition Planning for the Specialist Homelessness Sector

Council to Homeless Persons sector bulletin header

Sector Bulletin

9 November 2017

Government Reform

Commonwealth and Victorian governments are undertaking significant reforms across the community services sectors, including the disability, mental health, family violence, child and family, and housing and homelessness sectors. Recent examples include the transition of some clients with disability to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Victoria’s implementation of the recommendations of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence, and development of the Victorian Housing Register.
The Victorian Government has announced a range of reforms related specifically to the housing and homelessness sectors. These reforms focus improving consumer service access and choice, developing more integrated and person centred service models, a greater focus on outcomes and evidence, and ensuring SHS organisations and workforces have the resources and skills they need for the future.
Some specific examples of early reforms include:

  • The three Launch sites that bring together specialist homelessness services, community housing and the DHHS Regional Housing offices to offer more accessible and integrated services
  • The Family Violence Housing Blitz which is focused on delivering housing and support to those affected by family violence
  • The Victorian Housing Register to improve access to social housing for vulnerable populations, and ensuring people only need to apply once for social housing.

Community Services Industry Planning

In Victoria, the Human Services and Health Partnership Implementation Committee (HSHPIC), co- chaired by the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), is developing a 10-year Community Services Industry Plan (CSIP) to respond to the challenges arising from these reforms.

Through broad community service consultations early in 2017 VCOSS and DHHS identified 10 priorities for change.
These are:

  • Emphasising person-centred services
  • Emphasising place-based systems and services
  • A focus on strengthening outcomes
  • A focus on embedding evidence-based approaches
  • Funding to support flexible, person-centred service delivery
  • Ensuring we have the workforce of the future
  • New information-sharing provisions and digital technologies
  • A focus on best practice regulatory frameworks
  • Good governance and leadership
  • Supporting organisational and industry readiness.

These 10 priorities will also form the basis of the structure of our SHS Transition Plan and subsequent actions to be taken over the next four years. This will position SHS services, and the sector more broadly, to both capitalise on the reforms and to meet the challenges they will present.

SHS Transition Plan Development

The Council to Homeless Persons (CHP), the peak body for homelessness in Victoria has been funded to work in partnership with the SHS and DHHS to develop an industry transition plan. The plan will be designed to identify the impact of government reforms, and create strategies to meet the future needs identified. The work will be undertaken over the next five months, and SHS Transition Plan must be delivered to DHHS in March 2018.
An advisory framework has been created to support the transition plan. This includes an Executive Advisory Group (EAG), and two working groups: one focused on ‘Organisational Readiness’ and the other on ‘Workforce Capacity’. These three groups will provide expert advice during plan development and oversee actions that arise from the plan over the next four years.

Consultation Process

SHS transition planning consultations will occur between November 2017 and February 2018. All SHS services will be invited to participate.
CHP will work hard to make sure that all SHS service types, organisational sizes and geographical service settings have input into the development of the plan. Opportunities will also be provided for services and individuals sitting outside the SHS to contribute to consultations.
A two stage consultation process is being used. Initially broad feedback will be gathered from stakeholders across the 10 priority areas set out by VCOSS (see above), allowing us to create a set of key industry themes. Subsequently, follow up consultations will test these themes, and provide opportunities to refine and better specify key plan elements. A draft plan will be circulated for comment in late February 2018 prior to final submission.
Multiple consultation methods are being used to gather data. These include:

  • Consumer consultations
  • Metropolitan and regional forums
  • Meetings with existing SHS networks
  • Focus groups with specific SHS cohorts
  • An online survey
  • Interviews with key informants
  • Organisational submissions responding to the SHS Transition Plan Discussion Paper.

Two Industry Transition Planning Forum dates have been set:
Friday 8th December in Ballarat (10:00am – 1:00pm)
Wednesday 13th December in Melbourne CBD (9:30am – 12:30pm)
Further information, including the venues for these forums will be shared shortly. Lunch will be provided at the conclusion of each forum to allow for networking opportunities.

A register of interested participants will be maintained to ensure all contributors have an opportunity to review and provide feedback on the draft plan.
As a first step we encourage interested participants to register their interest here.
More information about the transitional planning process will be available on the CHP website shortly or you are welcome to contact Nich Rogers ( / 0404 808 452).