Department of Social Services (DSS)

DSS brings together 18 programs from five former departments into seven streamlined programs to align social policy functions that span people’s entire lives.

Department of Social Services (DSS)


The Department of Social Services (DSS) new grant arrangements bring together 18 programmes from five former departments into seven streamlined programmes to align social policy functions that span people’s entire lives.


New Programs

The new programs have been designed to streamline existing services to capitalise on common client needs, reduce duplication and ensure the most effective and efficient approaches are used to address community needs in line with Government priorities.  Key to the new arrangements is a meaningful reduction in red tape, streamlined performance reporting and a greater opportunity for innovation and collaboration in the delivery of services.

The programs are:

  • Families and Communities Programme
  • Housing and Homelessness Programme
  • Disability, Mental Health and Carers Programme
  • Home Support Programme
  • Residential and Flexible Care Programme
  • Workforce and Quality Programme
  • Ageing and Service Improvement Programme

The new programs bring together similar services, and introduce administrative changes that reduce red tape and enable enhanced service provision on the ground to improve outcomes across the Australian community.

More info.


Families and Communities

The Families and Communities Programme (FCP) incorporates a large portion of DSS grants to bring together early intervention and prevention services across communities.

Existing programmes have been streamlined into the new FCP to provide early intervention and prevention support to families, children, young people, volunteers, refugees, migrants and other individuals with special circumstances.  Priorities include activities to improve financial wellbeing and capability, strengthen communities, support migrants transition to life in Australia, and ensure the lifetime wellbeing of families and children.


Housing and Homelessness

The Housing and Homelessness Programme will provide support for housing and homelessness research, peak bodies, innovative projects, and emerging Government priorities.

The programme will build the research evidence base to address homelessness and housing affordability over the long term and identify best practice models to enhance existing housing and homelessness policies and programmes.

It will focus on building the capacity of the community sector to improve linkages and networks, while also raising awareness of housing and homelessness issues at all levels of government and across the community.


Disability, Mental Health and Carers

The Disability, Mental Health and Carers Programme will provide support for people with disability and mental health issues, and their carers.

The programme has a focus on early intervention and other support through community based initiatives. The Programme actively seeks to help individuals with disability to find a suitable position in the workplace.

The programme encompasses grants that promote an understanding of people with disability and carers, to encourage support for their dignity, rights and wellbeing and to maximise their potential to participate as equal citizens in society.  Service models designed in consultation with the mental health sector will better meet the needs of clients, communities and service providers.


Ageing and Aged Care

There is no major change to the existing Ageing and Aged Care Programmes, with the exception of minor refinements to the activities within the Ageing and Service Improvement Programme.

The Ageing and Aged Care programmes were previously streamlined by the former Department of Health and Ageing in 2011. As a result, they already offer an effective approach to service delivery with a focus on service improvement through flexible funds.


Expert Assistance

Writing a good quality grant application is a critical element in the application process. An application needs to be well thought through, written concisely, have clear objectives and purpose, and show clear links to the objectives of the grant guidelines.

The grant application must answer all questions, provide all required information and respond to the merit criteria. It should also reflect your organisation’s business strategy.

Writing a good application takes time and effort, and requires particular writing skills.

Bulletpoint are expert grant consultants and can assist with all aspects of grant preparation. We are an independent grants consultancy and not affiliated, associated nor endorsed by any government agency.

We know what it takes to secure this grant.

Contact us to see how we can assist you.



Applications for grant funding under the new arrangements closed on 23 July 2014.

Announcement – 12 June 2015

Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison today announced the Abbott Government will invest an extra $40 million into more than 100 frontline community services across Australia following a comprehensive gap analysis of the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) grants scheme.

“On becoming Minister I announced that existing frontline community services which were unsuccessful as a result of a comprehensive tender process under the DSSNew Way of Working for Grants scheme would receive bridging funding to ensure continuity of services. This funding, through to 30 June, also enabled the government to identify and address critical frontline service gaps that emerged as a result of the grants process which concluded last December,” Minister Morrison said.

“Organisations identified and selected as part of this process will be offered contracts and funding for two additional years, from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017. This gives certainty to the Australians who rely on these services and to the volunteers, staff, and management who provide them.

“Ninety four organisations have been identified and will now be offered contracts and extended funding to provide ongoing services in these areas see list on [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Department of Social Services website]. My Department is engaging with these organisations to work through the contractual arrangements.  An additional 17 service providers in the area of mental health are also now being sourced to deliver services in other gap areas. This process will be finalised and outcomes advised in the near future.

“In total more than 100 organisations will receive ongoing funding in excess of $40 million, in funding secured in the 2014/15 Budget, to deliver important frontline community services in areas, after having been unsuccessful in the social services grants round that was finalised last December.

“The organisations receiving these funds play important roles in our local communities – from providing rehabilitation services to those affected by drugs and alcohol, playgroups for children with special needs, to providing support to adult survivors of child sexual abuse.

“I thank my Parliamentary colleagues for bringing these service gaps to my attention. Their representations have been a critical part of this process to ensure that services will continue to be there for those who need them.

“The Abbott Government is investing in some 700 organisations across Australia delivering important services and activities to support their community as part of the DSS New Way of Working for Grants scheme.”

Services and activities now available to the community through a range of different grants programmes include:

  • Children and Parenting Services to boost prevention and early intervention services, provide resources that are aimed at improving children’s development and wellbeing, and support the capacity of those in a parenting role
  • Settlement Services, shared by 90 organisations across Australia which help newly arrived migrants and refugees to become active and fully participating members of the community
  • Community Mental Health to assist organisations across more than 50 locations deliver early intervention support for children and young people up to 18 years of age to reduce risk factors for poor mental health and improve mental health outcomes enabling them to reach their full potential
  • Financial Counselling, Capability and Resilience programmes to support Australians experiencing personal and financial hardship, to address their financial difficulties, and build long-term capability critical to improving or rebuilding their lives
  • Find and Connect services and representative organisations which provide specialist support for people adversely affected by past institutional, child welfare and child migration practices and policies
  • Building community capacity, assisting community organisations to respond to local needs, support vulnerable individuals and families, facilitate partnerships that will result in better services and service integration, and increase participation of people in community life
  • Volunteer Support Services and one-off Volunteer Innovation and Collaboration projects through helping community organisations build better volunteering practices and on-the-ground support and information for volunteers
  • Diversity and Social Cohesion funding to deliver activities and events that empower and connect local communities and their leaders, including the national Harmony Day celebrations.

“These grants not only meet the Abbott Government’s commitment to a host of community groups across Australia, they also provide greater certainty for social service providers to improve service delivery for the community,” Minister Morrison said.

To assist people locate services of interest to them, the DSS Grant Service Directory will be launched on the Department’s website – DSS Grants Service Directory this week. The directory is an easy to use online tool that allows services funded through this process to be searched by type or location.


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