Information Publication Scheme

DSS's agency plan

The Department of Social Services (DSS) is an agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and is required to comply with the Information Publication Scheme (IPS) requirements. This agency plan describes how DSS proposes to do this, as required by s 8(1) of the FOI Act.

Full details: DSS's agency plan

Who we are

Details of appointments of officers of the agency that are made under Acts

The DSS portfolio includes a number of statutory and non-statutory portfolio bodies and statutory office holders.

Portfolio Bodies

The Department provides advice to the Minister on strategic governance issues associated with portfolio bodies including Ministerial appointments, performance outcomes and their contribution to the Government’s broader policy agenda.

Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (Quality Agency)

  • High-quality care for persons receiving Australian Government subsidised residential aged care and aged care in the community through the accreditation of residential aged care services, the quality review of aged care services including services provided in the community, and the provision of information, education and training to the aged care sector.
  • The Agency was created under the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Act 2013.
  • The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Advisory Council is also created under the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Act 2013.

Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS)

  • Established in 1980 as an independent, statutory authority, the role of the Australian Institute of Family Studies is to conduct research and communicate findings that affect family wellbeing to policy makers, service providers and the broader community.

National Disability Insurance Agency

  • The National Disability Insurance Agency operates the national disability insurance scheme. It provides individualised support for eligible people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers, encourages greater inclusion and access to mainstream services, community activities and other government initiatives.

Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT)

  • The SSAT is the first level of external merits review of decisions made by Centrelink about social security, family assistance, education or training and parental leave payments. The SSAT is also the only level of external merits review of most decisions made by the Child Support Agency. Its statutory objective is to provide a mechanism of review that is 'fair, just, economical, informal and quick'.
  • Members of the SSAT are appointed under the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999.

Statutory Office Holders

A statutory office holder is a person who holds a position to which duties and functions are specifically assigned in legislation (as opposed to people who carry out the duties and functions assigned to a body established in legislation).
Two statutory office holders in the DSS portfolio exercise independent statutory functions with administrative support from the Department:

Aged Care Commissioner

  • To provide an independent review mechanism for the decisions and processes of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme and the processes of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency in accrediting residential aged care facilities.
  • The Aged Care Commissioner is appointed by the Assistant Minister for Social Services and is appointed under section 95A-1 of the Aged Care Act 1997.

Aged Care Pricing Commissioner

  • To increase the level of transparency in the pricing of residential aged care services and ensure aged-care recipients are charged appropriately for accommodation and other services through approval of certain prices.

For more information please visit: Portfolio Bodies and Statutory Office Holders

What we do

  • Functions, areas of responsibility and decision making powers of DSS

    The broad functions of the Department are described below.

    The Department of Social Services (DSS) aspires to be Australia’s pre-eminent social policy agency. Our mission is to improve the lifetime wellbeing of people and families in Australia.

    DSS has five core outcomes:
    1. Ageing and Aged Care
    2. Disability and Carers
    3. Families and Communities
    4. Housing
    5. Social Security

    A summary of the functions of the Department's business groups can be found in DSS's Annual Report or by visiting the ‘our responsibilities’ page.

    Portfolio legislation is listed in the Administrative Arrangements Order (AAOs) and are set out in Appendix I to the Annual Report.  The AAOs can also be found on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) website. More information about DSS legislation can be found on the DSS legislation page.
  • Annual reports

    The Annual Report provides strategic information about the department

Routinely Requested Information


  • DSS submissions - There are no consultations currently being undertaken by DSS.

Contact us


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