A profile of the social service sector in Queensland

The Queensland Government spends more than $30 billion each year on social and human services – including $5.6 billion for mainly non-government organisations – to improve the wellbeing of all Queenslanders.

Hand holding peopleThe social services sector is considered the largest employer in Queensland, with nearly 300,000 people estimated to be employed in the various service streams, and this figure is projected to continue growing due in part of the major reforms such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

These services, according to the government’s definition, include “social or community services that support our most vulnerable groups, such as child protection, domestic violence prevention, and disability and youth services; human services, such as support for education and training, employment, sport and recreation, culture and the arts.”

The delivery of these services is designed to promote physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing of individuals and families throughout the state, with particular interest in supporting groups that are marginalised or disadvantaged such as people with disability, culturally and linguistically diverse people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples.

With a strong emphasis on prevention and early intervention, social services aim to support individuals and families to thrive, assist them in times of need and provide interventions when necessary.

QCOSS’ Wellbeing Report 2016 is designed to show how the concept of ‘wellbeing’ must be viewed in the broader context of social, political, economic and environmental circumstances to understand the complex and often interrelated nature of disadvantage.

The success of services to deliver on their missions and intended outcomes will depend on several factors, including collaboration, setting the right frameworks and policies, maximising productivity, using robust and sound evidence base research and data, and having a strong focus on outcomes measurement.

The sector is undergoing significant change with numerous reforms underway, which are already reshaping the way services respond to the needs of clients. Coupled with changes in Queensland’s social, cultural and demographic environment, the social service sector will need to be resilient and proactive in meeting these challenges head on.

Additional resources

The Australian Community Sector Survey, compiled by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), gives an overview of the perspectives of staff working in the community sector. The most recent survey was in 2014.

In 2016, the Queensland Family & Child Commission partnered with the Health and Community Services Workforce Council (now closed) to develop a baseline workforce profile, Your Workforce, Your Future, to obtain more insights into the child protection and family support sector workforce. You can view an infographic of the key findings.