Complex needs services

Support for clients with complex needs

The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing leads several programs that seek to support the efforts of local areas to establish innovative, localised and timely responses for individuals with complex support and coordination needs.

Complex needs service responses include the Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative (MACNI), Support for High Risk Tenancies (SfHRT) program and broader complex needs responses. 

Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative

The Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative (MACNI) is a time-limited specialist service for people 16 years and older, who have been identified as having multiple and complex needs. This includes people with combinations of:

  • Mental illness
  • Substance abuse issues
  • Intellectual impairment
  • Acquired brain injury 
  • Forensic issues.

Often these individuals pose a risk to themselves and to the community.

The MACNI's primary purpose is to facilitate better coordination of supports and services to people with complex needs, deliver holistic care and prevent further escalation of need. Participation in MACNI is voluntary.

The MACNI is underpinned by the Human Services (Complex Needs) Act 2009. It's a shared service across the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing in partnership with the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

For more information, see Getting it together – A guide for individuals, carers and services on accessing the Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative (MACNI) (word).

Support for High Risk Tenancies

The Support for High Risk Tenancies (SfHRT) program strengthens the service system response to public housing tenants with complex needs through the integration and coordination of services to sustain tenancies that are at risk.

SfHRT is a local area-based program providing a point for coordination, advocacy, brokerage and consultation to public housing teams and/or referrers.

SfHRT aims to: 

  • stabilise housing, health, social connection and safety issues
  • provide a platform for long-term engagement in the service system
  • develop a greater understanding of the needs of high-risk tenants and service response options to promote learnings and develop good practice
  • identify gaps and service development opportunities and develop a strategic approach to address these gaps to improve service responses to tenant need.

Complex Needs Coordinators and the central team

Complex Needs Coordinators have operational responsibility at the area level for coordinating service responses for people with complex support and service coordination needs. Services are delivered through the collaboration of government, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and community service organisations.

Complex Needs Coordinators are supported by the Complex Needs CSOD team in central office who are focused on strengthening the overall service response by providing oversight, policy direction and practice guidance.

Complex Needs service responses are not

  • a direct client contact service
  • an emergency or crisis service 
  • a housing service 
  • the Office of Housing
  • a case management service
  • able to pay client debts
  • designed to replace existing supports.

Service provision framework: Complex needs

The Service Provision Framework: Complex needs – October 2021 – available on the departments website, provides practice guidance to ensure the consistent and high quality delivery of Complex Needs services across Victoria, including MACNI and SfHRT.

The framework is effective from October 2020 and will be reviewed annually to reflect continuous improvement developments in complex needs service responses.

A suite of forms and templates that support the framework's implementation can be provided by your local Complex Needs Coordinator (see Contacts).

Care plan coordination: A guide for service providers on the Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative

Care plan coordination is a critical component of Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative.

The appointment of a care plan coordinator aims to address existing concerns that service responses to people with multiple and complex needs are often crisis-driven, unplanned and uncoordinated. The specific focus of the coordination role is on improving cross-sector coordination, planning and collaboration for the multiple and complex needs target group.

For more information, see the Care plan coordination: A guide for service providers on the Multiple and Complex Needs Initiative (word).

Contact us

Email Complex Needs CSOD: ComplexNeeds.CSOD@dffh.vic.gov.au