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SCoA Policy Focus #WithRefugees




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Table of Contents


Purpose of NSSOS

How NSSOS stands #WithRefugees


Case Studies

List of Case Studies based on the nine NSSOS standards


The Settlement Council of Australia, together with its 90+ members across the country, embodies the theme of this year’s Refugee Week: #WithRefugees. Settlement Service Providers support recently arrived migrants, including those from a refugee background through the crucial stages of their initial settlement in Australia.  Our members work directly with a wide range of new arrivals from diverse backgrounds, as well as the mainstream Australian community and various stakeholders.

Since 1945, more than 800 thousand people have migrated to Australia through our humanitarian program, and have made great contributions towards the country across all areas, including economic, social and cultural.

SCoA believes that Australia should be proud of its multicultural community and the significant contributions that refugees make once they are supported to settle in Australia. Our members witness firsthand the true value of the contribution made to multicultural Australia by those it welcomes, as well as the challenges those people face when attempting to settle in their new communities.

SCoA and its members are committed to ensuring the best possible settlement outcomes, and to standing with refugees to support them in achieving independence and acceptance in the Australian community.

Purpose of NSSOS

A key objective of SCoA in recent years has been to develop a set of national standards for the delivery of settlement services which identify target outcomes across 9 key areas of settlement service delivery.

SCOA launched the National Settlement Services Outcomes Standards (NSSOS) at its International Conference, Settlement and Citizenship in Civil Society, in May 2016.

The NSSOS are a set of best practice benchmark standards for service providers working to successfully settle people of refugee backgrounds in Australia.  They were developed in partnership with the settlement sector and the Australian Government Department of Social Services and are informed by a significant consultation and research process undertaken over a number of years.  They aim to ensure provision of consistent, best practice, people-centred and outcomes focused settlement services across the country.  They are not static and utilise a continuous improvement model.

The NSSOS cover nine priority areas in settlement practice with indicators to measure progress over time. The nine priority areas mirror the accepted foundations of settlement as identified in the National Settlement Framework.

They are:

  • Education and Training
  • Employment
  • Health and Well-being
  • Housing
  • Language Services
  • Transport
  • Civic Participation
  • Family and Social Support
  • Justice

In order to introduce the NSSOS, NSSOS training sessions were delivered across Australia to the settlement sector workers and volunteers, as well as to stakeholders and other interested parties.

The overall aim of the NSSOS Training was to provide settlement sector workers and volunteers with a starting point for thinking about NSSOS and what it means for them and their organisations. It also provided opportunities to explore different ways organisations can consider and incorporate the standards in their work. Participants were provided with self-reflection tools that assist in cataloguing settlement services and identifying areas for enhancement.

The two key deliverables of the project included:

  1. Engaging with SCOA members nationally to increase familiarisation with the NSSOS and increase the use of the NSSOS among member organisations as a means of measuring practice and performance.
  2. Engaging with SCOA members to build sector capability and innovation with regard to agreed priority areas in the NSSOS. This included specific forums on the NSSOS priority area of employment.

How NSSOS stands #WithRefugees

Good settlement is a crucial element for refugees building their lives in Australia. It is the element that shapes how refugees live and thrive in the future, in their new home. Overtime, the nine NSSOS priority areas have been crucial to the settlement sector to measure progress of refugees settling into Australia. SCoA firmly believes by achieving outcomes across the nine NSSOS priority areas, refugees and migrants are well on the way to having a successful settlement journey in Australia.

The settlement sector in Australia uses the nine NSSOS priority areas to measure how refugees can be further assisted and identify gaps in service delivery, for example, the need for housing or having access to family and social support.

The fact that there is a nationally consistent set of standards to inform planning and practice represents positive progress for the settlement of refugees into Australia. Many settlement sector workers identify that the work they are undertaking in settlement is reflected in the NSSOS standards and having clear indicators of success in those areas supports targeted activities and the measurement of service impacts.

Many settlement sector workers are using the NSSOS to inform their organisational strategic planning, team work plans, program evaluation and reporting.  Many also use the NSSOS as a useful tool in refining work roles, agency activities and processes.


In our June 2018 newsletter, SCoA is proud to share a selection of case studies from our members which display the nine priority areas in practice and identify the successful stories of refugees who have settled in Australia and the projects that support them. These are just a selection of case studies and a more comprehensive collection is constantly being updated in SCoA’s Innovation Centre on our website (

Education and Training

Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) and others

UCAN2 promotes economic inclusion through fostering cooperation between providers of education, social support, training and employment services.

Click here to read more.


Multicultural Development Association Ltd (MDA)

Work & Welcome offers new Australians short-term work at a school or business, providing valuable work experience in a supportive Australian workplace.

Click here to read more.

Health and Wellbeing

Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre

Spectrum aims to  improve mental health and wellbeing outcomes for vulnerable older people (50+) from Myanmar.

Click here to read more.


CatholicCare and St Vincent’s Health Australia

Housing for New Arrivals in Eltham assists and supports vulnerable refugees’ settlement through medium-term rental accommodation.

Click here to read more.

Language Services

Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania

Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania promotes digital literacy skills by providing trainings for those who wish to apply for TIS Interpreting.

Click here to read more.


Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services (MARSS)

Learning to drive, and understanding Australia’s road rules, is crucial to developing independence and maintaining sustainable employment.

Click here to read more.

Civic Participation

Fremantle Multicultural Centre Western Australia (FMCWA)

Stepping out of the shadows program, promotes reducing stigma in Multicultural Communities and enhances the participation of new arrivals in society.

Click here to read more.

Family and Social Support

ACCESS Community Services LTD

Health Family Relationships Program (HFRP) promotes a collaborative interagency early intervention program that works with families early in their arrival to support and provide advice to the family.

Click here to read more.


Humanitarian Group

The Humanitarian Group and Red Cross collaborate together to provide holistic support services.

Click here to read more.

The case studies all indicate the unique and dynamic settlement services available to refugees nationwide. The case studies are great examples of how each standard is crucial for a holistic positive settlement journey for a refugee.


As they have evolved throughout the consultation and training process, SCoA is confident that the standards have become a consistent indicator for settlement workers. Initial feedback demonstrates the utility of the NSSOS:

 “The specificity of the indicators are very helpful when thinking about roles and processes.”

“It’s great to have a framework to hang operations on.  We can match our local programs to the standards and have guidance that we are working in the right direction.”

“We will use NSSOS to set goals for various programs and projects and identify priorities.”

The Settlement Sector in Australia is an important ally to consider when standing with refugees. The nine NSSOS standards provide a benchmark for settlement workers to measure the areas in which refugees will need assistance and a tool by which Australia can ensure that settlement service deliver remains consistent with the holistic needs of refugees. A balance of all the nine standards no doubt will result in refugees experiencing a successful settlement journey in Australia.