On 1 January 2015 the Department of Health III (DOH) (VA 4921) was renamed the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (VA 5037) by Order of the Governor-in-Council under section 10 of the Public Administration Act 2004 (Victorian Government Gazette, S 432, 4 Dec 2014). The name change was part of machinery-of-government changes made by the incoming Labor Government under the leadership of Premier the Hon Daniel Andrews MP, which reduced the number of existing State departments from nine to seven.
The new department brought together the former Department of Health, Department of Human Services and Sport and Recreation Victoria to align and integrate policymaking, programs and service delivery to improve the wellbeing of all Victorians.
With the abolition of the Department of Human Services (DHS) (VA 3970), all functions were transferred to DHHS, with the following exceptions: Responsibility for the administration of the Queen Victoria Women's Centre Act 1994 and the Young Women's Christian Association of Australia Incorporation Act 1962 passed from DHS to the Department of Premier and Cabinet DPC (VA 1039) and the Minister for Women. The Queen Victoria Women's Centre was managed by the Queen Victoria Women's Centre Trust whose chairperson was appointed by the Minister and whose members were appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister. The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) advocated for affordable and appropriate housing for women, sexual and reproductive health rights and ending violence against women. It also ran a large network of rooming houses and women's shelters in partnership with the Victorian Government.
Responsibility for the Abortion Reform Act 2008 passed from the former DHS to DPC and the Act became jointly and severally administered by the Minister for Health and the Minister for Women (see General Order signed by the Premier on 4 Dec 2014).
From the former Department of State Development, Business and Administration, DHHS assumed responsibility for administration of the Howard Florey Institute of Experimental Physiology and Medicine (Repeal) Act 2007 and the Medical Research Institutes Repeal Act 2008. These Acts relate to a number of medical research institutes originally established under Victorian Government legislation which by repeal were enabled to amalgamate with other research bodies. The research institutes included the Howard Florey Institute, Prince Henry's Institute and Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. These institutes continued to receive substantial financial support from the Victorian Government (and other sources), however with the change of government following the 2014 election, government interest in these bodies was transferred from the Minister for Technology to the Minister for Health.
The portfolio of Sport (as Sport and Recreation Victoria) was transferred to DHHS from the abolished Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (VA 5003), except for major sporting events, which became part of the Tourism and Major Events portfolio supported by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (VA 5034).
As at February 2014, DHHS supported the following portfolios:
- Ambulance Services
- Families and Children
- Housing, Disability and Ageing
- Mental Health
- Sport (except for major sporting events)
- Youth Affairs
Major administrative groups and divisions at the time of transition to DHHS were,
- Commission for Hospital Improvement
- Corporate Services
- Health Service Performance and Programs
- Health Strategy, Productivity and Analytics
- Mental Health, Wellbeing and Ageing
- Office of Chief Advisors
- Regulation Health Protection and Regions
and from Human Services:
- Community and Executive Services Group
- Financial and Corporate Services
- Policy and Strategy Group
- Service Design and Implementation Group
- Social Housing and National Disability Insurance Scheme Reform
- East, West, North and South Divisions
- Melbourne Metropolitan Offices (19)
Also associated with the department were various portfolio agencies and also charities and non-government bodies receiving financial support from the Victorian government.
On 1 March 2016, DHHS acquired responsibility of the following Act, as per the Victorian Government Gazette, No. S 44, 8 March 2016:
- Housing Act 1983 - Division 6 of Part VIII (responsibility was transferred from Department of Treasury and Finance (VA 3745)).