Evaluation of SSI's Humanitarian Settlement Service service delivery model

Evaluation of SSI’s Humanitarian Settlement Service and service delivery model

Settlement Services International
Duration: July 2015 – December 2018

Summary of results

Download a summary of the evaluation results


Settlement Services International (SSI) is one of the providers of the Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) program on behalf of the Department of Social Services. These services are typically provided to refugees and other humanitarian entrants in the first 6-12 months of settlement after arrival in Australia. SSI currently provides services to about 6,000 refugees and other humanitarian entrants annually in a decentralised model, with SSI’s HSS staff co-located in Migrant Resource Centres at nine locations across the Sydney metropolitan area. SSI wanted to know whether its decentralised service delivery model was more effective than other models in helping its clients achieve integration outcomes. 

What we did


To compare the outcomes of SSI’s clients with other HSS providers’ clients, we surveyed a sample of SSI’s clients using questions selected from a broader national survey of humanitarian entrants, the Building a New Life in Australia survey. We also included questions from the Personal Well Being Index to make comparisons with the broader Australian community and questions about the experience of being a SSI client. We interviewed a number of key stakeholders from within SSI and from other humanitarian entrant service organisations to obtain their perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses of SSI’s service delivery model. We also conducted focus groups with a number of former clients. 

As English literacy of clients was likely to be low, we used bilingual workers to contact SSI’s former clients. 401 clients were contacted. 210 telephone interviews were conducted (almost two thirds were conducted in languages other than English) and 26 paper surveys (22 in Arabic) were received. This provided a high response rate of 59%.

Overall, former HSS clients reported successful settlement, particularly where SSI had the most opportunity to influence outcomes, such as finding (and having high levels of satisfaction with) housing, getting children into school and child care, and knowing how to access essential services like the police. Compared with the Building a New Life in Australia comparison group, former HSS clients of SSI were more confident in essential tasks of daily life.

Work is continuing on preparing two papers about this project. One compares the SSI decentralised model of service delivery. The other examines the settlement factors associated with subjective well-being among refugees in Australia.


Project team: Peter Samsa, Kate Williams, Megan Blanchard and Dave Fildes

Last reviewed: 3 August, 2018

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