Financial Counselling Program update 3 - June 2015

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This update provides guidance on how to allocate your service minutes against Financial Counselling Program (FCP) service types.

1.1 Information and referral only

The provision of ‘information’ occurs when a client receives general information, e.g. information from MoneyHelp or MoneySmart websites or agency fact sheets and ‘Referral’ is when a client is referred to a non-financial counselling agency.

The provision of information and referral to a non-financial counselling service will occur when:

  • the matter can be simply resolved
  • the matter is better dealt with by another service type
  • a client is ineligible for financial counselling casework because they do not meet financial disadvantage criteria.

This service is likely to occur when any of the following practice elements are occurring: Initial contact, Intake, Triage, and Assessment. For more information, view our Practice elements - Financial Counselling Program section.

It is recorded under the FCP data field ‘Service whole minutes - Info and Referral’ and should not exceed 60 minutes.

1.2 Information and referral plus casework

When ‘Information and referral’ service type is used to record the time taken for assessment/intake/triage including determining eligibility and the need for casework, the allocation should be limited to an average of 15 minutes. Further service minutes (even within the same session), should be allocated to casework service type.

1.3 Casework

  • Only a qualified financial counsellor can provide casework.
  • Casework is made up of a number of sessions.
  • The FCP defines an average session as approximately 60 minutes in length including the preparation and writing up of case notes.
  • A single client may have service minutes recorded in all three service types of information and referral, sessional casework and extended casework for a single case.

1.3.1 Sessional

Sessional casework is limited by eligibility and by the nature of the issue.

Sessional casework is appropriate for matters where:

  • there is a predictable process to be followed, or
  • resolution is likely within a limited number of sessions (approximately 5), or
  • the client is not eligible for extended casework (ie is financially disadvantaged but not vulnerable).

If a client is only eligible for sessional casework:

  • the level of service they will receive should be explained at the beginning of the session
  • FCP sessional casework data is recorded under the data field ‘Service whole minutes - Sessional Casework’ and should not exceed 300 minutes (ie average 5 x 1 hour sessions – this includes negotiation, preparation, client meetings and writing up of case notes)

At any point if a client receiving sessional casework requires ‘extended casework’ and they meet the vulnerable eligibility criteria, the service minutes should commence being recorded as ‘extended casework’.

1.3.2 Extended

Extended casework is limited to clients who have been assessed as financially disadvantaged and vulnerable, and who have complex issues and circumstances that are likely to require ongoing casework. Extended casework is recorded under the data field ‘Service whole minutes - Extended Casework’.

Extended casework may include the financial counsellor:

  • setting goals and/or to developing a case plan
  • assisting the client with specific tasks or undertaking tasks on behalf of the client
  • advocating on behalf of the client with third parties.

A client may move directly from intake to extended casework if they are both vulnerable and disadvantaged and the matter is complex and requires ongoing casework. In this instance a client may only have service minutes recorded against information and referral (for the intake) and extended casework.

1.4 Case closure

Financial counsellors are required to review their caseloads and close cases. In the Financial Counselling Program, cases are considered closed when:

Information and referral is provided and the:

  • matter is resolved, or
  • client is ineligible for further service, or
  • client is referred to another non-financial counselling organisation.

Sessional casework occurs and the:

  • matter is resolved in a limited number of sessions, or
  • client is ineligible for extended casework and has reached a maximum of 5 sessions (300 minutes)

Extended casework occurs and the case plan is completed and the matter is resolved or alleviated.

A case may also be closed if there has been no recent contact with a client.

For more detailed information on the Financial Counselling Service Delivery Model and online tool, view our Financial Counselling Program service delivery model induction tool section.

To access a copy of the Financial Counselling Program Client Data Template Reporting Guide, visit and log in to the Funded Services Data Reporting website.