Financial Counselling Program Update 5 - March 2016

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1.1 SPDP compliance moves to the calendar year

Consumer Affairs Victoria has moved its requirement for the completion of four Specified Professional Development Program (SPDP) sessions from financial year compliance to calendar year compliance to align with the Financial and Consumer Rights Council continuing professional development requirements.

From 1 January 2016, financial counsellors will be expected to have completed four SPDP sessions by 31 December 2016.

During the transitional period, we will also accept any SPDP sessions completed during July-December 2015 towards the 2016 calendar year.

Under this arrangement, we will next measure compliance with SPDP requirements in the narrative report due 30 January 2017.

If you have any queries regarding this change, please contact us at

1.2 Updated SPDP core topics

We have updated the SPDP core topics to reflect the agreed titles from the Professional Development Advisory Group. To help with your SPDP compliance reporting, these are the core topics:

Legal knowledge and skills

  • Australian Consumer Law
  • Consumer Credit Law
  • Debt collection and insolvency
  • Superannuation and insurance
  • New legislative developments (e.g. utility regulation)

System knowledge and skills

  • Ombudsman schemes
  • Infringements and penalties
  • Hardship systems
  • Social security laws
  • Housing systems
  • Family law
  • Injury compensation
  • Codes of Practice

Casework supervisors only

  • Advanced casework supervision

1.3 Updated FCP Operational Guidelines

We have updated the Financial Counselling Program (FCP) Program Guidelines to reflect practical aspects of service delivery, including the SPDP core topics table above and updated reporting templates.

The latest update, FCP Program Guidelines March 2016, along with report templates, will be available from mid-March and can be accessed under the Documents tab on the Funded Services Data Reporting website.

1.4 Recording family violence in the FCP dataset

Family violence is against the law and the Department of Justice and Community Safety is committed to addressing family violence in Victoria.

In the FCP dataset, financial counsellors have the option of selecting 'family violence' as a reason for a client’s vulnerability. To help track the impact of family violence on Victorians, we would encourage you to select the ‘family violence’ category under ‘vulnerability’ where this issue affects your clients. You should also retrospectively update the ‘vulnerability’ field, if the issue of family violence is revealed after casework has commenced.