At the conclusion of the conference, Commissioners may decide that no action is necessary, reprimand the client, encourage the client to enter into a Family Responsibilities Agreement (FRA), direct the client to relevant community support services or place the client on a Conditional Income Management (CIM) order.
During the conferencing process, Commissioners may decide to refer the client to support services such as:
At a conference, a decision may be made to issue a client with a CIM order. Due consideration is given first to the individual circumstances of the client and whether it may be more appropriate to take alternative action. Primarily CIM orders are issued to stabilise a client’s circumstances, particularly where children or other vulnerable people are concerned. CIM orders may also be made where a client fails to attend three scheduled conferences, is not complying with their agreement or order, or the Commission is continuing to receive additional notices in relation to their behaviour. CIM orders are issued for a defined period (normally 12 months) with the Commissioners determining whether 60, 75 or 90 percent of fortnightly welfare payments are managed. Commissioners may revoke a CIM order prior to the defined period should the client have demonstrated sufficient progress in addressing the issue/s which have brought them before the Commission. The client may then be encouraged to continue to attend service providers, or may elect to continue on an income management arrangement should they wish.
Notice of the CIM order is provided to Services Australia. Services Australia enacts the notice and meets with the client to discuss their priority needs and financial obligations such as rent and bills or utilities and allocates the remainder of funds to a Cashless Debit Card for the purchase of food and other consumables. The client receives the remaining funds (40, 25 or 10 percent) as cash into their bank account. Some clients request extensions of the CIM order or a decrease in the percentage managed to ensure the stability of their finances is maintained. Clients may also enter into a Voluntary Income Management (VIM) agreement to assist them to manage their budget and meet the costs of everyday essentials. Once a client comes off a CIM or VIM, they return to their prior arrangements with Services Australia in regard to their welfare payments.
For more information about income management visit the Department of Social Services website, Income Management.