Service Agreement

1.Nature of Our Service
Our service is a financial counselling service. It is free and confidential, and assists people to deal with their finances in an effective way. We proceed by helping you to assess your financial situation realistically, to identify the options open to deal with your situation, and to weigh the advantages and disadvantages. We do not provide legal or accounting assistance and do not lend money. We aim to help you to manage your financial affairs effectively, and to work towards suitable outcomes.

2.Your Responsibilities
>Be candid and comprehensive in the things you tell us about your financial situation. You must give us all relevant and up to date information so that we can help you in an efficient way.
>Reply promptly when we contact you, and keep us informed of any change in your address or contact details, and of any major change in your financial situation.
>Be courteous and respectful towards our staff and other clients. If you attend under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or your behaviour is intimidating or aggressive, you may be refused further assistance from our service.

3.Our Responsibilities
>Provide you with relevant information and options within the capacity of our service, and tell you when you need assistance from another service, or professional person;
>Treat you in a courteous, respectful and non-discriminatory manner;
>We will keep you informed of any significant developments in your matter.

4.Confidentiality
We maintain confidentiality of our clients and files, but will disclose information if compelled by law to do so. Examples of this include a subpoena issued by a court, or if a notice is received from Centrelink, Australian Taxation Office or the Child Support Agency. The laws which govern these departments give them the power to require the provision of information by persons or organisations that hold information relevant to their work. We are also required by our management and funding bodies to collect statistics, and report to funding bodies.

5.Realistic Goals
We are happy to work with you towards outcomes you wish to achieve, but we cannot guarantee specific outcomes. We work towards realistic and achievable goals in the light of the options open to you.  We request that you respond within a reasonable time to our letters or telephone calls. If we write to you, and do not hear from you within a month we will assume you no longer wish our service to act for you and we will close your file.

6.Disposal of Files
We will make available for collection by you documents that you have handed to us for the purpose of dealing with your matter. We shall retain copies of letters and documents we have prepared for you, and our diary and file notes. We retain files for a period of seven years after the file is closed. After this time, the file is destroyed in such a way that the privacy of the material is ensured.

7.Cancellation Policy
Office Appointment
If you need to cancel or postpone the appointment, you must provide one day’s notice.  If you do not attend your appointment without reason or notice, you will need to re-book another appointment and a waiting period will apply. If you are more than 15 minutes late to an appointment, you will be required to rebook another appointment. 

8.Privacy
We comply with the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 to the degree that it is binding on us.
It may be necessary for us to collect personal information from you and pass it to third parties. We may collect sensitive information concerning health or other factors which affect your ability to meet financial commitments. By signing this agreement you agree to our collecting, using and disclosing your personal information including sensitive information when required.
Our agency has a privacy policy. If you wish to see it please ask your financial counsellor.

The client management system we use includes an IT system called Community Data Solutions as well as internal databases based on excel.  Some of your personal information that is stored may be provided to our funding body, the Department of Social Services (DSS).  Before we send any information to DSS, that information is de-identified automatically by our IT system, nor can this information be used to re-identify you, in any way.  DSS then aggregates the data, for example the number of males or females; the different country of origin etc to produce information for policy development, grants program administration, and research and evaluation purposes. This includes producing reports for sharing with service providers. 

9.Evaluation Survey
The Spiers Centre is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of those we help. To support this, we work with an independent feedback partner to conduct surveys and/or seek feedback about your financial well-being.  All feedback will remain confidential.