Members of Coffs Harbour Conferences show how they have implemented the Conference Financial Wellbeing program and WE CARE model.

Strengthening our Service: Conference Financial Wellbeing Initiative

“The Society gives immediate help but also seeks mid-term and long-term solutions. The Society is concerned not only with alleviating need but also with identifying the unjust structures that cause it. The Society is, therefore, committed to identifying the root causes of poverty and to contributing to their elimination.” (7.1. The Rule)

Background information
The background

• In 2015, the Society’s Government Emergency Relief funding was reduced from $3.8million to $1.7million dollars.
• This prompted Central Councils to discuss how the Society can;
– enhance our organisations vision of “supporting people to take control of their destiny;
– build on the existing strengths of our conferences and services and;
– demonstrate the outcomes for the people we assist and maximise the funding received form the government.
• From their reflections and consultation with members, volunteers and employees a working group was established to develop the Conference Financial Wellbeing Framework. The framework was approved by State Council in September as refreshed approach to the Societys’ service delivery model and delivery of vital services to the people we assist.

The Conference Financial Wellbeing Initiative will now be piloted in partnership with Central Councils.
1. Pilot the framework- Four Central Councils; Lismore, Bathurst, Wollongong and Parramatta have offered to pilot the framework in a tailored approach to suit their local context and needs.
2. Evaluation and feedback from Central Council pilots- on how the framework can be applied at the grassroots level including what worked, what needs to be adjusted and if the framework provides better outcomes for the people we assist.

The framework is based on 7 principles:
– Client Centered- approach;
– Consistency- a consistent approach to the service our client receive;
– Choice- members and volunteers can select how they would like to contribute;
– Community- a culture of community and collaboration between members, volunteers and employees;
– Integration- with internal and external services to provide the best possible outcomes;
– Support- opportunities for skill enhancement and;
– Transparency- the Society is able to measure and demonstrate the outcomes for the people we assist.

WE CARE framework
The framework builds on the existing strengths of the conferences and clarifies the tasks within conference work. In line with conference work, the client will be provided with two service pathways, immediate assistance and/or provision of intensive support for addressing the underlying causes of the problems.

How will this provide better service to the people we assist?
– The refreshed model puts the people we assist at the centre and encourages a partnership between the Society and person receiving assistance to achieve the best possible outcomes.
– We hope this model will provide a consistent experience for the person or family receiving assistance no matter where they are in NSW.

What are the benefits for my conference?
– Encourages a collaboration and integration with other members, volunteers and employees to achieve the best possible outcomes.
– You will be provided with an opportunity to select a role based on your interest, experience and skills. You will also be provided with an opportunity to try new tasks and enhance your skills.
– This model will minimise administration and support our conferences to focus on assisting those in need.

In 2015, Central Councils undertook a reflection exercise to identify opportunities in which the Society’s vision of “supporting people to take control of their destiny” could be fulfilled in a more effective manner. Following on from the reflections, consultation was conducted with Society Members and a Working Group was formed to review and propose a framework for a Conference service that affords individuals experiencing financial distress the opportunity to move towards financial wellbeing (see image below).

This process was facilitated by a consultancy organisation “Good Foundations” resulting in the design of a preferred approach to Conference Financial Wellbeing Service, which was approved by the State Council on 17 August 2016.


The review and the ensuing discussions highlighted the need to introduce the following changes in the provision of service:

1. Introduction of a range of specific tasks, some of which focussed on the people we assist and others on supporting conferences delivery of the service.
2. Adoption of minimum standards required to perform the tasks.
3. Targeted development for those delivering this Conference service.
4. A process to assess the needs of the people we assist- one pathway focusing on provision of immediate assistance, and the other focusing on provision of intensive support for achieving a longer term sustainable outcome.
5. Increased emphasis on referrals and partnerships with other organisations.
6. Introduction of an impact and outcomes measurement framework.


While there was consensus on introducing these changes, the importance of allowing Central Councils the flexibility to determine the application of the model to suit their local environment and context was recognised and adopted.

Therefore, the outcome of the workshop was the development of a framework underpinned by seven key principles. The framework also defines specific tasks that should be performed to support the people being assisted. The tasks can be performed by suitably skilled Members, Volunteers or Staff located within a Conference, Regional or Central Council, or Special Works.

The principles and the framework set the parameters within which each Central Council can develop a service model.

It was also proposed that this new approach to service delivery be piloted in a smaller subsection of Central Councils followed by an evaluation before it is offered more broadly throughout NSW.


The seven principles of the Conference Financial Wellbeing service are:

1. CLIENT CENTERED – a service that will put the person we assist at the centre and work in partnership with individual to identify their needs and support them to achieve the best possible outcome.

2. CONSISTENCY – a framework underpinned by agreed principles, task descriptions, and the required minimum competencies that provide a consistent experience for the person receiving assistance from the Society in NSW.

3. CHOICE – Members and volunteers are able to choose in which capacity they wish to contribute to the Conference Financial Wellbeing service.

4. COMMUNITY – the model should foster a culture of community and collaboration where members, volunteers and staff support each other in achieving best possible outcomes for the people we assist.

5. INTEGRATION – the model must complement other Society services, wherever possible integrate with other Society services and external organisations to support the client to achieve the best possible outcome.

6. SUPPORT – the Society will provide training to those who wish to get the necessary skills to take on different tasks.

7. TRANSPARENCY – the model should ensure that the Society is better able to articulate and measure the impact of the work against a pre-agreed measurement framework.

The Conference Financial Wellbeing framework outlines six key tasks that must be completed when assisting a person in need. The framework is illustrated below.

Collect information
Assess need
Respond to need


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