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Thursday 23 Feb 2017

Chair's report - February 2017

By: Julie Barrow

The Board met this week for the first time for 2017. It is pleasing to see the new Utilities working group up and running with their focus on long term poverty and advocating for improvement of the Utility Relief Grant Scheme (URGS).

This week the Board received an update from Sam Jenkin, Director of Information Services, Consumer Affairs Victoria in relation to the initial impact the Family Violence funding has had in such a short time. The letter stated “between October and December 2016, over 700 persons experiencing family violence have receiving financial counselling assistance” which is currently funded as 10 FTE stretched over 17 CAV service areas. This is a good initial outcome for people experiencing Family Violence and we continue to advocate for further funding in this space. He also commended the work by agencies in developing relationships and sustainable work practices to assist victims of family violence.

At a national level, the new FCA Board, FCA Representative Council and staff at FCA met this week to share their strategic visions for FCA moving forward. This is currently in draft form and will be communicated to the membership once the final copy is to hand. The Representative Council following their November meeting have established working groups to cover national approaches to supervision, training and professional development and to support the professionalization of our sector a disciplinary policy. It has been identified nationally the complex nature of the work financial counsellors do and the importance of having robust supervision policies to cover not only technical aspects of our work but also the potential psychological impact if good professional supervision is not included in this equation. We look forward to progressing this work.

I would like to finish by farewelling Lisa Stoddart who has stepped down from the Board and take this opportunity in acknowledging the positive contribution she has made.