Income Management Evaluations

Income Management is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to reforming the welfare system. It ensures income support payments are spent in the best interests of children and families and helps ease immediate financial stress.

There have been a number of evaluations undertaken by the Government on the Income Management program.

These evaluations are:

Evaluation of Voluntary Income Management in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands

This report is an examination of the implementation and early impacts of the introduction of Voluntary Income Management (VIM) in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. The qualitative study focuses on how the measure is operating in the short-term in the APY Lands, since its introduction in October 2012. This evaluation was conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre from the University of New South Wales.

Overall the report found that the introduction of income management in the APY Lands is positively viewed by the majority of the community. There is evidence that Income Management is helping people in the APY Lands protect themselves from financial harassment and that it helps to stabilise finances for people with chronic financial management problems. There was also evidence that children are being fed better food more often, and that there has been a reduction in gambling and drinking alcohol, due to the reduced amount of cash in the community.

The full report is available at Evaluation of Voluntary Income Management in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.

Evaluation of Place-Based Income Management

A mixed-method, independent evaluation of the five place-based trial sites of Income Management has been  undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics. The evaluation commenced in January 2012 and was completed on the 24 November 2015 with four reports produced. These reports are:

The Evaluation of Place-Based Income Management compares the trial locations with other locations that have similar characteristics, but where the policy has not been implemented.

The Process and Short Term Outcomes Report shows that some people who volunteer for Income Management have improved their ability to manage their money and are now less likely to run out of money for food, rent or mortgage payments.

The Consolidated Place Based Income Management Evaluation Report shows that improved financial management, the reduction of harassment and abuse relating to welfare payments, confidence in saving and spending, and improved housing stability were the most positive outcomes for people participating in Placed Based Income Management.

Go to the Consolidated Place-Based Income Management Evaluation Report Summary for more information.

Evaluation of Income Management trials in Western Australia

Two studies have been undertaken on Income Management in Western Australia –a review of the Child Protection Income Management in 2014 and the Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management and Voluntary Income Management Measures in Western Australia in 2010.

Review of Child Protection Income Management in Western Australia

This 2014 study on the Child Protection Measure in Western Australia builds on a study by ORIMA in 2010. This review focuses on the child protection measure and draws on data including analysis of child protection case files, and in-depth interviews with child protection clients and their child protection case manager.

The review provides evidence for assessing the implementation and outcomes of the child protection measure of income management. The Department of Social Services undertook the evaluation in conjunction with the Western Australian Department for Child Protection and Family Support and the Australian Government Department of Human Services, with the Australian Institute of Family Studies acting in an advisory role. The evaluation was conducted under the guidance of an independent, non-government advisory committee.

Overall, the review found that Child Protection Income Management was effectively implemented, with appropriate targeting and referral, and productive collaboration between the Department of Human Services and the Western Australian Department for Child Protection and Family Support. Most child protection staff interviewed for the review recognised the usefulness of Child Protection Income Management in helping families and meeting the needs of children.

The full report is available at A review of Child Protection Income Management in Western Australia

Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management and Voluntary Income Management Measures in Western Australia

In 2010, ORIMA Research conducted an independent evaluation of Income Management in Western Australia, testing for impacts and early outcomes. This included:

  • interviews with people who were on Income Management or had been on income management
  • online surveys of Department of Human Services – Centrelink staff, Western Australian Department for Child Protection staff, money management and Financial Management Program Services and peak bodies
  • focus group discussions with community leaders in the Kimberley area, and
  • analysis of administrative data.

This evaluation found that Income Management was having a positive effect on the lives of many individuals, children and families in Western Australia, with a majority of those surveyed in the evaluation believing it had a positive impact overall.

The full report is available at Evaluation of the Child Protection Scheme of Income Management and Voluntary Income Management Measures in Western Australia

Evaluation of New Income Management in the Northern Territory

The Australian Government, in partnership with the Northern Territory Department of Children and Families, has completed a comprehensive evaluation of Income Management in the Northern Territory.

The evaluation was conducted over four years by an independent consortium of experts from the Australian National University, the Australian Institute of Family Studies and the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, in consultation with key stakeholders. The Evaluation Framework for new Income Management provided the broad structure for the evaluation in the Northern Territory.

An interim report, Evaluating New Income Management in the Northern Territory: First Evaluation Report, was released in November 2012.

The final report was released in December 2014.

Evaluation of Cape York Welfare Reform

The Cape York Welfare Reform aims to address passive dependence on welfare and commit people in the communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge to resume primary responsibility for the wellbeing of their family and their community. The key aim of the initiative is to ensure that kids are safe, fed and educated. The final report is available at Evaluation of Cape York Welfare Reform.

The Family Responsibilities Commission (FRC) is a key part of CYWR and can on occasions direct all or part of a person's income support payments to be managed by Centrelink to pay for the priority needs of their family.

More information is available at Income Management for Cape York Welfare Reform.

Strategic Review of Cape York Income Management

In 2018, the Australian Government commissioned independent researchers from the Queensland University of Technology to undertake a Strategic Review of Cape York Income Management (the Review). The aim of the Review was to assess the impact of Cape York Income Management (CYIM) in the Cape York Welfare Reform communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge from inception to the point of review (2008-2018). The Review was designed to analyse over ten years of qualitative and quantitative data on Income Management (IM) in the Cape York communities, and inform how IM could be utilised in the future, following any changes to Cape York Welfare Reform.

More information is available at Strategic Review of Cape York Income Management.

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