The purpose of this evaluation was to assess whether the service is doing these things consistently and achieving its intended outcomes, and to make recommendations for service improvement. A secondary purpose was to receive feedback about the factsheets and other resources on our website, as well as our sector development activities, such as professional development and training for financial counsellors, and whether they help create demand for the service.
The evaluation focused on caseworkers who had contacted the service in the nine months to 31 March 2019. We considered that surveying the whole of this group would give us the clearest indication of service impact, because every interaction with the service – whether it results in the provision of simple advice, intensive assistance or only a referral – is an opportunity for our lawyers to build trust with and strengthen the sector. However, so that we could learn why some caseworkers haven’t been calling the service, we also surveyed financial counsellors who had not recently sought help.
This was a mixed-methods evaluation, involving two main methods of data collection: a short survey sent out by SMS to caseworkers in the week after they accessed the service (“post-call survey”); and a more in-depth, qualitative survey distributed to caseworkers who had used the service in the previous year and all Victorian financial counsellors (“long-form survey”).