This dedicated resources and information page is for financial counsellors who would like to better understand the process for referring clients to Way Forward.
We have created three brief videos that explain the referral process and a factsheet – How does Way Forward work with financial counsellors?
Below, you will find a list of FAQs
We encourage you to get in contact with us if you have further questions about our service and making referrals:
Kelly Bassett from Way Forward’s Hardship Advocacy team speaks with financial counsellor Colleen Crowley, who works for the City of Cockburn local government in Western Australia about how Way Forward works alongside financial counsellors to support people in financial hardship.
Read the experiences of a range of
Way Forward clients
Wondering how it works?
Part 1: Assisting people to return to stability
Part 2: How we can work with you
Part 3: Who Way Forward can assist
Frequently asked questions
Are financial counsellors allowed to refer clients directly to Way Forward?
When Way Forward launched in 2018, we were only taking client referrals from banks. By May 2019, at the national Financial Counselling Australia conference, we announced that we were opening our doors to referrals from financial counsellors.
This meant that, when a financial counsellor deemed it appropriate for their client, they could refer that person directly to us.
Since then, we have enjoyed a positive relationship with financial counsellors from across the country.
Which creditors does Way Forward work with?
Way Forward works with all creditors.
Our focus is to help our clients with their whole debt situation so we will represent them with every creditor.
Which debts can Way Forward help with?
When we work with someone, we will look at all their debts as we assess their situation and determine how much they are able to repay. We focus on helping clients with their unsecured debt but will consider their secured debts in any plan.
If someone has secured debt (e.g. a mortgage) we will provide options for where and how they could get support. We are also happy to connect clients to other organisations that may be better placed to assist them.
Does Way Forward help with Centrelink or tax debts?
We are unable to assist with tax and Centrelink debts.
Do you assist with utilities bills?
We can only assist with accounts in arrears.
What happens if a client does not want to create a savings buffer in their budget scenarios?
Whilst clients may need to look at reducing their discretionary spending, it is important that people can live their lives while paying off a debt.
As our arrangements typically go for 3-5 years, we advise our clients that allowing for a regular buffer in their budget will assist for unexpected expenses that are likely to occur over the term of their arrangement.
Should they not want to allow for a buffer we encourage them to put that amount in a separate account and make lump sum payments to reduce their debt throughout the term of the arrangement.
What if a client wants to increase their repayments or make a lump sum payment?
Our arrangements are flexible and allow for both changes to payment amounts and additional lump sum payments.
First, the client needs to let us know their desired change.
Then, we test the feasibility of the change to the payment with the client to determine the impact.
Then, if it’s suitable, we can facilitate the change.
What happens if a client’s circumstances change?
All arrangements represent an agreement with a client’s creditors.
These agreements, however, are not a form of bankruptcy.
As such, the client has the flexibility to make changes to match their circumstances.
We will continue to represent the client with their creditors for any changes so long as they can continue to make payments on the changed arrangement.
What happens if a client loses their job after an arrangement has started?
If a client is unable to continue making their agreed repayments and it is unlikely that they will have any funds left over after their living expenses then Way Forward is unable to support the client.
We are essentially a negotiation and payment service, so without an ability to make payments we will support the client to transition to a financial counsellor or alternative service who can provide a broader range of support.
Once a client starts with Way Forward are they locked in?
The short answer is no.
We represent a client for as long as they would like us to do so.
Should a client choose to leave Way Forward, they can continue to manage the existing agreed arrangements with their individual creditors.
There is no locked in contracts or commitments between the client and Way Forward.
How much does the service cost for the client?
The service is free of charge to clients. All funds paid by the client to Way Forward directly contribute to reducing their debts.
Way Forward is funded by charitable donations from the corporate community and prides itself on providing a free service to those looking for assistance in repaying their debts.
Does Way Forward offer long-term and short-term arrangements?
Arrangements are negotiated over a term aligned to the client’s circumstances.
These terms are typically for people in medium to longer term hardship situations with arrangements of between 2 and a maximum of 5 years.