Welfare quarantining, in the form of income management, was first introduced in 2007 as part of the Australian Government’s Northern Territory National Emergency Response. The aim of income management is to assist income support recipients to manage their fortnightly payments — such as Newstart/Youth Allowance, parenting or carer payments, and the Disability Support Pension — for essentials like food, rent and bills.
Recent ANAO audits have highlighted the need for entities to articulate mechanisms to determine whether an innovation is successful and what can be learned to inform decision making regarding scaling up the implementation of that innovation. The CDCT was selected for audit to identify whether the Department of Social Services (Social Services) was well placed to inform any further roll-out of the CDC with a robust evidence base. Further, the audit aimed to provide assurance that Social Services had established a solid foundation to implement the trial including: consultation and communication with the communities involved; governance arrangements; the management of risks; and robust procurement arrangements.
The objective of the audit was to assess the Department of Social Services’ implementation and evaluation of the Cashless Debit Card Trial.
To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high level audit criteria:
Appropriate arrangements were established to support the implementation of the Cashless Debit Card Trial.
The performance of the Cashless Debit Card Trial was adequately monitored, evaluated and reported on, including to the Minister for Social Services.
The audit methodology included:
examining and analysing documentation relating to the implementation, risk management, monitoring and evaluation for the Cashless Debit Card Trial; and
interviews with key officials in the departments of Social Services and Prime Minister and Cabinet and with external stakeholders including Indue Limited (Indue), ORIMA Research (ORIMA), Community Leaders, Local Partners and others in the trial sites.