Client incident management system

CIMS is a reporting system that focuses on the safety and wellbeing of our clients by outlining the approach and key actions service providers are required to undertake to manage client incidents.

On this page

Quick links for users of the CIMS IT platform
Primary policy guides for CIMS
Immediate response to incidents
Reporting an incident
In scope services for CIMS
CIMS Review
Previous CIMS Policy Updates

Links to guides and learning resources are below to learn how to determine if the incident is in scope and report the incident.

Should you have difficulties in submitting or managing a report, you can seek help from one of the email addresses on this page.

Primary policy guides for CIMS

The Client incident management guide (CIMS) (word) (CIMS guide) describes each of the actions and responsibilities of service providers and the department during the management of client incidents. Service providers include department-funded organisations and department-delivered services.

The Client incident management guide - out-of-home care addendum (CIMS) (word) should be read in conjunction with the CIMS guide and the Policy update 1 2020 and provides specific guidance for allegations of abuse by carers (home based care – foster care and kinship care, residential care and lead tenant) of children living in out-of-home care (OOHC).

A summary guide of the CIMS is also available: client incident management summary guide (word).

Further help:

Immediate response to incidents

After an incident has occurred, service providers must:

  • ensure the immediate safety, health and wellbeing of the client and other involved parties,
  • obtain medical attention,
  • notify Victoria Police and other emergency services as appropriate,
  • preserve evidence,
  • access specialist victim and support services as required, and
  • contact the nominated key support person.

Detailed information about the immediate and longer term response requirements can be found in Chapter 2 of the Client incident management guide (word).

Reporting an incident

Incidents which result in harm to a client who is receiving a service in scope of CIMS, during service delivery, should be reported via the CIMS incident report webform within three days of the incident being disclosed. The web form saves the incident details into the CIMS Client Incident Register.

Any staff member can create an incident report in CIMS for review and endorsement by their organisation’s authorised delegates.

In scope services for CIMS

The CIMS applies to the following services, delivered by the department and our funded organisations. These include:

  • Children, youth and family services
  • Department delivered or funded disability services
  • Some health funded organisations
  • Housing and community building services
  • Youth services

For a detailed listing of all in-scope and out of scope services, see Appendix C of the Client incident management guide (word).

CIMS Review

The CIMS Review team has heard from stakeholders that while the CIMS is an improvement on the previous incident reporting system, some areas need refinement.

After five years of operation, the department is undertaking a review of the Client Incident Management System (CIMS). The review of CIMS will carefully consider the role of CIMS in the safeguarding environment, address the barriers to CIMS operating as an effective safeguarding mechanism and streamline processes to make the best use of department and sector resources.

Implementation of CIMS Review outcomes

Outcomes from the CIMS Review will be implemented in two-phases, to allow for targeted learning and development and to alleviate some of the change burden on service providers due to the multiple regulatory reforms commencing on 1 July.

Phase one – 17 June 2024

Phase one implementation on 17 June 2024 will focus on changes to the CIMS guide and IT platform to use CIMS as the framework to report serious incidents to the Social Services Regulator. Two additional IT changes will be made at the same time to improve reporting. 

An information sheet has been prepared regarding the phase one changes.

Learning sessions are being offered in May through to July 2024 to support service providers in operationalising the changes.

The question-and-answer sheet will be progressively updated in the lead up to 17 June with responses to questions raised throughout the learning sessions about the changes.

Phase two – Later in 2024

Phase two implementation later in 2024 will focus on the outcomes of the CIMS Review.

If you have feedback which you would like to have included in the review, or would like more information about the review, please contact

If you would like to receive monthly updates, please click here to subscribe to the CIMS Review Newsletter.

Previous CIMS Policy Updates

CIMS was introduced in 2018 as an end-to-end system for the management of client incidents with a focus on the impact an incident has on a client:

  • From 15 January 2018, CIMS applied to department funded organisations and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) providers
  • From 1 October 2018, CIMS applied to department staff of CIMS in-scope services

2019: NDIS funded services reporting changes

From 1 July 2019, NDIS organisations whose supports and services are funded by the NDIS are no longer required to report incidents in CIMS but must now report incidents to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Please note however, NDIS organisations in receipt of funding from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and the NDIS, are subject to both state-based – CIMS and NDIS – reporting obligations.

2020: Policy update

The Policy update 1-2020 was applicable from 3 February 2020. This update adjusted requirements and terminology in relation to:

  • the steps and timeframes for the submission of major and non-major impact incident reports
  • the determination of follow-up actions after a major impact incident
  • submission of case review reports to the department
  • the use of the term ‘alleged perpetrator’.

For more information, please see the Frequently asked questions - policy update 1-2020 (word).

2024: Policy update

Changes in Policy update 2-2024

Client incidents that occur during service delivery and result in harm to a client, or are reasonably likely to seriously harm a client, are required to be reported to the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (the department) by all in-scope services in the Client Incident Management System (CIMS).

The Policy update 2-2024 (Word) is applicable from 17 June 2024. This update adjusted requirements and terminology in relation to:

  • New ‘Serious risk’ incident type
  • New gender reporting options
  • New ‘Family violence and sexual assault services’ program type
  • Updated services in scope
Client incident management system
For queries relating to registration, learning and development resources, or issues using the CIMS IT platform.
For queries relating to incidents, outcomes, or CIMS policy or process  application.
Contact for IT issues only after the service provider has raised the issue with their IT vendor.
For feedback and inquiries about the review of CIMS.