Client incident management system

Client incidents that occur during service delivery and result in harm to a client are required to be reported by all in-scope services in the client incident management system (CIMS).

Note: After five years of operation, the department is undertaking a review of the Client Incident Management System (CIMS). The CIMS review is a staged process of continuous improvement, focussing on reducing avoidable harm and improving quality of services, in addition to seeking opportunities for system improvements. The scope of the CIMS review covers policy, implementation, oversight and learning, and the IT platform.

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

The 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.

Reporting client incidents through CIMS applied to department funded organisations and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)* providers from 15 January 2018 and for department staff of selected delivered services from 1 October 2018.
(* Effective 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).

CIMS policy update

Policy update 1-2020 supports the operation of the CIMS and is applicable from 3 February 2020. It should be read in conjunction with the Client incident management guide (the guide) and related summary documents, operational updates, and addenda that provide specific guidance for nominated program areas and service types.

The guidance provided in this update replaces requirements and terminology in the guide and related documents 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).

The updated client incident management summary guide (word) provides a high level overview to assist staff who are responding to and reporting a client incident. 

CIMS guides

The Client incident management guide (CIMS) (word) (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 guide 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).

Client incident register

All service providers must own, manage and maintain a client incident register to capture and transmit information. For more information, see Client incident register

The CIMS incident report web form and the CIMS client incident register are two components of the department-built CIMS.

Outcome report templates

Outcome report templates are available for use or reference, as appropriate.

Reportable Conduct Scheme (RCS) and Client Incident Management System (CIMS) investigations

The previous Department of Health and Human Services and the Commission for Children and Young People have developed guidance material for service providers on undertaking streamlined CIMS and RCS investigations to meet the requirements of both schemes.

Further guidance is available on the Incident and Investigations page of the Department of Families Fairness and Housing website.

Learning and development

A range of training materials have been developed to support users of the CIMS. For more information, see Learning and development.

In scope services for CIMS

The CIMS applies to the following services, delivered by the department and our funded organisations. For out of scope services, see Appendix C of the Client incident management guide (word).

  • Children, youth and family services

    • Family and community services
    • Out-of-home care
    • Secure welfare
    • Statutory child protection services
  • Disability services

    • Disability justice services (department delivered and department funded)
    • Disability forensic accommodation and treatment services (DFATS)
    • Specialist forensic disability accommodation (SFDA)
    • Department funded disability services ineligible for NDIS.
  • Health services

    • Aged care and carer’s support services
    • Alcohol and drug treatment services
    • Community palliative care services
    • Home and community care (HACC) services for people aged under 65 and under 50 for Aboriginal people)
    • Mental health community support services (MHCSS)
    • Sexual health prevention services.
  • Housing and community building services

    • Department managed housing
    • Homelessness assistance
    • Long-term housing assistance
  • Youth services

    • Refugee minor program
    • Youth services
Client incident management system – email contact for specific policy questions, organisation and user registration support, or issues using the DFFH CIMS IT platform. – email contact for specific questions or issues relating to incidents or outcomes that have been submitted to the department’s divisional office for endorsement. An example is seeking further clarification around why an incident has been withdrawn. – email contact for stakeholders and IT vendors using standalone incident management systems and submitting incidents to the CIMS via the Application Program Interface (API). External staff experiencing system issues with a standalone system should first contact their IT vendor prior to raising any issues via this email address with DFFH. – email contact for feedback and inquiries specific to the review of CIMS.