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On this page you will find details of policy which has either been recently developed or recently changed.  

Scrolling down, you will find all previous posts to this page.

What's New

What's Changed

VERA Task Cards

Published 8/8/22

Service Event Activity in VERA: working towards consistency in practice and data accuracy

The first stage of this quality improvement work focused on providing staff with guidance in recording data correctly in VERA. 

VERA task cards have been developed to guide staff in correctly recording service event activity in the system.

Stage Two of this improvement initiative focuses on reviewing in-centre service event data including addressing the popular question ‘do in-centre staff need to cart for session activity’. 

Service Event data is used to report on Open Arms services across all service delivery streams; the AFS billing and invoice system and reporting at the regional, site and individual levels. 

Work is underway on analysing service event data to ascertain data requirements and to where possible rationalise carting and streamline service event recording.

Group Program COVID-19 resource pack

Published 4/8/22

The Covid-19 Resource Pack has been updated to align to new and revised Public Health Orders and Directions in each State/ Territory.

A summary of the changes are below:

  1. A check of the State and Territory Public Health Orders links in the procedure document
  2. The removal of :
      • information relating to ‘checking in’ and the use of QR codes and close contact requirements in the procedure document
      • the screening questionnaire (each state and territory has a number of guidelines and recommendations for close contacts but do not enforce restrictions) in the procedure document.
      • the attendance registers from the procedure document. The previous attendance registers used prior to covid-19 can be used as there is no longer a requirements to check the questionnaire has been completed
  3. The inclusion of:
      • What to do if a client become symptomatic while at a group program – page 5
      • Can a group program proceed – page 6
      • Participant notification of a positive covid-19 case – page 6
  4. The correspondence templates have been reviewed and updated and removed from the procedure document making it easier for staff to access.
      • A standalone Group Program Correspondence document has been created.


Published 1/3/22

500-06/02  Outreach Program Statutory Registration – change of details

This process aims to provide consistency and accuracy when Outreach providers update their information. It ensures that changes are managed by the appropriate team, and any follow up action is completed. This process helps to maintain the accuracy of provider profiles to ensure correct referrals and accurate reporting. 

500-06/04  Outreach Program Statutory Registration – Offboarding

This process ends the provider lifecycle and provides clear instructions on what needs to be done administratively when an Outreach provider ceases providing services on behalf of Open Arms for any reason. 

500-06/T5  Outreach Provider change of details form

This form ensures information is provided in a clear and easy to understand format, and allows Open Arms to identify what needs to be updated and if any follow up action is required. It also creates an audit trail, so that in the event of error, signed documentation is available for review. 

500-06/T6  Outreach Provider Offboarding Checklist

This form ensures that regions have taken all necessary steps to ensure clients are reallocated as needed, all outstanding work has been completed, and final payments have been made before the deactivation of a providers CMS profile.


Updated 1/3/22

500-06 Outreach Providers Management Procedure

This updated procedure now includes the new nationally-managed application and onboarding process.  It also provides basic content suggestions for regions conducting CMS training and clinical induction.

500-06/01 Outreach Program Statutory Registration Process

This updated process explains how an Outreach Program application is tracked through the various stages of eligibility assessment and onboarding.  It provides definitions for each application ‘status’ to help regions identify where a provider is within the process, and what actions are still required. It ensures we get the new provider profile set up correctly and ready for clients as quickly and smoothly as possible.


Published 16/12/21

This new document provides definitions for many commonly used terms in Open Arms.  This document will be particularly useful for new staff and may help some longer serving staff to align with updated definitions. 


Published 15/11/21

A new BUPA consent form has been recently added to the policy hub.

Please ensure that clients referred to BUPA are provided with this form and that the client signs and returns the form to Open Arms.

Where the referral is for family counselling and there are children involved, the normal Open Arms Parental Consent forms still need to be completed for the children as well as the BUPA consent form. 


Updated 1/2/22

202-04-01 Group Program Event Management Guide

The Event Management Guide includes practical guides, checklists and resources to help plan and coordinate a successful group program or mental health training workshop.  As well as providing clear guidance on how to go about each stage of the process, there are also links to other useful information and templates that must be used to meet Government and Departmental requirements.

The recent review focused on updating information relating to the following areas:

  • Psycho-educational Online Groups
  • Financial Management and Procurement Advice
  • GPF in VERA Information and Resources
  • Travel Advice
  • Covid-19 Information and Resources
  • Certificate of Attendance Process 

202-04-T1 Group Programs and Workshops - Pre Program Details Form

The pre-program details form includes all of the details relating to the program and a checklist to completed prior to the commencement of the group program or workshop. This document will replace the informal series administrative details form. 

202-04-T2 Group Programs and Workshops - Post Program Checklist

This document has been developed as a compliance tool for GPSO to ensure the group is closed in compliance with the guidelines.  The post program checklist covers all types of group programs and workshops and their specific requirements and must be signed by the GPSO (or delegate) completing the document and the Practice Manager once completed to confirm compliance. 


Updated 12/8/21

203-01 Clinical Risk Management Procedure

This procedure was updated at section 7.6 to ensure that a safety concern flag is raised on a client’s individual profile if an OARA risk flag is raised.


Published 20/7/21

Previously Open Arms did not have any procedures for managing uniforms, we now have the following -  See new policies here – 401-05 Open Arms Uniform Procedure including the associated Instruction and Templates.

Groups Task Cards and Videos

Published 23/7/21

New Group Treatment task cards, procedure and training videos are now included on the landing page of the Policy Hub.

Verifying Veteran Gold or White Card

Published 11/6/21

This Instruction was developed in May 2021 to assist with determining Open Arms eligibility for DVA gold and white card holders including their partners and children.  See the most current policy – 201-00/01 Verify Gold Card Instruction


Updated 28/6/21 

Policy prior to 2020 did not provide for individual counselling services for children under five.

While it remains the best practice clinical approach for young children to be seen with families as a whole, policy now includes capacity for children under five to be seen IF there are appropriately trained clinicians on staff. If there are not appropriately trained staff within Open Arms, we can refer to an external provider at no cost to the family. The child can still be seen as part of a family case regardless of availability. See the most current policy – 201 Eligibility Policy and note section 6.7 where this change has been made. 


Updated 16/7/21

Policy prior to 2020 required both parents/guardians to provide consent for minors to receive services from Open Arms but allowed provision for only one where necessary.

A change has been made to recognise if there is no reason to presume that the other parent is unwilling to provide consent to treatment, and consent from both parents is not required under a family court order, treatment should not be delayed while awaiting consent from a second parent. Specifically, a child should not be held back from receiving support while waiting for a second parent/guardian consent for no valid reason. See the most current policy – 201-01 Services to Minors Procedure and note sections 4.2.2 where this change has been made.


If a minor aged 5-17 years meets the legal criteria to provide consent in their own right (Gillick competent), they can receive individual counselling without consent of a parent/guardian, and outside of a family case. See the most current policy – 201-01 Services to Minors Procedure and note sections 4.3.1 where this change has been made.


A child of any age can be included as part of a family case, or can be seen for individual counselling, with the express permission of parents or legal guardians where required.  See the most current policy – 201 Eligibility Policy and note sections 6.8 where this change has been made.


Changes have been made to remove the need for prior approval for an initial 90 minute session and the inclusion of the CAPS-5 as the preferred outome measure to be administered.

See the most current policy – 202-03/04 Conduct of 90 Minute Session Instruction and note section 3 where these changes have been made.


An update has been made to align the way Open Arms treat release of information (ROI) requests for Defence-referred and self-referred clients. Specifically, previous requirements to communicate ROI matters to Defence have been revised - See the most current policy – 101-02/03 Request to Access Client Information and note section 7.2 where this change has been made.
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