Decision Making and Choice

 

Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy will ensure that people with disability are provided with the opportunity and the necessary support to participate as fully as possible in making decisions about steps in the advocacy process and in the way in which Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy operates.

Sushine Coast Citizen Advocacy will encourage and support protégés to make informed choices about advocacy activities citizen advocates pursues with and on their behalf. However, in some circumstances, this must be balanced against the program’s responsibility not to act on decisions by a person with disability that might pose a significant and foreseeable risk to their safety or interests, the program’s ability to assist other people with disability, and the safety of citizen advocates and Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy staff.

People with disability – decision-making about advocacy

Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy will respect and promote the right of people with disability to self-determination and assist them to identify and clarify their needs and goals on an individual basis.

Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy will work with individual citizen advocates to ensure where possible and appropriate, they support protégés informed decision-making and, act upon the protégé’s choices.

Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy may limit a person with disability’s right to self-determination when, in their judgment, the person’s actions or potential actions pose a serious, foreseeable, and imminent risk to themselves or others. Such actions may include protégés not giving or withdrawing consent to advocacy as a result of intimidation or coercion from other parties.

Informed Consent

Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy will use clear and understandable language to inform protégés of the purpose of the advocacy activities, risks related to the advocacy activities, limits to advocacy activities because of contractual obligations to FaHCSIA, relevant costs, reasonable alternatives, protégé’s right to refuse or withdraw consent, and the time frame covered by the consent. Protégés will be encouraged and have opportunities to ask questions.

If protégés are not literate or have difficulty understanding English, Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy will take steps to ensure their comprehension. This may include providing Protégés with a detailed verbal explanation or arranging for a qualified interpreter or translator whenever possible.

Where protégés have impaired decision-making abilities, our agency will use ethical guidelines in determining the actions pursued (Refer to Clients who Lack Decision-Making Capacity below).

Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy
recognises that some people with disability who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, abuse and neglect, may be intimidated or prevented from giving consent to advocacy by other parties who have positions of power and/or who are in decision making roles. Sometimes those who prevent consent being given may themselves be the perpetrators of the abuse and neglect, or are protecting the perpetrators, or have some other vested interest in preventing advocacy which will protect the interests of the person with disability. In such circumstances, a citizen advocate will be recruited/supported to take the following actions:

    Notify police
    Contact the investigations section of the Office of the Adult Guardian

  • Contact the CRRS
  • Contact the Complaints section of Disability Services Qld.
  • Other action as determined by the citizen advocate

Duty of Care

Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy has a duty of care to protégés in the program. A duty of care exists where a protégé is reasonably likely to be affected by what Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy does or doesn’t do, that is, what information the program provides or fails to provide in response to an inquiry; what actions the program takes or fails to take in response to a request requiring advocacy support and what information the program provides in advocacy development activities.

Duty of care is part of the law of negligence

To establish that Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy has been negligent in providing advocacy, a protégé must be able to show that:

  • Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy owed a duty of care to the client; and
  • Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy breached that duty: the program should reasonably have known that its action/ advice (or its failure to act/ provide information or advice) would harm the protégé, but the program failed to take reasonable steps to prevent that harm; and
  • the protégé has actually suffered harm as a result of the program’s action/ information/ advice/ failure to act.

In advising protégés before they make a decision/ choice, citizen advocacy staff and citizen advocates should use the duty of care checklist and:

  • assess the likelihood and extent of any foreseeable harm
  • assess the likelihood and extent of the foreseeable benefit
  • look for ways to minimise the risk of harm without sacrificing the benefit, and
  • balance the foreseeable harm against the benefit.

People who Lack Decision-Making Capacity

In instances when protégés lack the capacity to provide informed consent, where possible and appropriate, Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy will protect protégés’ interests by seeking permission from an appropriate third party recognised by the law (eg guardian, parent, person responsible), informing protégés consistent with the protégés’ level of understanding. In such instances, Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy will seek to ensure that the third party acts in a manner consistent with protégés’ wishes and interests. Citizen advocacy staff should take reasonable steps to enhance such protégés’ ability to give informed consent.

Where a substitute decision maker is required for the interests of a vulnerable protégé to be protected, citizen advocacy staff may follow established citizen advocacy practice and encourage and support a citizen advocate to initiate an application for the citizen advocate to be appointed as Legal Guardian/Administrator, or for other suitable individuals or bodies (Adult Guardian, Public Trustee) to be appointed.

If there is no substitute decision maker or the decision maker appears to be acting against the protégé’s wishes or interests, citizen advocacy staff should take reasonable steps to safeguard the interests and rights of the protégé. In doing so, ethical guidelines should be used. The following principles will help to guide staff actions:

  • taking the least restrictive option: the intervention by the citizen advocate and/or citizen advocacy staff will be the least restrictive option in relation to the freedom of the protégé
    considering the protégé’s wishes: the citizen advocate and/or citizen advocacy staff will take into account the protégé’s present and past wishes and feelings so far as they can be ascertained
  • consulting with relevant others: the citizen advocate and/or citizen advocacy staff will seek and take into account the views of relevant people who are close to the protégé or who may know the protégé well. In weighing up the views of relevant others the citizen advocate and/or citizen advocacy staff will consider issues such as conflict of interest
  • encouraging and supporting the protégé to use whatever skills he/ she has: the citizen advocate and/or citizen advocacy staff will encourage their client to exercise whatever skills that he or she may have to participate in decision making about their welfare and where practicable help the protégé develop new skills.

Advocacy Process Procedure

Citizen advocacy staff will ensure that protégés, if they so wish, participate in decision making during the advocacy process and will follow a procedure (listed below) with each protégé to ensure that this happens.

The following procedures should be undertaken as soon as possible after the protégé has contacted our agency:

  • clarify with the protégé what their preferred objective is regarding the issues they have raised and plan the advocacy process around this preferred objective
  • clarify with the protégé any foreseeable consequences of actions that may achieve their preferred outcome. This may involve suggesting a range of actions along with providing alternative information sources
  • inform the protégé about options for participating in the citizen advocacy process.
  • does the protégé understand the options before them, or would the advocacy process be improved if the protégé was supported by a family member, friend etc who knew the protégé well
  • inform the protégé about our agency’s policy relating to consent if the protégé wishes information to be disclosed to people outside our agency during the advocacy process.

Decision making in the Management of our agency

Protégés, citizen advocates, families and interested members of the public are encouraged to give feedback and have input into Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy. Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy will encourage protégés and other people with disability to participate in our agency’s operations.

People with disability will be encouraged to be involved in governance of our agency and be provided with the necessary support, by Committee members, staff and advocates, to ensure their representation is as active as possible.

All stakeholders of our agency, including people with disability, their families, carers and advocates, will be invited to participate in policy development and evaluation of our agency.

Advocacy Process Procedure

Citizen advocacy staff will ensure that protégés, if they so wish, participate in decision making during the advocacy process and will follow a procedure (listed below) with each protégé to ensure that this happens.

The following procedures should be undertaken as soon as possible after the protégé has contacted our agency:

  • clarify with the protégé what their preferred objective is regarding the issues they have raised and plan the advocacy process around this preferred objective
  • clarify with the protégé any foreseeable consequences of actions that may achieve their preferred outcome. This may involve suggesting a range of actions along with providing alternative information sources
  • inform the protégé about options for participating in the citizen advocacy process.
  • does the protégé understand the options before them, or would the advocacy process be improved if the protégé was supported by a family member, friend etc who knew the protégé well
    inform the protégé about our agency’s policy relating to consent if the protégé wishes information to be disclosed to people outside our agency during the advocacy process.

Decision making in the Management of our agency

Protégés, citizen advocates, families and interested members of the public are encouraged to give feedback and have input into Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy. Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy will encourage protégés and other people with disability to participate in our agency’s operations.

People with disability will be encouraged to be involved in governance of our agency and be provided with the necessary support, by Committee members, staff and advocates, to ensure their representation is as active as possible.

All stakeholders of our agency, including people with disability, their families, carers and advocates, will be invited to participate in policy development and evaluation of our agency.

Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy
is funded by the
Commonwealth Department of Social Services

© 2012 - 17 Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy
Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy
p: (07) 5442 2524
6-10 Blackall Street, Woombye QLD 4559
(Behind the Rural Supplies Store)
e: sunshinecoast@citizenadvocacy.com




Site by Sibagraphics