What is a Consumer Representative?
A Consumer Representative participates as a member of a health related board, committee, advisory group or council by providing a consumer ‘voice’. He/she contributes an informed consumer perspective on behalf of consumers and participates in decision making processes.
Consumer Representatives do not speak on behalf of the HCC unless requested to do so by the HCC. A Consumer Representative provides a voice, not for themselves, but on behalf of others with a similar condition/experience.
Health services must be accountable to the communities they serve. Representing the real needs of consumers is important and constructive, because it enables real, positive changes to be made and the rights of consumers to be defended and upheld.
As a Consumer Representative, what should I expect from a committee?
There are a number of things you should expect, not only as a Consumer Representative, but also as a committee member with a right to be there. Expectations include being treated as an equal member of the committee, being heard, listened to respectfully and understood by other members.
Expect to be able to ask for clarification and more information, especially if jargon is being used. Expect to receive all relevant and necessary information and an agenda for the meeting, with enough time to read and understand them, and to enable consultation with consumers and consumer groups before the meeting.
You are also entitled to disagree with the rest of the committee and to have this dissent recorded; and you should feel able to talk to others about information from the committee, its deliberations and processes.
As the “host” of the committee, the Chair has a responsibility and a duty to facilitate the involvement of the consumer representative/s.
The Health Consumers’ Council is often asked to nominate consumer representatives to national and state committees. Issues worked on in committees cover the whole spectrum of issues in the health system. The commitment of time required of representatives varies; but typically it involves attendance at a meeting once a month, and production of a report to the HCC. The Health Consumers’ Council then disseminates the report’s information through our website and our networks.
Important responsibilities of a Consumer Representative
Consumer Representatives are advised not to disclose confidential information that may be discussed during committee meetings, but information that can be shared with other consumers.
Consumer Representatives have a responsibility to share the information they gain with other health consumers.The ability to provide non-confidential information from committees helps to inform consumer groups and to ensure the health system is patient-orientated.
How do I become a Health Consumers’ Council (HCC) Consumer Representative?
To become a Consumer Representative you need to:
- Be a current member of the HCC
- Provide the HCC with a profile or resume that outlines your experience as a health consumer (see online template)
- Attend the HCC’s Consumer Representation Workshop
- Apply for Consumer Representative positions that are right for you, e.g., health related committees and boards, Community Advisory Councils
- Respond to an EOI (Expression of Interest) circulated by the HCC
- Understand that the HCC will require updates/reports to inform others of your committee’s successes
State committees are part of the jurisdiction of the Health Consumers’ Council. We regularly update our website with reports from existing committees and notification of new opportunities for consumers to become involved. If you are interested in being considered for a State health committee, please call the Health Consumers’ Council on 9221 3422 or email us at email@example.com.
National committees are in the jurisdiction of the Consumers Health Forum (the national health consumer organization). The Consumers Health Forum regularly contacts HCC if there is an opportunity to appoint a Western Australian delegate to a national forum. Our website keeps consumers in W.A. up to date on these opportunities.
HCC is often asked to nominate consumer representatives to State committees. When a request is received, the Health Consumers’ Council calls for expressions of interest from consumers who have the relevant background understanding as well as networks with relevant consumers, EOI will be circulated via our eNews, website and email. A suitable consumer representative is selected through careful consideration of these two essential criteria.
If you are interested in being considered for a State health committee, please call HCC on 9221 3422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that National Committees are in the jurisdiction of the (national) Consumer Health Forum. Please call CHF on (02) 6281 0811, or email email@example.com. for more information about national committees. Click here to look at current vacancies for consumers on committees and boards. NB: As it is a competitive process, the HCC cannot guarantee you placement as a Consumer Representative
What are my obligations as a HCC Consumer Representative?
Once placed you are required to:
- Submit regular reports to the HCC outlining issues discussed, actions taken and resolutions. (You will be provided with a template.)
- Attend and participate in your board or committee meetings regularly
- Participate effectively and constructively
- Undertake duties required by the committee/board
- Abide by the HCC’s Code of Conduct
- Stay informed of community concerns/developments in the area of health you represent
What support does the Health Consumers’ Council provide to HCC Consumer Representatives?
You will be able to access support by:
- Attending the Consumer Representative Network Gatherings
- Linking and networking with experienced consumer representatives
- Raising concerns with the HCC
- Being aware that the HCC’s Payment Policy is recognised and endorsed by the Dept of Health
When is the next Health Consumer Representation Workshop?
Click on the link to find out when our Health Consumer Representation Workshops are being held for the rest of the year.
When are the Health Consumers’ Council, Consumer Representative Meetings being held?
These meetings are for current Health Consumers’ Council Consumer Representatives. This means that they are a member of the Health Consumers’ Council and that they currently sit on a Committee or Board as a Consumer Representative.
More information on HCC’s Consumer Participation Policy and Guidelines
See Consumer Participation Program Policy and Guidelines document here
Consumer Representative Positions
For information on current vacancies for consumers on committees and boards sign up for eNews or contact the Health Consumers’ Council using the details below.
If you are looking for a Consumer Representative for your committee, please email all relevant information to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any queries regarding Consumer Representation, please contact the Consumer & Community Engagement Manager, Louise Ford or Consumer & Community Engagement Coordinator, Steph Newell on (08) 9221 3422, or 1800 620 780, or email email@example.com for further information.