The Department of Health and Aged Care (Health) has engaged a consortium, including the Consumers Health Forum, to develop a National Consumer Engagement toolkit or suite of resources. These will be used by policy makers across Health to make sure that consumers are engaged in appropriate, timely and meaningful ways as the 10 Year Preventive Health Strategy is rolled out.
Consumer engagement in policy making
Consumer engagement means involving ordinary people in identifying needs, making decisions and developing policies with the organisations and institutions that are responsible for policy development. It invites participation, feedback and collaboration from consumers, community groups and/or the wider public on work that is done, or the decisions being made by organisations.
What is policy co-design and why is it important for effective public policy development?
Co-design is a way for consumers and consumer organisations to be directly involved in policy design. Policy co-design, done well, can generate innovative ideas, ensure policies and services match the needs of consumers, save money by improving responsiveness, foster co-operation and trust between different groups, meaningfully engage hard to reach groups, and get public support for change.
Successful co-design needs:
- users to be experts in their own circumstances and able to make decisions
- professionals to move from being fixers to facilitators
- moving power towards service users
- creating new relationships with front-line professionals who will undertake training to take on these new roles.
Leanne Wells has been the CEO of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia since 2015 and, prior to that, was CEO of organisations including the Australian Medicare Local Alliance and the Australian General Practice Network. Leanne was also a senior public servant and served on several government advisory committees, ensuring that the voice of consumers is heard loud and clear.
Professor Rosemary Calder
Rosemary Calder has worked in health policy and program administration for more than three decades. She was head of the Office for the Status of Women from 2000 to 2003, founding Board member of the Consumers Health Forum, and has participated in many government advisory structures. Currently, she is on the boards of Summer Housing, Asthma Australia and the Continence Foundation of Australia. Rosemary brings extensive experience and knowledge of government policy processes and a passion for consumer engagement to the project.
Professor Mark Morgan
Mark Morgan is a Professor of General Practice and Associate Dean of External Engagement for the Faculty of Health, Sciences and Medicine at Bond University on the Gold Coast. Currently, he is Chair of the RACGP Expert Committee for Quality Care. Mark has extensive experience in public and preventive health, and was a co-author of the Mitchell Institute’s 2020 publication ‘Self-Care for Health: A National Policy Blueprint’.
Lara Pullin is a Gundungurra woman and a tertiary-qualified expert in public health education who is passionate about Cultural Safety, inclusion and accessibility in the health system. Lara has lived experience of her own serious illnesses, injury and disability and as a carer for her son and her family. For Lara, consumer advocacy is an extension of truth telling and healing, which are important cultural obligations she has under the mentorship of elders and community. Lara sits on the Boards of many organisations and committees including the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Consumer Taskforce.
Linda Beaver has a long history of expertise and experience in consumer engagement and health, working as an allied health clinician, education, manager and examiner in the health sector. As a health consumer, Linda has a keen interest in analysing the impact the health system has on the day-to-day realities of health consumer interaction, particularly in rural and remote communities.
Consumer Reference Group
The consumer reference group supporting the project team comprises advocates with lived experience in hard to reach populations, including young people, rural and regional consumers, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, LGBTIQA+ communities, people with disability, and people living with mental health illnesses and conditions.
Consumer reference group members are:
- Rasa Islam
- Clare Mullen
- Puspa Sherlock
- Renza Scibilia.
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