Community Lifestyles Agency Inc. encourages Participants to access advocacy support, when necessary, so they may fully participate in decision making about the services they wish to purchase and the quality services they receive.
An advocate may be an advocacy service, a family member, a friend or a significant other. Participants receiving services from the Organisation may also wish to discuss their options for advocacy services with the Board of Management Participant Advocate. Advocates will be accepted by Community Lifestyles Agency Inc. as representing the interests of the Participant. Advocates can be present during assessments, reviews, complaints and any other communication between the Participant and Community Lifestyles Agency Inc.
A disability advocate must be independent and act solely in the interests of the person with disability who they are supporting. An advocate cannot be independent if they, or the organisation they work for, might benefit in some way from influencing the outcomes of the advocacy – this would be a conflict of interest.
A conflict of interest can happen in many situations, for example, an Employee helping a Participant to resolve a complaint about Community Lifestyles Agency Inc.. However, employees can assist the participant to locate an advocate.
Government-funded independent advocates can act solely on the side of the person with disability and without a conflict of interest. This differs from National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Local Area Coordinators, for example, whose role is to link people with the NDIS and to provide information and support in their community, but not to act as advocates. It also differs from NDIS Support Coordinators who have an interest in maintaining services and/or funding relationships and have restrictions on how much they can support the direct wishes of the person with a disability.
Community Lifestyles Agency Inc. employees should identify any Participant who would benefit from having an advocate to assist them:
• to understand their rights and responsibilities
• within mental health facilities and through the mental health review tribunal;
• resolve issues about government benefits, payments, pensions and support services;
• through tribunals for guardianship, tenancy and consumer affairs;
• to access housing, education or other state systems;
• to resolve complex service provision or complaints issues, especially where it is difficult for the person to speak up for themselves
https://www.qld.gov.au/disability/legal-and-rights/advocacy has a list of up to date advocacy organisations, which include specialist services for disability and cultural awareness.