Advocacy Service education and resources

Education and promotion of the Code of Rights by advocates

Promoting awareness of the rights of people who use health and disability services is a key part of an advocate’s role. Advocates provide sessions to consumer groups about their rights when receiving a health or disability service, and sessions to provider groups about their responsibilities and legal obligations under the Code of Rights.

Advocates also promote awareness of the role of the Advocacy Service in supporting and guiding resolution by agreement between the parties. This includes the value of self-advocacy, and promoting an understanding of how complaints can be viewed positively as a way of improving the quality of services.

Targeted education and promotion

Advocates are keen to provide sessions to provider organisations that deliver services in areas where there are particularly vulnerable consumers, and to those consumer groups that advocate for or support those consumers. In particular, advocates can offer sessions to staff to assist the organisation to manage complaints proactively and develop a culture of positive complaints management, and to ensure that the rights of vulnerable consumers are respected.

Although by no means a complete list, vulnerable consumers can be found in mental health services, prison health services, dementia units and rest homes, as well as residential facilities where there are people who have an intellectual or learning disability. In some cases consumers who are receiving care and support in their own homes may also be particularly vulnerable. The Advocacy Service approach of resolution between the parties is a particularly effective and useful method of complaint management in those situations where consumers and providers often have a close and ongoing relationship.

In these circumstances, sessions to consumer groups and provider groups on building a “rights safe” partnership, and on effectively raising and resolving complaints, can be especially useful.

Encouraging a consumer-centred approach

Advocates aim to be influential in shifting the focus of health and disability services towards a consumer-centred approach. The education of consumers and providers on the Code of Rights, promoting respectful dealings with all parties, and encouraging an approach that values and recognises complaints as quality-improvement opportunities, are effective ways of achieving this.

Contact the Advocacy Service

To discuss your needs and to make arrangements with the advocate in your area, please telephone 0800 555 050 or email advocacy@advocacy.org.nz.