Policy and Participation

Being involved in the Policy and Participation Program is one way for consumers to use their lived experience to participate in the Network’s systemic advocacy. Systemic advocacy is advocacy that is done to develop systems and correct issues that affect everyone, rather than advocacy that helps people with their individual issues.

ACT Government agencies, local community organisations and other organisations regularly contact the Network to request feedback from consumers about policies, programs, services and legislation that are in development or under review. We also monitor what is happening in the ACT to undertake proactive systemic advocacy.

Through this program, we collect feedback from consumers on systemic issues through forums, consultations and other means. We then de-identify this feedback (so that individual consumers can’t be identified as the source of their feedback) and provide it to the relevant agencies and organisations. This process supports improvements to services, programs, legislation and so on for all people who access mental health services in the ACT.

Policy Program

When a request for feedback is received, or a systemic issue is identified, we collect feedback from consumers in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Policy Forum: consumers are invited to review relevant documentation relating to the issue of request and attend a Policy Forum with other consumers to share and discuss their feedback with the Network. Policy forums are held in person and online in a hybrid fashion to support as many consumers to participate as possible. The Network then compiles the feedback for submission to the relevant organisation/agency.
  2. Consultation Forum: the Network invites consumers to review relevant documentation and provides resources and support to assist them to give feedback directly to the relevant organisation/agency. Consultation forums are held in person and online in a hybrid fashion where possible.
  3. Focus Group: small groups of consumers are invited to participate in discussions on particular issues or research. These groups are usually arranged on behalf of agencies/organisations that require consumer input into defined projects.
  4. Policy Reference Group (PRG): consumers with policy experience are recruited to be a members of the PRG through advertised vacancies when a position becomes available. The Network draws upon the expertise of PRG members who review policy documents, provide feedback and guide the Network’s policy priorities. For more information, contact us at policy@actmhcn.org.au, 02 6230 5796 or  02 6145 0074.
  5. Individual written/verbal feedback: for consumers who are unable to attend any of the above feedback methods but wish to provide feedback, they can do so via email, phone call or Drop-In before the due date.
  6. Consumer Representative Forum: the Network draws upon the expertise of Consumer Representatives to gather feedback for inclusion through regular meetings.

Wherever possible, forums and other events are available for consumers to attend in person or online via Zoom or similar program.

Once all feedback has been collated and reviewed, the information is de-identified and compiled into a formal submission which is sent to the relevant organisation. In most cases, our submissions are publicly available.  Where a submission is not publicly available due to the nature of the request, consumers who gave feedback can arrange to read the submission by contacting policy@actmhcn.org.au, or 02 6230 5796 or 02 6145 0074.

You can read our previous submissions by clicking here.

The Network regularly holds feedback events with consumers. While we try to give as much notice as possible about upcoming events, sometimes the turnaround time to provide feedback is very short. The best way to keep informed on upcoming feedback events is to become a member and join our mailing list.

We also welcome consumers giving us feedback about their experiences with services and programs. We can use this de-identified feedback within any relevant submission to help make improvements for everyone who needs to use a service in the future. If you want to send feedback about a good or bad experience you have had with a service, please use this contact form.

For organisations, researchers and other providers that would like to hear feedback from consumers as part of their consultation process, please click here to make a request.

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