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Policies and Procedures

Consumer appointment to committees

  • 1. Overview/procedure description

    This procedure outlines the mechanism for appointing consumer representative volunteers (CRV) to committees and work groups at RCH. All appointments of consumer representatives to committees must comply with this procedure.

    The objective of this procedure is to ensure a standardised approach to the appointment of consumer representative volunteers to hospital committees and projects in order to maximise the benefit from this partnership and to ensure that the arrangements do not create risk for the hospital or consumers.

    2. Related Policies / Procedures

    Consumer Focused Care

    Quality Improvement & Risk Management

    Patient and Family Centred Care

    3. Definition of Terms

    Consumer participation - Consumers, carers and community members are meaningfully involved in decision making about health policy and planning, care and treatment, and the well-being of themselves and the community. (Department of Health - Doing it with us not for us, 2009)

    Consumer, carer or community representatives - members nominated by, and accountable to, an organisation of consumers, carers or community members. Hence representatives present the formal view of a particular group and report back to that group

    Consumer Representative Volunteers - consumer committee member who bring views based on their experience of a condition or care or their knowledge of a particular population group. In this case, rather than being a representative of a particular group, they are committee members who act as individuals or advocates (Health Issues Centre 'Getting Started.  Involving Consumers on Committees'. Page 7)

    Volunteers- A core body of people who give their time "free of charge" to assist in the day to day business of the RCH. These volunteers are managed by the  Family Hub and work throughout the hospital.

    Committee - A group, comprised of staff and volunteers at the RCH, representing services or specific issues which are managed, reviewed and implemented according to their terms of reference

    4. Procedure details

    Evidence indicates that consumer participation leads to improvements in the safety and quality of care delivered.  Participation occurs at a number of levels, individual care, department, health service and government.  The types of participation are variably described but include control, delegation, partnership, consultation and information.  The principles upon which consumer participation are based include trust, respect, openness, equal opportunity, responsiveness, dissemination, evaluation, advocacy and support, shared ownership and responsibility (Department of Health - Doing it with us not for us, 2009).  Involvement of consumers in committees and working groups is one component of facilitating consumer participation. 

    The success of consumer representative volunteer participation in committees and working groups is dependent upon a number of factors:

    • allocation to relevant committee
    • training of consumer representative volunteers
    • training of clinical leaders on the values of, and ways to facilitate, consumer participation
    • presentation of information that is informative and intuitive to interpret
    • providing support to consumer members of a committee
      • orientation
      • introduction
      • debriefing
      • two consumer members of a committee where possible
    • ensuring the role and contribution of consumers is clear to all members of the committee 
    • providing feedback to consumer representative Volunteers about the value of their contribution and the outcome of their participation.
    • selecting a regular meeting time which takes into consideration the consumer representative’s commitments and his/her ability to attend committee meetings on a regular basis

    Consideration should be given to cultural and linguistic diversity (CALD) when reviewing committee membership.  People from CALD backgrounds may bring a different experience of services and therefore offer a different perspective to issues (Health Issues Centre:- 'Getting Started.  Involving Consumers on Committees' pg 11)

    The Chair of the committee (or delegate) must take full responsibility for the selection, appointment and orientation of the consumer representative.

    Appointing a consumer representative volunteer to a committee

    Consumers can be sourced from a number of different areas including the Family Advisory Council, support groups or at the local department/unit level where past or present users of the service may agree to participate on a committee:

    1. On identification of the need to fill a consumer representative volunteer role on a project group or committee, the Chair / contact person should ensure that the project brief or terms of reference reflect this in stakeholder and membership details.  A "RCH Consumer Representative Volunteer Request" form is available from the RCH Consumer Participation Manager (CPM), Strategy & Organisational Improvement and should be completed and returned to the CPM.
    2. The CPM will review the list of consumer representative volunteers who have notified the organisation of their interest in participating in committees.  A consumer appropriate to the area involved will be selected.
    3. If there are more than two known interested consumer representative volunteers, an interview process is recommended. The selection panel should include the Committee Chair / contact person, CPM, current consumer representative volunteer / representative from People and Culture.
    4. Once a representative is identified, ensure the "Checklist for Appointing Consumer to Committees" is completed (Refer Appendix 1). All consumer representative volunteers are required to be registered as volunteers with RCH. 
    5. On completion of the checklist, forward all paperwork to volunteer department & advise the CPM in Strategy & Organisational Improvement of the appointment. 
    6. Consumer representative volunteers should not start until all necessary paperwork has been completed as per the attached checklist, and ID and lanyard have been issued. 
    7. Consumer representative volunteers should be on a committee for a fixed term, commencing with a two year term, with the potential for re-appointment for a further two years. This decision is made by the Chair of the committee in consultation with the individual.

    5. Reference

    • Doing it with us not for us: participation in your health service system 2004-2006: Victorian consumers, carers and the community working together with their health services and the Department of Human Services, DHS, January 2006.
    • Department of Health -  Victorian Clinical Governance Policy Framework2010 
    • RCH Quality Plan 
    • Health Issues Centre 'Getting Started.  Involving Consumers on Committees'

    6. Contacts

    • Consumer Participation Manager 
    • Director Quality Systems 
    • Manager, Family Resource Centre 


    Appendix One - Checklist for Recruiting Consumer Representatives for Committees


     Y / N

    Have you sighted a police check record ?

    Record reference number and dateof issue here. 



    Have two reference checks been completed and copies kept on file?  

    Have you sighted a Working With Chldren card?

    Record number and expiry date here: 

    Have you sighted evidence of the addition of RCH as an interested party?

    Have you sighted photo ID (i.e. driver licence) to confirm photo and address?  
    Record emergency contact details here  

    Record any known medical condition here: 


    Has an identity badge been ordered?   


    Has a copy of the RCH Privacy,Confidentiality & Security agreement been signed and dated?
    Copy to be given to Consumer Representative  



    • Parking
    • Time & frequency of meeting 
    • Orientation of building - where are meetings held?
    • Provide details of consumers mentor

    Give Consumer Rep a starter pack:

    • A guide to RCH
    • Quality of Care Report / other relevant publication
    • Position description if available
      • Also provide context information for their role
    • Terms & definitions 
    • Terms of reference for committee

    Details of staff member completing form.




    Contact details: Phone:__________________ Email:____________________________________________