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Policies and Procedures

Consumer appointment to committees

  • 1. Overview/procedure description

    This procedure outlines the mechanism for appointing consumer representative to committees and work groups at RCH. 

    The objective of this procedure is to ensure a standardised approach to the appointment of consumer representative to hospital committees and working groups in order to maximise the benefit from this partnership and to ensure the arrangements do not create unintended risks for the hospital or consumers representatives.

    2. Definition of Terms

    Consumer engagement - Consumers, carers and community members are meaningfully involved in decision making about health policy and planning, co-design and organisational development of The Royal Children's Hospital. The term 'consumer' is defined inj the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards as 'Patients and potential, carers, and organisations representing consumers' interests'. 

    Consumer Representative - consumer committee or working group members 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).

    Consumer representatives are appointed as individuals, not as representative of any organisation. They are asked to look beyond personal experiences and passions and discuss broad-based issues with the aim of improving outcomes and experiences for RCH consumers.

    Committee or working group - A group commonly led by RCH staff with memberships including other RCH staff and possibly other organisational representatives, , established to review, manageand implement agreed actions according to their Terms of Reference.

    Diversity: This is a broad concept that includes all Australians. Recognising that each person is a unique and complex being is integral to understanding and responding effectively to health care needs at an individual, family or community level. Diversity refers to age, personal and professional background, education, function and personality. It includes lifestyle, socio-economic status, sexual preference, gender identity, ethnicity and status within the general community

    4. Procedure details

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

    • clarity on role and purpose of consumer representatives
    • alignment between a consumer representative's skills and background and the committee or working group's scope and purpose (as defined by it's terms of reference)
    • traning and support of a consumer representative, including but not limited to:
      • onboarding
      • introduction
      • pre and post-meeting briefing
    • training of RCH staff and mentors responsible for onboarding and supporting consumer representatives
    • the provision of timely and accessible meeting papers, including agenda's, pre-reading materials, presentations, minutes and action items (e.g. minimise the use of medical language or internal acronyms)
    • seleting a regular meeting time which takes into consideration the consumer representative's commitments and ability to attend meeting on a regular basis.

    When factoring in consumer representation on an RCH committee or working group, consideration should be given to ensuing diversity of representation, such as diversity in age, gender, culture and language. People from diverse backgrounds bring a different experence of services and therefore offer a different perspective to issues (Health Issues Centre: Getting Started - Involving on Committees' pg 11)

    It is important that there is a nominated RCH staff member as a lead and contact point for a consumer representative.


    Consumer representative roles to RCH committees and working groups are voluntary in nature. No remuneraton, or sitting fees are available unless offered by specific project or working group.

    Out-of-pocket expenses incurred as part of participation (e.g. parking or public transport) will be reimbursed on prior approval. This does not extend to virtual meetings.

    Appointing a consumer representative volunteer to a committee

    To aid in the identification, selection and appointment of suitable consumer representatives to RCH committees and work group, RCH staff and/or project leads are required to prepare and supply a:

    • Consumer Representative Role overview, which gives consumers a plain-language sense of the role, time committments and supports available to them.
    • Consumer Representative Support document, an internal document which gives an overview how a project lead will support and manage consumer.

    In more formal instances, RCH staff and/ or project leads are required to prepare and supply a:

    • Expression of interest document, which gives consumers an understanding of project, timelines, expectaqtions and support available.
    • Position description, which gives consumers a more formal overview of role responsibilites and expectations.

    As part of onboarding processes, all new consumer representatives should be provided with the RCH Consumer Representative Welcome Pack. These and other resources can be accessed via: Partnerships and Consumer Engagement : Resources (

    5. Related policies and procedures

    Consumer Engagement policy

    Child, Family and Community Participation

    6. References

    RCH Partnering With Consumers Framework [link TBC]

    Consumer Representative Role Overview (sample)

    Consumer Representative Support document (Sample)

    Expression of Interest document (Sample)

    Position Description (sample)

    Consumer Representative – welcome pack

    External References

    Partnering with Consumers Standard 2



    Health Issue Centre ‘Getting Started, Involving Consumers on Committees’


    Safer Care Victoria, Partnering With Consumers

    7. Contact

    For further information or if you have any questions in relation to this procedure, please contact the RCH Partnerships and Consumer Engagement department:

    P: (03) 9345 6429