updated 18/12/09

 

INFORMATION FOR ADVOCACY CLIENTS

 

What is this information for?

This gives you some information about our organisation and the service it provides. It can be made available in alternative formats eg Braille or audio. Services and workers in the disability and general community may also use it to pass on information about Assert 4 All, a division of Barwon disAbility Resource Council.

 

Who does Assert 4 All help?

People with all types of disabilities including acquired brain injury, physical, intellectual, sensory, psychiatric and psychological disabilities can use Assert 4 All advocacy and information services.

 Families and carers are also welcome to contact Assert 4 All.

 Assert 4 All offers advocacy and information in the following areas: 

  • Geelong
  • Geelong suburbs including Newcomb, Leopold, Corio
  • Lara
  • Bellarine including Drysdale, Portarlington, Ocean Grove
  • Queenscliffe and Point Lonsdale
  • Torquay
  • Anglesea
  • Lorne
  • Winchelsea
  • Bannockburn
  • Inverleigh
  • Bacchus Marsh

 

Does help from Assert 4 All cost anything?

No -  Advocacy and information services are FREE.

  

Who works for our service?

We employ skilled, experienced staff to help you work towards the outcome you wish.

 

What can Assert 4 All help me with? 

  • Getting Information
  • Speaking Up
  • Being heard
  • Supporting you to negotiate various issues
  • Participating in the community
  • Knowing your rights
  • Making decisions
  • Making a complaint
  • Attending meetings with service providers
  • Attending meetings with other organisations
  • Supporting you at court or tribunal

  

 

We try to help in 4 main ways:

 

 

1. Individual Advocacy

 

We help and support you so that you can access the same things as other members of the community.

 

2.  Self-Advocacy

 

We help and support you to improve your own skills in speaking up for yourself. 

 

 

3.  Systemic Advocacy

 

If problems keep happening we try to get people like the government to make changes so that people with a disability get a fair go.

 

4. Community Education

 

We try to educate the community so that they understand what it is like to have a disability and become aware of the needs of people with disabilities, their families and carers.

 

 

 

How does Assert 4 All know and understand what I need?

 

  • We ask you What You Want and Need
  • We Listen to What You Say
  • We agree on a plan to get What You Want and Need
  • We work on this plan together.

 

What happens when I first make contact with Assert 4 All?

When you or a friend or service provider contacts Assert 4 All for assistance, you will be asked your contact details and informed that the Intake Co-ordinator will contact you.

When the Intake Co-ordinator contacts you,  she will ask you questions about your situation and explain how Assert 4 All may be able to help. 

If we are able to assist you with advocacy, you will then be contacted by the advocate who will be working with you on your issue.

The advocate will make a time to talk to you about your issue and ask you what outcome you want.  It is important that you tell us WHAT YOU WANT TO HAPPEN.

The advocate will give you information, talk about different ways to resolve your issue and what some of the possible outcomes may be. 

For example, you may want an advocate to attend a meeting with you or you may simply want some support for an issue that you are dealing with yourself.

  

What happens if the Assert 4 All staff are busy?

We will try to help the people who need assistance the most first.

We do this by looking at three main things: 

  1. How serious is the person’s issue?
  2. Can the person get assistance from another service?
  3. What is the person’s ability to deal with the issue on their own, or with limited support?

 

What if Assert 4 All cannot assist?

We will tell you why, and suggest where you might find assistance.

 

Client Rights and Responsibilities

As a client of our service, you have the right to:

  • Respect
  • Privacy
  • Access our service without discrimination
  • Be informed about available support
  • Choose from available alternatives
  • Pursue any complaint about service provision without retribution
  • Obtain copies of Assert 4 All Policies and Procedures
  • Have any service information made available to you in an appropriate language or alternative format
  • Have an interpreting service available upon request
  • Involve an advocate of your choice.


As a client of our service, you have the responsibility to:

  • Provide the correct information that Assert 4 All needs in order to advocate effectively
  • Let staff know if you are unable to keep an appointment
  • To behave in a manner that promotes respect and dignity within the Assert 4 All work environment.

 

Any person who acts in a threatening manner towards staff or other service users will have the matter brought to their attention and will be requested to modify their behaviour. In the event that threatening behaviour continues, then the person will be asked to leave the premises at that time.  

Please see our exit procedures for further information.

In the result of any grievances the appropriate complaints policy will be followed.

 

Why does Assert 4 All keep information about clients?

We collect information about people who use Assert 4 All so that we can tell what type of work we are doing and how well we are getting things done. We put together a file on each person who uses Assert 4 All.

  

Assert 4 All, Privacy and You! 

 Assert 4 All recognises your right to privacy, dignity and confidentiality. 

  • This means that your privacy will be respected in all areas of our work with you, including home and office visits, security of personal information and disclosure of information to other people (only with your permission).

 

  • All information provided to Assert 4 All will be kept strictly confidential. This means that your information will be

 

  1. Stored in a safe place
  2. Only discussed with workers within Assert 4 All who have a need to know – for example supervisor
  3. Only disclosed to other people with your permission and for a specific reason.
  4. Destroyed when there is no further need for Assert 4 All to have this information.

 

  • The advocate will ensure that you are aware of the reasons why certain information is being collected and for what purpose.

 

  • Information about Assert 4 All will be provided to you at the time of your initial contact with us. Our Advocacy brochure gives you information about what our service does and how to contact us.

 

  • Wherever possible information will be collected directly from you unless you give us permission to collect information from other sources.

 

What happens to any information collected about me?

Any information collected from you will be used only for the purpose of resolving your issue.

You have a right to withhold information from Assert 4 All for privacy reasons.

Information from or to other agencies regarding you can only be obtained after you sign an authorisation form giving us permission to act on your behalf.

 

How safe is my file?

Any information that we record on paper or hold on your behalf will be kept secure in a locked filing cabinet.

Assert 4 All will attempt to ensure that all information kept about you is accurate and up to date. If your information needs updating at any time, please let your advocate know.

 When advocacy support ceases, it is necessary for Assert 4 All to keep records for a period of time. Information will then be destroyed.

 

 Who will have access to my Assert 4 All file?

The individual advocate you are working with will have access to your records. Other advocates may require access if a staff member is away and another advocate needs to work on your issue. Only individuals directly involved in your situation will have access to your records.

Assert 4 All must ask for your approval before they can talk about your issue with anyone outside of our service.  We must get your written approval if we need to show your file to anyone else.

If there is an emergency, Assert 4 All is allowed to give out information (eg to find a missing person) and Assert 4 all must give your file to the Court if a Judge or Magistrate asks for it.

 

What information does Assert 4 All collect about me?

Some information about you will be collected for statistical purposes. Your personal information such as name, address, date of birth will remain in your file.

 Assert 4 All will gather information about people using our services which includes age group, gender, cultural background, type of disability, and types of issues that we deal with, eg education, finances, employment. Any information that could reveal your identity is not used for statistical purposes without your permission.

 

Can I access my own file?

Yes - You have a right to access your information on your file and can do so by making an appointment with your advocate or the Advocacy Co-ordinator.  Your file belongs to Assert 4 All.

  

What should I do if I feel that my privacy has been breached?

If you are concerned about your privacy at any time then you should make an appointment with the Advocacy Co-ordinator or the Executive Officer. If the issue can not be resolved, the Executive Officer will advise you of the next step to take in order to make a complaint.

If you would like more information, or to see a copy of the Assert 4 All Privacy, Dignity and Confidentiality Policy or Complaints Procedure, please ask the Advocacy Co-ordinator.

Alternatively, you may contact the Privacy Commissioner, or the funding body to raise your concerns.

 

Who runs the service?

A Board of Management made up of people with disabilities and interested people from the community.  At least half of the committee has a disability. Staff are not members of the Board of Management.

 

The Board of Management meet regularly to talk about how Assert 4 All is going. The Executive Officer goes to these meetings and gives information to the committee about Assert 4 All so that they can make sure that Assert 4 All is running well.

 Assert 4 All has a Policy Manual which the Board of Management and Staff use to run the service.  You can ask to see a copy of the Policy Manual at any time.

  

Are you unhappy with our service?

Do you have any suggestions to improve our service?

  For any suggestions on how to improve our service, please contact the Advocacy Co-ordinator.

 You have a right to make a complaint about the service you received from Assert 4 All.

 How? 

  1. Lodge your complaint in writing with the Executive Officer of Assert 4 All, or telephone the Executive Officer.
  2.  

  3. The Executive Officer will review the matter with you and attempt to resolve the issue to your satisfaction.
  4.  

  5. If you don’t want to talk to the Executive Officer, or you are unhappy with the outcome, you will need to put your complaint in writing to the  Assert 4 All – Barwon disAbility Resource Council Chairperson:
  6.  

    Chairperson,

    Barwon disAbility Resource Council,

    48 McKillop Street,

    Geelong  VIC.  3220

               

             Mark the envelope “Private & Confidential”.

    You may wish to have an advocate assist you in this complaint.  This could be a family member or friend, or Assert 4 All could recommend other organisations you could contact.

     

  7. A meeting may be offered to you to discuss the complaint with members of the Assert 4 All Board of Management about your complaint.

     

  8. If the matter is still unresolved, Assert 4 All may suggest a conciliation conference where you could contact independent organisaton that may set up a conciliation conference to resolve your complaint.
  9.  

Individuals have the right to make complaints about Assert 4 All to appropriate complaints services, depending on the complaint issue or to the funding body.

Please request a copy of the full Assert 4 All Complaints and Disputes Policy to see the full list of these other services.

 

Can someone be with me when I make a complaint?

It is okay to have someone you trust with you or to speak for you.

 

 Should I only complain when it is really serious?

You should tell us anytime you feel that you have a problem with Assert 4 All. It doesn’t matter if you think your problem is small or big.

 

 Who will know about the complaint?

The things you say are confidential and are only talked about with people who need to know so that the complaint can be resolved.

 

 Assert 4 All Policies

 If you would like to look further at Assert 4 All Policies, please contact your Advocate.

 

Feedback about Assert 4 All Service

 We would welcome feedback about our advocacy and information service.  Please find attached a copy of the Assert 4 All Exit Survey – you will be reminded of this survey when we have completed our advocacy / information work with you.