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5.2 Disability Advocacy Code of Conduct  

 

Resource description

DARU produced a Disability Advocacy Code of Conduct in 2011 to assist disability advocacy organisations to develop their organisation’s policies and procedures. The Code of Conduct is intended for Boards or Committees of Management, the staff of disability advocacy organisations and disability advocates (both paid and unpaid). The code calls for advocacy organisations to:

  • develop a mission statement
  • clearly outline services and programs offered by the organisation
  • ensure there is an appropriate complaints and grievance procedure
  • have sound financial systems in place
  • outline employment practices
  • clarify the role and responsibility of board members and CEO.

The Code of Conduct was produced by a steering committee, whose membership included DARU, VCOSS and DAV and a number of disability advocacy organisations. DARU intends to review and update the Code of Conduct in 2013 to reflect legislative changes to complaints, guardianship and the Commonwealth quality assurance (QA) requirements.

 

Interview findings

Disability advocacy organisations in general found the Code of Conduct to be a useful resource, with one-third (12 organisations) adopting the code or providing it as part of the induction for new employees. Feedback included:

  • Five organisations were not aware of the Code of Conduct.
  • Six organisations reported that they have their own Code of Conduct and the DARU code is not relevant to their organisation (note: a couple of these organisations were self advocacy organisations, and would access the proposed SARU Code of Conduct rather than the DARU resource).

These results indicate that the Code of Conduct should be updated in 2013, with a more targeted communications plan to ensure all disability advocacy organisations are aware of it and its relevance to their organisation.

SARU is developing a Code of Conduct for self advocacy. SARU and AMIDA indicated an interest in linking that code with the DARU code.

There is scope to ensure that more practical detail is added into the Code of Conduct; a couple of organisations cited the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Supporting Decision Making: A guide to supporting people with a disability to make their own decisions as a good example of the level of detail that could be added.