Giving people with lived experience a voice in what supports they receive and how they receive them is essential in developing services and practices that truly meet the needs of the community.

This work comes at a time when there is significant interest for increasing Consumer Control and Choice. Reforms such as Consumer Directed Care and the National Disability Insurance Scheme along with the ongoing evolution of the mental health sector present many opportunities and challenges in the way consumers experience services, the way providers plan and deliver services, and for the community at large to engage with consumer leadership and social inclusion.

With funding provided by State Trustees Australia Foundation, Mental Health Victoria (the peak body for mental health service providers in Victoria) has embarked on a project to build the capacity of service providers around consumer control and choice.

Stage 1

Based on consultations with consumers, carers, peak bodies and providers from across the ageing, disability and mental health sectors, Mental Health Victoria developed two discussion papers:

  1. What Does Consumer Control and Choice Mean?

This paper defines Consumer Control and Choice in the broadest context, and considers relevant research and practice across the ageing, disability and mental health sectors. It shapes what the features of ‘optimal’ Consumer Control and Choice might look like, with the hope of giving the three sectors an endpoint to aim towards in planning and service delivery.

  1. Doing Consumer Control and Choice Well – what makes a difference and how change can happen.

This paper identifies the key themes emerging from a series of events undertaken across the disability, mental health and ageing sectors, drawing out the enablers and barriers to Consumer Control and Choice. These events included: individual interviews with consumers, carers, providers and service management, a webinar, a presentation, a group interview of consumers, presentations at 3 Communities of Practice, and a VCOSS Workshop on Co-design.

Stage 2

The knowledge base from Stage 1 of the project led to the development of a training workshop: Integrating Consumer Control and Choice Principles into Service Design and Delivery. The workshop was delivered through the Victorian Cross-Sector Communities of Practice – the Collaborative Panel project of National Disability Services Victoria.

The aim of the workshop is to help organisations understand the principles of ‘good’ consumer control and choice and how to incorporate them in service planning and in practice.

Through this workshop, managers and senior workers of service providers will:

  • Better understand the key principles of consumer control and choice: what it is (and isn’t!)
  • Understand the rationale behind why these principles are important
  • Understand how to incorporate and embed these principles into the structure and values of an organisation
  • Learn from real-life case studies and consumer insights on consumer-led service delivery.
  • Take back practical and immediate actions to their workplace
  • Have the opportunity to share and learn from others across the ageing, disability and mental health sectors

The workshop incorporates findings from the AFDO Collaborative Panel project ‘What does good practice consumer-led service delivery look like?’ as well as insights from the perspective of a person with lived experience of disability.

For More Information:

Please visit the Resources page to read more about Consumer Control and Choice and access resources that contributed to the development of the workshop.

For more information, please contact Mental Health Victoria on (03) 9519 7000 or at mhvic@mhvic.org.au


This project was an accomplishment of the Ageing, Disability and Mental Health Collaborative Panel and funded by State Trustees Australia Foundation.