Resources on Consumer Control and Choice

Walk alongside: Co-designing social initiatives with people experiencing vulnerabilities (2015, VCOSS)

This report from the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) invites people to challenge their thinking about social problems and the people affected by them, as well as the way government and the community sector works with them. The report describes the value of co-design: a ‘ground-up’ approach to service design that begins by asking people what their needs are, and then exploring possible solutions with them. It is characterised by the pursuit of social transformation, and focuses on positive goals of growth, wellbeing and social cohesion.


A Guide to Community Engagement with People with Disabilities (New Zealand Ministry of Health)

This document supports agencies and organisations to be inclusive when they are consulting with communities. It offers practical advice about engaging with people with disabilities and reducing barriers to their full participation in their communities.

This guide focuses on engaging with people with learning/intellectual, physical and/or sensory disabilities. However, much of its advice can also be applied to work with people who experience mental health conditions.


Personalisation – don’t just do it – co-produce and live it! A Guide to Co-production With Older People (NDTi)

This guide on coproduction with older people sets out seven principles to help local authorities and their partners, including local communities, work together and improve older people’s influence at all levels of service commissioning and delivery.


Progress for Providers: Checking your progress in delivering personalised services (Helen Sanderson Associates)

The Progress for Providers Series are a range of simple self-assessments to enable providers to deliver more personalised services.


Consumer and Community Engagement Framework (Health Consumers Queensland)

The Consumer and Community Engagement Framework is designed to orient health organisations to what underpins successful consumer and community engagement. The goal of this Framework is to encourage health organisations to embed consumer and community engagement in their work.


Co-design in Mental Health Policy (Mental Health Australia)

Mental Health Australia has produced a two-page document setting out the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in co-design – government agencies, consumers and carers and other key stakeholders – to effectively co-design mental health policies and programs.


Shifting Gears: White Paper on Consumers Transforming Health (Consumers Health Forum of Australia)

This White Paper is the Consumers Health Forum of Australia’s philosophy and aspirations for the future role of consumers shaping health. Over twenty consumers, researchers, clinicians and leaders at the forefront of health policy in Australia, observers from outside the direct health care sector as well as leading global thinking have contributed to the Paper.


Arnstein’s Ladder of Citizen Participation 

Sherry Arnstein, writing in 1969 about citizen involvement in planning processes in the United States, described a “ladder of citizen participation” that showed participation ranging from high to low. The ladder is a guide to seeing who has power when important decisions are being made.


Different Types of Power. Management Study Guide

A description of the different ‘types’ of power that can emerge between people, particularly in a workplace and service delivery context.


The difference between choice and control (Duffy, S. 2016,  Centre for Welfare Reform (UK))

Simon Duffy from the Centre of Welfare Reform (UK) explores the possible different meanings of the term choice. He argues that personal budgets give not just choice, but control, and that this is a more developed and creative form of choice.


Understanding the NDIS: a history of disability welfare from ‘deserving poor’ to consumers in control. Ramcharan, P. (2016)  The Conversation.

Paul Ramcharan (Associate Professor, Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University) writes on the NDIS  and where we’ve come from in terms of supporting consumer choice and control as well as the options for participants within this ‘new’ individualised system.


It’s My Choice! Toolkit. Ramcharan, P, Leighton, D, Moors, R, Laragy, C, Despott, N & Guven, N. 2013, , Inclusion Melbourne/RMIT University, Melbourne.

While choice is often spoken about, as a practical task it is far from easy to implement. Developed in partnership with RMIT University, this toolkit consists of five guides that support people with a disability, families and support providers to understand and explore the principles of choice. It also provides examples, worksheets and other practical tools to support people to develop their choice making abilities.


Co-production – putting principles into practice in Mental Health contexts. Roper, C., Grey, F., and Cadogan, E. (2018) .

This resource provides practical advice for developing the culture and mind sets from which co-production can occur and includes five case studies that embody co-production principles in mental health.


Consumer Control and Choice: What does Consumer Control and Choice mean? Nelson, D. (2017)  Psychiatric Disability Services of Victoria (VICSERV). Melbourne. (Unpublished paper). Contact Mental Health Victoria if you would like to source a copy.


Consumer Control and Choice: What does Consumer Control and Choice mean? Nelson, D. (2017)  Psychiatric Disability Services of Victoria (VICSERV). Melbourne. (Unpublished paper).

Contact Mental Health Victoria if you would like to source a copy.



What does good practice consumer-led service delivery look like: Project Report. Gaile, R. (2018)

This report from the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations  (Melbourne) summarises the key findings from the AFDO Collaborative Panel Project looking at good practice case studies of consumer control and choice across the ageing, disability and mental health sectors in Victoria.