The Public Advocate is independent of government, just like the Public Guardian, Public Trustee, and the Queensland Ombudsman.
The Public Advocate works on behalf of adults with impaired decision-making capacity to:
- promote and protect their rights, including protecting them from neglect, exploitation, and abuse;
- encourage the development of services and programs to help them reach the greatest degree of autonomy; and
- promote, monitor, and review the provision of services to them.
‘Having capacity’ means a person can understand the nature and effect of their decisions, can freely and voluntarily make their own decisions, and can communicate their decisions in some way. If a person is unable to do one or more of these things, they may have impaired decision-making capacity.
Many people experience impaired decision-making capacity due to disability, injury, or illness. For some people, impaired decision-making capacity is episodic or temporary, requiring decision-making supports at specific times in their lives. Other people can require lifelong support with decision-making and communicating their choices and decisions.
What the Public Advocate does
- monitors the impact of legislation, policies, programs, and services on adults with impaired decision-making capacity
- advocates at a systemic level to influence the design, development, implementation and reform of legislation, policies, programs, and practices
- conducts research and analysis to inform systemic advocacy activities
- engages and works collaboratively with government, non-government and community stakeholders and policymakers
- identifies innovative and effective strategies to address systemic gaps and problems
- publishes reports on key issues impacting on people with impaired decision-making capacity
What the Public Advocate does not do
- advocate directly on behalf of individuals
- investigate complaints about services or the treatment of individuals
- provide legal advice or legal services
- make recommendations about the appropriateness of services for individuals
- regulate the quality or delivery of services