Justice and human rights

Complaints systems for people with impaired decision-making ability

There has been a shift in the way government delivers services such as aged care and disability services. The models of service now have a stronger rights focus where consumer choice and control are central.

While such reforms are well intentioned and aim to make positive changes in people’s lives, they can create unintended consequences for some people with impaired decision-making ability. Some people may need assistance to fully realise and exercise choice and control in relation to the services they receive. They may also need assistance to make complaints if they are not satisfied with the services they have received.

In 2015 the Public Advocate published a scoping paper, Strengthening voice: A Scoping Paper about complaints management systems for adults with impaired capacity (PDF, 519.1 KB). In this paper, the Public Advocate identified a number of principles that are broadly recognised as good practice in complaints management, discussed the barriers to achieving good practice, and explored strategies for strengthening complaints management systems.

The Public Advocate also published a summary of the scoping paper, which is available here (PDF, 261.0 KB).

Decision-making support and Queensland’s guardianship system

Associated with the report Decision-making support and Queensland’s guardianship system (PDF, 2.3 MB), which was tabled in the Queensland Parliament in 2016, the Public Advocate published four documents in 2014;

Decision-making support for Queenslanders with impaired capacity: A conceptual framework (PDF, 277.4 KB)

A journey towards autonomy? Supported decision-making in theory and practice: A review of literature (PDF, 621.5 KB)

Autonomy and decision-making support in Queensland: A targeted overview of guardianship legislation (PDF, 996.5 KB)

Autonomy and decision-making support in Australia: A targeted overview of guardianship legislation (PDF, 818.1 KB)

Adult Guardian client profile

In 2010, the Public Advocate partnered with the then Office of the Adult Guardian (now the Office of the Public Guardian) to profile the characteristics and circumstances of people for whom the Adult Guardian was appointed as guardian. The research also explored the nature of tribunal orders appointing the Adult Guardian.

This was the first comprehensive and independent analysis of public guardianship clients and related orders since the introduction of Queensland’s guardianship system in 2000.

The Public Advocate published the final report, The Adult Guardian Client Profile Project: An independent analysis of guardianship clients and orders made to the Adult Guardian 2000-2010 (PDF, 939.6 KB) in February 2013.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders with impaired decision-making capacity

From 2009 to 2011, the Public Advocate partnered with Griffith University, Central Queensland University and James Cook University to explore the notion of ‘impaired capacity’ in relation to Indigenous Queenslanders.

In 2011, the three universities published a report—Impaired Decision-Making Capacity and Indigenous Queenslanders Final Report (PDF, 1.1 MB)—presenting the insights from the research. The Public Advocate published a summary of the report (PDF, 602.6 KB).


To read the Public Advocate’s submissions seeking to influence legislation and policy associated with justice and human rights click here.