Supported decision making
Supported decision making is emerging as an important area of OPA’s work program. Supported decision making is a central principle of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. People with disability should receive the support necessary to enable them to make and implement the decisions that affect them. This is particularly relevant to people with cognitive impairments or mental illnesses that affect their decision-making. The principle of supported decision making has informed much of OPA’s systemic advocacy particularly in relation to proposed guardianship and NDIS reforms.
AREAS OF ACTION
The OVAL Project
In September 2015, OPA began a 12-month collaborative supported decision-making project with Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability Inc (VALID).
The OVAL Project aims to recruit, train and match volunteer supporters in Victoria's Barwon South region with 60 socially isolated people with decision-making disabilities who wish to receive support with decision-making about their National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support plan.
Volunteers will assist participants to build their capacity to make autonomous and informed decisions about their NDIS support plan.
The OVAL Project is funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which has identified that further development is required for people with disability to assume significant choice and control over their lives.
The OVAL Project will also develop a ‘model of practice’ for supported decision making for scheme participants, which include resources and tools for participants and supporters
OPA's Supported Decision Making Program
Commencing in 2013, OPA ran an 18-month pilot Supported Decision Making Program, in which trained volunteer decision-making supporters assisted people with cognitive impairments to make important decisions.
This program was part-funded by a grant from the Victoria Law Foundation. See the Supported Decision Making Pilot Project description for more information.
There are many people and organisations across Australia who are interested in realising the benefits of supported decision making for people who struggle to make decisions for themselves.
In Australia at the moment there is much work looking at how to best recognise and promote supported decision making arrangements. There are also organisations developing opportunities for people with disability, who do not have informal support networks, to benefit from supported decision making. All agree that enhancing these opportunities is crucial. OPA has sought to support this by offering opportunities for organisations to share their growing wealth of knowledge and practice experience on ‘how’ supported decision making should and can happen.
In 2013 OPA established the Australian Supported Decision Making Network.
In 2010, OPA hosted two well-attended forums that explored supported decision-making initiatives that were underway in Australia at that time. See the summary report for the highlights of these forums.
OPA has produced two discussion papers on the possible implications of supported decision making for the guardianship jurisdiction.
Supported decision making background and discussion paper explored questions and issues around supported decision making, to promote discussion in the field and to consider how supported decision making should be incorporated into Victorian policy and/or legislation. This paper was written within the context of the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s review of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986. Click here for more information on the review.<(link to Advocacy and research/Guardianship/law reform)
Supported Decision Making Options for Legislative Recognition follows on from, and should be read in conjunction with the Supported decision making background and discussion paper. This paper considers legislative models which might be used to encourage supported decision making; amendment to enduring powers of attorney appointments and creation of a category of co-decision-making orders.