First meeting of the Community Advisory Council

Somebody up there likes us by Jas.jpg

Somebody up there likes us: the Community Advisory Council gathers outside Head Office

The Flourish Australia Community Advisory Council met for the first time on Tuesday the 3rd May 2016 at Figtree Conference Centre. The Council is comprised of 24 people who access our services throughout NSW and South East Queensland.

Chief Executive Officer Pam Rutledge said that: “The Council is a further strong and public commitment from Flourish Australia to ensuring the voice of people with lived experience is heard and acted upon in our day-to-day work and service development.”

The Council will meet twice a year, with regular communication in between meetings.

Pam described to the Council members the importance of its relationship to our Board of Directors. The Board is the body that is responsible for the governance, vision, mission and general direction of Flourish Australia. Flourish Australia is a company with a turnover of some $50 million per year and with over 600 employees.

Pam described the individual board members and their backgrounds, particularly our new Chairperson Professor Elizabeth Moore, who is actually a professor of management, and Paula Hanlon who is a long serving member with lived experience of mental health issues. ‘Lived experience is the foundation upon which our organisation is built,” said Pam.

So what is the purpose of the council and who can be members? The Community Advisory Council will be a conduit for advice, information dissemination, representative views and feedback between people accessing the service, Flourish Australia management and the Board.

Specifically, the Council will be a platform for inclusion and consultation regarding policy and procedures, decision making, review of service provision, strategic planning, WH&S, disability rights or other relevant issues.

Council members may advocate for the specific needs of people accessing the service in the region which they represent and consult with other people accessing the service to field important news to share with Flourish Australia management. However, they don’t advocate for individual people.

There are 24 representative positions, two of which are specifically dedicated to Flourish Australia’s Young Peoples programs, to encourage youth input. There is also a staff representative, primarily for facilitation support, and a minute taker from staff. Consideration is also given towards representation from members of certain diversity groups.


Pam (above) takes time to addresses the Community Advisory Council

Pam thanked Peter Farrugia (Manager, Peer Workforce), “for the work he has put into the Recovery Forums held throughout NSW and South East Queensland. It was from these forums that nominations for the Council came. Peter was also instrumental in organising the first meeting of the Council and making sure it ran smoothly.

“Thanks also to Fay Jackson, General Manager, Inclusion, for continuing to lead our work ensuring people with lived experience are the centre of everything we do and remain active collaborators,” said Pam.

(Photos by Warren Heggarty, John Maraz and Jas Buchal)



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