Financial acknowledgement for consumer representation is accepted as best practice and many health consumer organisations across Australia recommend remuneration for any meaningful contribution. The standard practice is to cover all out-of-pocket expenses. Sitting fees for committee membership or hourly rate remuneration can be offered dependent on level of contribution.
Out-of-pocket expenses include public transport costs, private transport and parking expenses, training costs, accommodation and other incidental costs. Claims for the use of private cars is calculated in accordance with the Australian Taxation Office Claiming motor vehicle expenses as a sole trader – cents per kilometre policy.
Sitting fees and hourly rate remuneration
The VCCC Alliance has developed a cost model that aligns with the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines (referenced by Safer Care Victoria), using the upper limit on Schedule C: Classification criteria and remuneration schedule - Group C organisations (Section 3a) for advisory bodies to departments.
The VCCC Alliance cost model contains a defined payment schedule correlating with specific levels of engagement to maintain consistency across projects and programs. The model can be used for budgeting purposes and provides an overview of consumer activity across five levels of consumer participation outlined in the Model of Consumer Engagement.
Formalise the association
Any discussion about remuneration should be included in an introduction pack and occur as part of the induction process.
Like any financial agreement, there should be processes in place and explained prior to the commencement. The VCCC Alliance has created two factsheets to assist staff and consumers with implementing remuneration. Other organisations may use this content to guide the creation of their own factsheets.
Consumer Remuneration - Factsheet for consumers
Consumer Remuneration - Factsheet for staff and organisations
Further, other useful forms are available to view and customise to your requirements on the sample payment forms page.
Some consumers may prefer not to be reimbursed or paid for their time for altruistic purposes - and this is their choice. The offer can be made and recorded as declined... and extended again at a later time. From a consumer perspective, the individual is responsible completing the relevant forms for induction and tax purposes. From an organisation perspective, it is important for all consumers to be remunerated at equivalent rates for the same tasks and contribution across an organisation.