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Home About us The Advocacy Standards Project

The Advocacy Standards Project

What is the project going to achieve?

In the wake of the report from the Aged Care Royal Commission, the role of Advocacy for older people became more prominent, and this was reinforced during the COVID pandemic and its devastating impact on older people. The Disability Royal Commission is also highlighting the vulnerability of people with disability in their communities and in some specialist service settings, focusing the need for strong independent Advocacy.

The two peak bodies representing Advocacy, the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) and the Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) agreed to work together to create a new Australian Standard specific to Advocacy for Aged Care and Disability, which can be used strengthen and continuously improve Advocacy, and enable agencies to demonstrate to government departments that they are achieving outcomes for the funding they receive.

The Standard, AS 5391:2024 Advocacy in Ageing and Disability is now complete and in the process of being published. We have achieved a lot over the past 18 months.

We are now beginning the process of developing a scheme. A scheme can be understood as being “made up of a set of requirement and procedures which direct how conformity assessment activities will be conducted”. For this project the scheme will be developed by JASANZ to enable Advocacy Services to be certified against the requirements of the Advocacy Standard.

The Standard is complete and the development of the scheme by JASANZ is just beginning. The Standard was developed with a great deal of input from people who work in Advocacy Services and people who use Advocacy Services. A Technical Committee made up of organisations involved in Advocacy, in the aged care and disability support sectors, as well as Government departments, and people with lived experience, met on 11 occasions and voted to have the Standard published in its current form. In late 2023 Standards Australia, who led the process of development, allowed a period of 9 weeks for public comment on the draft version of the Standard, and OPAN and DANA engaged Capacity Services to consult with people online and in person to get feedback which was included in the final draft of the Standard. Some of this feedback will be used in the drafting of the scheme that supports the Standard.

The Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JASANZ) has been contracted by OPAN and DANA to develop a scheme that can be used by Certification Accreditation Bodies (CABs) to scrutinise the operations of Advocacy Services and see if they are meeting the expectations of the Standard. Currently services under the National Disability Advocacy Program are periodically audited by CABs using a scheme which certifies their compliance to the National Standard for Disability Services (NSDS). The scheme being developed to certify against AS 5391:2024 will be able to be applied to any funded Advocacy Service in the aged care and disability sectors across Australia.

The scheme development process will include opportunities for those who work in Advocacy Services and those use Advocacy to provide input, and to comment on drafts of the scheme as they become available. The first of these occur on the 18 and 20 June 2024.

View the full project update here. >

Please register below to attend the online events, commencing 18 and 20 June 2024 

Advocacy Standards briefing session for advocacy service users. 
Click to register for the 18th June 2pm (AEST) session or
Click to register for the 20th June 11am (AEST) session 

Advocacy Standards briefing session for aged care and disability advocacy staff.
Click to register for the 18th June 11am (AEST) session or
Click to register for the 20th June 2pm (AEST) session 

What next?

The scheme development project commenced on 27 May and is due to finish in early May 2025. Its goal is to have a scheme ready for implementation by July 2025. Two further rounds of consultations are scheduled, one toward the end of 2024 and the final round in early 2025. We will keep you informed of all dates and events, and update you on the progress of the project through regular communications.


Michael Bleasdale
Project Leader

Kate Bowditch
Standards Australia Project Manager