Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference

Adopted on 18 August 2020

1. Purpose of the Assistive Technology for All Alliance (the Alliance)

  1. The purpose of the Alliance is to inform and guide the work of the Assistive Technology for All campaign (the Campaign).
  2. The Campaign seeks to secure equitable access to assistive technology for people with disability not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) through the establishment of a funded national assistive technology program. Further details about this goal are set out at Appendix A and on the campaign website at www.assistivetechforall.org.au
  3. The Campaign and Alliance are coordinated by the founding organisation, Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria through a dedicated campaign coordinator (the ATFA Coordinator). Further information about COTA Victoria is set out on their website at www.cotavic.org.au
  4. The Alliance works to advance the Campaign by:
  • identifying and developing joint influencing opportunities
  • identifying and developing campaign projects, funding opportunities, events and activities
  • acting as a consultative body for research, policy and programs relating to the provision of assistive technology to people with disability not covered by the NDIS.

2. Membership

  1. Membership of the Alliance will consist of peak bodies, consumer representatives and subject matter experts from across the health, ageing and disability sectors.
  2. The ATFA Coordinator will assess all new parties wishing to join the Alliance to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria set out at sections 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 of this document.
  3. The ATFA Coordinator will report on any new parties wishing to join the Alliance at each Alliance meeting. This will provide existing parties with an opportunity to raise any questions or concerns about proposed members before their membership is confirmed.
  4. All Alliance members will be expected to contribute to and promote the work of the Campaign by:
  • providing input and advice to help guide the work of the Campaign
  • acting as ambassadors for the campaign to raise its profile within their organisation or community
  • using their existing media channels to promote the Campaign to consumers and other key stakeholders
  • providing in-kind support to help resource Campaign activities where possible
  • identifying and liaising with other stakeholders as partners for specific projects or consortia as required.
  1. Alliance members will be provided with a copy of the electronic campaign banner and are encouraged to use this in their email signature and/or adapt it for use on their organisation’s website (where applicable).

2.1. Eligibility criteria for consumer representatives

  1. To be eligible to join the Alliance, consumer representatives must:
  • have lived experience of the issues facing people with disability not eligible for the NDIS, or
  • have a personal insight into the issues facing people with disability not eligible for the NDIS through association with friends, relatives or colleagues with disability.
  1. All consumer representatives seeking to join the alliance must demonstrate that they:

2.2 Eligibility criteria for subject matter experts

  1. To be eligible to join the Alliance, subject matter experts must offer specific skills and/or expertise that would help further the work of the Alliance.
  2. All subject matter experts seeking to join the alliance must demonstrate that they:
  • are consumer-focused
  • are aligned with the human rights model of disability
  • possess a deep commitment to the work of the Alliance.

2.3 Eligibility criteria for organisations

  1. Membership will be open to state and national organisations.
  2. Where an organisation operates under a federated model, the preference will be for the national arm of the organisation to be represented on the Alliance.
  3. All organisations seeking to join the alliance must demonstrate that they:
  • are consumer-focused and are not driven by corporate interests
  • are aligned with the human rights model of disability
  • possess a deep commitment to the work of the Alliance.
  1. Upon joining the Alliance, all new member organisations must provide a copy of their logo to the ATFA Coordinator. In doing so, the organisation gives consent for its logo to be used on policy documents, submissions and other campaign materials in accordance with clause 3.4 of this Terms of Reference. All logos will be filed securely and will not be used outside the work of the Alliance.

3. Accountability

  1. The business of the Alliance will be conducted through discussion in order to achieve consensus.
  2. All deliberations and outcomes will be made in the context of the whole Alliance and not in the interests of any one member.
  3. The Alliance will not make decisions that may impact negatively on the business of any member.
  4. The ATFA Coordinator will not seek formal endorsement of every document and activity that is progressed on behalf of the Alliance. Each member will, however, have the ability to opt-out of any particular activity they do not support. If a member has advised the ATFA Coordinator that they do not wish to support a particular document or activity, their name and/or logo will not be used in association with that document or activity.
  5. All members will seek permission from the ATFA Coordinator before using the dedicated ATFA logo for any purpose.
  6. When promoting or speaking about the campaign, members will do so in a manner that is consistent with its purpose, goals and objectives.

4. Working methods

  1. The work of the Alliance will be facilitated by the ATFA Coordinator.
  2. The Alliance will meet at least four times each year, with additional meetings to be scheduled as required.
  3. Alliance meetings may be conducted face-to-face, via webinar or via teleconference.
  4. An agenda will be circulated at least two days prior to each meeting.
  5. A quorum of five-member organisations will be required to hold a meeting.
  6. All meetings will be minuted. A draft copy of the minutes will be circulated after each meeting to provide an opportunity for those who were present to suggest amendments.
  7. Additional business will be facilitated via email in-between formal meetings.
  8. Alliance members will take all necessary steps to ensure campaign documents are accessible to people with disability.
  9. All final campaign documents will be stored on a shared Dropbox folder which will be accessible to all members of the Alliance. Individual logos of member organisations will be filed securely by the ATFA Coordinator and will not be stored on the shared Dropbox folder.

4.1 Working Groups

  1. Separate working groups may be established to assist with specific campaign activities at the discretion of the Alliance.
  2. Only members of the Alliance will be able to participate in working groups.
  3. All active working groups will be allocated a standing agenda item at each Alliance meeting to enable them to:
  • Report on all activities that have been undertaken 
  • Consult on any matters that may require further exploration.

Appendix A: Our Ultimate Campaign Goal

The Alliance believes that equitable access to assistive technology would best be achieved through the establishment of a harmonised and nationally consistent assistive technology program to support people with disability who are not covered by the NDIS. This approach would simplify current funding arrangements while providing people with the technology they need to lead better quality lives and maintain their connection in the community.

The establishment of a national assistive technology program also has the potential to reduce demand in other areas such as acute health and aged and community care, which would in turn minimize downstream government costs. This is because improving access to assistive technology has been shown to:

  • improve health outcomes
  • prevent secondary health conditions
  • reduce the risk of falls
  • reduce hospital admissions
  • incur fewer costs relating to caregivers and long-term care
  • delay entry to residential aged care.

A national assistive technology program would:

  • Harmonise existing state-based assistive technology programs and those operated by not-for-profit organisations. This would streamline access and drive nationally consistent outcomes for consumers while reducing administrative burden on governments.
  • Be aligned with the NDIS Assistive Technology Strategy to address the inequity between the support that is provided under the NDIS and other service systems.
  • Be driven by key performance indicators relating to the timely provision of equipment, in line with the aspirations of the NDIS Participant Service Guarantee.

The program would need to be adequately funded to cover:

  • skilled assessment and referral; particularly in complex cases where an individual’s capacity can quickly diminish
  • the provision of high and low-cost aids and equipment
  • training to enable participants to use assistive technology safely and effectively
  • maintenance and repair of assistive technology.

To be eligible for the program, participants would need to:

  • have a disability or long-term health condition that affects activities of daily living
  • have a disability or long-term health condition that is non-compensable
  • not be eligible for the NDIS.

Eligibility for the program would not be impacted by:

  • the age of the applicant
  • the applicant being on a waiting list or in receipt of (non-NDIS) services, such as those provided under the aged care system.