Information sharing

Proposal 4–10 The Australian Government should develop mechanisms for sharing information about appointments of supporters and representatives, including to avoid duplication of appointments.

4.98 The appointment of supporters and representatives in accordance with the Commonwealth decision-making model would represent a significant reform to current Commonwealth decision-making arrangements. As outlined earlier in this chapter, one of the key effects is likely to be to provide greater certainty for third parties about the role of supporters and facilitate their provision of support to the person who may require decision-making support.[70] This will allow third parties, such as Commonwealth departments and agencies, to interact with those providing decision-making support with greater confidence.

4.99 It may also address the frustrations expressed by stakeholders such as the Carers Alliance, who submitted that ‘there should be seamless sharing of information (by prior consent) to avoid the continuous and interminable requirements to complete forms’.[71]

4.100 In order to have such an effect, there is a need for information sharing between Commonwealth departments and agencies, and potentially also state and territory bodies, with respect to the appointment of supporters, representatives and state and territory appointed decision-makers.

4.101 Accordingly, the ALRC proposes that the Australian Government, through its departments and agencies, develop methods of sharing information about such appointments. Information sharing could take a number of forms and serve a number of different roles. For example, at one end of the spectrum it could serve the function envisaged under the VLRC’s supporter model, which recommended that supported decision-making arrangements and orders should be registered on an online register and should not come into force until they are registered.[72] Development of a register of this type could act as a centralised source of information about the appointment of supporters and representatives in particular areas of Commonwealth law and facilitate the appointment of existing appointees or representatives as a supporter or representative.

4.102 Alternatively, departments and agencies could develop or revise existing memorandums of understanding with respect to information sharing in relation to individuals.

4.103 There is also a need for exchange of information between the Commonwealth and state and territory appointed decision-makers. The ALRC understands informal arrangements are already in place between some Commonwealth departments and agencies and public trustees and guardians in some jurisdictions. This should be considered in the development of any information sharing method.

4.104 The ALRC would be interested in stakeholder views on the most appropriate approach to information sharing in this context, including in relation to types of information shared, storage, access and associated costs.