Terms of Reference


Function

Role

The ACT Disability Reference Group (the Reference Group), formerly known as the ACT Disability Expert Panel, is an advisory group which will work to ensure the ACT Government is aware of the issues which affect people with disabilities in the ACT.

The Reference Group will also advise the ACT Government on ways in which the ACT can be a more inclusive community for people with disabilities. Members of the Reference Group will draw on their own experience and their broader engagement with people with disability, as their carers and service providers to provide that advice.

The work of the Reference Group will be underpinned by the six policy areas of the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (the Strategy):

The Strategy provides the framework for governments to engage people with disability in the development of policies and programs.

As a Human Rights jurisdiction, the ACT Government is committed to ensuring the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is observed and applied through policy and practice. The ACT Government also has an obligation under the National Disability Agreement to engage a consultative group of people with disability to guide the decision making government. The Reference Group will form part of this consultative role.

Terms of Reference

The ACT Disability Reference Group will:

Membership

Structure

The Reference Group will comprise between seven and 15 members, a majority of whom are people with disabilities, including the Community Co-Chair.

Chair

The Reference Group will have two Co-Chairs. The Community Co-Chair will be appointed by the Minister.The Director-General of the Community Services Directorate (CSD) will also be Co-Chair.

Composition and Representation

The Reference Group will comprise people who work together in the best interests of people with disability in the ACT. The Reference Group is not a representative body but rather an advisory group of people who are able to draw upon valued and relevant perspectives and experience. Reference Group members may bring a range of expertise including:

The Minister has the discretion to appoint additional members, including ex-officio members.

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Terms of Appointment

Remuneration

Members will be remunerated for participating in bi-monthly meetings, leading community engagement and significant out-of-session contribution up to 15 hours per year. Remuneration will be agreed in advance of out-of-session forums and engagements.

Remuneration will be consistent with the ACT Remuneration Tribunal determination.

Role of the Chairs

The Minister for Disability will appoint a Community Co-Chair (the Director-General of CSD) will also be Co-Chair) for the Reference Group. The Co-Chairs will:

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Operation

General Meetings

Quorum

In order for decisions to be made at meetings there is to be a quorum of no less than half the total current number of members plus one.

Leave of absence and apologies

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Resigning from the Disability Reference Group

Members may resign from the Reference Group at any time. All resignations must be provided in writing to the Minister, stating their intention to resign from the Reference Group, with a copy provided to the Co-Chair/s. The appointment of replacement members is at the Minister’s discretion.

Secretariat Support

Secretariat support will be provided by the Office for Disability, within CSD. The Secretariat is responsible for:

Business Between Meetings

The Co-Chair/s may conduct business between meetings on behalf of the Reference Group, including the preparation of correspondence. The Co-Chair/s may delegate this to other members, as required. All submissions and significant correspondence must be cleared through the Co-Chairs and the Minister.

Members are expected to advise the Secretariat when they have completed agreed actions arising from previous meetings.

Official Business and the Representation of Reference Group Views

The Co-Chair/s may represent the Reference Group at meetings and forums when attending on behalf of the Reference Group. The Co-Chairs must represent existing Reference Group policy in the public domain, including the media, as needed to achieve the Reference Group’s Work Plan.

Members representing Reference Group are expected to comply with the ACT Governance Principles 2017External Link Code of Conduct and report back to Reference Group on official activities.

Formal speeches and papers that are delivered by a member on behalf of the Reference Group or the Minister must be cleared by the Co-Chair/s or the Minister respectively prior to their presentation.

All contact with the media on behalf of the Reference Group requires consultation with the Co-Chairs. Any information to be released to the media on behalf of the Reference Group must be cleared through the Chair and the Minister.

The Secretariat can update the Community Services Directorate’s website with the Reference Group’s work, including:

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Confidentiality

Unless otherwise indicated, all papers and minutes are confidential and the Group will determine what papers are marked for release at the end of each meeting or in subsequent meetings.

The Secretariat will provide a brief public summary of meetings, which is available for all members and will be available online.

Members may be provided with other confidential material which they can not disclose to anyone outside the group and should treat with the utmost care and discretion.

Conflict of interest is defined as any instance where a Reference Group member has a direct financial or other interest in matters under consideration, or proposed for consideration, by the Reference Group.

A member must disclose to the Co-Chair/s any situation that may give rise to a conflict of interest, a potential conflict of interest, or a potential perceived conflict of interest. The Co-Chair/s will make the determination whether there are adequate grounds for excluding a member from any related discussion or decision making regarding a conflict of interest issue.

Reference Group members are expected to observe the highest standards of ethical conduct as outlined in the Governance Principles – Appointments and the ACT Code of Ethics (Section 9 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994), including honesty, courtesy, fairness and conflict of interest.

Documentation outlining appropriate conduct in relation to ethical standards, conflict of interest and other issues is outlined in the Governance Principles – Appointments available from the ACT Office for Disability or the Chief Minister and Cabinet DirectorateExternal Link

The Minister has the discretion to suspend or terminate a member’s appointment if there is an identified conflict of interest or a breach of the Code of Conduct.

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Termination

The Minister retains the discretion to terminate a member’s appointment to the Reference Group for serious breaches of attendance, or the Code of Conduct.

Review of Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference shall be reviewed every two years.

Contact Details

Secretariat

ACT Disability Reference Group
Office for Disability

Community Services Directorate

Address:
GPO Box 158
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Phone: (02) 6207 5323
Email: officefordisability@act.gov.au

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