[[Melanie]], your contact person at the [[Consumer Coalition]], calls you to confirm that you are their new consumer representative on the [[Medications Access Committee]] (MAC), after the previous representative moved interstate. She tells you the next meeting is in two weeks, and that [[Lucy]], at the [[Secretariat]] for the MAC, will contact you to discuss the meeting. She provides you with Lucy's contact details. \n\nMelanie asks if you have any questions. You have a number of questions; in relation to your role and its scope, the support you will receive from the Consumer Coalition and how you keep in touch with them. \n\n[[You hold off from asking your questions until another day, as you don't want to appear as though you don't know what you're doing.|do-not-ask-melanie]] \n\n[[You ask Melanie your questions while you've got her on the phone.|ask-melanie]]\n
The Terms of Reference is a document that describes the purpose and scope of the Committee. It may include items such as: the Committee's aims and objectives, background, membership, decision-making, key activities, and contact information.\n\n<<gback>>
Later on, you worry that Lucy at the Secretariat will call you and you won't have enough information about your role to speak to her knowledgeably; especially if she asks about such things as your reporting relationship with the Consumer Coalition. You decide that it would be better to call Melanie back, knowing that you need to go into this representational role fully informed, or it will reflect badly on you and the Consumer Coalition. \n\n[[Melanie answers the phone.|ask-melanie]]
Rick is pleased that you rang, and is keen to share his stories about the Committee. He gives you a useful overview of the issues and history of the Committee.\n\nThen he begins to talk about some of the Committee members. He warns you about a member named John, who he believes is only interested in pushing his own agenda. You mentally make a note to avoid getting involved in Rick's personal politics with John. \n\nAlthough you are expecting the Secretariat to make first contact, you decide to call her first, as you are about to go away for a few days. \n\n[[You phone the Secretariat.|phone-secretariat]]\n\n[[You email the Secretariat.|email-secretariat]]\n
You make a few initial notes on the Agenda, and then have a look at the [[Position Statements]] on the Consumer Coalition's website. A few of them relate to Agenda items, and you read through them. You write down your short-term goals for the meeting. You also review the Consumer Health Forum Consumer Representative Guidelines and the e-learning module to refresh yourself on the tips for being a consumer representative. \n\nThe day before the meeting you gather your meeting papers and the phone number for the Secretariat, in case you need it. \n\nYou arrive outside the venue fifteen minutes before the meeting is due to start. Through the glass sliding doors you can see people entering and leaving the building with their electronic passes. The security guard checks in guests nearby. You're glad you arrived early, as this is a sign-in process you were unaware of. \n\nThe Security Guard signs you in, hands you a guest pass, and points you towards the lift. \n\n//End//\n
Lucy answers the phone, and you introduce yourself. She is pleased you rang, as she has some information to run through with you. \n\nShe confirms the date and time of the next meeting, and gives you the street address for the meeting venue. You ask if she can send you through the previous [[Minutes]], [[Terms of Reference]] and membership list for the Committee. Lucy offers to email them to you. \n\nAlthough you want her to email the documents so you can save them to a file on your computer; you only have a small home printer. You ask if she can also post a copy of them out. She asks if you have any questions. \n\nYou ask her if there is any reimbursement for travel expenses, such as parking fees or public transport fares. She explains that the Committee can reimburse you for parking and public transport fares, or provide taxi vouchers in advance (you request some taxi vouchers for the first meeting). \n\nYou remember that one of your peer consumer representatives is required to maintain absolute confidentiality about the Committee work they do. You ask Lucy about this, knowing you are supposed to report to the Consumer Coalition after each meeting. Lucy explains that it is fine for you to report on the work of the Committee, provided the Consumer Coalition does not discuss this work outside of the organisation. She also explains that sometimes the Committee will ask members to keep certain items confidential, but that these will be clearly identified. \n\nA short time later, you receive an email from Lucy, thanking you for getting in touch. She confirms that she has put the previous Minutes, Terms of Reference, membership list and taxi vouchers in the post to send to you; and she has also attached electronic copies of each of these. \n\n[[You save the electronic documents into a file on your computer.|receive-agenda]] \n
You send Lucy an email introducing yourself, and asking if she can provide copies of the previous [[Minutes]], [[Terms of Reference]] and Membership List for the Committee. \n\nThat afternoon you receive an email reply. Lucy thanks you for getting in touch, and has attached the Terms of Reference, previous Minutes and the Membership list. You save each of these documents into a file on your computer. Lucy also explains that they can reimburse you for your travel expenses, by reimbursing parking fees or public transport fares; or providing taxi vouchers in advance. \n\nWhen you look at the documents she has sent you, you realise they are quite large; too large for your small home printer. You phone her and ask if she can post the documents to you as well, along with the taxi vouchers. Lucy agrees, and you give her your postal address. \n\nLucy provides you with the street address and meeting time. You remember that one of your peer consumer representatives is required to maintain absolute confidentiality about the Committee work they do. You ask Lucy about this, knowing you are supposed to report to the Consumer Coalition after each meeting. Lucy explains that it is fine for you to report on the work of the Committee, provided the Consumer Coalition does not discuss this work outside of the organisation. She also explains that sometimes the Committee will ask members to keep certain items confidential, but that these will be clearly identified. \n\nA short time later, you receive an email from Lucy, thanking you for getting in touch. She confirms that she has put the previous Minutes, Terms of Reference, membership list and taxi vouchers in the post to send to you.\n\n[[You file the papers in a folder.|receive-agenda]]\n
Janet is the [[Chair]] of the [[Medications Access Committee]], and is an advisor to the Minister for Health, who established the Committee. \n\n<<gback>>
The Secretariat is responsible for providing administrative support to the committee, such as organising meetings including travel and claiming expenses, contacting members, and taking Minutes. \n\nThe Secretariat can assist you with having information photocopied, placing items onto the agenda, sending you all the papers prior to the meeting, accessing committee resources (such as phone or fax), and being included in informal discussions. \n\n<<gback>>
Melanie is a Consumer Representative Liaison Officer at the [[Consumer Coalition]], your nominating organisation, and is your key contact there. \n\n<<gback>>
Position Statements (also known as Policy Statements / Policy Positions or Policy Platforms) articulate the views or standing points of an organisation on specific issues. \n\n<<gback>>
You read through the [[Terms of Reference]] and previous [[Minutes]], to get an overview of what the Committee has been working on. Then you look through the Agenda - which now makes more sense, having read the background papers. \n\nWhen you read through the papers, you see there is no mention of sitting fees. You know the Consumer Coalition only nominates to committees that pay sitting fees but you feel awkward about asking. \n\n[[You phone the Secretariat to ask about the sitting fees.|sitting-fees-secretariat]]\n\n[[You phone the Consumer Coalition for advice about committee sitting fees.|sitting-fees-consumer-coalition]] \n\n[[You hold off asking until the meeting.|sitting-fees-meeting]] \n
You decide to wait until the meeting to ask about sitting fees. At the meeting, it is then awkward to bring up; but you do find out that you will be paid an acceptable fee. \n\n[[You begin preparing for the meeting.|meeting-preparation]]\n
Lucy provides [[Secretariat]] support to the [[Medications Access Committee]], and works for [[Janet]], the [[Chair]] of the Committee. \n\n<<gback>>
When you phone Lucy, she confirms that you will be paid a sitting fee. You are comfortable with the amount, and she explains the process for claiming the fee.\n\n[[You begin preparing for the meeting.|meeting-preparation]]\n
The Medications Access Committee is a national committee that seeks to improve appropriate access to prescriptions and medications in Australia. It was established by the Minister for Health, and is [[Chaired|Chair]] by her advisor, [[Janet]]. \n\n//Please note that the Medications Access Committee is a fictional committee.// \n\n<<gback>>
The Agenda provides an overview and outlines the order of items that will be discussed at the meeting.\n\n<<gback>>
When you phone the Consumer Coalition, Melanie confirms that a sitting fee should be paid. She explains that while professionals may undertake committee work as part of their professional life, it is an accepted practice for consumer representatives to be paid a sitting fee. This is because consumers frequently forego their paid employment in order to prepare for and attend committee meetings; or have to make other arrangements for ongoing commitments (such as carer responsibilities). Melanie says that the Consumer Coalition checks that a committee will pay consumer representative travel expenses and a sitting fee before nominating a consumer representative. She says that there is no set amount as sitting fees can vary depending on the committee workload and requirements. \n\nWhen you phone Lucy to ask, she confirms that you will be paid a sitting fee. You are comfortable with the amount, and she explains the process for claiming the fee. \n\n[[You begin preparing for the meeting.|meeting-preparation]]\n\n\n
The Minutes provide a written record of discussions, action items and agreements that took place during the meeting. \n\n<<gback>>
A few days later, the Committee papers and taxi vouchers arrive in the post. Lucy also sends a group email to all the Committee members, and attaches the meeting [[Agenda]] and related papers. In her email she welcomes and introduces you. You save the Agenda and other papers to your Committee file on your computer. Lucy says she will provide copies of the papers at the meeting. \n\n[[You also save the email from Lucy, which you note has email addresses for each of the Committee members.|sitting-fees]]
You ask Melanie about the scope of your role on the Committee - whether you are there to speak for the Consumer Coalition, or as an individual. Melanie explains that you have been nominated as a 'consumer representative' by the Consumer Coalition to provide a consumer perspective on access to medications; but you are not expected to speak on behalf of all consumers, nor formally for the Consumer Coalition (only the Director and Chair can do that). \n\nMelanie explains that the Consumer Coalition has resources available that will help you in your work. She recommends that you have a look at the [[Position Statements]] on their website, as those will give you more information about the Consumer Coalition's views and positions on certain issues.\n\nYou ask Melanie if you should call her after the meeting. She says that you are welcome to report whichever way is best for you. She suggests it is helpful if you send an email report after each meeting with a summary of key discussion points, and any issues you think she should know about. That way, Melanie can share your report within the Consumer Coalition network and let you know of helpful information. This will help to keep other consumers aware of your work and the issues that are being worked on. \n\nShe asks you to highlight any issues or comments that are confidential and should not be shared beyond the Consumer Coalition secretariat. She also encourages you visit the [[Consumers Health Forum of Australia website|http://www.ourhealth.org.au]], and explains that on the website you will be able to access forums with other consumer representatives. She reminds you to attend one of the Consumer Coalition's upcoming Peer Network meetings.\n\nMelanie offers to put you in contact with the Consumer Coalition's previous representative on the Medications Access Committee, Rick, to talk to him about the work of the Committee. You are glad you persisted with your questions, and already feel more informed.\n\n[[You decide to call Rick.|call-rick]]\n
The Consumer Coalition is an organisation for consumers undertaking representational roles, and is your nominating organisation. [[Melanie]] is your contact officer there. \n\n//Please note that the Consumer Coalition is a fictional organisation.// \n\n<<gback>>
The Committee Chair / Chairperson is responsible for facilitating meetings; managing decision making; ensuring all community members participate in committee tasks and that the work of the committee is completed. The Chairperson may cast the deciding vote if the committee is split on an issue.\n\n<<gback>>