About the Office of the Public Advocate

The Public Advocate is the independent statutory officer appointed under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 to protect and promote the human rights of adults with decision-making disabilities.

The Office of the Public Advocate is part of the Department of Justice. Formal and informal arrangements have been established between the Public Advocate and a number of Government and non-Government agencies and advocacy services.

Staff at the Office of the Public Advocate are committed to:

  • Providing quality services which are accessible and sensitive to people's individual needs
  • Promoting personal dignity, independence and choice
  • Meet professional and service standards.

Service standards

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The Office of the Public Advocate is committed to providing services which:

  • Promote personal dignity, independence and choice wherever possible.
  • Are accessible and sensitive to people's individual needs.
  • Meet professional and service standards.

Timely service

Staff will answer enquiries promptly. If they are unable to help, they will refer the person to other relevant services.

Respect

Staff will treat people with courtesy and respect and will not release personal information to any unauthorised party unless it is necessary to ensure the safety of an adult with a decision-making disability or carry out guardianship responsibilities.

Freedom of Information

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To request access to information held by the Office of the Public Advocate, Freedom of Information Access Applications must:

  • Be in writing
  • Provide enough information so that the documents requested can be identified
  • Provide an Australian address to which notices can be sent
  • Be lodged at the agency with any application fee (if applicable).

Please address all enquiries and requests to the Freedom of Information Coordinator.

Phone - 1300 858 455 or 61 8 9278 7300
Email - opa@justice.wa.gov.au
Postal address - PO Box 6293, EAST PERTH WA 6892

If you are deaf, or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, you can contact us through the National Relay Service.

Feedback

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It is important that people contact the Office with suggestions, compliments and complaints regarding services. By doing so they:

  • Provide positive feedback and recognition to staff when they have assisted a client
  • Provide valuable information on improving services
  • May prevent a negative service experience from occurring again
  • Offer the Office an opportunity to improve its services.

The Office of the Public Advocate treats all complaints seriously and deals with them in a timely manner, with the aim of finding a satisfactory resolution.

To lodge a complaint about the Office's services, the following steps are recommended:

  1. Contact the staff member who provided the service. They must then alert their supervisor to the complaint and the outcome.
  2. If this is not possible or the complaint is not resolved, raise the matter with the appropriate manager.
  3. If this is not possible or the complaint is still not resolved, raise the matter with the Public Advocate.

The Office of the Public Advocate undertakes to:

  • Respond to all grievances within 10 working days of the complaint being lodged
  • Keep records of all relevant proceedings including details of the grievance, the investigation, methods of resolution and customer feedback
  • Advise the relevant people (in writing) of the outcome and any corrective action to be taken.

How to provide feedback

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Feedback for the Office of the Public Advocate can be delivered in two ways:

1. Contact the Office of the Public Advocate direct

Phone - 1300 858 455 or 61 8 9278 7300

Email - opa@justice.wa.gov.au

Postal address - PO Box 6293, EAST PERTH WA 6892

2. Contact the Department of Justice via their online Customer Feedback System

Refer to the Department of Justice's Customer Feedback system. Learn more information about Feedback to the Department of Justice.

If you are deaf, or have a hearing impairment or speech impairment, you can contact us through the National Relay Service.

A person not satisfied with a decision of the Public Advocate in relation to a complaint may lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman Western Australia.

Feedback advocacy support for people with disability

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In lodging a complaint, you may appreciate the support of another person or agency to help you present your case. We respect your right to choose an advocate to support you. A number of agencies provide advocacy support specifically for people with disability, and their carers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does the Public Advocate find out about adults with decision-making disabilities who may need a guardian or administrator?

Anybody concerned about a family member or friend, who is having difficulty making decisions, may contact the Office of the Public Advocate through the Telephone Advisory Service.

Alternatively, an application may be lodged with the State Administrative Tribunal to appoint a guardian or administrator. The Tribunal may ask the Public Advocate to conduct an investigation to help determine whether a guardian and/or administrator should be appointed.

How will I know if the Public Advocate is involved with a member of my family or a friend who has a decision-making disability?

Parties closely involved are usually advised of an investigation by the Public Advocate.  Exceptions are made where disclosure might compromise the estate or safety of the person with the disability.

When the Public Advocate is appointed as a person's guardian, interested parties known to the Public Advocate are informed in writing of the appointment.

Is the Public Advocate involved in all applications made to the State Administrative Tribunal?

No, where the matter is straightforward and all interested parties are in agreement that a private guardian or administrator should be appointed, the Public Advocate is not usually involved.

When is the Public Advocate involved with applications to the State Administrative Tribunal?

The Public Advocate can become involved at the request of the Tribunal or following a community-referred investigation which reveals a need for advocacy on behalf of a person with a decision-making disability.

This may happen if the application involves:

  • abuse
  • conflict about a decision that needs to be made
  • a contentious treatment decision
  • a decision that is against the will of the adult with the decision-making disability.

What are the fees for the services of the Public Advocate?

The State Government of Western Australia funds the Office of the Public Advocate and there is no fee for advocacy and investigation, or guardianship services.

In some instances, there is a small cost for training sessions. To learn more, visit Events, Seminars and Training.

How can I get more information about the work of the Public Advocate?

You can contact the Telephone Advisory Service from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday, or you can download Office of the Public Advocate publications from this website.

Publications

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Are you worried about a vulnerable adult (Aboriginal program)
 
Information Sheet 2 - The role of the Public Advocate
 
Information Sheet 7 - Customer feedback and service standards
Page reviewed 7 April 2022