Supported Decision Making

Copies of key documents from the SA Supported Decision Making project can be accessed through the links below, along with other more recent resources about Supprorted Decision Making.


Model and Evaluation

The Supported Decision Making Project (2010-2012) aimed to assist people with a disability set up supported decision making agreements, in areas of health, accommodation and lifestyle decisions.  The approach aims to maximise the autonomy and the exercise of rights by people with a disability, and is consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 12, "Equal Recognition Before the Law".

The model provided a “non-statutory supported decision making agreement”.

The independent evaluator concluded that the project provided specific benefits to most participants.  This included increased confidence in decision making, improved decision making skills, and a feeling of greater control in a persons lives.

The evaluation gave evidence that Supported Decision Making is both a companion process and viable alternative to substitute decision making for participants who were initially on guardianship orders.

Final independent evaluation,  November 2012

Completed by Margaret Wallace and Associates

Initial internal evaluation,  June 2011

This document gives an overview of initial learnings and developmental issues in providing a supported decision making service.

Internal summary of results & project outcomes (chapter of 2012 Annual Report) 

January 2013

The Internal Summary includes data on types of decision made not included in the Final Independent Report.

A population based model of delivering supported decision making.  Extract from 2013 Annual Report.

The stepped model underpins the work done in the Supported Decision Making trial.


Project Documents

What is supported decision making

An introductory description of supported decision making.

Supported Decision Making Practice Manual v1.4 June 2011

This manual considers what supported decision making is, and what it is not, and provides practice guidance. It outlines the parameters for practice used in the SA trial.

SDM August 2011 Update

SDM May 2013 Update


Presentations to Conferences and Meetings

Supported Decision Making in Australia, Melbourne, 2009

An introduction to Supported Decision Making policy and practice issues.


The Supported Decision Making Trial, Cher Nicholson, World Congress on Guardianship, Melbourne, October 2012

An overview of results from the trial.


The Future of Supported Decision Making, John Brayley, World Congress on Guardianship, Melbourne, October 2012

This presentation considers the question as to whether or not supported decision making can replace subsitute decision making. The need to address all aspects of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as a way to minimise the need for guardianship is noted.


Supported Decision Making - A Case for change, Supported Decision Making Forum, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated and QUT Health Law Centre, Brisbane, June 2013

This case for change considers both cultural change and the need for law reform. A population based model is introduced.

Dignity and the Worth of People, April 2015

This general presentation has a section on the harm to individuals caused by avoidable subsitute decision making, linked to the need to provide supported decision making.  It argues that such action is a form of discrimination, and an unecessary exercise of power by one person over another which can be traumatic.   Applying the micro-aggression theory of  Prof Chester Pierce, it is argued that even making a small decision made for a person who could otherwise make it himself or herself is ultimately oppressive, and diminishes an individual and their confidence needed to make future decisions.


Submissions to Inquiries

Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Inquiry: Legal Barriers for People with a Disability - Discussion paper Response

June 2014

This is a joint submission by the  South Australian OPA and the Victorian OPA.

The discussion includes commentary on proposed National Decision Making Principles, and the role of state based tribunals and the NDIS.

For a link to the inquiry page, which includes the ALRC April 2014 discussion paper to which this document responded click here (external link).


Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Inquiry: Legal Barriers for People with a Disability - Issues Paper Response

January 2014

This submission responds to questions raised by the ALRC related to equal recognition before the law for people with disabilities.

A link to the ALRC Inquiry site can be accessed below (External Links on Supported Decision Making)


Productivity Commission Inquiry: National Disability Insurance Scheme

October 2010

A submission on the links between supported decision making, individualised funding, and self managed funding



ABC Radio AM 27th December 2012


External Links on Supported Decision Making


Victorian Guardianship and Administration Bill 2014

August 2014

This Bill, follows on from the landmark Victorian Legal Reform Commission of the Guardianship and Administration Act in that state. That review sought to bring legislation into line with the UNCRPD and recommended a regime of Supported Decision Making.

The Bill that followed that review, now includes a new appointment of "supportive guardian" in addition to the traditional guardian appointment.


Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry Site: Legal Barriers for People with a Disability

July 2013

This Inquiry will examine laws and legal frameworks within the Commonwealth jurisdiction that deny or diminish the equal recognition of people with disability as persons before the law and their ability to exercise legal capacity, and consider what, if any, changes could be made to Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks to address these matters. 


OPA Victoria: One Day Conference Supported Decision Making Conference: From Theory to Practice

October 2013

This link is to a range of powerpoint presentations and papers presented at this conference.


ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy's Decision Making Tool

(Web based decision assistance)
Use this site to make decisions that give you more control over your own life.
Also includes resources for supporters

Speakout Advocacy (Tasmania) Decisions Decisions Decisions

(Video resource)
Casey and Reece talk about making choices and decisions. This is a video designed to teach young people with intellectual disability about choice and decision making.

ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy's Final Report of the ACT Supported Decision Making Trial
September 2013.


SCOPE Victoria Video on Supported Decision Making Practice

(Video Resource)
This video "Listening to those rarely heard: is part of a training packaged developed for people who know someone well, who experiences a severe to profound intellectual disability.


Victorian Law Reform Commission: Guardianship Final Report
April 2012

Chapter 7 of this report considers mental capacity, chapter 8 the role of supporters, and chapter 9 co-decisionmaking.

This report is a comprehensive reference to the operation of Guardianship and Administration in Victoria and in Australia.