Advocates

An advocate can deal with Work and Income on someone's behalf.

We are committed to seeing that people get all the assistance they are entitled to and will work with them and their representatives to see that this happens. We know that some people have difficulty in explaining their needs and as a result, do not always obtain their full and correct entitlements. You as an advocate provide a voice for these people.

What an advocate can do

When an advocate deals with Work and Income on someone's behalf, they can only do what the person they represent has said they can do. This consent must be in writing unless the person is present with the advocate. In that case verbal consent is enough.

Written consent needs to say what an advocate can do. It can also say what an advocate can't do. It must be signed by the advocate and the person giving consent.

Information

We'll only deal with an advocate within the terms of the consent.

  • Our commitment to working with advocates

    The goals of advocates and Work and Income are the same: to do the best we can for the person and their family. This means that they get their full and correct entitlement. We are committed to working with advocates to make this happen.

  • Working relationships

    We have a formal relationship with the National Beneficiary Advocate Consultative Group (NBACG). The NBACG represent a national network of beneficiary advocacy groups.

    Benefit advocates who work for one of these advocacy groups should follow the operation practice of the NBACG when working with Work and Income and the Ministry of Social Development.

    If you're an advocate who isn't covered by the NBACG there is more information about how we'll work with you in the following document.

    National Beneficiaries Advocacy Consultative Group

    The National Beneficiary Advocate Consultative Group (NBACG) represents a national network of beneficiary advocacy groups. They meet with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) quarterly with a mutual commitment to work together and resolve issues for the people we jointly serve.

    Some of the aims of the meetings are to:

    • create a culture of collaboration and relationship building
    • discuss ongoing areas of concern and, where there are mutually agreed problems, to identify what action is to be taken
    • define operation practice for benefit advocates who work under the NBACG.
  • The escalation process for NBACG advocates

    The objective of the escalation process is to efficiently and effectively deal with matters of disagreement.

    If you're an NBACG advocate you should refer to the Advocates Terms of Reference for information on the escalation process and the operational practice you should follow.

    A quick guide to the escalation process for NBACG advocates

    Where an issue arises, advocates will:

    • discuss and attempt to resolve the situation with the site;
    • discuss and attempt to resolve the situation with the appropriate regional staff;
    • ask that the issue to be added to the agenda for the next quarterly meeting; and/or
    • refer the issue to the National Relationship Manager for Client Representatives.

    The method chosen depends on what the advocate considers is the most appropriate course of action depending on the circumstances.

    Any escalation of a client case to National Office must be done in writing.
    If the matter still cannot be resolved, the issue will be escalated to the Ministry of Social Development.

  • What you can do if you don't agree with us

    Advocates who work under the NBACG should follow the procedures agreed between the NBACG and the Ministry of Social Development in the Advocates Terms of Reference.

    Other advocates have the rights described on the following page:

  • Map - Our manuals and procedures

    These are the manuals and procedures that our staff follow. They are used to help us follow the legislation that determines the assistance someone can get.