Working with Consumers and Carers Toolkit

The Working with Consumers and Carers Toolkit (Toolkit) was developed to support consistent, effective, and meaningful engagement with WA health consumers and carers.Working with consumers and carers toolkit infographic

The Toolkit comprises a range of practical, accessible tools and resources and can be applied to any initiative across the WA health system – whether that be a policy, program, project, or research initiative.

Toolkit chapters


The Toolkit provides a step-by-step guide for planning, implementing, and evaluating consumer and carer engagement activities. It may act as a comprehensive guide for staff who have not previously worked in the space, or it may be used as a valuable reference tool for those who are more experienced in consumer and carer engagement.

The Toolkit was primarily developed to support Department of Health staff with consistent and intentional consumer and carer engagement in the development of systemwide strategies, policies, and projects. However, the Toolkit may serve as a valuable resource for any health organisation across the WA health system.

The Department recognises that many teams across the system are already implementing effective engagement strategies. This Toolkit is not intended to replace that work. The approaches shared in this document set out a basic minimum standard of engagement and planning that staff are encouraged to achieve.

Key features

The Toolkit covers 4 key stages of consumer and carer engagement:

  1. Think: Key enablers and considerations for effective engagement.
  2. Plan: Practical planning advice and templates.
  3. Deliver: Tools and templates to undertake and sustain engagement.
  4. Evaluate: Steps and considerations for understanding what works and improving.

Each stage is guided by 6 key principles for working with consumers and carers:

  • Accessible and inclusive
  • Respectful and safe
  • Authentic
  • Clear communication and transparency
  • Purposeful
  • Committed and accountable.

The Toolkit was developed as part of the Department of Health’s commitment to Recommendation 4 of the Sustainable Health Review (SHR4) to ‘commit to new approaches to support citizen and community partnership in the design, delivery, and evaluation of sustainable health and social care services and reported outcomes.’

The development of the Toolkit was based on best-practice research and consultations and was designed in collaboration with a multi-perspective Working Group, with oversight from the SHR4 Steering Group. The Working Group was co-chaired by the Department of Health and Health Consumers’ Council. It comprised a diverse range of experience and expertise, including those from the Department, WA health service providers, advocacy groups, health consumers, and carers.

Consumer and carer representatives were essential to the development of the Toolkit, bringing their unique perspectives on the best way to value, respect, and effectively work together with WA consumers and carers.

More information

For further assistance or queries, please contact the Health Networks team:

Last reviewed: 20-09-2023