NRS National Advisory Committee – Terms of Reference

Purpose

The National Relay Service National Advisory Committee is established to inform the development of service delivery priorities of the National Relay Service - that is, to provide feedback to the NRS Providers about priority issues arising from service provision and possible future improvements to services delivered through the NRS.

The NAC will work within established policy objectives and within the terms of current agreements with the Commonwealth of Australia for the provision of the National Relay Service.

Role

The role of the NAC is to:

  • inform and support the NRS to facilitate best practice service delivery, in the context of the contractual requirements of the NRS contactors with the Department of Communications
  • strengthen channels of communication between the NRS Providers and stakeholders
  • participate in the development of service delivery and research priorities
  • discuss and analyse research findings in the light of intelligence emerging from stakeholder engagement practices
  • provide advice on proposals for improvements to NRS services, marketing products and strategies; and consider the appropriateness of these changes in meeting consumer expectations.

Membership and recruitment

Membership of the NAC is drawn from industry and service sectors, consumers and/or family members, and includes both NRS Providers.

The NAC consists of:

  • a NAC Chair provided by the NRS Outreach Provider
  • one member provided by the NRS Relay Provider
  • up to eleven members, selected from an expression of interest process with a view to establishing a NAC where membership collectively provides a breadth of:
    • sector background [primary NRS users, industry, services, community]
    • experience in technical aspects relevant to NRS service delivery
    • experience in customer interface/relationship matters relevant to NRS service delivery.

Commonwealth officers from the Department of Communications attend NAC meetings as observers.

The NRS Providers will:

  • be briefed prior to each meeting by the Chair or delegate 
  • provide timely information and data on NRS services to inform the agenda
  • prepare material for presentation at the agenda as agreed with the Chair, and
  • otherwise make best endeavours to support the effective Committee proceedings.

NAC members are approved by the NAC Chair for a fixed term of appointment of three years.   Members may be renominated for a second two-year term at the discretion of the NAC Chair.  

A NAC member who cannot attend one or more meetings may nominate an alternate person to the Chair. Prior notice of three weeks is expected, to allow time for the Chair to approve an alternate person. The alternate person must be fully briefed by the person who has nominated them.  

All members and alternate persons agree to abide by the Terms of Reference. 

Members who are absent from two consecutive meetings without an apology will be excused from the committee.  Their position becomes vacant.

Resignations can be submitted in writing to the Chair at any time.   However, advance notice of one month prior to a meeting is expected, to allow time to appoint a replacement.

The NAC may co-opt guests with subject matter expertise from time to time as necessary and as agreed by the Chair.

See current members of the NAC.

Code of conduct

Committee members will be responsible for:

  • ensuring that decisions made are in the best interests of effective NRS service delivery
  • acknowledging the NRS communications environment and engaging respectfully with others
  • participating actively in the agenda and expressing any personal views with due regard for the public interest  
  • maintaining confidentiality of personal information and/or matters raised that may be commercial in confidence, and
  • declaring any real or potential conflicts of interest as they arise and proposing ways to manage these.

Operation of the NAC

The NAC is convened by the Chair [Managing Director, NRS Outreach].

The NAC will be convened twice each year and will normally meet in the months of May and September.  As necessary, additional NAC meetings will be conducted by electronic means and supplemented by webinars.

Meetings of the NAC will be conducted in locations across Australia, based on a schedule developed and agreed by participants.  

These Terms of Reference will be reviewed initially at 12 months and then on an agreed schedule.

Sitting fees

Sitting fees are available to:

  • NAC members where the organisations or individuals are not funded or employed to perform such an engagement role
  • acarer/attendant whose services are required to support the participation of a NAC member.

Members may choose to:

  • waive the sitting fee
  • accept it as in lieu of personal income foregone, or
  • direct it to their employer as a contribution towards replacement staffing costs of their employer organisation during their absence. 

Sitting fees and travel expenses are not available to employees of the NRS Providers. 

Planned expenses [interstate and land travel and accommodation] will usually be paid by the NRS Secretariat in advance. Other approved expenses will be reimbursed on provision of a valid tax invoice.

Notes on sitting fees
  • Sitting fees are set at rate of Category 1 Member of Commonwealth Remuneration Tribunal Determination. In 2014-15 these are set at $384 per day
  • Sitting fees are classed as salary and as such require completion of an Australian Taxation Office [ATO] Tax File Declaration form.    

Engagement schedule

The NRS NAC is structured to take a key role in the wider NRS stakeholder engagement strategy.   As detailed above, the NAC will meet twice per year in May and September and the agenda will be informed by intelligence gathered through both performance data and other stakeholder engagement activities, eg:

  • the activities of the NRS Stakeholder Reference Panel
  • commissioned research
  • qualitative trends noted by relay officers [during NRS calls], Outreach field staff [during community and industry engagement and training] or NRS Helpdesk staff.

Webinars or alternative online forums are likely to be conducted with NAC members and other stakeholders to facilitate broader discussion.  These are likely to cover emerging trends and other issues, informing the NRS research and service development agenda. 

News items on NAC/NRS-SRP activities will be posted on the NRS website and social media.

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