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Queensland Stay On Your Feet® - Toolkit Phase 2 Key Stakeholders

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Key Stakeholders

As discussed in Phase 2, a number of people/organisations have a role to play in falls prevention and healthy active ageing.

These people or organisations, often called key stakeholders, can take on a range of roles in your project/program including:

What is a key stakeholder?

A key stakeholder is an individual or group who has an interest in the project/program or is affected by it in some way, either positively or negatively [57]. If the project/program is to succeed, it is important to make meaningful contact with key stakeholders who may be positively or negatively affected by it [58].

There are different types of stakeholders who can be described as follows:

  • people who will be affected by the project/program and can influence it, but who are not directly involved with doing the actual work, for example: managers, directors of hospital aged care units, discharge nurses [57]
  • people who are, or might be, affected by any action undertaken by the project/program, for example: older adults, their carers and family, the fitness industry, community service providers, service clubs, suppliers, contractors, and people that are geographically located near the project/program [58]
  • an individual, group or an organisation interested in the success  and viability or their product and/or service, for example:  Queensland Council of Social Services [58]
  • any organisation, government deparment or individual that has a stake in, or may be impacted by, a given approach to a regulation, legislation or policy, for example: Department of Housing, Communities, Aged Care Services
  • a participant in a community mobilisation effort, representing a particular segment of society, for example: board member of an organisation representing older adults, elected officials, Chamber of Commerce representatives, neighbourhood advisory council members, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders and religious leaders.

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What is a champion?

A champion is a person who defends, stands up for and supports a cause, another person or an innovation [58]. A credible champion can have a significant and positive impact on progressing falls prevention and healthy active ageing.  Champions will fully support your cause, usually have a position of power, are very motivated or have been deeply affected by the problem [58]. People become champions for a number of reasons including:

  • to accomplish something important [58]
  • a passionate belief in the cause [58]
  • to change something that negatively affects them [58]
  • to contribute to society [58]
  • the feeling of power [58]
  • to be involved in a movement [58].

Champions can provide your project/program with credibility by:

  • lending their name to the effort, for example: a leading expert such as a professor or clinician openly supports the project/program [58]
  • speaking at an event, for example: a Minister, local Member of Parliament or the Mayor could be asked to speak at a launch [58]
  • speaking to the media about falls, for example: an older person who has experienced a serious fall related injury or a person whose parent has died as a result of a fall [58]
  • providing a quote for a media release, for example: the Director of the Emergency Department said "in many of the cases we treat where older people have fallen, the fall itself could be prevented".

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What is advocacy?

Advocacy is as important for injury prevention as surveillance, epidemiology and project/program design [16]. Advocacy is non-aggressive assertiveness on behalf of a particular issue, idea or a person. Individuals, organisations, businesses, and governments can all be involved in advocacy for the purpose of policy and social change [58, 59].

Undertaking advocacy action can help to:

  • continually highlight the extent and impact of falls among older adults [16]
  • highlight the cost of the problem for the health system and taxpayers, individuals, families and the community as whole [16]
  • emphasise the successes that can be achieved [16]
  • highlight preventative actions that could have been taken to prevent a serious injury or death [16]
  • develop strong alliances with the media (a critical aspect of any advocacy work) [16].

In practice, advocacy action may include:

  • organising community meetings [16, 59, 60]
  • writing letters to the editor [16, 59, 60]
  • contacting elected representatives [16, 59, 60]
  • distributing public education materials [16, 59, 60]
  • telephoning talk back radio stations [16, 59, 60]
  • attending meetings of other organisations and community groups [16, 59, 60]
  • sending electronic messages such as emails, text messages or writing a website 'blog' [16, 59, 60]
  • preparing funding submissions and other lobbying documents
  • publishing position papers
  • staging public demonstrations
  • organising displays and holding events.

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What are partnerships?

A partnership is when more than one organisation is involved in a project/program and both parties agree to work together to achieve common goals [61]. Working with partners is important as no one agency has the resources, reach, credibility and expertise to adequately address falls alone [10]. Partners aim to achieve something together that they could not achieve alone [60]. Partnerships should not be considered an end in themselves, but rather a means to achieve the project/program goal.

Some key aspects of partnerships include:

  • the pooling of capital (human, physical, financial or political)
  • agreed clear goals of what the partnership will achieve
  • agreed clear structures and processes to allow the partnership to function well.

There are different types of partnerships, ranging from networking to collaborating [15]. Not all partnerships need to be at the collaborating level.

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Involving others in your project/program

It is important to involve key stakeholders, champions, advocates and partners in the project/program from the beginning [58]. Ongoing analysis and consultation with key stakeholders is also important as interest and reactions can change over time [58].

When engaging stakeholders, consider the following tips:

  • To achieve a project/program that is balanced, democratic and considers a range of perspectives, include stakeholders with both negative and positive views [58].
  • Include people from all disciplines, fields and levels of seniority as well as people from the general community [58].
  • While some people are good at playing 'devil's advocate', others can simply be pedalling their own agenda rather than the group's goal. Team facilitation will help the group negotiate this situation if it arises [58].

To help maintain an effective relationship with stakeholders:

  • be polite, but persistent [58]
  • be prepared, know your data, local issues and be constructive [58]
  • ask people to be involved and do not take rejection personally [58]
  • effectively communicate with stakeholders regularly to keep them up-to-date with the project/program [58]
  • acknowledge the contribution of stakeholders at public events, in reports and with simple thank you notes [58].

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Last updated: 7 August 2012