AdvocacyA professional association is usually a non-profit organisation that seeks to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest.

The role of a professional association has been variously defined but can include any or all of the following:

    • a group of people in a learned occupation who are entrusted with maintaining control or oversight of the legitimate practice of the occupation;
    • an organisation which represents the interest of professional practitioners; and
    • a body which acts to safeguard the public interest.

A key role of any professional association is to advocate or influence on behalf of its members. Advocacy is any activity by an organisation which aims to influence decisions within political, economic and social systems and institutions. This includes a wide variety of activities that an organisation undertakes including political representation, influencing public policy, media campaigns and raising public awareness about issues important to professional practitioners.

CAA National Strategic Plan

CAA National has a strategic plan to guide the organisation’s work over the next few years to help achieve three key outcomes:

    1. improve the reputation and standing of the profession in the community;
    2. increase utilisation of chiropractors as more Australians embrace and access chiropractic care; and
    3. improve the organisational performance of CAA.

To achieve these outcomes CAA National has chosen to focus on five pillars, one of which is ‘Advocate and Influence’.

The other four pillars are closely interconnected to this role being Leadership for the Profession (govern, guide and advance the practice of chiropractic); Govern and Manage Responsibly (an effective, efficient organisation focused on positive outcomes for members and the community); Excellent Member Services (the key source for professional development, advice and resources for chiropractic); and Build the Evidence Base (demonstrate the contribution of chiropractic to designated health indicators).

Advocate and Influence

As noted in this month’s CEO’s Report, some members currently feel that the chiropractic profession is being unfairly singled out by its detractors and are questioning whether the CAA could be doing more to support them and the wider profession. In his CEO Report Dr Fisher observes that:

“Any inroads that CAA makes will be curtailed if the standards of the profession are not upheld and it was deemed essential that CAA adopts a leadership role in embedding consistent ethical standards across the profession. The group analysed this through the eyes of the various audiences – members, non-members, public, government, media, regulators, other health professions and health insurers.”

The wider audience Dr Fisher refers to is the focus of the CAA’s ongoing efforts to advocate and influence on behalf of members and the wider chiropractic profession. Building and maintaining relationships with these stakeholders is absolutely essential if the profession is to maintain the trust and respect of the public, government and media.

Over the past two months representatives from CAA National have met with many of these stakeholders in an effort to represent members and advocate on your behalf. The table below lists some of the meetings attended by representatives from CAA National in August and September as well as some meetings that will be attended this month (and is by no means exhaustive).

In addition to many formal meetings, CAA representatives and staff regularly attend informal events that further ensure relationships are developed and maintained. All of these meetings and events provide an essential opportunity for the CAA to consult with key stakeholders in government, regulators, other health professions, insurers and educators. These organisations all impact on the chiropractic profession, and therefore your ability to practice as a chiropractor, to varying degrees. The relationships maintained by the Association on your behalf with government departments and regulators in particular are vital if we are to represent you and advocate on your behalf.

You can be assured that the CAA works continuously to engage with these stakeholders and more to improve the reputation and standing of the profession in the community and increase the utilisation of chiropractors so that more Australians can embrace and access chiropractic care. As a member of the Association you should expect no less.

Month Meeting Attended by
August Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) Meeting CEO
August Guild Insurance Association Advisory Council CEO
August Forum with Mark Cormack, Chief Allied Health Officer & Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy and Innovation Department of Health CEO
August Guild Insurance Chiropractic Risk Management Committee Meeting CEO
August Macquarie University Department of Chiropractic Advisory Board CEO
August CAA Branches and National Reputation Management Workshop CEO & Policy Manager
August Department of Health Diagnostic Imaging Advisory Committee Angus Steventon & Policy Manager
August Monthly Presidents' Teleconference All CAA Presidents
August AHPRA Professions Reference Group CEO
Sept. Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) Meeting CEO
Sept. Meeting with Department of Veterans' Affairs Tony McLindon & Policy Manager
Sept. Monthly Presidents' Teleconference All CAA Presidents
Sept. Consultation with Chiropractic Board of Australia CEO & Professional Services Director
Oct. AHPA Meeting with senior staff from the Department of Health Policy Manager
Oct. Monthly Presidents' Teleconference All CAA Presidents
Oct. Department of Veterans' Affairs Health Consultative Forum Tony McLindon