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What is Supported Decision Making (SDM)?

Supported Decision Making is helping someone to make their own decisions so they can have control over the things that are important to them.

Support for Decision making full day workshop slides that highlight the importance of support for decision making.

   Intro to Support for Decision Making Slides.pdf

   Alternatives to Guardianship video

SDM Training

Due to COVID 19, all support for decision making and risk enablement workshops are cancelled.

You can find resources about SDM on this page including links to e-learns, video's and other useful resources.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.Due to COVID 19, all support for decision making and risk enablement workshops are cancelled.

You can find resources about SDM on this page including links to e-learns, video's and other useful resources.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. 

The NSW Public Guardian is offering free tailored workshops for the aged care sector (Aged Care Training Flyer) and the disability services sector to promote the decision making rights of PWD in 2019. For more details on all courses on offer, refer to our 2019 Training Flyer.

SDM E_Learning

The Public Guardian has produced a e-Learning package that is targeted at people who work in the disability sector and want to learn more about what Support for Decision Making is and how you can practice it.  The e-Learn is free and can be accessed via the National Disability Services Website. 

Financial Literacy e-Learning Tool

In 2016-2017 the Office of Public Guardian (OPG) led a supported decision making project aimed at building the decision making ability of people under financial management. Participants in the project explored financial decisions and were referred to financial literacy programs to learn more about managing money. The project experience and external evaluation by the Social Policy Research Centre highlighted the value of these programs in possibly increasing people's skills and ability to make choices.

During the supported decision making project OPG consulted with financial literacy providers. Participate Australia facilitates one of a small number of financial literacy training programs for people with cognitive impairment. The face-to-face program is delivered by support workers using paper resources. Participate Australia and the OPG discussed making the program material available to more people. This resulted in a proof of concept trial to determine if financial literacy could be delivered using an e-Learning tool.

OPG along with Participate Australia and their technology partner Tecuris, adapted the financial literacy program to an e-Learning tool. The tool was trialled with both Participate Australia support workers and participants. Participate support workers found using the tool a more efficient and effective way to teach the program. It allowed participants to use the tool at home on a tablet or desktop computer, providing a more engaging experience than the paper based course. Participants enjoyed using the tool and used it both with the support workers and at home with family members.

The successful proof of concept trial indicates e-Learning offers flexibility in financial literacy program delivery. This provides an opportunity for greater access to financial literacy education for people with cognitive impairment.

Participate Australia have received a grant from Financial Literacy Australia to further develop and distribute their financial literacy program. We look forward to further developments in this space.

​Publications & Factsheets

Helping People Make Decisions (pdf 157kb)

Information for Family and Friends (pdf 149kb)

Promoting SDM Should I apply for Guardianship (pdf 157kb)

SDM Communication Strategies (pdf146 kb)

SDM Practice Framework (pdf 147 kb)

SDM Training Guide (pdf 3148kb)

SDM Summary of Activities 2016-2018 (pdf 358 kb)

Capacity Toolkit

Resources for Sector

 SDM in Aged Care Policy Guidelines 

Supporting Decision-Making - guide for people living with dementia, family members and carers.

The Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre has produced a series of resources for the Aged Care Sector for both professionals and supporters to promote Support for Decision Making. You can visit the webpage to access these free resources.

La Trobe University has developed an online learning resource about supported decision making.  It is the first evidence based framework to guide people through the process of supporting people with cognitive disabilities to make decisions.  If you have completed the Public Guardian's SDM workshop, much of the material will be very familiar to you as we have been guided by much of their research and of course, still continue to roll out the Risk Enablement material they developed. 

For more information please visit the webpage hereunder:


​Useful Links

19 stories of social inclusion: lessons from the lives of everyday Australians on belonging, disability and community contribution

Decision making: a right not a priviledge for people with disability


Ask An Expert: The Balancing Act of Supported Decision Making


Decision Support Program- info sheet.

Advocacy agencies across NSW have been funded to provide decision making support to access NDIS. 

ACT Disability Aged Carer Advocacy Service useful information and resources on SDM:


Money Dearest Podcast featuring the importance of support for decision making and planning ahead


Supported Decision Making Project 2016-2017

The Public Guardian has recently been involved in a project aiming at building the decision making capacity of people under financial management and more broadly, the disability sector's ability to practice support for decision making. The project has now come to an end and has been reviewed by the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre. The Joint Advisory Committee helped to guide our work and we would like to thank them. The results are published in the UNSW Social Policy Evaluation Report below.  

 The report tells us many things including that:

  • People need help to understand information about important decisions

  • People can make decisions on their own

  • It might be easier for people to make decisions when they feel connected to other people

  • Services want to learn how to help people make decisions

The Public Guardian is still doing training with lots of different service providers on Supported Decision Making around NSW. Visit the Training Section on this page for more information.

  Evaluation of the SDM Project Report (pdf 605 kb)

  Evaluation of the SDM Project Easy English version (pdf 742 kb)

  What is the SDM Project (pdf 35kb)                     

  The SDM Project in Easy English (pdf 227kb)          

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