Recruiting: Planning and preparation

Planning and preparation

Laying the foundations for a strong consumer partnership

How we can help

See what support we can offer your consumer recruitment

Recruitment process

Guiding you through every step along the process

Paying consumers

The how, why and when of remuneration and reimbursement

You have decided that consumers will play a role in your project – that’s great! You are a part of the consumer partnerships movement that is making Queensland a leader in systems improvement. However, before you are ready to start looking for consumers there is some information you need to have in place. 

How much time will it take to find consumers?

The time to begin planning your consumer partnerships is as soon as you know you will be including consumers in your activity. The earlier you start planning your partnership the easier and more successful it will be. At the very minimum, allow 4 weeks from when you first promote your consumer opportunity to the activity commencing.

Steps in recruiting consumers

  1. Planning and preparation
  2. Write a position description and design application process
  3. Promotion through your networks and via Health Consumers Queensland
  4. Monitor the applications coming in
  5. Selection
  6. Advise all applicants of the outcome and let Health Consumers Queensland know
  7. Start communicating with your new partnering consumers
  8. Onboarding and orientation

See the process in detail >


If you work in a Hospital and Health Service (HHS), your Consumer Engagement staff are your first point of contact for recruiting consumers. Most HHSs have their own internal process to recruit consumers. We can support consumer recruitment in HHSs by promoting your activity in our eAlert. ​

Pre-recruitment Checklist

Considering these questions in the earliest stages of your project will help your consumer recruitment and partnership go smoothly.

I am clear about the outcomes we want from this consumer engagement.

Why are you bringing consumers into this project? What will they contribute? Your project has a far better chance of success if you are crystal clear about the role consumers will play in it.

I have read and understand the partnership principles of engagement

Think of the Principles for Partnership as a pocket guide to working with consumers. If you use these four simple guidelines to inform the way you work with consumers you will have stronger partnerships with more open communication.

Read more about the Principles for Partnership >

I will be including more than one consumer in this activity

Health Consumers Queensland strongly recommends including more than one consumer in an activity. The benefits of this include: 

  • Two or more consumers can provide different perspectives including their; lived experience, consumer representative role experience and networks and connections.  
  • Consumers can support each other, which means they are more likely to feel confident enough to speak up, giving greater value to your partnership. 
  • Many consumers live with chronic conditions, or care for someone with a chronic condition. If one consumer is unwell and unable to attend, it is likely the other consumer will be able to. This takes the pressure off the consumers and gives you continuity of consumer involvement. 

I have identified the types of consumers that will be most effective in this partnership.

What lived experience should consumers have? Should they have used your service? Do they need to be living with a particular condition? Consider which criteria are essential and which could be just preferred.

Will you include a range of diversity, such as cultural, geographic, disability, age? Unless your project is specific to a particular group, bringing diversity into your consumer cohort is strongly recommended. The broader the range of perspectives you include, the more robust your final project will be. For example, a consumer with a physical disability will highlight accessibility aspects that you may not otherwise have considered and that may be expensive and difficult to adapt later.

Consumers will have a genuine influence on the direction of this project.

If consumers’ time will not result in systems improvement, reconsider your purpose for engaging. Many consumers live with chronic conditions and are driven by a passion for system reform. Involving them in activities with no purpose wastes their time and yours.

I have identified and contacted my networks to prepare for promoting this recruitment.

Often the consumers who are best suited for your opportunity are already in your networks, such as patients who attend a particular clinic, people in a geographical area, or people who have had contact with a service that you have a relationship with. Health Consumers Queensland can promote your opportunity via our statewide network. However, you have the expert knowledge about your project so the more tailored promotion will need to come from you.

I have identified the process for paying consumers and have begun making these arrangements

Paying consumers can be an involved process within Queensland Health so get started early. See QHEPS for information on how to pay consumers who partner with the Department of Health. Or if you’re from an HHS, check in with your engagement team for the individual HHS remuneration policy.

My budget includes the costs of involving consumers.

Consider sitting fees, reimbursement of travel and parking, any other expenses such as childcare.

I have decided on the limits of reimbursement that we will give consumers, and have made those limits clear in the position description and information email

What are the limits to what you will reimburse? For example, if you offer to cover “Travel within the Cairns area” be clear what the boundaries of this are. Are you going to limit it based on postcode, or a dollar limit?

I have identified the supports that my consumers are likely to need and have those available

What supports are you able to give consumers? For example: Are you able to print meeting documents for them? Are they able to take part by video conference instead of attending in person? Does your venue have a hearing loop?

Check what you can realistically offer before you finalise promotion material.

This activity will be accessible to all

f the location limits consumer involvement, consider ways you can overcome this, such as offering video conferencing

I have considered the scheduling of the activity to best suit the needs of consumers

Some things to consider include school pickup times and holidays, religious events, consumers’ work hours. 

Partnership Guides

Health Consumers Queensland has produced two publications designed specifically to help health organisation staff to partner effectively.


A Guide for Health Staff Partnering with Consumers

The staff guide is written to help staff in health services develop effective consumer partnerships. This guide can be used by staff in any area and at any level of a health organisation to support partnering with consumers.

Consumer and Community Engagement Framework

The Consumer and Community Engagement Framework is designed to orient health organisations to what underpins successful consumer and community engagement.  The Framework provides health organisations with an understanding of what engagement is, when and where it can take place and why they are doing it. 

Read more about the Guides and Framework >