Your organisation or service may have key people or associations within your networks you can contact for cultural advice in relation to your clients and their particular circumstances. These may include:
- bilingual/bicultural co-workers
- ethnic-specific organisations, such as the Vietnamese Women’s Association and the Polish Welfare Association
- multicultural organisations such as the Multicultural Development Association
- a client’s family members, community group or church group.
There are many national and state organisational representatives you can consult when you are looking to review and modify existing work practices.
Examples of representative national organisations include:
- The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA)
- Refugee Council of Australia (RCA)
- National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasting Council (NEMBC)
- Association of NESB Women of Australia (ANESBWA)
- Australian Federation of Ethnic Schools’ Associations (AFESA)
- Association of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT)
- Co-As-It (Italian Welfare)
- Australian─Greek Welfare Society (AGWS)
- Australian Federation of Islamic Councils
- Muslim Women’s Association
- Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) in your region
- Australian Council for Women (ACW)
- Community Refugee Support Service (CRSS).
These are just some of the national support services you can network with to obtain advice and information on different cultural groups.
Queensland and regional support services
Your workplace may also have a list of relevant local organisations, and your local council may be able to assist you with others.
Advantages and disadvantages of different sources of consultation
When seeking advice, you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each source of consultation.
In situations when you require immediate cultural advice to help guide urgent decision-making, you could turn to family members or bilingual professionals within your service if available. However, children are not recommended as interpreters.
The following outlines some potential advantages and disadvantages of the different consultation sources:
Are professionally trained.
May not have a bilingual professional from client’s background.
No payment or extra costs required.
Is professionally trained.
Provides access to timely assistance.
May have great experience and knowledge in service area.
Is subject to availability, i.e. may have other work commitments.
Is an ad hoc arrangement, with lack of continuity of service.
May not be trained in service area, e.g. administrative officer.
In small communities, the worker might know the client; this affects confidentiality and impartiality.
Provides cultural information.
Could provide support and follow-up service.
May be able to refer you to other services or people.
Most workers are professionally trained.
May not have access to professionally trained worker from client’s background.
May not have service area knowledge or experience.
May have a waiting period.
Provides specific cultural information.
Able to provide follow-up support service.
Could provide assistance in general welfare or settlement area.
Could help you to link with other support services or people.
May not have knowledge or experience in service area.
May not be professionally trained.
May ‘side’ with client because of other agenda.
May not be able to keep confidentiality.
Provide access to timely assistance.
Could provide cultural advice relevant to client’s current situation.
May provide a subjective opinion due to emotional involvement.
Have no service area training or knowledge.
Consultation and support networks in your workplace: Identify consultation and support networks that can assist with providing culturally appropriate services in your workplace.