Administrative Advocacy Ellen Andrews October 16, 2003 Hispanic Health Council
I congratulated a DSS official on her promotion and asked "Isn't it great being up there where the buck stops?" Her answer: "I'm not sure where the buck stops. I don't really think that it's here. But I have seen it roll over us at times."
Administrative Advocacy • Very powerful • Include them early – both top and bottom of food chain • Create relationships of trust -- can be champions and important sources of info • They implement the laws – they are the devil in the details • They are not elected, they don’t answer to you or to voters • Appointed vs. civil service • Agency turf issues • Current climate – staff reductions, great anxiety, overworked
Carrots • Use your champion to gain access, to get a meeting • Make their life easier • Write a grant • Invite them to a conference or event • Good press • Research for them, crunch numbers, answer your own questions • Give them a heads up when taking a shot • Testify on behalf of their initiatives/needs • Thank them – they rarely get recognized
Sticks • Serve on an advisory board, task force (can be a carrot) • Freedom of Information requests • Oversight bodies, watchdogs • Legislation they don’t want • Play on turf issues • Bad press
Freedom of Information • Powerful tool • Agencies usually cooperative • Right to obtain records and attend meetings, public notices, with reasonable exceptions • Rights to inspection • Can charge up to 25 cents/page for copies • Within “reasonable” timeframes • Freedom of Information Commission enforces – no need for a lawyer
Regulations • Statutes give guidance, regulations give detail • How to find them, if they exist • Process – Reg.s Review Committee • Under-appreciated by advocates, legislators
For more help and regularly updated information go to The Health Advocacy Toolboxwww.cthealthpolicy.org/toolbox