You are invited to join us as an ASSOCIATE MEMBER of Communication Matters (CM). We have around 300 ASSOCIATE MEMBERS from all over the UK who represent the various interests in AAC – professional, personal experience and trade.

CM is the UK Chapter of ISAAC (International Society for AAC) – when you join CM, you are also joining ISAAC and a portion of your annual membership fee goes directly to ISAAC.

Our membership year runs from January 1st to December 31st.
• You will receive three issues of the Communication Matters Journal.
• If you join part-way through the year then you will receive back issues of the CM Journal.
• You can also subscribe to some additional journals and newsletters as a member.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS help to elect the Board of Trustees which runs Communication Matters. Organisational, Corporate and Institutional members agree to abide by a Code of Conduct. Communication Matters has a Complaints Policy.

Free membership. We offer a limited number of free memberships for one year. These are for new joiners who are AAC users, plus their family members.

Associate members must be UK residents. If you are not, please consider joining ISAAC (the International Society for AAC).

MEMBER BENEFITS

As an ASSOCIATE MEMBER of Communication Matters you will become part of a UK-wide organisation dedicated to supporting the needs of people of all ages and abilities who need AAC.

• Communication Matters Journal – three issues a year, online. Each issue is full of interesting articles by AAC users, family members and professionals, and includes topics of current interest: case histories, research studies, reviews, training opportunities and lots more!

• Weekly email newsletter

• Access to latest information on a wide range of AAC issues

• You have the opportunity to apply to be considered as a listing on our website if you offer an independent, specialist or training AAC service, subject to Trustee approval at a quarterly Board Meeting

• Free attendance at Communication Matters AAC Information Days

• Reduced rate to attend Communication Matters Study Days

• Reduced rate to attend the Communication Matters International Conference

• Access to the password-protected Membership Area of website

• Consultations and workshops that influence future provision and service of AAC

• ISAAC Membership – e-format copies of ISAAC news bulletins, reduced rate subscription to ISAAC journals and newsletters, reduced rate for attendance at ISAAC Biennial Conference

• All the benefits of Individual members, plus:

• Eligible to apply to present at CM AAC Information Days (if supplier of AAC products or services)

• Eligible to exhibit at the CM International Conference (fee payable)

• Eligible to advertise in the CM Journal at a reduced rate

• Option to be included in the list of AAC Assessment Services on the Communication Matters website, and to post notifications of training events on our online calendar

• A reduced-rate delegate place at the ISAAC Biennial Conference

• CM Organisational A: up to three reduced-rate delegates at any CM Study Day and the CM International Conference

• CM Organisational B: up to six reduced-rate delegates at any CM Study Day and the CM International Conference

• CM Organisational C: up to 10 reduced-rate delegates at any CM Study Day and the CM International Conference

• All the benefits of CM Organisational A members, plus:

• Separate listing and reduced rate advertising in ISAAC Membership Directory and the AAC Journal

• Reduced rate at the ISAAC Biennial Conference

• All the benefits of CM Organisational A members, plus:

• Two additional reduced-rate places at ISAAC Biennial Conference

HOW DO I JOIN?

JUST FOUR EASY STEPS TO BECOMING A MEMBER OF COMMUNICATION MATTERS

TYPES OF MEMBERSHIP

  • AAC User/Family

    £23

    New members can have free membership for one year, subject to availability

    • Same benefits as individual membership
  • Full-time Student

    £24

    • Same benefits as individual membership
  • Retired

    £52

    Available to people who have retired from working in the AAC field

    • Same benefits as individual membership
  • ISAAC Institutional

    £362

    • Same benefits as Organisational Membership A, plus:
    • Two extra delegates at the ISAAC Biennial Conference at reduced rate
    • Separate listing and reduced advertising rate in the ISAAC Membership Directory and AAC Journal
  • ISAAC Corporate

    £724

    • Same benefits same as Organisational Membership A, plus
    • Separate listing and reduced advertising rate in the ISAAC Membership Directory and AAC Journal
    • Reduced rate exhibition stand and advertising at ISAAC Biennial Conference and ISAAC co-sponsored events
  • Individual

    £70

    • Three issues of Communication Matters Journal
    • Reduced rate at any CM Study Day
    • Reduced-rate at the Communication Matters International AAC Conference
    • Reduced-rate delegate place at ISAAC Biennial Conference.
    • Opportunity to apply to be considered as a listing on our website if you offer an independent, specialist or training AAC service, subject to Trustee approval at a quarterly Board meeting
  • Organisational (Types A, B & C)

    • Same benefits as Individual membership, plus:
    • Eligible to apply to present at CM AAC Information Days (if supplier of AAC products or services)
    • Reduced exhibition rates at the International Conference
    • Reduced Communication Matters Journal advertising rate
    • One reduced-rate delegate place at the ISAAC Biennial Conference

    Organisational A: £193

    Up to three reduced-rate delegates at any CM Study Day and the CM International Conference.

    Organisational B: £350

    Up to six reduced-rate delegates at any CM Study Day and the CM International Conference.

    Organisational C: £539

    Up to 10 reduced-rate delegates at any CM Study Day and the CM International Conference.

    All types must include named members on the form.

CODE OF CONDUCT

Organisational and ISAAC Corporate/Institutional members agree to abide by a Code of Conduct

WE HAVE A CODE OF CONDUCT FOR ORGANISATIONAL AND ISAAC CORPORATE/INSTITUTIONAL MEMBERS OF COMMUNICATION MATTERS.

Organisational and ISAAC Corporate/Institutional members agree, when joining us, to abide by our Code of Conduct. It is not legally binding, but guidance for best practice. You must adhere to it when attending an event organised by Communication Matters or when using the name Communication Matters to endorse the member’s work.

  • HONEST PRESENTATION OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

    You will provide an honest presentation of the products and services you offer.

  • NO MISREPRESENTATION OF COMPETITORS’ PRODUCTS OR SERVICES

    You will not misrepresent your competitors’ products or services.

  • CLINICAL ASSESSMENTS

    You will not misrepresent your demonstrations or consultations as “clinical assessments” unless you are clinically qualified. We recommend collaborative, multi-disciplinary assessments in the best interests of your client.

  • FIND THE MOST SUITABLE SOLUTION FOR THE CLIENT

    No individual product can meet everyone’s needs, so you agree to freely suggest alternative solutions where alternative technologies might be more appropriate to meet your client’s needs. Alternatively, you may suggest clients seek an impartial assessment from an assessment service provider. Your goal is always to find the most suitable solution for the client.

  • LEGAL, REGULATORY AND OTHER STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS

    You agree to meet all legal, regulatory and other statutory requirements as necessary; you must carry appropriate indemnity insurance; all your employees in client-facing roles should have the appropriate child / vulnerable adult clearances for the countries in which they operate.

Complaints Policy

Best Practice No. BP21 (version 2.0, March 2021)

1.1 This policy outlines how Communication Matters will respond to complaints and feedback in a timely, appropriate, and fair manner.

1.2 Feedback both positive and negative is important in helping Communication Matters to improve.

1.3 Communication Matters believe that all complaints need to be taken seriously.

Your feedback or complaint may be about:

2.1 The Board of Trustees: Trustees are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day running of Communication Matters, and ensuring it meet its aims and objectives. Trustees’ activities include organising the annual International AAC Conference and Study Days and vetting and administering grant applications.

Trustees follow Best Practice guidelines in all their activities for the charity. These include BP02: Being a Trustee; BP12: Trustee Code of Conduct; and BP14: Trustee Conflict of Interest. These documents can be downloaded from the Communication Matters website: communicationmatters.org.uk/about-us/trustees-and-staff

2.2 Staff: The Communication Matters Charity Manager and Administrator handle the day-to-day running of the organisation, such as membership renewals, conference registration, organising events, communications, and book-keeping.

2.3 Organisational, Corporate and Institutional Associate Members of Communication Matters: These members include businesses selling AAC equipment or services and not-for-profit organisations involved in AAC.

When joining Communication Matters these organisations agree to follow the Communication Matters Code of Conduct. It is not a legal document but provides guidance on conduct when attending a Communication Matters event or when using the name Communication Matters to endorse the member’s work. The Code of Conduct for Organisational, Corporate and Institutional Associate Members of Communication Matters can be found at: communicationmatters.org.uk/about-us/join-us/

Commercial and corporate organisations are regulated by the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA). The BHTA have their own Code of Practice and complaints procedure.

If your complaint refers to an organisational member it may be appropriate for Communication Matters to refer you onto the BHTA: bhta.com

2.4 Individual Associate Members of Communication Matters: These members include AAC users, family members and professionals who have an interest in AAC.

Professional members will be regulated by their own professional regulatory body. If your complaint refers to a professional member it may be appropriate for Communication Matters to refer you onto the relevant Professional Regulatory Body.

For healthcare professionals: hcpc-uk.org
For education professionals in:
– England: www.gtce.org.uk
– Scotland: www.gtcs.org.uk
– Wales: www.ewc.wales/site/index.php/en/
– Northern Ireland: www.gtcni.org.uk

2.5 Communication Matters will only handle complaints that are directly related to a Communication Matters activity or event. If your complaint is about the professional conduct of an associate member you will be directed to the appropriate regulatory body. If the complaint is about a private individual who is not covered by any of the above, the complainant should be advised that their only recourse is through the statutory legal process.

3.1 Feedback: Can be positive and negative. It may highlight areas for improvement, but it is not an expression of dissatisfaction. Feedback should be acknowledged, considered, and does not need to be logged as a complaint.

3.2 Complaint: An expression of dissatisfaction that requires a formal response. A complaint could be about the standard of service, actions or inaction, policy or position of Communication Matters, its Trustees, Staff or Associate Members.

3.3 Serious Complaint: A serious complaint is severe in nature and may indicate a safeguarding issue, or a serious incident. These complaints will be reportable to an outside body or regulator.

4.1 Communication Matters wants to address any issues quickly and hope concerns can be resolved by talking to one of our Trustees or staff members.

4.2 If you want to make a formal complaint, please put this in writing to: admin@communicationmatters.org.uk or Communication Matters, 3rd Floor, University House, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT.

5.1 Stage 1: Communication Matters will let you know they have received your complaint within 3-5 working days and provide you with the name of the Trustee dealing with your complaint.

If they cannot resolve a complaint straight away, they will investigate and respond fully to complaints within 20 working days of receipt. Communication Matters will involve you, where possible, in decisions about how your complaint is handled.

Communication Matters will keep accurate records of complaints, investigations, and outcomes.

5.2 Stage 2: If you are not happy with how your complaint has been handled or resolved, you can ask for a second review.

This will be taken to the Board of Trustees for consideration and a second written response will be provided within 20 working days.

5.3 Stage 3: If a complaint is not resolved after a second investigation, then the complaint will be referred to the Charity Commission. More information can be found at: gov.uk/complain-about-charity

Communication Matters is committed to learning from its mistakes and strives to actively listen to all feedback. Communication Matters will undertake an annual review of complaints received. Communication Matters will review root causes and reoccurring themes which will highlight areas for improvement.

The Code of Conduct for Organisational, Corporate and Institutional Associate Members of Communication Matters can be found at: www.communicationmatters.org.uk/about-us/join-us/

6.1 Step 1: Before bringing the complaint to Communication Matters, please attempt to resolve the matter directly with the other party. This should be done in writing (letter or email) and any correspondence should be kept as evidence.

6.2 Step 2: If the matter is not resolved, you should make a written complaint to Communication Matters enclosing all relevant correspondence and any other documentary evidence. You should directly state that a breach of the Code of Conduct has been made.

An Investigative Trustee (IT) will be appointed by the Board of Trustees. The IT will have no conflict of interest with either party. The IT will review all submitted evidence.

If the IT concludes a breach has taken place the IT will contact the other party requesting resolution. If a resolution is not reached, please see Step 3.

If the IT concludes no breach has taken place you will be contacted and advised of this decision. You will have 30 days to appeal against this decision. Your appeal will be reviewed by the full Board of Trustees who will make the final decision as to whether to pursue the complaint.

6.3 Step 3: If a satisfactory outcome is not achieved the IT will refer the matter to the full Board of Trustees for consideration. Breach of the Code of Conduct will result in one of the following actions:

A warning letter advising that a repeat of the breach may lead to membership suspension or cancellation. This letter may be used even if a resolution has been reached but the Board feels the seriousness of the complaint justifies a formal warning.

Membership suspension until action taken to resolve breach.

Membership cancellation if the Board consider the breach serious enough to warrant such action.

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