The Men's Shed Story

Mensheds Australia Code of Conduct and Operation Policies

Men's Sheds are now established as part of the health infrastructure that supports programs to improve men's health and well being. Mensheds Australia (MSA) plays a role in building the viability of men's sheds through their commercial activities, and their programs to achieve health outcomes.

MSA works to understand the objectives and needs of the sheds and matches that to support resources from the business and public sectors.

the reorientation of our efforts will be reflected in the website as it is redeveloped over coming weeks. In the interim, we encourage sheds and potential resource providers to join us in this journey.

If you have any questions or concerns about MSA, its services or how to comply with this Document  please contact Alex Petridis, out CEO directly at


Mensheds Australia

MSA formed in 2006 as an organisation to support the early initiatives to establish sheds. The purpose was to help sheds use the experience of other men’s sheds and provide access to expertise about the formation, structure and operation of men’s sheds. MSA facilitated the formation of new sheds through collating information and providing information to men’s sheds.

The vision for men’s sheds is to:

  • Provide support to men in need of help arising from mental illness or other d ebilitating illnesses;
  • Ease the transition of men from full-time employment to other activities in retirement;
  • Provide an additional link between the primary health network and the many men who have no regular contact with that network;
  • Establish a place for men that enabled social interaction and activities to maintain the health and wellbeing of those men;
  • Build a culture in the sheds where all men are welcome and where mutual respect and trust are paramount;
  • Become a focal point in the community for the identification of men’s health issues and actions to resolve those issues.

MSA prepared a range of materials relating to the establishment, structure and operation of men’s sheds that were available to member sheds.

MSA also established a help desk as a place where men’s sheds could obtain information, discuss issues and exchange information.

These are on-going services that are provided to men’s sheds.

Men’s Sheds

Men’s sheds have been established for a range of reasons. At the heart lies some common interest that is shared, and often involved activities built around arts, crafts and technical skills – the kind of things done in the backyard shed. Rather than work on those interests alone, a community shed introduces a social interaction among the participants that is an important part of well being. The interest of the group develops from that interest and copious coffee to expand the range of things that they do.

Men’s sheds are not the same as a franchise – they are all different! The character and operations of the shed are a reflection of their niche in their community. That niche has elements including:

  • The skills, experience and capacities of their members;
  • The physical, financial and other resources that they have available;
  • The needs and opportunities that exist in their community.

Men’s sheds are a particular kind of social enterprise. That means they operate much like any other enterprise, working to achieve defined objectives that are both social and financial. The financial outcomes are designed to support the pursuit of social objectives, making the key difference from other enterprises that pursue objectives to benefit the enterprise owners.

MSA has a focus on helping men’s sheds to identify and develop their particular niche in their community and the social objective that they pursue.

Key Principles Underlying Men’s Sheds

MSA has encouraged men’s sheds to develop in ways that apply the following principles. There are more that can be added but experience suggests that these are critical to a strategy to build a successful and continuing men’s shed. It will take some time for all of these principles to be applied and produce the results that will earn the respect of the men’s shed in their community.

1. Local autonomy This refers to the organisational structure of the men’s shed and involves local ownership and control.

2. Adapt to local needs The men’s shed management has to identify the niche characteristics noted above and develop its program to that situation.

3. Quality management and operations It is almost as easy to operate and manage well as it is to “muddle through”.

4. Success comes for a series of small steps Like a good cricket innings, it is built steadily through small steps that achieve results. That builds momentum and credibility. Many ambitious plans have faltered through attempting to do too much too soon and promising too much.

5. Needs healthy men The ideal is to have a membership that reflects the characteristics of the population. The fit, able and skilled provide the capacity to support those men in need of help.

6. Own funding capacity Some degree of financial independence preserves autonomy and flexibility in developing the program of activities.

7. Operates a men’s health program This has to be developed as a core of the men’s shed program – it may take some time to develop this part of the program.

8. Health program activities A variety of activities helps to keep men active, learning, interacting together and generally enjoying themselves in a stress-free environment – all are part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

9. Formal health program activities There is an emerging view that all of us should take more responsibility for our own health and wellbeing if we are to enjoy a full life and keep medical costs contained. The program should help men in men’s shed communities to be active managers of their own health. This establishes the local men’s shed as the pivot for men’s health activities in their community.

10. Become part of the formal health system There is a value chain for the delivery of health services for men. The men’s shed should identify the particular link(s) that they fill in the delivery of men’s health services to their members and to the men in their community where they work and live.

Our help desk will be able to assist in the application of these principles to your shed.

Developments  2006 to 2011

The existence and role of men’s sheds is now widespread. There has been a rapid development of new sheds (over 500) and the media features stories on a regular basis. The men’s shed development is maturing.

There has been recognition at the Federal Government level that there is a need for a men’s health policy with an announcement in late 2010. At this time the allocation of funds is small (relative to funding of women’s programs) but it provides high profile recognition of the role that men’s sheds can play in the development and delivery of health services.

Over the past 5 years, there has been an evolution in the support materials and organisational structures available to men’s sheds. There has been the development of special sheds that service particular specialist needs such as those in indigenous communities, the mentally disadvantaged and prisoners. They are all needed developments.

Now the focus shifts toward measurable outcomes and the programs that will generate those outcomes

Future Focus

Against that background MSA has been shifting the focus from creating new sheds to the development of programs that will deliver health and well being outcomes and be consistent with developments in the economy.

Three particular aspects have been identified by MSA (among others).

1. Health Service Costs  The health service and its costs are an on-going concern for all governments in Australia. Men’s sheds have the potential to play a role in containing those costs and advancing the welfare of men and the community. Some of the actions might include:

  • Developing ways to reach out to the large number of men who have no regular contact with the health system;
  • Building the number of men who undertake regular preventative check-ups;
  • Disseminating information on actions men may take to reduce the risk of them becoming chronically ill and encouraging them to act on that information; and
  • Encouraging employers to invest in the health of their employees.
  • Mensheds Australia seeks to engage with agencies and businesses that share the need for these and other actions to be progressed.

2. Rehabilitate the Disabled  There is now a “patchwork economy” where some areas of the country have labour shortages while others have surplus labour. The Federal Government has announced a number of measures to lessen some of the resulting stresses and to build productivity. A particular set of measures have been announced to reduce the number of people on full disability allowances and to get more of those on benefits back to part-time or full-time work.

MSA is interested in the potential for men’s sheds to play an active role in the rehabilitation of disabled workers through skill development and the building of confidence to re-enter the workforce. In this way it would be contributing to the realisation of those Federal Government policy objectives.

3. Men's Health Program  Although the Federal Government has allocated some funding for men’s sheds, it is small relative to the growing number of sheds. And it is small when considered against the potential role of men’s sheds in men’s health initiatives among men’s shed members and the community generally. This is a signal that more agencies and businesses can play an effective role in developing men’s health programs that can be operated through the men’s shed movement.

MSA was initially established in part to provide a channel for those outside the men’s shed movement to make contact with men’s sheds individually or as a whole. We welcome the interest of those organisations who can contact MSA on 0457 888 387.

MSA Code of Conduct

Our MSA Code of Conduct is intended to create a framework of behaviour to allow a positive working environment and to allow decisions to be taken in a way that benefits the goals of the MSA organisation and its participants. Our Code is short by intention, it does not address every possible situation, but we hope it provides an effective framework for our organisation.  If you have any questions as to this code please contact Alex Petridis our CEO at

The Code is published as at February 2012 and replaces all other MSA Codes of Conduct or documents on subject matter set out herein (whether written or not).

Application of Code

This Code of Conduct applies to all MSA Employees, volunteers, board members, consultants, and contractors of any time in any location.

Legislative Framework

The Code of Conduct exists with existing legislation in place in Australia.  If there is any conflict between this Code and legislation, the legislation will take precedence.

Failure to comply with Code

Failure to comply with this Code may subject you to a range of disciplinary actions. Depending on the nature of the break sanctions may include counselling, corrective actions (including termination of employment and termination of access to MSA services and properties) and any remedy available at law.


To demonstrate commitment to the highest ethical standards, all our people are required to:

  • Perform your duties impartially, with professionalism, objectivity and integrity
  • Work effectively, efficiently and economically
  • Be honest and fair in dealings with supporters, stakeholders, clients, suppliers, co-workers, management and the general public
  • Avoid conflicts of interest and act in the best interests of all people involved with MSA
  • Accept instructions from MSA Managers and Divisional Directors
  • Comply with all laws, policies, procedures, rules, regulations and contracts
  • Display the appropriate image of professionalism in the workplace. Ensure clothing and appearance is neat and tidy
  • Treat all people involved with MSA and the general public in a non-discriminatory manner with proper regard for their rights and dignity. In this regard, discrimination, victimisation or harassment based on a person's race, colour, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, union membership or non-membership, mental or physical disability, or any other classification protected by law will not be tolerated
  • Promptly report to CEO at any violations of law ethical principles, policies and this Code
  • Do not use MSA property for private gain
  • Be truthful in all dealings with the people you encounter at the workplace
  • Refrain from any form of conduct which may cause any reasonable person unwarranted offence or embarrassment or give rise to the reasonable suspicion or appearance of improper conduct or biased performance
  • Not act for an improper or ulterior purpose
  • Never demand or request any gift or benefit in connection with employment or engagement
  • Not fight in the workplace
  • Not swear in the workplace

Fairness and Equity

You should undertake your work and make decisions consistently, promptly and fairly.

Conflicts of Interest

It is you responsibility to disclose any potential or actual conflict of interest (personal or financial) to CEO MSA at

Bribes, Gifts, Benefits, Travel and Hospitality

You must not accept any gifts, hospitality, travel or benefits that might in any way tend to influence, or appear to influence, your ability to act impartially or that would bring the reputation of MSA into disrepute.

Public Comment

Although you have the right as a private citizen to express your personal views through public comment on political and social issues, you must not make or appear to make statements on behalf of the MSA. Public comment includes public speaking engagements, comments in the media, views expressed in letters to newspapers and online services (such as social media).

Privacy Policy

All information submitted to MSA is used by MSA to improve its services. We will share your information with our service providers to help us provide MSA services.

All information submitted becomes the property of MSA

MSA may use any information submitted for its own business purposes, including provision of the information to third parties who may provide services to or on behalf of MSA.

Intellectual Property/Copyright

Intellectual property includes rights relating to scientific discoveries, industrial designs, trademarks, service marks, commercial names and designations, inventions and for activity in the industrial, scientific, literacy or artistic fields. MSA is the owner of all intellectual property created by you in the course of your work, unless a specific agreement with the CEO has been made to the contrary.

Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying

You must not harass or discriminate against any person at MSA, for any reason including gender, physical appearance, pregnancy, age, race, sexual preference, ethnicity or national origin, religious or political conviction, marital status and physical and intellectual disability.

The principles of Equal Employment Opportunity apply in the workplace. Bullying is the repeated less favourable treatment of a person by another in the workplace and can include verbal abuse, sarcasm, criticising people in front of others or in private and creating work overload. MSA does not tolerate bullying.

Occupational Health and Safety

You must ensure that your work area provides for the health, welfare, physical and psychological safety of your colleagues and stakeholders. Mangers are specifically responsible for providing for safe work systems of work; a safe work environment; supervision and information; safe equipment and facilities; identifying and controlling risks; and responding to people's reports of issues.

Everyone shares a responsibility for occupational health and safety by following safety and security directives, using security and safety equipment provided, keeping your work area tidy and safe and raising potential safety issues promptly.

Drugs and Alcohol

The misuse of alcohol and other drugs can affect the work performance of people at MSA and jeopardise the safety and welfare of colleagues. You must not perform your work, remain in the workplace or undertake work-related activities if you are impaired by alcohol or other drugs.

Complaints or Comments on the MSA Services or MSA Personnel

All issues related to the MSA service or persons associated with MSA should be reported to the CEO at  Persons submitting complaints or comments in this manner will receive prompt confirmation from the CEO that the email has been received.  If you do not receive such confirmation please resend the email to the CEO until confirmation of receipt has been received.