Consultation for the Code of Conduct for Aged Care
In response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (Royal Commission), a Code of Conduct for Aged Care (Code) will start on 1 December 2022. It will apply to approved providers, their aged care workers and governing persons, giving older Australians receiving aged care more confidence in the workforce assisting them.
Between 16 November and 10 December 2021, public consultation was undertaken across the care and support sector on a draft Care and Support Sector Code of Conduct (Code of Conduct). Stakeholders from across the aged care, veterans’ care and disability support sectors were invited to provide feedback on the draft Code of Conduct, which was based on the existing National Disability Insurance Scheme Code of Conduct (NDIS Code of Conduct).
We hosted five targeted online stakeholder forums, including a forum specifically for consumers and received sixty submissions.
At the time of consultation, the Code of Conduct was intended to be implemented across the aged care, veterans’ care and disability support sectors. However, the Government is committed to implementing a more comprehensive and robust national registration scheme for personal care workers in aged care that is consistent with Recommendation 77 of the Royal Commission. The Code will be the first element of the registration scheme to be implemented. Work is underway to consider how the Code may align across the care and support sector.
What we heard
There was broad stakeholder support for a Code of Conduct that applies across aged care, disability support and veterans’ care. Broadly it was felt that it was appropriate to draw on the NDIS Code of Conduct as the basis for the Code of Conduct and that the seven elements of the NDIS Code of Conduct were applicable across the care and support sector.
There was also broad support for the requirements for providers to comply with the Code of Conduct and take reasonable steps to ensure that workers comply. Stakeholders also broadly supported the requirement for aged care workers and governing persons to comply with the Code of Conduct.
Stakeholders suggested a strengthened focus on diversity, inclusion and individual rights within the Code of Conduct. There was also strong support for including elements around valuing diversity and providing services free from discrimination.
Stakeholders reiterated the need for the language used to be simple, active and easily understood. At the forums, a number of stakeholders expressed a preference for first person language.
Many stakeholders felt strongly that detailed guidance would be needed to support providers and workers understand and adhere to the Code of Conduct. Stakeholders felt that it was important for any guidance to describe how the Code of Conduct sits alongside other regulatory requirements and codes of conduct.
Some stakeholders queried whether an orientation module (similar to the one developed by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission) would be developed.
The Care and Support Sector Code of Conduct Consultation Summary Report provides a detailed summary of the consultation process and the findings from the consultation.
What we’re doing
Legislation to support the Code passed Parliament in August 2022. The Code will start on 1 December 2022.
The findings from the consultation have informed government consideration of the content of the Code. A copy of the Code is available on the Department’s website. It takes the form of an exposure draft excerpt of the legislative instrument.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the Commission) will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the Code and is developing guidance and education resources to help the sector implement the Code.
Let's change aged care, together
Every Australian should feel confident about accessing high quality and safe aged care, when and where they need it.
The changes mean older Australians will have greater choice and control, services that respect and meet their needs, and support to stay independent as they age.
To find out more and help design the changes, visit the Get Involved page or call 1800 318 209.