Aged Care Justice and Aged Care Reform Now joined forces in response to an invitation to provide a submission on the Inspector-General of Aged Care Bill 2023 to the Standing Committee on Community Affairs – Legislation Committee.
Our submission made recommendations that the Inspector-General’s objectives, powers, complaints oversight, reporting and consultation meet the intentions of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The submission highlights that timely reviews and immediate responses are crucial to avoid significant impacts on frail and elderly people relying on quality aged care services.
The submission included the following recommendations.
- Updating the draft Bill to ensure that its objectives align with driving greater accountability and transparency of the Commonwealth’s administration of the aged care system and facilitating positive change for older Australians.
- Implementing a proactive process for the Inspector-General to oversee the regulator (currently the ACQSC) and to review complaints
- Establish a proactive process by which the regulator identifies and reports on issues in need of review to the Inspector-General to allow for timely management of serious aged care issues.
- Enabling the Inspector-General to be informed of any serious mismanagement of the complaints process by allowing complainants to go directly to them
- Reporting annually on the progress of the implementation of the Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations from 2024 onwards to ensure a coordinated and effective approach.
The submission criticises the draft Bill for not including a prescribed system or regulatory function for the Inspector-General to consistently review the regulator’s performance and for not having a proactive process to report issues in need of review. Additionally, the submission suggests that annual progress reporting is necessary for transparency in reporting and to allow for changes in approach or strategy to be actioned as required. We believe this would improve public confidence in the government’s implementation of the recommendations.
Our joint submission acknowledged that the findings of the Capability Review of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission are yet to be released, and there may be further recommendations with respect to the powers and the role of the Inspector-General.
You can read submissions from other organisations here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Inspector-GeneralAged/Submissions
You can download our joint submission below and see all Aged Care Reform Now papers on our submissions page.