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Aged care royal commission: Silencing whistleblowers will not be tolerated

Megan Motto, Chief Executive Officer, Governance Institute of Australia today welcomed the strong opening statements from the Honourable Richard Tracey and Ms Lynelle Briggs concerning the protection of whistleblowers, starting the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety off on a strong foundation.

‘It is important that whistleblowers within the aged care sector seeking to report misconduct have the confidential tools to do so, and their leaders act on this information effectively. Good governance starts at the top, and the board is ultimately responsible for ensuring their executive is trained to the highest risk management standards. These voices need to be heard — not ignored, covered up, or threatened with retaliation for doing so. That is not ethical leadership, and criminal behaviour of this kind is certainly a risk to any organisation’s reputation,’ she said.

‘The aged care sector plays a vital role in our social fabric by caring for some of Australia’s most vulnerable citizens. We know aged care providers are facing increased market and regulatory pressures as population demographics press up against affordability issues. However, this is not an excuse for compromising quality of care and putting the health of our senior citizens at risk. Truly sustainable businesses are those which put their consumers front and centre — it is no different in the aged care sector.’

‘The royal commission into financial services exposed multiple examples of misconduct, failed ethics and poor corporate culture stemming from a failure of leadership, governance and accountability. This has damaged the reputation of that entire sector, which we saw reflected in Governance Institute of Australia’s 2018 Ethics Index. Anything less than full transparency from the aged care sectors’ leaders carries that same reputational risk.’

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will hand down its interim report in October 2019. The final report is due in April 2020.


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Further Reading
Governance Institute of Australia’s submission to the Royal Commission [PDF]

Chief Ethics Officers could address Banking Royal Commission recommendations

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