Skills boost and board overhauls a key part of proposed new governance standards for aged care sector
The recommendations, that include an overhaul for boards and skills in the sector, cover many of the hallmarks of leading governance practices, CEO of Governance Institute of Australia Megan Motto said.
“There is an urgent need for an overhaul of governance and risk management in the aged care sector and these recommendations lay a solid path for that transformation,” Ms Motto said
“The lives of some of society’s most vulnerable are at stake and change is needed as a matter of urgent priority. We strongly welcome the release of these recommendations today and now await the final report from the commission in February – and the government’s response and funding allocations to this.”
Good governance themed recommendations announced today include:
A new governance standard (r53) which requires providers to have:
– a governing body with a “mix of skills, experience and knowledge of governance responsibilities, including care governance, required to provide governance over the structures, systems and processes for ensuring the safety and high quality of the care delivered by the provider.”
-a care governance committee
-a complaints management system
-effective risk management practices.
- The establishment of a program of ongoing assistance for providers, to “improve their governance arrangements, including their care governance arrangements” (r54.1)
- Governing bodies to have a majority of independent non-executive members (r52.1a)
- A ‘fit and proper person test’ for key personnel (52.1d).
The vexed issue of staffing levels is also covered in the recommendations with mandated staffing ratios part of the proposed plan.
Ms Motto said problematic staffing has been highlighted throughout the pandemic as having a major negative impact on the aged care sector – a weak link in keeping the impact of COVID-19 at bay.
“The work that aged care sector employees carry out is some of the most important in our society – but staffing levels need to be adequate and effective processes need to be in place to ensure they can carry out their work effectively and safely,” Ms Motto said.
“Sadly, this has clearly not always been the case. For many, work burdens are high and processes inconsistent.”
The full set of recommendations can be accessed here.
Governance Institute of Australia recently issued a revised and updated ‘Adding value to governance in aged care guide’ which can be accessed here.
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