Below, four of our people describe their day-to-day roles at the Commission, why they like what they do, and what working here means to them.
Hannah Wollin - Complaints Officer, Complaints Resolution Group
Hannah works in the Complaints Resolution Group, on the ‘intake line’ taking calls from consumers, their families or representatives, aged care services staff, and members of the public. Hannah’s role is to get the details of the complaint and then work with the complainant and the aged care provider to resolve the complaints.
This can involve empowering the caller with information so they can resolve the complaint directly with the provider, facilitating better communication and identifying solutions together with both parties to ensure issues do not recur. The role focuses on making sure consumers receive the care they deserve and should be receiving.
“Once we identify specific issues, it enables us to talk to the aged care service about specific solutions. We help people understand their rights when it comes to aged care and encourage services to work directly with complainants to fix things.”
Complex complaints often mean working with the wider team such as the clinical group or legal team, as well as using data from complaints to help other branches across the Commission perform their functions. It’s a real team effort.
The Commission’s purpose is to protect and enhance the safety, health, well-being and quality of life of aged care consumers, and Hannah feels that her role speaks to that purpose every day.
“It’s important to understand the role and value of complaints because there’s a chance that a complaint may involve issues that are affecting others who may feel uncomfortable “rocking the boat”. We make a difference every day when we resolve an issue for a consumer. When you get to find a solution when something goes wrong, that’s very rewarding.”
Judy Silkens - Senior Quality Assessor, Quality Assessment and Monitoring Group
The role of a Senior Quality Assessor is to undertake assessments against the Aged Care Quality Standards for all types of aged care services receiving funding from the Commonwealth Government these include residential, home based and community care, and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program services. While Judy’s role is that of an auditor, it is also about supporting and guiding services in the aged care sector to be compliant with legislation and guidelines and to strive toward delivering services in accordance with industry best practice to make sure that older Australians are properly looked after.
The role involves significant travel, which can occasionally involve long days – but the ability to accrue flex time is a bonus, as Judy explains: “It’s a hugely varied job. You’re not doing the same thing every day, or talking to the same people, and you get to travel to many different parts of the country. You do have to be flexible in how you approach your working day due to the travel and the varied nature of the aged care services that we review. The flex time means I can take a few days off without touching your annual leave and come back to the job refreshed and ready to go again.
A large part of the role involves talking to consumers of aged care services, and it is those conversations that underpin the understanding of how organisations are delivering services. Talking to staff and management, observing the operations of a service and reviewing documentation add to the overall compliance picture. Knowledge gained through this process informs subsequent discussions with management and our reporting and, ultimately, results in better quality care for older Australians.
“It’s great to go back to a service and see the improved outcomes for consumers that your reporting has prompted, that conditions are better, and that people are happier with the care they are receiving. It’s the single biggest benefit of doing the job, the influence we have in services through identifying opportunities for even small improvements can result in a large improvement in quality of life for the elderly we are responsible for.”
Michelle Cronly - Compulsory Reporting Officer, Provider Approvals and Compliance Group
Michelle works in the Compulsory Reporting team which receives mandatory reports from approved providers of residential aged care services across the country. The primary function of the role is to perform a risk assessment of the notifications, which can range from alleged assaults to missing consumers, to make sure any immediate risk has been managed.
Once a notification is received, Michelle follows up with residential aged care services to ensure they have taken necessary actions and have put appropriate measures in place to prevent any reoccurrence and to ensure consumer safety and wellbeing.
The majority of notifications are low risk, but all of them involve ongoing conversations with providers to ensure a successful outcome.
When it comes to the Commission’s purpose, Michelle believes her team plays a vital role: “We are a part of the Commission’s core functions when it comes to helping identify potential issues and risks within residential aged care services. I believe that the work done in the Compulsory Reporting team makes a significant contribution to the Commission’s Compliance and Quality and Monitoring functions regulatory work, and that we play a big role in promoting the Commission’s values.”
The fact that there is variety in Michelle’s role and that it involves pushing for a better aged care sector in terms of care for consumers is a real driving motivation. “It’s not just that someone I love might end up in aged care - it’s that everyone deserves the best possible care, to be respected and to be genuinely looked after, and I like that I am part of ensuring that happens.”
Iana Jerdetski - Senior Human Resources Advisor, Corporate Services Group
Iana works in the Commission’s HR team, providing staff, managers and executives with accurate advice on policies, procedures, applicable legislation, and contemporary HR practices. It’s a varied role, touching on recruitment, case management, employee relations and policy/legislation advice.
Diversity is important to the Commission, both in terms of our people, but also our thinking, as Iana explains: ‘Having a diverse workforce that is engaged and innovative leads to better decision making and productivity, improves the corporate culture and leads to higher morale. Diversity really encourages different ideas around the table among staff with obviously a variety of perspectives, and this leads to better decision making overall. We actively celebrate diversity at the Commission, with a range of events across the year that are often led by the executive team.’
Diversity in your workforce isn’t just about hitting targets, however – it’s also about ensuring individuals can work flexibly to maintain a suitable work/life balance. Ensuring that people are able to meet their responsibilities outside of work is important too. “We do have flexible working arrangements – but I like to say that we have sensible work arrangements, that mean people are able to meet any commitments outside of work that they may have.’
The Commission’s ability to adapt to flexible working has been underlined during the pandemic. Everyone adapted quickly to the new normal, and the new working arrangements were embraced by everyone from the top down, a good indicator of how mobile and resilient the Commission’s workforce is.