Coming soon: A Code of Conduct for Aged Care
From 1 December 2022, a Code of Conduct for Aged Care (the Code) will be introduced to improve the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life for people receiving aged care, and to boost trust in services.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has released a draft of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Amendment (Code of Conduct and Banning Orders) Rules 2022 for public review and consultation.
Further information on the Code is available on the Department’s website.
Our draft Code of Conduct for Aged Care: Guidance for providers is available to assist you to understand your obligations.
Public consultation on the Code legislation can be accessed from 4 October on the Department’s Get involved – Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub.
What is the Code of Conduct for Aged Care?
From 1 December 2022, a Code of Conduct for Aged Care (the Code) will be introduced to improve the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life for people receiving aged care and to boost trust in services.
The Code aims to build confidence and trust in aged care, empower consumers and will bring a strong focus to a person’s right to receive safe and quality services.
The Code has been developed based on the existing National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Code of Conduct.
Who will be covered by the Code?
The Code will set out standards of expected behaviours and applies equally to:
- approved aged care providers
- governing persons (e.g. board members and Chief Executive Officers)
- aged care workers who are:
- employed or otherwise engaged (including on a voluntary basis) by the provider
- employed or otherwise engaged (including on a voluntary basis) by a contractor or subcontractor of the provider to provide care or other services to consumers.
The Code will apply to approved providers of residential, home care and flexible care services. Flexible care includes the Transition Care Program, Multi-Purpose Services Program and Short-Term Restorative Care Program.
The Code will not apply to the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program (NATSIFACP).
What are your responsibilities?
Approved providers will have responsibilities under the Act to comply with the Code and to take reasonable steps to ensure aged care workers and governing persons comply with the Code.
What are your governing persons and worker responsibilities?
Governing persons and aged care workers of approved providers have responsibilities under the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018 (Commission Act) to comply with the Code.
The Commission’s role
When the Code takes effect, we will be responsible for overseeing compliance with the Code.
Depending on the circumstances, we will take compliance and enforcement action to direct changes to the way a provider and/or an individual conducts themselves. We have access to a range of actions to respond to different situations. In severe cases, actions may include banning a current or former worker or governing person from working in the aged care sector or, in the case of approved providers, applying a sanction or revoking their approved provider status.
We will support the aged care sector with communications, education and engagement activities to prepare for the Code before the new requirements come into effect.
This includes Code guidance resources for providers, aged care workers and governing persons and consumers. We will be consulting with the sector on draft guidance resources to inform the further development, structure, and content of the final resources.
Further detail on the new requirements will be released by the Department of Health and Aged Care when available.
What you can do now
You can start preparing for the introduction of the Code by reviewing a range of existing Commission resources relating to topics such as the Aged Care Quality Standards and the Charter of Aged Care Rights.
This will ensure you and your governing persons and workers are aware of your broader responsibilities ahead of the introduction of the Code. More information will be shared when it becomes available, as the Government’s legislative process progresses.
Aged care reform and the Code
The Australian government’s Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Act 2022 implements 9 measures to improve accountability and transparency in response to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The Code of Conduct is one of these measures, addressing recommendations 77 and 103.
The Royal Commission’s Final Report Care Dignity and Respect recommended increased protections for consumers from workers who pose an unacceptable risk of harm.
To make an enquiry, submit feedback, a concern or a complaint, you can:
- complete our online contact form
- free call 1800 951 822.