This fact sheet series is related to Key changes under the new Commission Act and Rules.
The changes surrounding consent to access apply to every form of a visit to the premises of a service, whether for the purposes of re-accreditation, a quality review, a review audit or an assessment contact.
The power to ‘enter and search’ derives from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018 (Commission Act) and not the Rules. Under the Commission Act, a quality assessor is not authorised to enter premises unless the occupier of the premises has consented to the entry. Consent to access is given when the assessment team arrives at the premises.
The quality assessor must show their identification when requesting consent to enter and inform the occupier of the premises that they may refuse to give consent or they may withdraw consent. The assessment team will remind approved providers of their responsibility to cooperate under the Aged Care Act 1997.
If a quality assessor enters premises with consent they may request a person at the premises:
- to answer any questions by the quality assessor
- to produce any documents or records requested by the quality assessor
Approved providers will also be reminded of their responsibility to cooperate under the Aged Care Act 1997 in relation to these requests.
The assessment team are able to do any of the following for as long as the consent remains in place:
- search the premises and anything on the premises
- examine or observe any activity conducted on the premises
- take photographs or make any recording of the premises or anything on the premises
- inspect, examine, take measurements of, or conduct tests on, anything on the premises
- inspect any document on the premises
- take extracts from, or make copies of, any such document.
The assessment team may also operate electronic equipment on the premises, including any storage device used with the equipment. They can use electronic equipment to put relevant data into documentary form and remove copies of the document on a storage device brought onto the premises for that purpose, or in hard copy.
Further guidance on how these powers may be used by quality assessors will be developed for quality assessors and providers.
For support in understanding the Rules and their operational implications, please contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your local Regional Office by calling 1800 951 822 (free call).