Regulator says sanctions for board directors and CEOs for non-compliance “could be beneficial”: submission to Royal Commission on Earle Haven

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The Commonwealth has conceded it “could be beneficial to have broader powers at their disposal” such as sanctions that would affect directors or others involved in the management of approved providers in its response to the findings by the Counsel Assisting team on the Earle Haven shutdown presented to the Royal Commission last month.

In the 11-page submission – dated 4 September 2019 – the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) and the Department add they “consider that it would be beneficial for there to be a clear obligation to require approved providers to advise the Commission of changes to sub-contracting arrangements from the time that the original application for approval was made.”

Ironically, it was the Government who changed the requirements for providers to notify the Department of changes to key personnel back in October 2016 – almost three years ago – to cut red tape.

The Commonwealth has also made a further 13-page submission on the Counsel Assisting’s findings on the aged care regulatory system in Australia, defending the timeframe for its reform agenda – and suggesting the sector is in part to blame for the pace of change.

“In planning the reform program, the Commonwealth has had regard to the feedback received from the aged care sector as to ‘fatigue’ in relation to the pace and scope of regulatory reform,” the submission states.

“Further, reforms are the subject of consultation to ensure that they are implemented smoothly, are consistent with best practice, and operate without inadvertent consequences.”

However, questioning by Counsel Assisting suggests the Commission may believe there is too much time spent on consultation with the sector – will the Royal Commission recommend going over providers’ heads?