Becoming an Approved Provider

Page last updated: 21 August 2019

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

New application forms and guidance for organisations seeking approval to provide residential, home and/or flexible are now available for use. The new form contains questions specific to the Aged Care Quality Standards which will commence on 1 July 2019.

Note: From 1 July 2019, the old application forms will not be accepted.

What is an approved provider?

Before applying

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

Guidance - Essential reading before applying

How to apply

Criteria for approval

What if I'm not approved?

How to request a review of decision under section 85-5 of the Act

Application forms

Do I need to be approved to offer my services?

State, territory and local government authorities

What are key personnel?

Who is a disqualified individual

National police checks

Statutory Declaration Form

How long does it take to approve an application?

Requests for further information

After you have been approved

About home care services

Contact us

What is an approved provider?

An approved provider receives subsidies for the delivery of aged care to care recipients and is responsible for making decisions about the delivery of quality care to care recipients, the financial management of subsidies and for managing care recipient’s fees and payments.

Approved providers must deliver aged care that aligns with the responsibilities and standards that are specified in the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) and the Principles made under section 96-1 of the Act (the Principles).  The approved provider must understand what these responsibilities and standards are so that it can meet its obligations.

To be an approved provider of aged care, you must be an organisation approved to provide residential care, home and/or flexible care under the Act.  Approval is gained through an application and assessment process undertaken by the department that determines whether the applicant is suitable to provide aged care.

Before applying

There are a number of things an applicant must know before applying to become a provider of aged care.

  • Your organisation must be incorporated

You cannot be approved if you are not an incorporated organisation.  This means that if you are a sole trader, your application will not be assessed. 

  • Your organisation must demonstrate how it is suitable to provide aged care

The responsibilities of an approved provider cover all aspects of care delivery including obligations to care recipients and to Government. 

Under Section 8 of the Act is a number of areas the department must assess each applicant against.

It is up to you as the applicant to effectively demonstrate how and why your organisation meets these suitability criteria at the time of making the application.  If approved, you will be required to continue to meet this suitability criteria in order to keep your approval.

  • Your organisation must not have any disqualified individuals as key personnel

All applicants must ensure that it understands the meaning of key personnel as detailed under the Act and establish who within the organisation meet this definition. You, the applicant must also be certain that none of your key personnel are disqualified as defined under the Act.

  • You must apply using the approved form

The department’s application forms will be updated from time to time.

You must use the approved form that is current at the time you submit your application.  Your application may not be assessed if you do not use the correct form.

The application form can be found on this page.

Why do I have to use the approved form?

The Act requires that an application for approval to provide home, residential and/or flexible care is made using the approved application form that is current at the time you submit your application.

Each application form contains questions and information relevant to the assessment process as well as the aged care legislative responsibilities and obligations. 

Applicants must provide the necessary information by answering all questions to allow an assessment against the suitability criteria.

! IMPORTANT: Forms that are incomplete or have been altered will not be accepted.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Commission) oversees the accreditation, quality review, monitoring and complaints handling of aged care services. It also provides information and education to providers. These processes are undertaken in accordance with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Rules 2018 established under the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018.

The Commission replaces the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner. Combining these functions into one independent agency strengthens the focus on consumers, streamlines regulation, supports better engagement with consumers and providers, and promotes transparency.

From 1 July 2019, the Commission will commence assessment and monitoring against the new Aged Care Quality Standards (Quality Standards). The Commission expects that organisations providing aged care services in Australia to be compliant with the new standards.

Download the Aged Care Quality Standards fact sheet.

The Commission’s guidance material is intended to assist aged care services to implement and maintain compliance with the Quality Standards. It describes the Commission’s expectations and provides supporting information, suggested practices, examples and evidence required to ensure compliance. It also indicates on matters that quality assessors will consider in evaluating compliance.

Download the Guidance and Resources for Providers to support the Aged Care Quality Standards

If providing residential aged care, the organisation must also be accredited by the Commission, which is responsible for accrediting and monitoring the quality of care and services of residential services against the Quality Standards under the Aged Care Act 1997. Residential services provide a range of care, accommodation, hospitality and services for older people who are unable to continue living independently in their own homes. This includes flexible care services which short-term restorative care is provided in a residential care setting.

Approved providers of home care are assessed in accordance with the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Rules 2018, and the Quality Standards made under the Act. Approved Providers are required to participate in quality reviews and compliance monitoring assessments. A quality review assesses whether a home service provider delivers services in accordance with the Quality Standards. Home care services provide support to help people stay at home and be more independent with their day-to-day activities and in the community.

Further information about the Commission, its accreditation, home care quality review and compliance monitoring processes is available on its website www.agedcarequality.gov.au.

Guidance - Essential reading before applying

The Guidance for applicants seeking approval to provide aged care is designed to assist you and your key personnel to complete the application form. The applicant must understand and be able to implement the requirements set out under the Act and the Principles before submitting an application seeking approval to provide aged care to the department. 

If you cannot adequately demonstrate that you are able to meet the ongoing responsibilities of an approved provider in the delivery of quality aged care, management of subsidies and care recipient fees, your application may not be approved.

If you are applying to provide home care, you are strongly encouraged to read the departments support materials which are available on the department’s website: Home care packages program

You should also read:  A fact sheet to assist organisations seeking to become approved providers of home care under the Aged Care Act 1997.

Aged care legislation, including the relevant principles made under the Act.

Aged Care Act 1997

Approved Provider Principles 2014

Quality of Care Principles 2014

User Rights Principles 2014

Accountability Principles 2014

Sanctions Principles 2014

This is not an exhaustive list of all the aged care related legislation.  They contain the main requirements that must be demonstrated during the application process and must be met after approval in the delivery of aged care.

Other aged care information and guidance is available on this website.

How to apply

To become an approved provider of aged care under the Act, you must be assessed by the department as suitable to provide aged care.

You can seek approval for one or more types of care:

  • home care
  • residential care
  • flexible care

Once approved, the approved provider can provide care in any number of services (subject to any limitations imposed).

Division 8 of the Act sets out the approval process requirements.

State, territory and local government authorities are taken to be approved providers unless the approval has been revoked or suspended (please refer to section 8-6 of the Act).

Criteria for approval

To be approved you must be able to demonstrate that you are suitable to provide Government subsidised aged care.  This means that your organisation can meet the various ongoing responsibilities and obligations of an approved provider.

Your application is assessed against the suitability criteria as set out under section 8-3 of the Act. The applicant must establish/substantiate its:

  1. experience in providing aged care or other relevant forms of care
  2. understanding of approved provider responsibilities
  3. systems it has, or will have, in place to meet these responsibilities
  4. record of financial management and the methods used, or proposed to ensure sound financial management
  5. (if the applicant has been a provider of aged care) conduct as a provider, and its compliance with its responsibilities as a provider and obligations arising from the receipt of any payments from the Commonwealth for providing that aged care
  6. any other matters specified in the Approved Provider Principles may also be considered.

What if I’m not approved?

If you are not satisfied with the non-approval decision, you can reapply to become an approved provider of aged care or you may make a request to the Secretary to reconsider the decision under section 85-5 of the Act or make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal under section 85-4.

Reapplying

If you choose to reapply to become an approved provider of aged care, you must complete a new application form. When completing the application form, you should reflect on the reasons for non-approval as set out in the notice and address them in your responses where relevant. You may also identify new information that presents a materially different situation from that of the original application.

A new application must be made using the approved form, available at agedcare.health.gov.au by searching for ‘Approved Provider information

Reconsideration Process

A decision that is made by the department about an application to become an approved provider of aged care can be reconsidered in accordance with section 85-5 of the Act.

Additionally, section 85-4 of the Act allows the Secretary to reconsider a decision made under section 8-1 of the Act if he/she is satisfied that there is sufficient reason to do so.

How to request a reconsideration of decision under section 85-5 of the Act

To request the Secretary to reconsider a decision, section 85-5 of the Act requires that you submit a written request within 28 days of receiving the decision letter.

  • You must give your reasons for making the request which may include a response to specific areas detailed in the department’s statement of reasons, and/or additional evidence that you want to be considered.
  • It must be submitted to the department by emailing approvedproviderapplications@health.gov.au.
  • A different decision maker within the department will reconsider the decision, and decide to either confirm, or vary the decision, or set the decision aside and substitute a new decision.
  • If the Secretary does not give notice of a decision within 90 days after receiving the request, the Secretary is taken to have confirmed the original decision.
  • You can appeal a review decision made by the Secretary, by submitting application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

How to request a reconsideration of decision under section 85-8 of the Act

Under section 85-8 of the Act, the applicant may make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of the decision.

The applicant must:

  • apply in writing
  • apply within 28 days of receiving the decision
  • pay the application fee. 

For further information, please review the Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s website or call 1800 228 333.

Application forms

There are three approved forms for the following applicant types which align with the Act:

1. New applicant 

This form is for organisations that are not currently approved to provide any type of care under the Act, including residential care, home care and/or flexible care.

2. Existing approved provider 

Use this form if your organisation is an existing approved provider that wants to provide another care type. For example, an organisation already approved to provide residential care should use this form to seek approval to provide home care.

As existing approved providers have already demonstrated their suitability to provide aged care through a previous assessment process, the application seeks specific detail to assess suitability to provide the additional type of care.

The assessment process will include a review of your existing records of compliance with your responsibilities for the care type you are already approved to provide.

IMPORTANT: If you currently receive funding to provide services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and would like to apply to become an approved provider, you must apply as a new applicant.

3. Government organisation 

States, Territories, authorities of a State or Territory and local government authorities are taken to be approved in respect of all types of aged care. A simplified form has been developed for these government organisations to enable the creation of a departmental record and, to enable the payment of subsidies to the organisation.

Do I need to be approved to offer my services?

You do not have to submit an application for approval to provide aged care if you only want to offer your services. However, only Australian Government-funded services can be listed on the My Aged Care website.

The My Aged Care website includes links to a number of approved external directories with listings of private aged care services. If you provide aged care services but do not receive government funding, you may consider listing your services on external directories.

Further information for providers about listing private services through linked directories is available on the My Aged Care website.

State, territory and local government authorities

Under section 8-6 of the Act, State, Territory and local government authorities are taken to be approved providers unless the approval has been revoked or suspended.

Who are key personnel?

Key personnel are defined in section 8-3A of the Act as:

  • people responsible for the executive decisions of the applicant (this includes directors and board members)
  • people having authority or responsibility for (or significant influence over) planning, directing or controlling the activities of the applicant
  • any person responsible for nursing services provided, or to be provided, by the applicant, whether or not the person is employed by the applicant and
  • any person who is, or likely to be, responsible for the day-to-day operation of an aged care service conducted, or proposed to be conducted, by the applicant, whether or not the person is employed by the applicant.
  • Key personnel cannot be a disqualified individual.

Who is a disqualified individual?

Section 10 A-1 of the Act defines a disqualified individual as someone who:

  • has been convicted of an indictable offence; or
  • is an insolvent under administration (bankrupt); or
  • is of unsound mind.

When an organisation seeks to be approved to provide aged care, and after being approved, it must demonstrate that it satisfies strict requirements set out in the legislative provisions under the Act. In particular, its experience, suitability, and that none of the proposed key personnel is a disqualified individual.

To demonstrate this, the applicant is required to provide evidence that none of the proposed key personnel have been convicted of an indictable offence.  Each state and territory law identifies different types of offences as being indictable.  These may include more serious offences, such as:

  • murder
  • manslaughter
  • aggravated assault
  • the intentional and unlawful administration of drugs or poisons
  • committing fraudulent or dishonest activities.

The department may conduct a search of records held by the Australian Financial Security Authority, specifically the National Personal Insolvency Index, for all proposed key personnel of the applicant.

National police checks

The applicant must obtain and submit a National Police Certificate (NPC) obtained through a police agency or a National Criminal History Check (NCHC) from an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) accredited agency for each individual key personnel. If an application is received without a NPC or NPHC for each key personnel listed, it will not be accepted.

Each NPC or NPHC date of issue must not be dated no more than 90 days before the date when you submit the application form to the department. For example, if you submit the application form on

10 January 2019, the NPC/NCHC must not be dated before 10 October 2018.

Your NPC or NPHC must include all former and preferred names.

Statutory Declaration Form

If all your former or current names are not shown on the police check obtained or if you have been at any time after turning 16 years of age, a resident of a country other than Australia, you must complete a Statutory Declaration form and declare whether you have been convicted of an indictable offence.

An indictable offence is an offence against a law of the Commonwealth or a State or Territory, or an offence against a law of a foreign country that corresponds to an offence against a law of the Commonwealth or a State or Territory. The Statutory Declaration form/s (if applicable) must be attached to the application with your NPC or NCHC.

You can download a blank Statutory Declaration form from the Attorney-General’s website.

How long does it take to approve an application?

Under subsection 8-5(1) of the Act, an applicant, must be notified as to whether or not they are approved as a provider of aged care within 90 days after the Secretary receives the application or, if further information has been requested by the Secretary under section 8-4 of the Act, within 90 days after receiving the information

The application will not be assessed if all the required documents are not provided. If the Department has to seek further information from the applicant under section 8-4 of the Act, it will delay the decision about the application.

Requests for further information

If further information is required to assess your application a request will be made under section 8-4 of the Act. Information must be given within 28 days otherwise the application is taken to be withdrawn.  If further information is provided within the 28 day timeframe, a further new 90 day timeframe applies, commencing on receipt of the information.

After you have been approved

If your application is approved, you have demonstrated that you understand your responsibilities for providing that care type.  You may be required to take further steps, as outlined in your approval notice.  The following information is provided to assist you.

About home care services

Under section 9-1A of the Act approved providers must notify the department of the following information in relation to each home care service through which the approved provider proposes to provide home care:

  1. The name and address of the service;
  2. Any other information of a kind specified in the Approved Provider Principles for the purposes of this section

Notification must be made before the approved provider first provides home care through the home care service and must be made within 28 days of the change.

Home Care Service Notification form

The Home Care Service Notification form to notify the Secretary of the home care service(s) that you intend to provide.

It must be completed and submitted before you can claim any home care subsidy. A separate form must be completed for each home care service.

Use this form if you are an existing provider looking to change the name and/or address of an existing service that you are operating. You have 28 days to inform the department of the change.

Note: You must be an approved provider of home care under the Act before you submit this form.

Allocation of places

Approved providers of home care are not allocated home care places however, an allocation of places is still required for residential and/or flexible care.

There are two ways that approved providers of residential and/or flexible care can acquire places:

  • be successful in an application for places in an Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) or
  • acquire places from an approved provider and apply to the department for approval to transfer places from the transferor to the transferee.

The department is responsible for the allocation of aged care places. The planning system aims to ensure that all communities have a fair and equitable level of aged care services. Aged care places are allocated annually through a highly competitive selection process, the ACAR, which takes into account the:

  • number of places made available
  • identified needs of an aged care planning region
  • relative merits of the proposals received.

The ACAR is advertised in major newspapers and on the department’s website. Information about the ACAR can be found in the Aged Care Funding section of the department's website.

Obligation to notify the Secretary about home care services

Under section 9-1A of the Act approved providers must notify the department of the following information in relation to each home care service through which the approved provider proposes to provide home care:

  • The name and address of the service;
  • Any other information of a kind specified in the Approved Provider Principles for the purposes of this section

Notification must be made before the approved provider first provides home care through the home care service and must be made within 28 days of the change.

Obligation to notify certain changes that materially effects the suitability of an approved provider

Under section 9-1 of the Act, approved providers must notify the department of change of circumstances that materially affects the suitability of an approved provider to provide aged care (see section 8-3 of the Act) within 28 days after the change occurs.

You can download the material changes form Notification of a Material Change from the department’s website.

When are my services listed on My Aged Care?

After you have been approved you will need to register with My Aged Care.

Information about registering with My Aged Care, including fact sheets, My Aged Care system overview, FAQs, user guides, quick reference guides and videos are available on the department's website.

How can I update my operational contact details?

It is important that you keep your contact details updated, as it ensures that the department can contact you to provide important information about aged care. 

IMPORTANT: Updating your contact information in the My Aged Care portal will not update your National Approved Provider System (NAPS) record.

To update your service contact details, use the Home Care Service Notification form.

Update operational contact details such as email, postal addresses or other relevant contact information in your approved provider record by email to ApprovedProviderApplications@health.gov.au.

Contact Us

Questions relating to an approved provider application should be emailed to ApprovedProviderApplications@health.gov.au