Becoming an Approved Provider

Page last updated: 29 June 2018

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

The new forms and guidelines are now available for use. Note: If you submit an application after 30 June 2018 using one of the previous application forms, it will not be accepted.

What is an approved provider?

An approved provider is responsible for the decisions about the delivery of care and financial management of subsidies and care recipient’s fees and payments. Approved providers have responsibilities and obligations to deliver the care in line with the 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).

An approved provider of aged care is an organisation that has been approved to provide residential care, home and/or flexible care under the Act.

The approved provider is responsible for the decisions about the delivery of care and financial management and has responsibilities and obligations to deliver the care in line with the standards that are specified in the Act and the Principles. Approved providers receive subsidies for the delivery of care to care recipients.

To gain approval as a provider of aged care under the Act, the applicant must be assessed by the department as suitable to provide aged care.

Before applying

What you must know before applying to become a provider of aged care.

  • Your organisation must be incorporated

Only organisations who are incorporated can apply to become an approved provider of home care, residential care or flexible care. This means that if you are a sole trader, your organisation cannot be accepted as a provider of aged care under the Act. 

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

Section 8 of the Act lists the 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.

  • 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

You must use the approved form that is current at the time of applying must be used by applicants. The application form can be found on this page.

Why do I have to use the approved form?

Under the Act, an application for approval to provide home, residential and/or flexible care must be made using the approved application form that is current at the time you submit your application. All application forms are developed to ensure that applicants provide the necessary information to allow an assessment against the suitability criteria. Forms that are incomplete or have been altered will not be accepted.

Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (the Quality Agency)

If providing residential aged care, the organisation must also be accredited by the Quality Agency, which assesses the performance of residential care services in accordance with the Quality Agency Principles 2013, and the Accreditation Standards made under the Act. Information about accreditation is located in the Quality Agency Principles 2013.

Further information about the Quality Agency and the accreditation and compliance monitoring processes is available on its website www.aacqa.gov.au.

Approved providers of home care are assessed in accordance with the Quality Agency Principles 2013, and the Home Care Standards made under the Act. You are required to participate in a quality review and compliance monitoring assessments. A quality review assesses whether an approved provider delivers home care services in the community in accordance with the Home Care Standards. Information about the Quality Agency and the home care quality review and compliance processes is available on its website www.aacqa.gov.au.

Approved providers of flexible care may access information about the Quality Standards including quality reviews, assessment contacts and continuous improvement process on its website www.aacqa.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 requirement6s set out under the Act and the Principles before submitting an application seeking approval to provide aged care to the department. 

Support for home care provider applicants - 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
Although not an exhaustive list of all the aged care related legislation, these are the main requirements to be met in the delivery of aged care and link to other principles as required.

How to apply

To gain approval as a provider of aged care under the Act, the applicant must be assessed by the department as suitable to provide aged care.

Approval can be for one or more types of care:

  • home care
  • residential care
  • flexible care
  • and for one or more specified aged care services 

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

Applications are assessed against the suitability criteria as set out under section 8-3 of the Act. The applicant must demonstrate 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 providers 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?

Reconsideration Process

When a decision is made by the Department about an application to become an approved provider of aged care, the applicant can ask for reconsideration under 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 review of decision under section 85-5 of the Act

Under section 85-5 of the Act, the applicant may request the Secretary to reconsider the decision by submitting a notice in writing within 28 days of receiving the decision letter.

  • Such a request must set out the reasons for making the request and should be submitted to the Department by emailing approvedproviderapplications@health.gov.au.
  • A different decision maker within the Department will reconsider the decision, and decides 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. If the applicant wishes to appeal a decision after review by the Secretary, the applicant may make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

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

Under section 85-8 of the Act, the applicant may make an applicant 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.

IMPORTANT: If you currently receive funding to provide services under the Commonwealth Home Support Program (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 application 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.

Home Care Service Notification form

Home Care Service Notification form  - is for  approved providers of home care to notify the Secretary of the home care service(s) that you intend to provide.

Notice of this information must be provided before any care for which home care subsidy is to be claimed and a separate form must be completed for each home care service. 

This form should also be used if you are an existing provider looking to change the name and/or address of an existing service that you are operating.

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

Displaying services on My Aged Care

Do I have to apply if I only want to display my services on My Aged Care? No.

If your organisation would simply like to display its service(s) on My Aged Care, do not complete the Application for Approval to Provide Aged Care.

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

Commonwealth-funded providers

If you are already a Commonwealth-funded approved provider but are not currently appearing on the My Aged Care website, please send an email to MyAgedCare@health.gov.au providing your organisations details and a contact person. When your email is received, you will be contacted to progress the request.

Non-Commonwealth funded providers

If you are an aged care service provider who doesn’t receive Commonwealth Government subsidies, you may be able to list your service on My Aged Care through the National Health Services Directory at www.healthdirect.gov.au

State, territory and local government authorities

Section 8-3A of the Act defines key personnel as:

What 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.

What is disqualified individual?

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

  • has been convicted of an indictable offence
  • is an insolvent under administration (bankrupt)
  • 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 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 2018, the NPC/NCHC must not be dated before 10 October 2017.

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 indictable 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 indictable 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 90 day timeframe applies. 

Allocation of places

It is no longer necessary that approved providers of home care be allocated home care places. An allocation of places is still, however, 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.

Notifying a change of circumstance that materially affects the suitability of an approved provider

Approved providers are required to notify the department of changes that materially affect the suitability of an approved provider to provide aged care within 28 days after the change occurs.

Notifying material changes for approved providers

Notifying material changes for approved providers

Updating operational contact details

Approved providers should contact their local state or territory office to update operational contact details such as email, postal addresses or other relevant contact information.

Contact Us

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