Industry Feedback Alert – Police Certificates and Subcontracted Services

Page last updated: 22 March 2018

This information was distributed July 10, 2014

From the Aged Care Quality and Compliance Group

09 July 2014

 

Who is this alert for?

Australian Government subsidised providers of Home Care, Commonwealth HACC and the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP) who subcontract services to other service providers.

What is an Industry Feedback Alert?

Industry alerts outline an issue, trend or risk we have identified and provide suggestions of areas that aged care providers may wish to review. Alerts are not directions.

Issue

The department has received requests for clarification about compliance with police certificate requirements when Home Care, Commonwealth HACC or NRCP providers subcontract to organisations that provide aged care services on their behalf.  There is a concern that the current Police Certificate Guidelines for Aged Care Providers appear to require providers to sight and assess the police certificate of each individual providing subcontracted services.

Observations

Providers must meet their responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) or the relevant funding agreement. This includes the requirement that providers who subcontract services to other organisations must be satisfied that the individuals providing the services meet police certificate requirements. Providers cannot delegate this responsibility nor can providers subcontract individuals or organisations who do not meet the police certificate requirements.

Compliance with police certificate requirements is monitored through quality reviews. During a review, reviewers are required to make an assessment of whether the aged care provider has in place systems and procedures to ensure that all of its staff members meet the police certificate requirements.  Aged care providers must be able to demonstrate that they have a system in place to ensure a subcontracted organisation also complies with the police certificate requirements.

Aged care providers with subcontracting arrangements in place should be aware that it is not sufficient to determine whether police certificate compliance has been met by relying on:

  • a ‘one off’ statutory declaration that all staff from subcontracted service organisations have a police certificate
  • the assumption that the police certificate requirement is fulfilled because the subcontracted organisation is also an Approved Provider under the Aged Care Act 1997 or a Commonwealth HACC or NRCP service provider.

Additionally, some subcontracted organisations may be concerned that information regarding an individual’s police certificate cannot be disclosed to the service provider due to privacy concerns. Under the Privacy Act 1988, information regarding police certificates may be disclosed by subcontractors to third parties (such as the aged care provider) if the disclosure is, or is directly related to, the reason why the information was collected.

Nonetheless, it is good practice for subcontracted organisations to advise staff this information may be disclosed or seek their staff’s consent to disclose this information.

Suggestions for consideration

To be satisfied your organisation is compliant with police certificate requirements, you should consider:

  • requiring the subcontracted organisation’s compliance with the police certificate requirements through contractual arrangements, and
  • reviewing the subcontracted organisation’s systems so that you can be satisfied that it ensures the organisation’s staff have valid police certificates and that the certificates have been appropriately assessed.

Appendix 4 of the Police Certificate Guidelines 2011 provides a template for recording police certificate information by aged care providers (please see below for a link to the document).

Resources

For more information on this topic, please refer to the following resources:

Accountability Principles 2014

Police Certificate Guidelines for Aged Care Providers

Commonwealth HACC Program Manual

Home Care Packages Program Guidelines

National Respite for Carers Program Manual - This document has been archived and is available on the National Library of Australia web archive

Quality and Monitoring Branch

Aged Care Quality and Compliance Group

Email: agedcare.police.checks@dss.gov.au

Responsibility for administration of the Aged Care Act 1997 transferred to the Minister for Social Services on 18 September 2013. Services for older people, including their carers, are now dealt with by the Department of Social Services. Aged Care Program staff dealing with aged care matters before these changes continue to do so in the newly created Department of Social Services.