Certification of Residential Services
This information was distributed on Wednesday October 8, 2014
Dear Approved Provider
I am writing to provide important advice regarding forthcoming amendments to the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) in relation to the certification of residential aged care services.
As part of the Australian Government’s commitment to boost productivity and reduce the regulatory burden on business and community organisations and individuals, the Australian Parliament passed amendments to the Act to repeal the requirement for certification of residential aged care services. This amendment was part of the Omnibus Repeal Day (Autumn 2014) Bill.
This was passed by the Australian Parliament on 22 September 2014. The repeal will not take effect until the day after it receives Royal Assent. The Department will advise you of the date of repeal when it occurs; this is anticipated to occur in the next few weeks.
Impact on residential aged care services
Following the repeal, providers will no longer apply to the Department for certification in respect of new services. There will also no longer be any provision for a certification review of existing services. All references to certification in respect of eligibility for supplements and the ability to charge accommodation payment will be removed.
Instead, the aged care regulatory framework will continue to require approved providers to ensure that their residential aged care services fully comply will all relevant Commonwealth, state or territory regulations, including building, fire and work, health and safety regulations. The Accreditation Standards require approved providers to be able to demonstrate compliance with these regulations.
You should also be aware that the removal of certification will not remove the privacy and space requirements set out in Schedule 1 of the Aged Care (Transitional Provisions) Principles 2014. These requirements are separate and distinct from certification, although the current certification instrument drew upon them as one of the criteria for achieving certification.
Responsibilities up until the date of repeal
Until the date of repeal, the certification requirements set out in the Act will continue to apply and approved providers wishing to bring new residential aged care services on line prior to the repeal of certification will continue to be required to submit an application for certification as required under Division 38 of the Act. Every application will continue to be assessed on a case by case basis however, in order to reduce the burden on applicants prior to the repeal taking effect, the Department will, wherever possible, continue to assess applications based on relevant approval documents being provided to the Department. Notwithstanding, the Department may undertake a site inspection where it believes it is necessary to do so. Relevant approval documents that will be considered include copies of:
- Final Certificate of Occupancy;
- Approved Alternative Design Solutions;
- Site and Floor Plans;
- Fire Engineering Report.
The Department is currently in the process of making the associated amendments to the relevant Aged Care Principles.
I will write to you shortly to advise the date of repeal of the certification requirements of the Act and provide further details about the amendments to the associated Aged Care Principles.
Prudential and Approved Provider Regulation Branch
Aged Care Quality and Compliance Group
Department of Social Services
3 October 2014