The Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Act 2022 (Cth) (Response Act) amends both the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) (Aged Care Act) and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018 (Cth) (ACQSC Act) in a number of respects including, relevantly, the new key personnel requirements for approved providers.
The Act received Royal Assent on 5 August 2022, with the last amendments to commence on 1 December 2022.
Providers that are government bodies should already be aware that the scope of people who are considered key personnel of their organisation or service is different under the ACQSC Act for government bodies than it is for body corporates. There are also distinctions between State or Territory Governments; and local government authorities. This limited scope may mean fewer people are considered key personnel of these entities. The Aged Care Act, which contains the obligations on providers with respect to key personnel, also adopts the same definition of “key personnel” as the ACQSC Act.
However, the Aged Care Act distinguishes between government bodies and body corporates in very limited circumstances. While government bodies are exempted from some of the new governance requirements under the amended Aged Care Act (once these amendments are in force), there is no such distinction drawn when it comes to the key personnel of the approved provider.
The obligations on approved providers in relation to key personnel therefore apply equally to government bodies and body corporates. This includes State or Territory Governments, State or Territory authorities, and local government authorities. Providers that are government bodies will therefore need to ensure that they comply with the new obligations in relation to key personnel once the amendments made by the Response Act take effect on 1 December 2022.
These new requirements contain suitability criteria for key personnel, and includes an obligation to inform the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner of changes in the suitability of a provider’s key personnel, among others. Changes to the suitability of the key personnel of an approved provider, or failure to comply with obligations in relation to key personnel, can result in the suspension or revocation of a provider’s approval.