Get ready, because here it comes: Aged Care Royal Commissioners to issue information requests this week

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A 3 minute read about the latest news on the Aged Care Royal Commission

By Darren James, Partner

100 largest providers to receive information requests this week

This week, the 100 largest aged care providers are expected to receive written requests to provide information to the Royal Commission.

Responses to those requests are understood to be required by 7 January 2019.

It is understood that the requests will seek:

  • provider views on what ought to change within the aged care sector
  • how those changes might be implemented;
  • details around substandard care complaints; and
  • improvements that have been made by providers.

Information requests were used by the Banking Royal Commissioner with devastating effect. It was from the responses received that the Commissioner determined the case studies to be examined during the course of the Commission’s hearings.

The Aged Care Royal Commissioners will likely put the responses that they receive to similar use.

Smaller providers to receive requests for information next week

The Commissioners are expected to also issue similar information requests to smaller aged care providers next week.

Responses to those requests are understood to be required in early February 2019. They too are expected to be used by the Commission in determining the best case studies to examine during the Commission’s hearings.

Lessons from the Banking Royal Commission

Many of the businesses who received requests from the Banking Royal Commission last December were caught unprepared and ill equipped to deal with the complexity and volume of the requests.

Even the biggest businesses scrambled to respond to those requests appropriately, on time and in sufficient detail for the Commissioner.

Those who provided inadequate or incomplete responses, or who sought extensions, were the subject of criticism.

Recipients also routinely struggled with the fact that the requests sought frank admissions as to instances where actions had fallen short of community standards and expectations, or where they or their personnel had engaged in misconduct.

Aged care providers will face the same struggles when responding to the Commission’s requests.

The lesson from the Financial Services Royal Commission is don’t delay preparing: act now.

What to do now?

Here’s my top 5 steps that you should consider taking now:

  1. Organise your legal team. Don’t wait until you get the Commission’s request. The response required will need careful legal input and guidance.
  2. Prepare a plan, with your legal team, of issues and topics (including relevant incidents) relevant to your business and which will likely fall within the Commission’s request and start marshalling the materials and information required to respond to that request.
  3. Assess the readiness of your business to respond to the Commission’s request now. Ensure that you have sufficient resources to respond to it, that you know where relevant data might be contained (on PCs, phones, servers, etc), and identify how you will extract those documents and information from those sources.
  4. Set up a ‘response team’ within your business now. This team will need to be tasked with the coordination of your response to the Commission. The team must be appropriately resourced and supported, including having clear decision and reporting lines within your business and with your business’s legal team.
  5. Evaluate your business’s insurance position carefully with your lawyers to see what cover you have.

This article is of a general, informational nature. It does not constitute legal or professional advice by the author or by Mills Oakley, and must not be relied on as such. 

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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