The Aged Care Voluntary Industry Code of Practice Explained
Published: 08 March 2021
Published: 08 March 2021
In early February 2021, the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council launched The Aged Care Voluntary Industry Code of Practice, which has been in development since 2018 (Alderslade 2021).
The Code was the central recommendation made by The Aged Care Workforce Taskforce in the 2018 A Matter of Care report, which proposed 14 strategic actions to support Australia’s aged care workforce.
The aim of this industry-led code of conduct is to promote accountability, continuous improvement and the delivery of aged care that upholds the rights and needs of older Australians (ACWIC 2021a).
So, what does this mean for aged care service providers?
The ACWIC has established, for the first time, a single code of practice to unify the aged care industry in Australia (ACWIC 2021b).
The Code is underpinned by the belief that the way in which we care for older adults reflects our values as a nation (ACWIC 2021a).
Therefore, the goal of the Code is to ensure that:
The Code reflects a shift from compliance-based aged care models to commitment, accountability, proactivity and continuous improvement (ACWIC 2021a).
The Aged Care Workforce Taskforce found that there are significant workforce culture and operational barriers that need to be overcome in order to reform the aged care industry and its workforce. Some of the issues identified include:
(Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce 2018)
The Code is voluntary, with aged care providers around Australia being encouraged to pledge their commitment (Alderslade 2021). Within six months of becoming signatories to the Code (i.e. pledging their commitment), providers are required to publish a transition plan that outlines how they intend to commit to the Code’s principles (ACWIC 2021a).
Providers are expected to demonstrate commitment and accountability to the Code by implementing annual plans, reporting on progress and providing evidence (ACWIC 2021a). By requiring providers to publish transparent performance reports, the Code hopes to achieve industry self-regulation (ACWIC 2021b).
Providers that fail to publish their plans and report their progress will be removed from the list of signatories (ACWIC 2021a).
The public will be able to access the list of signatories in order to see which providers have agreed to the Code and are remaining committed to its principles (ACWIC 2021a).
The Code outlines expected outcomes that providers should strive to meet, however, it is the responsibility of providers to determine how exactly these outcomes will be achieved, depending on their funding, capacity and the community they are serving. This allows a diverse range of providers to commit to the Code’s principles in ways that are feasible and appropriate (ACWIC 2021a).
As community expectations, laws and regulations evolve over time, the Code will continuously improve in order to reflect these changes (ACWIC 2021a).
The Code comprises seven principles that providers must commit to:
|1. Consumer-led and community shared value||
|2. Living well and integrated models of care||
|3. Board governance||
|4. Best-practice sharing and industry benchmarking||
|5. Education and training, including workforce accreditation||
|6. Workforce planning||
|7. Proactive assurance and continuous improvement||
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