The Complaints Principles 2011 (the Principles) for the Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme) are in place from today, 1 September 2011. These Principles replace the Investigation Principles 2007 and are available to view or download from the ComLaw website.
The improved Principles are a result of the Australian Government’s decision to implement recommendations from the independent Walton Review to improve the Scheme’s operation, timeliness and transparency.
As a result, we are now also implementing our new complaints framework, underpinned by the Principles. This improved framework will provide:
- a greater focus on complaint resolution and protecting the care recipient with several resolution options available
- a more robust risk assessment of individual complaints, to manage a complaint in the most appropriate way
- regular communication and consultation as part of the process.
What can be expected from the new framework?
The new complaints framework will enhance the aged care sector’s involvement in complaints resolution.
Some of the main features of the new framework include:
- a focus on achieving timely resolution of concerns
- a more flexible approach to resolving concerns
- working with the provider where possible in reaching the most positive result
- broadened review rights
- greater transparency and consistency through a national approach to complaints resolution.
We have finalised as many cases as possible before 1 September 2011 to ensure a smooth transition into the new framework.
If we are currently examining a concern, we will make the necessary adjustments to apply the new Principles. However, please note that an investigation may still be the best resolution approach.
Complaints received from 1 September will be examined under the new Principles. This means the Scheme will be able to resolve concerns using one or more approaches including early resolution, approved provider resolution, conciliation, mediation and investigation.
What do these changes mean for approved providers?
For providers and staff this means that we will be:
- encouraging and supporting people to talk to the provider first, where appropriate
- resolving concerns using an appropriate and proportionate approach
- taking a collaborative approach to resolve concerns as quickly as possible
- providing greater communication of complaints data, trends and lessons, case studies, online information and on-the-ground education.
What do these changes mean for consumers?
There are a number of changes for care recipients, their families and friends, and carers under the new framework including:
- there will be greater information and support for people to resolve their concern directly with the provider, where appropriate
- a focus on resolution, along with expanded resolution approaches, means we’ll be more likely to resolve a concern
- initial and ongoing risk assessment, will ensure we effectively manage each complaint, and help us to choose the best resolution approach
- our new information materials will provide more detail about options, to help people make informed decisions
- improved communication will help consumers to understand their options for raising and resolving concerns, including approaching the provider where possible.
In the coming months, we will be talking to approved providers and consumers to share more information about the new framework.
New information materials reflecting the new framework will also be sent to stakeholders soon and available to view, download or order from this website.