Article by Lauren Broomham, Editor, The Source. Featured in The Daily Commission eNewsletter 30 May 2019, Edition 76.
Ansvar’s Anthony Black’s tips on what boards can do to prepare for the new Aged Care Quality Standards starting 1 July 2019 – just over a month away.
Anthony says boards need to play both a short game and a long game.
In the short-term, the Risk Consultant says boards need to have clear understanding of the immediate organisational risk associated with compliance against the standards.
This means making risk-based decisions now that will help to get their organisation ready – and having strategies in place to bridge gaps where compliance is most at risk.
“Boards cannot be over everything, however they should be scrutinising key areas of weakness and ensuring appropriate governance and resources are assigned to address them,” he said.
“My question to Directors would be ‘do you know the top 3-5 causative factors that could lead to your organisation being non-compliant and what is being done about them?’”
Developing a long-term risk strategy
In the long-term, Anthony says organisations must be revisiting their strategic plans – and providers shouldn’t be blind to the new risks coming.
“Boards should be considering three major influences within their strategic plan, which will be key to success over the next five years: Consumer led services / Governance capabilities – particularly governing for vulnerable people / Clinical governance.”
“The long game shouldn’t just be about compliance, it must be about responding to and proactively guiding your organisation to provide best outcomes for customers/residents,” he adds. “Having a stronger focus on these three areas is crucial to this.”
Key to both will be your Risk Management Frameworks, Anthony emphasises.
“Traditional risk management does not cut it. Boards should be actively reviewing their framework and ensuring it will support the organisation through a strategically important time ahead.”
Board members need “right experience” under new Standards
Interestingly, Anthony also notes that embedded in the new Standards under Standard 8 is the requirement that organisations must show ‘Evidence that members of the governing body have the right experience to govern an organisation providing care and service to vulnerable consumers’ – an issue we have previously raised as part of our series on achieving ‘transformational change’ for the sector.
Anthony agrees this is a very reasonable requirement – and one that the community expects.
“Experience with care and social services, clinical care and consumer engagement are skill sets that will add great value to the board. Boards should evaluate their current skill sets, have learning and capability plans in place and be recruiting to bridge their specific skill gaps,” he said.
“Given the rural and remote nature of some providers, this will be challenging and more creative options (such as Board advisors, teleconnection systems to link to expertise from a distance) will require consideration and planning.”
All important points for directors to consider moving forward.