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Changes Needed To Improve Future Of Out Of Home Care Services

April 1st, 2022 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

The future insurability of Out of Home Care (OOHC) will continue to remain difficult and for insurers associated risks are very complex. The issue goes beyond the fact that there may be a significant number of historical incidents.  The reality today is that there is a range of ongoing material risks currently not being adequately addressed. The OOHC support system is being let down and the risk of harm and abuse continues to remain high.

For our communities, governments and insurers alike, risk mitigation for OOHC will continue to be a major challenge. In addressing this challenge, there are some key actions that would help go some way to reducing the inherent risks in Out of Home Care and Foster Care services.

 

 Actions required to reduce risk in the sector

  • A cultural shift to believe the testimony of children
  • A cultural shift in Government Departments to prioritise the actual ‘best interests of the child’ rather than the parent – stability for children in a loving and safe home – a parent who is both actually ‘willing and able’.  ‘Good enough’ parenting is not good enough.
  • A huge investment in human resources to the development of a dedicated “Children in Care” division within Federal and State Governments
  • Mandatory annual personal safety education for all children in care
  • Mandatory child safety training for all foster carers (already happening in most States)
  • Mandatory monthly Foster Friends visitor program (monthly check-in by children’s behaviour expert young staff) and an actual response to their findings
  • Strong child protection by Government departments to communicate with schools and day care around children’s well-being & behaviours (changes in behaviour being the warning and window to trauma)
  • Mandatory professional child therapeutic sessions with foster children to extract ‘their voice’ and ‘their opinions’.
  • Effective governance and risk management frameworks in OOHC organisations with boards capable to govern for vulnerable people.

 

To some extent, some of this is already happening around the nation but more reflected in intent rather than by real changes. In practice, there is a lack of staff and quality foster carers, children’s voices continue to be ignored, early warning signs are not being recognised and testimony from professionals are not adequately actioned.  Sometime, parents who are anything but ‘able and willing’ are permitted to retain custody of children – by the time the children are removed their level of trauma and abuse is life threatening.

Insurers, like Ansvar, have played a critical role in creating a major disruption to the systems of OOHC, raising awareness of the risk of abuse, the associated un-insurability of this area of care and the need for more effective risk mitigation strategies. Ansvar will continue to work with the industry to address the current shortcomings. It is our hope that the risk mitigation strategies listed above will go some way to highlighting the challenges and a genuine shift to possible solutions so that carers are adequately protected with the right insurance, children receive the services they need are well protected and fully supported to live their best lives.

Ansvar Risk is available to support you. Contact one of our Senior Risk Consultants at info@ansvarrisk.com.au

The La Niña Effect

November 5th, 2021 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Wild weather is coming

The severe weather season is here, and floods and cyclones are on the forecast.

The Bureau of Meteorology has just released its outlook for the severe weather season, and this like every year, we need to be prepared.  In March 2021 we saw floods in the mid north coast of NSW and in October 2021 we saw a severe hail storm event in Coffs Harbour,  while South East Queensland has had a number of severe storms

Ansvar is again releasing our Risk Alert – La Niña Effect – Are You Storm and Flood Ready? To coincide with the Bureau of Meteorology indicates the shift from La Niña watch to La Niña alert.  La Niña conditions traditionally leads to see average to above-average rainfall during spring and summer for northern and eastern Australia.

This is an opportunity for organisations to become storm and flood read.  The Risk Alert – La Niña Effect has a number of tools and resources for you to access to help you prepare for any flood or storm event.

Ansvar Risk is available to support you. Contact one of our Senior Risk Consultants at info@ansvarrisk.com.au

Risk Alert #11 – Clinical Governance

October 25th, 2021 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

This alert provides information on two key areas of risk in care organisations that will assist brokers to support clients with managing these risks and meeting insurance requirements.

  1. Clinical (Care) Governance
  2. Incident Management

 

CLINICAL GOVERNANCE – MANAGING CARE RISKS

  • Brokers may be hearing more about the topic of “clinical governance”. Regulations are driving an increased focus on it.
  • Clients in aged care and disability services have obligations to have a framework in place to support the delivery of complex care.
  • Royal Commissions and inquiries have demonstrated these to be generally inadequate across care sectors.
  • Poor clinical governance exposes insureds to increased risk of personal loss claims, director and officer liability claims, regulatory sanctions and harms to reputation.
  • Our risk alert gives guidance on developing a clinical governance framework with video advice, tools and checklists.

 

INCIDENT MANAGEMENT – POLICIES, PROCEDURES & SYSTEMS

  • Ansvar’s work with our care insureds has shown the quality and robustness of incident management policies, procedures and systems to be highly variable.
  • This results higher risk of inadequate incident responses, delays in notifications and makes claims more challenging to defend.
  • Insurability is at risk if insureds do not have a robust organisation-wide system for incident management.
  • Our risk alert gives guidance on incident management and its role in good governance.
  • Ansvar Risk can assist clients to review their incident systems and also connect to system providers if required.

 

 

Ansvar Risk is available to support our mutual clients. Contact one of our Senior Risk Consultants at info@ansvarrisk.com.au

Please ensure care sector clients are provided with this important risk alert.

 

 

Important Update re: Child Protection Legislation/Regulation – Implications for Insured

October 5th, 2021 Posted by Blog, Uncategorized No Comment yet

This update relates to continuing reviews of current child protection legislations and regulations. New compliance requirements are now in effect and more are coming.


Three Commonwealth Royal Commissions (Child Sexual Abuse, Aged Care and Disability) and numerous other State and Federal inquires have exposed the harrowing realities and deficiencies with current practice in how our nation supports our most vulnerable.

A reflection of these findings is found in the exponential growth in claims being experience by the Insurance sector.

Now, just as with OHS/WPHS, the operating landscape has changed forever and will continue to do so.  A zero tolerance approach to harm being perpetrated on the vulnerable now exists across the care sector.

Organisations are increasingly required to comply with a growing array of Principles, Standards, legislation and regulation designed to improve the safety of vulnerable children and adults. The following provides links and cursory information on the latest changes.

 

List of Child Protection Legislations

A full and accurate list of relevant child protection legislation can be found via the Australian Institute of Family Studies website:

Australian child protection legislation | Child Family Community Australia (aifs.gov.au)

 

Criminal Laws

Criminal laws for Failure to Report & Failure to Protect Legislation are now in place VIC, NSW, ACT, QLD, TAS and NT.  Other States have their own responses. Organisations need to be aware that it is now a criminal offence in most jurisdictions for any person, this includes staff not just management, to fail to report a suspected or known incident of child sexual assault or to fail to protect a victim of suspected sexual abuse.

 

Mandatory Reporting

The various mandatory requirements for all Australian jurisdictions can be found via the Australian Institute of Family Studies website:

Mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect | Child Family Community Australia (aifs.gov.au)

 

Update-Implementation Child Safe Principles AS AT  July 2021

New South Wales (NSW)

NSW is in the process of implementing a regulatory framework that supports implementation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s (Royal Commission) Child Safe Standards. If the Bill successfully passes through NSW Parliament, legislation will be embedding the requirements, as well as giving the Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) NSW powers to monitor implementation of the Child Safe Standards and investigate complaints about an organisation’s implementation of the Child Safe Standards. The OCG has released advice that it considers organisations in NSW that are implementing the National Principles will be simultaneously implementing the Child Safe Standards.

More information the Children’s Guardian Amendment (Child Safe Scheme) Bill 2021 [NSW] is available here: Children’s Guardian Amendment (Child Safe Scheme) Bill 2021

And the OCG’s guide to the Child Safe Standards is available here: A Guide to the Child Safe Standards

 

Victoria (VIC)

All organisations that provide services or facilities for children are required to comply with the VIC Child Safe Standards. The VIC Commission for Children and Young People is the oversight body for the Child Safe standards, and has powers to oversee and enforce organisations’ compliance with the Child Safe Standards. VIC reviewed its Child Safe Standards in 2019 and 2020. Recommendations from the review included amending the VIC Child Safe Standards to align with the National Principles. More information on VIC’s Child Safe Standards is available on the Commission for Children and Young People website: Being a Child Safe Organisation

Information on the review of the VIC Child Safe Standards is available via the following DHHS publication: Review of the Victoria Child Safe Standards

 

Queensland (QLD)

QLD has existing mandatory requirements for institutions that provide services to children to apply best practice and mitigate risks of harm. Under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (QLD), institutions are required to develop and implement a child and youth risk management strategy which promotes the wellbeing of a child. QLD is also in the process of considering and developing options for implementation and oversight of the Child Safe Standards. More information is available in QLD’s Third Annual Progress report in response to the Royal Commission: Queensland Government Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

 

Western Australia (WA)

WA does not currently have a legislated approach to implementation of the Child Safe Standards and/or the National Principles. However, the WA Department of Communities is working across government agencies, the community services sector, peak bodies and other jurisdictions to drive implementation of the National Principles through existing regulatory mechanisms and funding agreements. The WA Department of the Premier and Cabinet is leading policy work to develop and independent oversight system, which includes monitoring and enforcement of the National Principles. More information is available at: National Principles for Child Safe Organisations

 

South Australia (SA)

Through its Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (SA) and Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016 (SA), SA requires organisations providing services to children and young people to provide child safe environments. The SA Department of Human Services monitors this scheme. The SA Government have advised the National Principles have replaced the former SA Principles of Good Practice (the previous minimum requirements organisations were required to meet in order demonstrate that appropriate steps had been taken to ensure safe environments for children and young people) and from 1 July 2021, all organisations developing child safe policies and procedures must, align with the National Principles and reflect the SA legislative context. More information is available on the SA Department of Human Services website: National Principles for child safe organisations

 

Tasmania (TAS)

TAS is in the process of developing a child safe legislative framework based on the recommendations contained in Volume 6 Making Institutions Child Safe report of the Royal Commission. Consultations on the draft Child Safe Organisations Bill 2020 (TAS) were held from December 2020 to February 2021. TAS is in the process of considering feedback received through the consultation process and updating the draft Bill. More information is available via the Tasmania Government Department of Justice website: Child Safe Organisations Bill 2020 – Have your say

 

Northern Territory (NT)

The NT does not currently have a legislated approach to child safety in organisations, however it is progressing work to adopt national child safe standards. More information is available in the NT 2020 Generational Change Impact Report: 2020 Generational Change Impact Report

 

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The ACT is progressing work to introduce a Child Safe Standards scheme, which will adopt the National Principles and be overseen by the ACT Human Rights Commission. More information is available via the ACT Government response to the Rpyal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Making institutions child safe

Aged Care Clients – Implications of Covid 19 Vaccination Orders

August 16th, 2021 Posted by Blog No Comment yet


Written by Anthony Black, Senior Risk Consultant & National Care Practice Leader

 

From 17 September 2021, COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for all residential aged care workers.

Residential aged care workers will be required to have received a minimum first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by this time.

It will be a condition of working in a residential aged care facility through shared state, territory and Commonwealth authorities and compliance measures.

 

Workers required to be vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccination will be mandatory for full time, part-time and casual residential aged care workers, volunteers engaged by the facility, and students on placement.

This includes:

  • anyone employed or engaged by a residential aged care facility who works on-site in a facility, such as:
    • Direct care workforce (nurses; personal care workers; allied health professionals, and allied health assistants)
    • Administration staff (reception; management; administration)
    • Ancillary staff (food preparation; cleaning; laundry; garden; maintenance)
    • Lifestyle / social care (music/art therapy); Transport drivers collecting residents from RACFs for outings
  • Volunteers engaged by the RACF
  • Students on placement; and
  • Medical practitioners, such as general practitioners and consulting specialists, who attend and provide care to residents.

Other workers not employed directly by a facility, and who only provide in-reach services, are not required to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

 

Significant Penalties for Non-compliance

States are incorporating these requirements under respective Covid directions. WA is the first State to release its public orders. Penalties for non-compliance include up to $20000 for individuals and $100000 for organisations.

Providers are required to report updates on staff compliance each week.

 

Vaccination Challenges

Originally part of 1a of the Federal Government’s Vaccination Program, it was anticipated all staff would be fully vaccinated by end of March. This strategy included vaccinating staff on site (along with residents). However, this strategy has not played out and staff are now required to use local vaccinations services to obtain their vaccination. This has delayed uptake. Health Department Figures show just 34% of staff have received first immunisation. In Disability Care, this even lower.

 

Risks and exposures

  • Governance- Provider boards and executives must ensure compliance with directives; organisations suffer significant penalties for non-compliance
  • Clinical Risk – Aged care residents are at continuing significant risk from Covid. Vaccination management and uptake must form part of the clinical governance framework
  • Workforce- Providers must assist with the accessibility of vaccination for residents and should be considering options to support staff to encourage uptake of the vaccination. Contingencies should be in place should adequate staff not be available from the mid-September deadline.
  • Further outbreaks – all insureds must have a Covid plan in place.

 

For more information please email Anthony Black (ablack@ansvar.com.au)

Ansvar appoints Hetty Johnston AM to lead Safeguarding Risk Management Strategy

July 13th, 2021 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

 

Ansvar appoints Hetty Johnston AM to lead Safeguarding Risk Management Strategy

 

Hetty Johnston AM

A highly regarded expert and advocate for child protection and safeguarding, Hetty Johnston founded the Braveheart’s Foundation, Australia’s leading child protection organisation, and has been instrumental in inspiring positive change on key issues including education, health, and child safety.

Hetty’s role at Ansvar will involve working with our Risk Team to support employees, brokers and clients in understanding the complexity of Physical and Sexual Abuse (PSA) risks, and safeguarding against abuse, particularly in organisations that care for those most vulnerable in our community.

“I’m really excited to be working with the Ansvar team, and am confident we can achieve a lot together. Ansvar is committed to making a difference, and combined with my passion and experience, we can help organisations create a safer environment for those who are vulnerable within our community.” – Hetty Johnston

 

Safeguarding

As we know, safeguarding doesn’t just happen within organisations — it requires focus on critical risk factors, increased awareness of the right strategies to adopt, solid governance, and risk management. We take a closer look at Safeguarding to prevent PSA in Ansvar Risk Alert #9, and our most recent PSA Insurance Coverage Underwriting Update available to download below.

Anthony Black, Ansvar National Care Practice Leader, comments;

“It’s not just the right thing to do — it’s a prerequisite for any organisation providing care for others. We at Ansvar know that safeguarding requires critical consideration. This is why we’ve developed specific risk management solutions backed by of one of Australia’s most renowned experts, Hetty Johnston.’’

 

Safeguarding Advice: Resources & Toolkits

To provide further support, we are developing safeguarding advice, resources and tools, which will be supported by webinars and other educational forums, led by Hetty and the wider Risk Team. We will keep you updated as this work rolls out.

 

Have a question or two?

Please reach out to your local Ansvar Representative for more information.

We look forward to making a difference in our community, together.

For more information on Ansvar’s Enterprise Risk Management services, click here.

Aged Care webinar – A path out of the Pandemic

June 5th, 2020 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Aged Care Webinar – A Path out of the Pandemic: Understanding the key governance, legal and risk implications for aged care providers.

This webinar will discuss key governance, legal and risk implications that aged care providers should focus on and integrate into their strategy as we move out of the initial COVID-19 response and into the next phase.

Our presenters will explore key risks for this new phase and provide a practical recovery management framework that providers can consider to assist position their organisation.

This session will also help providers anticipate some key areas of focus for the ACQSC and provide insights into how to prepare for this.

Joining us will be Anthony Black, Senior Risk Consultant from Ansvar Risk Management Services, and Russell Kennedy aged care principals Anita Courtney and Solomon MillerVictor Harcourt will facilitate the session and we will also have a team answering your questions during the webinar.

Our panellists will cover:

  • Key legal and governance risks in the next phase of COVID-19
  • Practical steps for recovery – a framework to support good governance and compliance through a risk-based approach to Strategy, Operations, Workforce

Opportunity to submit your questions – Q&A

You have the opportunity to submit questions before the webinar. Please submit any questions to events@rk.com.au.

 

Webinar Details

We are utilising Zoom to run this webinar. Zoom is free to download and can be viewed from your PC/mobile device.

The live webinar is free to attend and attendees will be sent a link to log into the live webinar room 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.

DATE: Friday 12 June 2020

TIME: 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm AEST

COST: This webinar is free to attend but bookings are essential as places are limited.

To register for this online webinar click the button below:

Dignity of risk forums - nationwide dates

“Powerful” Dignity of Risk forums announced nationwide

July 15th, 2019 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Following on from recent success in Sydney, Ansvar is delighted to announce nationwide Dignity of Risk forums that will take place in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth throughout July and August. (more…)

Anthony Black

“It’s time to think differently”: Ansvar’s Anthony Black on long-term strategic planning for your organisation

June 20th, 2019 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

Article by Lauren Broomham, Editor, The Source. Featured in The Daily Commission eNewsletter 15 June 2019
Anthony Black

We had plenty of interest in Ansvar Risk Consultant Anthony Black’s tips (30 May 2019 76th edition) on what boards can do to prepare for the new Aged Care Quality Standards starting 1 July 2019 – so a follow-up on some of the issues raised in his points. (more…)

Aged Care

“Traditional risk management does not cut it”: Ansvar Risk Consultant urges boards to be proactive – and prepare for future challenges

June 6th, 2019 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

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.