Australian Government Care + Support Sector Code of Conduct Consultation

The Australian Government is consulting on a proposed a single Code of Conduct to cover providers, workers and other participants in the Aged Care, NDIS and Veterans’ Support sectors.

Drawing on what we have been learning about codes of conduct for recruitment and staffing professionals, I prepared a submisson. Here’s some of what I was thinking.

I’d love to get your feedback.

6 …what language is preferred and why?

“Code-covered person” may be ambiguous with respect to the participation of recruitment & staffing agencies and procurement personnel, whose functions facilitate the provision of care and support.

The language of Recommendation 14 of the Aged Care Royal Commission Report (Duty of Care for “Providers and Facilitators”) appears to go a considerable way toward clarifying coverage issues.

7 At a high level, what should be covered in the detailed guidance to support providers and workers to adhere to the Code in the aged care and/or veterans’ care context?

Additional reference might be made to providing services consistent with “applicable standards and public health directives”.

8 What considerations are relevant to enforcing the Code in the aged care context?

The impact upon participants of the way in which compliance and enforcement proceedings are conducted is the subject of increasing study in the field of therapeutic jurisprudence. Whilst the field is gaining recognition in the criminal justice system, it also has applications in administrative and professional disciplinary proceedings.

So far as possible, regard should be had to considerations of therapeutic jurisprudence and emotional due process as being consistent with respect for persons and an ethic of care.

9 What considerations are relevant to enforcing the Code in the veterans’ care context?

In response to Q8, we made reference to principles of therapeutic jurisprudence and requirements for emotional due process. Those considerations apply with equal force in relation to the enforcement of the Code in the veterans’ care context.

We would also encourage the giving of consideration to the question of how principles of trauma-informed practice might be deployed to improve processes and outcomes of compliance and enforcement interventions.

10 What other intersections need to be considered as part of the implementation of the Code?

At a high level, consideration should be given to interactions with codes that govern procurement, recruitment & staffing and HR functions. Practitioners in these fields play an important role assembling, deploying and maintaining effective governance of care & support sector workforces. They frequently operate under their own professional codes. There may thus be a need to achieve alignment between the content and culture of such codes and the goals and objectives of the draft Code.

Guidance on the draft Code may therefore need to address not only WHAT the Code is about, but WHY it is about those things; WHO affects the outcomes; and HOW what providers and facilitators do can impact positively or negatively on outcomes.

Next Steps

Next week, we prepare and make our submisison on the related consultation, Aligning regulation across aged care, disability support and veterans care.

Andrew C. Wood