An update on the Child Safe Standards in each jurisdiction

Last year we provided an update on where each state and territory was at with their implementation of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (the National Principles). You can read about that here.

Many of the states and territories have since progressed with their implementation of the National Principles, so we wanted to provide an update on where each state and territory is at now.

New South Wales

In mid-2020 the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) released the NSW Child Safe Standards. The Standards align closely with the National Principles. Late last year the Children’s Guardian Amendment (Child Safe Scheme) Bill 2021 passed in NSW parliament. This Bill embedded the NSW Child Safe Standards as the primary framework guiding child safe practices in NSW.

The Bill came into effect on 1 February 2022 and requires a broad range of organisations who work with or provide services to children to implement the NSW Child Safe Standards. The bill provides the Children’s Guardian with powers to monitor the implementation of the Child Safe Standards. For more information on the child safe requirements in NSW, as well as an overview of which organisations are “child safe organisations” to whom the Standards apply, refer to our previous blog post on the changes to child safe legislation in NSW.  

Victoria

The new Victorian Child Safe Standards came into effect on 1 July 2022. They also closely align with the National Principles, however there is one additional Standard (Standard 1), concerning cultural safety for Aboriginal children and young people, and two additional indicators in Standard 3 around empowering children and young people. 

The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) works with co-regulators to regulate all organisations that must comply with the Standards. They have stated that their focus initially will be on informing and educating organisations about their obligations under the new Standards. From January 2023, the CCYP will expect organisations to have more comprehensively implemented the new Standards. See our previous blog post for more information on the Victorian Child Safe Standards.

Queensland

In December 2019, the Queensland Government began initial consultations in relation to the establishment of a child safe framework. The Government was considering their options for building a stronger legislative, policy and practice framework for child safe regulation.

Since then, the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs has aligned their policies and procedures with the National Principles. Their fourth annual progress report outlines that the actions for aligning their policies and procedures with the National Principles are planned for delivery or completion during 2022. At this stage, we’re not aware of any further update on implementing and regulating the National Principles in Queensland. 

South Australia

The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations have replaced the former South Australian Principles of Good Practice. The updated requirements began on 1 July 2021, and require all organisations developing child safe policies and procedures to:

  • Align these with the National Principles, and
  • Reflect the SA legislative context.

Organisations were previously required to lodge a compliance statement against the South Australian Principles of Good Practice.  The changes mean that in their next policy review process, organisations must ensure that their policies align with the National Principles.  

The Department of Human Services South Australia is responsible for the implementation of the National Principles and the monitoring of organisations’ compliance statements.

Tasmania

The Tasmanian Government has begun the process to implement child safe standards for their state. The Child and Youth Safe Organisations Framework will be a legislatively mandated framework comprised of child safe standards and a reportable conduct scheme. Their child safe standards will closely align with the National Principles, but will be adapted to the Tasmanian context where required. The Department of Justice Tasmania is responsible for developing the framework.

The process to develop and implement the Framework is expected to go for 3 years. The indicative commencement date of the Framework is 1 January 2024. More information can be found here.

ACT

We are not aware of any further developments in the ACT since our previous blog post.

In October 2019, the ACT Government decided to regulate the Child Safe Standards in the Territory and began the development of a scheme. Public consultation ran from November 2019 until February 2020. The Government stated that the language of the ACT standards would be similar to the National Principles, but would also take into close consideration the Victorian and NSW versions of the Standards.

The Government had planned to develop legislation during 2020, however they stated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Bill to introduce a Child Safe Standards scheme was delayed and would be rescheduled for introduction at a later date. For more information click here.

Western Australia

Western Australia currently has a voluntary approach to the implementation of the National Principles, focused on capacity building, led by the Commissioner for Children and Young People (CCYP), while options for legally requiring implementation are developed.

The Department of the Premier and Cabinet is leading the development of a system of independent oversight in partnership with key government agencies and the CCYP, which will include the monitoring and enforcing of the National Principles for organisations engaged in child-related work.

The Department of Communities is leading the implementation of the National Principles through a range of administrative and legislative levers such as funding agreements and regulatory frameworks. They are also providing support to government and non-government agencies to implement the National Principles in preparation for independent oversight.

In April this year, the Department of Premier and Cabinet published a consultation summary report. This gathered information on the current progress, awareness and barriers to implementing the National Principles. At this stage we are not aware of a specific timeline on implementation of the National Principles in WA.

Northern Territory

There are no general child safety standards currently in force in the Northern Territory. Territory Families operates the Quality Assurance Program, however this applies specifically to children in out of home care. The National Principles have been endorsed by the NT Government, but compliance is not monitored. The Northern Territory has not yet indicated a timeframe for implementing the National Principles.

How can SPP help me meet my child safe obligations?

We have self-assessment modules, policy templates and other resources, in SPP for the:

  • National Principles for Child Safe Organisations;
  • NSW Child Safe Standards; and
  • Victorian Child Safe Standards.

In partnership with Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd, we have also built self-assessment modules for the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards, which create a framework for Catholic entities to promote and ensure the safety of children and adults at risk.

We will be closely monitoring the progress of other states in their implementation of the National Principles, and we plan on adding new self-assessments for new standards that arise from the implementation process.

To access these self-assessments and all of our child-safe resources, log in to SPP.

Want to access our child safe self-assessments?

SPP best practice modules – a foundational approach to good governance

Our SPP platform is well known for being a complete solution to standards compliance.  However, we also receive a lot of really positive feedback from users about how helpful they find our Towards Best Practice modules.

Many organisations use these modules to focus on good governance and continuous quality improvement across a range of operational areas of their business, separate from standards compliance.

Following requests from users, we’ve just released another Towards Best Practice module: Information Management and Privacy. This new module joins our other Towards Best Practice self-assessment modules, to help you address the important areas of:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Competence,
  • Continuous Improvement,
  • Finance,
  • Governance,
  • Human Resource Management,
  • Infection Management and Control,
  • Risk Management, and
  • Workplace Gender Equality.

These modules draw from the themes and indicators in a huge range of standards, to guide organisations through what best practice looks like in these key areas. The modules assist you to reflect on your current practices and processes, identify any areas for improvement and implement and track improvement steps over time.  

And what is really helpful, is that these self-assessments are all cross-mapped to the major mapped standards in our SPP platform. So, that means that as you complete the modules, you will simultaneously be making progress against the other major standards in SPP.

Where can I find these modules?

You can find all of these self-assessments in SPP on the Standards tab, under the ‘Towards Best Practice’ heading.

For more information on our Towards Best Practice self-assessments, refer to our previous blog post ‘What really is “best practice” and how do we achieve it?’.

Work towards Best Practice in SPP.

How can you identify improvements in your aged care service?

The obligation to maintain compliance with the Aged Care Quality Standards (ACQS) is an ongoing journey that is shared across the organisation. Once you’re meeting the ACQS, the challenge is to not only continue demonstrating how you meet the standards, but to identify improvements.

To start off with, all staff members – from board members to part-time staff – should have a fundamental understanding of the ACQS.  This will not only help you work towards compliance, but also help you identify opportunities to improve your systems and processes and, as a result, improve the quality, safety and consistency of the services you deliver.  

We’ve developed a comprehensive package of self-assessment modules for the Aged Care Quality Standards for all aged care providers, from smaller home care providers or single residence operators through to complex multi-site providers.

Some of our modules are designed to help you better understand the detail and intent behind requirements, while others are designed to streamline your preparation for assessment contacts and internal reviews.  All of them provide access to our extensive library of linked templates and other resources. 

Aged Care Quality Standards - Self-Assessment Tool

This module is the simplest approach to demonstrating compliance with the ACQS, and aligns with the Commission’s self-assessment tool template. The module enables you to include:

  • A Self-Rating;
  • Examples of Actions and Evidence;
  • Areas for Improvement; and
  • Any Other Information that may be relevant.

Aged Care Quality Standards - Educative

Our educative module for the ACQS provides a detailed walk through the Standards. It draws on the Commission’s “examples of action and evidence”, and will help providers understand the intent of every requirement contained in the Standards.  The educative module is very useful for organisations wanting a deep dive into the Standards.

Aged Care Quality Standards – Full Standard

This module is cross-mapped to other sets of standards in our platform, so is best suited to providers who are required to meet multiple sets of standards. It mitigates the duplication between the ACQS and other leading standards such as the NDIS Practice Standards. As you complete work in the module, your answers and evidence will automatically map across to common requirements in modules for other standards. The cross-mapped module is a useful tool to identify areas of overlap, as well as gaps, between different standards.

Guidance for governing bodies

We have a separate Board Governance Toolkit available for governing body members of aged care providers. The Board Governance Toolkit assists governing body members to understand and manage their responsibilities as set out in the requirements of Standard 8 of the Aged Care Quality Standards. It includes a simple introductory video and summary of the indicators, to provide governing body members with an introduction to, and overview of, the ACQS requirements.

Clinical Governance

We also have a module to help providers develop and review their clinical governance framework. This module is based on guidance issued by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. The module guides providers through the core elements of clinical governance, and outlines the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder group that should be involved in the process. It helps providers identify any gaps and opportunities for improvement and meet their clinical governance obligations under the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Just released: 5 key risks in home care

We’ve just released a new module based on the Commission’s guidance regarding the key areas of risk identified in home services. This new module supports governing bodies and senior management teams to critically examine their performance against 5 key risk areas, to ensure that they meet their obligations and deliver safe and quality home services.  

Where should you start?

All of these modules can be accessed on the Standards tab, along with hundreds of other sets of standards. If you’re looking for anything in particular in our platform or would like to provide any feedback or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you! 

Contact us here.

Want to access our self-assessments for the Aged Care Quality Standards?

NDIS emergency and disaster management: What do providers need to put in place?

In response to the impact of COVID-19, as well as a number of recent natural disasters including bushfires and floods, the new NDIS Emergency and Disaster Management Practice Standard was introduced in November last year. This was one of three new NDIS Practice Standards that were introduced at the time.

It was added into the NDIS Practice Standards so that providers ensure they have measures in place that will enable the continuity of each participant’s critical supports in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Over the last couple of months, we’ve given a number of webinars on this new Practice Standard, and we’ve also been helping providers work through what processes and documentation they should have in place to meet its requirements.

For those who missed the recent webinars, we wanted to summarise the key takeaways here.

Key steps

There are a number of steps or processes that are core to this new NDIS Practice Standard.

Planning

As a part of the planning process, providers should consider:

  • the environment/context in which they deliver supports,
  • the supports they provide,
  • the individual needs, circumstances and risks of each participant and, in particular, which supports are critical to the participant’s daily living needs, and  
  • how they are going to ensure continuity of those critical supports for each participant in a disaster or emergency.

This involves developing and implementing plans at two levels:

Whole of organisation plan

The organisation as a whole must have an emergency and disaster management plan in place, and that plan needs to set out clearly how the organisation will adapt and respond to an emergency. It should identify the people who will be responsible for key roles, and what actions will be taken to ensure the continuity of operations and the delivery of critical supports. This plan must be communicated clearly to all stakeholders, including all workers, participants and their support networks.

Individual participant plan

Second, the organisation needs to include in each participant’s support plan the details of which supports are critical to that participant, and how those critical supports will continue to be delivered in a disaster or emergency situation.

That doesn’t necessarily mean an individual emergency management plan for each participant. But plans for the alternative delivery of critical supports do need to be identified and included in each participant’s risk assessment and support plan, so that the participant (and all relevant workers, carers and family members) understands whom they need to contact, who will help them and how, in the event of an emergency or disaster.

Consultation and communication

Providers must consult with participants, their carers and family members, to ensure the participant’s circumstances and individual needs are understood. This means understanding each participant’s living circumstances and anticipating how they could be impacted by an emergency or disaster.  It means having a clear understanding with them about things like whom to call first and what to do should an emergency occur, and what alternative arrangements the provider has put in place to support them. Providers must consider how to communicate with participants, their representatives and workers in an emergency. Providers should collaborate with other providers, swap experiences and learnings and integrate these into planning.

Training

Providers must conduct regular staff training, including refresher training. Workers need to know what the organisation’s plan involves, who the key personnel are, and what their own role is in an emergency or disaster. Providers should ensure that they are familiar with the individual circumstances of their workforce, for example whether there are staff who live alone or in low-lying areas that may be affected by natural disasters, so they can determine who will be more available to assist in various emergencies or disasters.

Review

Providers must frequently review the plans, to ensure that new information and learnings from actual experiences are used to adjust the plan. The organisation must test the plans and hold drills to ensure you are prepared. This includes continuously improving the plan and consulting with industry peers.

Governing body responsibilities

The governing body is specifically, personally responsible for ensuring that all key steps set out in the new NDIS Practice Standard are implemented and followed by their organisation. 

This includes ensuring that:

  • management develops its organisation-wide plan,
  • there is consultation with all participants and their support networks about their individual needs, risks and alternative support plans,
  • their plans are regularly reviewed and tested,
  • they are communicated to all stakeholders, and
  • that workers are trained in and understand the plans that are specific to the participants they support.

Our resources

We have a number of resources to assist providers to meet their obligations under these new requirements. These resources are linked throughout our assessment modules for the NDIS Practice Standards. You can also access them by searching for them in the Reading Room.

  • Policy and Template for Emergency and Disaster Management Procedures
  • Template: Participant Risk Assessment
  • Template: NDIS Support Plan
  • Template: Communications Plan
  • Policy: Infection Prevention and Control
  • Template: Outbreak Management Plan Checklists
  • Policy: Business Continuity
  • Template: Emergency and Disaster Management Plan (Easy English)

For a really detailed run-through, you can access our recent 22-slide deck by searching for “NDIS PS webinar” in the Reading Room once you log in.  And don’t forget to download our handy update on all of the new Quality Indicators added to the NDIS Practice Standards, which you can find on the Home Page.

Want to access our emergency and disaster management templates?

New legislation passed in Aged Care

Last week the government introduced two new aged care bills to the House of Representatives, which together respond to a number of recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Commission’s final report.  

Royal Commission Response Bill

Just a week later, the first bill, the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) Bill 2022, has now passed through both houses. Some of the key changes that this bill introduces include:

  • Introducing the new AN-ACC funding model which will replace the existing ACFI model.
  • A Code of Conduct that will apply to approved providers, their aged care workers and governing bodies. It will be based on the NDIS Code of Conduct and will be implemented from 1 December 2022.
  • Extending the Serious Incident Reporting Scheme (SIRS) to include home care by 1 December 2022.
  • From 1 December 2022 there will be new governance responsibilities around suitability requirements for key personnel and other requirements including:
    • The requirement to notify the Commission of changes to key personnel or changes to the suitability of key personnel;
    • At least every 12 months the provider must consider the suitability of all key personnel and be reasonably satisfied that they are suitable to be involved in the provision of aged care;
    • The provider must ensure that a majority of the members of the governing body are independent non-executive members, and at least one member of the governing body has experience in the provision of clinical care. (This does not apply if the governing body has fewer than 5 members or provides aged care service to less than 40 recipients, or is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation).
    • Providers must establish a quality care advisory body that:
      • Complies with the requirements specified in the Accountability Principles; and
      • Gives the governing body a written report about the quality of care being delivered at least once every 6 months.
    • The governing body must respond in writing to those reports and other feedback from the advisory body.
  • Changes to restrictive practices arrangements to address unintended outcomes due to the interaction with state and territory guardianship and consent laws.
  • A requirement for the Department of Health and Aged Care to publish information about the quality of aged care provided through an aged care service, and the performance of the approved provider in relation to responsibilities and standards under the Aged Care Act by the end of 2022.

Implementing Care Reform Bill

The second bill, the Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022, has been referred to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, with an expected report date of 31 August 2022, and includes:

  • mandatory requirements for there to be a registered nurse on site 24 hours a day at all residential aged care facilities starting from 1 July 2023;
  • caps on home care charges from 1 January 2023; and
  • improvements to transparency of information from 1 December 2022.

Stay in the loop

Providers are encouraged to stay across these changes as a number of the reforms are expected to come into place soon, with many being implemented before the end of the year. We will keep you updated!

Want to stay across the latest updates?

A closer look at the National Quality Framework

The National Quality Framework is a national approach to regulation and quality improvement in early childhood education and care, and outside school hours care services across Australia. The National Quality Framework applies to most childcare providers and services, including centre-based day care, family day care, outside school hours care, and preschool and kindergarten.

The National Quality Framework is made up of the:

  • National Law and Regulations;
  • National Quality Standard; and
  • National Approved Learning Frameworks. 

The National Law and Regulations

The National Law and Regulations outline the legal obligations for providers and explain the functions of the state and territory regulatory authorities. They include things like requirements for staff qualifications and requirements for the number of staff working in services with children.

We have a self-assessment in SPP for the National Law and Regulations which ensures providers are aware of, and monitoring their compliance with, the sections and regulations of the National Law and National Regulations that are most relevant to each of the seven Quality Areas of the National Quality Standard.

The National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard includes seven quality areas that form the basis of ratings and assessment. Services are assessed and rated against the seven quality areas:

  1. Educational program and practice
  2. Children’s health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Governance and leadership

We also have modules in SPP for the National Quality Standard, including a stand-alone module which we developed in consultation with a provider of early childhood education and outside school hours care. Our module closely aligns with ACECQA’s self-assessment tool, and allows providers to track each requirement of the National Quality Standard, and make qualitative comments throughout.

The National Approved Learning Frameworks

Under the National Law and Regulations, services are required to base their educational program on one of the approved learning frameworks. There are two nationally approved learning frameworks:

  • Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia; and
  • My Time, Our Place: Framework for School Age Care in Australia.

Self-assessments for both approved learning frameworks are available in SPP.

Update of the National Approved Learning Frameworks

Both frameworks are currently undergoing a consultation and review process, to ensure that they reflect contemporary developments in practice and knowledge. The review commenced in April 2021 and is being delivered over three stages.

Stages one and two have already been completed and included a literature review, surveys and stakeholder feedback. Some areas for improvement that came out of the discussion papers included strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives throughout the framework, strengthening the principle of ongoing learning, introducing a new sustainability principle and strengthening partnerships to include other professionals. 

Stage three, which is currently underway, involves practitioners piloting the potential updates in their services. We are monitoring this review process and we will update our existing modules in SPP when the updated Standards are finalised. For more information on the updates, you can refer to ACECQA’s website or the Approved Learning Frameworks update website.

Want to access our self-assessments for the National Quality Framework?

NASASV’s National Standards now live in SPP

The National Association of Services Against Sexual Violence (NASASV) is the peak body for specialist organisations who provide prevention and response services to people who are at risk of, or experience, sexual violence in Australia.

NASASV is committed to “addressing inequalities in society which perpetrate sexual violence whilst working collaboratively with service systems and communities to ensure that prevalence rates of sexual assault reduce”. NASASV’s vision is “to eliminate sexual violence and have a society free of all forms of oppression.”

In 2020-21, NASASV was engaged by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services to develop the third edition of the National Standards of Practice Manual for Services against Sexual Violence (the National Standards). The Third Edition supersedes the second, which was produced by NASASV in 2015.

About the specialist sexual violence sector

The National Standards apply to organisations that provide specialist sexual violence services. Working with victim-survivors of sexual violence requires complex and specialised knowledge and experience. Many victim-survivors have experienced multiple forms of abuse or multiple instances of abuse.

There is increasing understanding that the effect of multiple instances of abuse on an individual is cumulative, leading to victim-survivors often facing a range of physical and mental health difficulties. Specialist sexual violence services require knowledge of a range of associated issues, services and systems, some of which include:

  • mental health;
  • alcohol and other drugs;
  • domestic and family violence;
  • sexual health;
  • legal systems, particularly criminal and family law;
  • child protection;
  • relationship issues;
  • social security; and
  • homelessness and housing.

Structure of the Standards

The ten standards in the previous version have been condensed into seven standards in the Third Edition:

  • Valuing access for all clients;
  • Valuing client experience at the service;
  • Valuing sound clinical interventions;
  • Valuing advocacy, collaboration and community engagement;
  • Valuing staff;
  • Valuing a stable organisation, good governance and effective systems; and
  • Valuing innovation and quality improvement.

Each standard sets out the indicators of what needs to be in place for organisations to be “Meeting National Standards”, as well as additional indicators that demonstrate “Exceeding National Standards”.

All specialist sexual violence services should be meeting the National Standards, and organisations that want to work towards best practice can aim to exceed the National Standards. Responsibility for meeting each standard involves the organisation, as well as all staff, including clinical and counselling staff.

Each standard provides significant detail and context for the indicators that are required to demonstrate meeting and exceeding the standard.

Self-assessment now live in SPP!

We have developed seven self-assessments in SPP for NASASV’s National Standards, one for each standard. The seven self-assessments provide ease of management when following the National Standards, and allow you to provide qualitative comments about how you are meeting each standard at a more detailed level.

To take a closer look at the new self-assessments for the National Standards, log in to SPP.  

Want to access NASASV's National Standards?

Lessons from the pandemic: how Standards have evolved

We’re now two years into the pandemic, and the care and support sector has had to make some major adjustments to their service delivery in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

A number of standards have been amended or updated with significant new changes, to provide guidance on improving and standardising infection control processes, as well as ensuring that there are processes to manage workforce capacity and disaster readiness.

We’ve updated our self-assessments in SPP to reflect these changes, and thought it would be helpful to summarise the core themes that have emerged across the different major standards.  

Core infection control and disaster response themes

The core themes that have appeared consistently in standards updates include:

  • ensuring the workforce has the capacity, skills, training and equipment to implement infection prevention and control systems,
  • planning for and sourcing an alternative workforce in the event of disruptions,
  • developing, testing and reviewing an emergency and disaster management plan,
  • reporting to the governing body on infection control processes and implementation/testing of the emergency and disaster management plan,
  • testing, fitting and training in the use of PPE,
  • training in hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette,
  • implementing stringent processes for communicating relevant information to family, patients and carers,
  • undertaking routine environmental cleaning,
  • ensuring workplace policies and procedures are in line with the relevant state or territory public health requirements,
  • managing movement of staff between areas and supporting staff required to isolate, and
  • procedures for waste management including safe storage and disposal of clinical waste.

These are some key areas that service providers should be addressing to ensure they are on top of their compliance requirements. Providers should check that they are familiar with any updates to standards that apply to their organisation. SPP can assist you with this, as we always update the modules on our platform in response to changes to standards.

Here are the main standards that have been updated to incorporate infection control requirements so far:

The updated Standards

National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHS)

Changes to the NSQHS were introduced in May 2021 and include requirements to:

  • plan for public health and pandemic risks,
  • ensure the workforce has the capacity, skills, training and equipment to implement infection prevention and control systems,
  • test, fit, train workers and use PPE, and
  • ensure policies and procedures are in line with the relevant state or territory public health requirements.

NDIS Practice Standards

In November 2021 the NDIS Commission released a number of changes to these standards, to address:

  • planning for alternative workforce arrangements in the event of disruptions,
  • developing, testing, and reviewing emergency and disaster management plans,
  • implementing infection prevention and control precautions throughout all settings,
  • ongoing training on and supplies of PPE for workers, and
  • waste management including safe disposal of clinical waste.

QIC Health and Community Service Standards

In February this year, an updated version of the QIC Standards was released, with updates addressing infection control requirements including:

  • staff training in hand hygiene,
  • infection prevention management program aligning with state and territory guidelines,
  • regular cleaning of the environment, and
  • waste management.

Australian Community Industry Standard

The Australian Community Industry Standard was also updated towards the end of last year to include the following infection prevention and control requirements:

  • workplace preparation for pandemic,
  • workforce response to pandemic consistent with advice from health authorities, and
  • implementing and documenting an outbreak management plan.

RACGP Standards for General Practitioners

The RACGP Standards have seen a number of updates throughout 2021 and more recently in 2022, with the most recent update being in February 2022. The updated requirements address:

  • increased requirements around telehealth consultations (e.g. ensuring privacy etc.),
  • managing the risk of cross infection during a home visit,
  • updated processes for isolating patients and traceability processes for identifying patients who have used instruments,
  • establishing protocols for managing outbreaks of infectious disease in line with local, state and national guidance, and
  • environmental cleaning.

Aged Care Quality Standards

While the Aged Care Quality Standards haven’t been updated with new infection control requirements, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has released a number of resources to guide providers in their implementation of infection control requirements. 

Resources to help you

We’ve developed and updated a number of resources in our platform to assist providers to manage infection control requirements under the standards that apply to them, as well as implement best practice processes. Here are some examples of how we can help:

  • a module for the “First 24 hours – managing COVID-19 in a residential aged care facility”,
  • a module to guide organisations to implement COVID-safe operations based on recommendations from Safe Work Australia,
  • a module to guide organisations through the components they should address in developing infection control / respiratory outbreak plan based on recommendations from various sources including the Department of Health, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission,
  • resource templates including:
    • an outbreak management plan checklist,
    • an information sheet for employers on staff vaccination against COVID-19,
    • first 24 hours – managing COVID-19 in a Residential Aged Care facility checklist,
    • an emergency and disaster management plan,
    • emergency and disaster management procedures,
    • working from home policy,
    • working from home agreement,
    • client risk assessment.

Want to take a closer look at our Covid-19 resources?

An update on the Child Safe Standards in Victoria

In March this year, we wrote a blog post which looked at where each state or territory was at with their implementation of the Child Safe Standards. Since then, there have been significant updates in Victoria. Last month, the Commission for Children and Young People in Victoria (the Commission) released the new Child Safe Standards, which aim to “provide more clarity for organisations and are more consistent with Standards in the rest of Australia”.

Do the new Standards apply to my organisation?

To find out if your organisation has to comply with the Child Safe Standards in Victoria, click here. And if you have additional questions around the new Victorian Child Safe Standards, their frequently asked questions page is a good place to start!

When do the new Standards commence?

The Standards will come into effect in Victoria on the 1st of July 2022. The Commission has recommended that organisations start thinking about meeting the new Standards and review their current approach to child safety, to plan what they need to do to comply with the new Standards.

The Commission has said that if organisations choose to meet the Standards before the 1st of July 2022, they will be accepted as compliant by the Commission.

How do the new Standards differ from the National Principles?

The Victorian Child Safe Standards closely align with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations (the National Principles).  However, there is one additional Standard (Standard 1) on cultural safety for Aboriginal children and young people, and two additional indicators in Standard 3 around empowering children and young people. Given that the Victorian Standards differ slightly from the National Principles, some organisations who work nationally or across state borders will need to comply with both sets of Standards.  

How can SPP help me to meet the new Standards?

The good news is that SPP can assist Victorian providers to meet not just the Victorian Child Safe Standards but also Child Safe Standards across other jurisdictions. Last month, following the release of the Victorian Child Safe Standards, we added a self-assessment into the platform to assist providers to meet their new requirements. We have previously added self-assessments into SPP for both the NSW Child Safe Standards and the National Principles.

Our new Victorian Child Safe self-assessment is cross-mapped to other child safe standards on our platform, meaning that your answers will carry across from one set of standards to another, where there are common or duplicated requirements. So, if you self-assess against the Victorian Child Safe Standards, you will simultaneously be making progress against the National Principles and the NSW Child Safe Standards.

The self-assessment will assist organisations to identify any gaps or areas for quality improvement.  It also provides a range of child safe templates that providers can download and tailor to their needs.  

You can find the new self-assessment for the Victorian Child Safe Standards under the Standards tab > Australian National Standards.

Want to learn more?

For more information about the child safe self-assessments and resources on our platform, sign up for a free trial!