David McMullen from Panetta McGrath and Chris Nicoloff from Bentleys (WA) teamed up this week to present a multidisciplinary discussion centering on the new Standard 8 - Organisational Governance.

The session was well represented by members of the aged care sector. We share observations and key themes from the presentation and audience below.

Observations and key themes 

  • Standard 8 is new. The responsibility to practice good governance is not.
  • Directors have always had legal duties to observe in performing their roles. Stewardship is at the heart of corporate governance.
  • Standard 8 is not merely a new compliance obligation. It presents opportunities to look at how organisations do things, so that they can exercise good (indeed great) governance.
  • Governance and risk management should not reach a point where it stifles the ability to care for clients.
  • Staff need to be made familiar with governance and organisational policies and procedures - particularly as the ACQSC will be using interviews with staff to assess compliance.
  • Information supply and escalation procedures will be crucial (though not everything must be escalated to the Board).
  • Standard 8 is not necessarily a big shake up, so much as a reminder of what aged care providers arguably always should have been doing (but sometimes were not).
  • Some board members are feeling exposed by the introduction to Standard 8. They are taking an interest in quality and compliance in a way they haven't before. But they must resist the urge to start encroaching on the role of their executives and managers.
  • Historically, there may have been a tendency to treat corporate governance and clinical governance as separate issues. Standard 8 has the capacity to bridge this gap somewhat.
  • Some providers have already received ACQSC requests for Board minutes. An acceptable response for providers and ACQSC in some cases may be to supply minutes with certain content (such as commercially-sensitive matters redacted). 

If you are an aged care provider and have any questions in regards to Standard 8 or governance in general, please contact David McMullen.