What are the regulatory powers of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner and what actions can they take?

by | Oct 27, 2020 | Aged Care Blog

There has been a recent increase in findings of non-compliance in residential aged care services from 10.9% in 2018-19 to 22.8% in 2019-2020. However, it is not clear if this reflects a broader trend towards non-compliance in the aged care industry, or an increasing preparedness on behalf of the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the Commission) to use its powers to regulate the industry.

In any event, it is important for providers to have an understanding of the Commission’s powers and how to respond to a finding of non-compliance.

The Commission takes what it describes as a proportionate and risk-based approach to monitoring the quality of care and services provided by providers of aged care services.

The Commission’s response to non-compliance will be proportionate to the level of assessed risk:

  • Low or medium risk will be managed by administrative action, which allows the Commission to bring the non-compliance to the provider’s attention and encourages the provider to rectify the non-compliance. The Commission may issue the provider with a direction to revise the Plan for Continuous Improvement for the service.
  • High or severe risk will be managed by enforceable regulatory action which allows the Commission to actively encourage the provider to return to compliance with its responsibilities as quickly as possible and/or to deter the provider from future non-compliance. The Commission may issue a Notice to Remedy or vary or revoke a residential service’s accreditation.
  • Severe risk may result in revocation where the Commission reconsiders a provider’s suitability to be an approved provider of aged care services as a result of sanctions or a failure to comply with the avoidance provisions of a sanction.


A flow chart outlining the Commission’s monitoring and compliance powers can be found here.

Whilst a finding of non-compliance which gives rise to possible sanction may occur following formalisation and receipt of a performance report, there may be some instances where the Commission may make a finding of non-compliance before a performance report has been issued.

Tips for providers

  • Check the timeline for responding to the findings of the Commission. Typically, providers will have 14 days to respond to the Commission, although there are some instances where a shorter period will be imposed.
  • Compile a response to the Commission. A good response should address each of the matters that have been identified as potentially non-compliant and include any information that might be relevant to the Commissioner in forming their final view. The Commissioner is in most instances obliged to take into account the response of the provider, so it is important that you make sure that the Commissioner has all the relevant information.
  • Consider alternate ways of managing the risk identified by the Commission. Where the Commissioner is satisfied with a provider’s response to the identified non-compliance, the Commissioner may issue a Notice to Remedy rather than a Notice to Impose Sanctions.


If you have any questions about how to respond to a notice of non-compliance, contact Gemma McGrath or Prue Campbell.

Prue Campbell

Prue Campbell