New Serious Incident Response Scheme begins 1 April 2021 – Is your organisation ready?

by | Mar 10, 2021 | Aged Care Blog

From 1 April 2021, alleged, suspected or actual serious incidents will need to be reported to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the ACQSC) through the My Aged Care portal.

These reportable incidents include:

a. unreasonable use of force;
b. unlawful sexual contact, or inappropriate sexual conduct;
c. psychological or emotional abuse;
d. the unexpected death of a resident or care recipient;
e. stealing or financial coercion by a staff member of the provider;
f.  neglect of the resident or care recipient;
g. use of physical restraint or chemical (other than in circumstances set out in the Quality of Care Principles); and
h. unexplained absences of the resident or care recipient from the residential care services of the provider.

One important change from the previous reporting scheme is that there is now a requirement to report resident on resident incidents even where the resident perpetrator has a cognitive impairment.

The new SIRS has 2 key components:

  • incident management obligations
  • compulsory reporting obligations.

Incident Management Obligations

Providers are required to implement an incident management system, which identifies, assesses, records, and resolves incidents in compliance with the Quality of Care Principles. A response to an incident must consider the individuals involved, the level of harm (or potential harm) to these individuals and the circumstances surrounding the incident. It must also assess the support and assistance required to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of those affected by the incident.

Compulsory Reporting Obligations

Where an incident has occurred, the provider is required to categorise the incident based on the impact to the resident or care recipient. A Priority 1 reportable incident is defined as an incident:

  • that causes, or could reasonably have been expected to have caused, a consumer physical or psychological injury or discomfort that requires medical or psychological treatment to resolve, or
  • where there are reasonable grounds to report the incident to police, or
  • that is a consumer’s unexpected death or a consumer’s unexplained absence from the service.

Priority 1 incidents will require:

a. Incident notification to the ACQSC within 24 hours, and a report to police where necessary; and
b. The provision of an incident status report to the ACQSC within five business days (or date otherwise specified by the ACQSC); and
c. The provision of a final report to the ACQSC within 60 business days.

A Priority 2 reportable incident includes any reportable incident that results in a low level of harm to a consumer. Incidents categorised by a provider as Priority 2 will need to be reported to ACQSC from 1 October 2021 and will require to be notified within 30 days of becoming aware of the incident.

Role of ACQSC

The ACQSC is responsible for administering the SIRS and it will be empowered to take regulatory action where required, including enforcement action and the imposition of sanctions. Additionally, the ACQSC may require a provider to conduct, at their own cost, an independent investigation into the incident and provide that report to them.


  • Ensure your organisation has an effective incident management system in place, including policies and procedures to ensure that staff are trained to use and comply with the service’s incident management system, and that they understand their role in identifying, managing and resolving incidents and in preventing incidents from occurring.
  • Ensure your organisation’s current reportable assault policy and procedure is updated to comply with the new SIRS requirements.


If you have any queries regarding SIRS or any other aged care related matters, please contact a member of our Health and Aged Care team on (08) 9321 0522.

Gemma McGrath

Gemma McGrath