The formation of a Royal Commission into abuse against Australians with disabilities appears imminent in light of recent support from the New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania state governments. The inquiry that is being proposed is broad, including mainstream services that are regulated by state and territory governments such as health, mental health and education services provided prior to the establishment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

What should you be doing?

We expect that the Royal Commission will be announced over the coming weeks, consequently industry participants likely to be the subject of the Commission should consider:

  • engaging legal support (potentially including retaining a barrister) to advise on the Commission process, including in relation to obligations arising from the Commission’s inquiry;
  • establishing an internal and external email protocol;
  • establishing a centralised point of contact (which may be a person or team of people) with responsibility at an operational level for managing issues raised by the Commission;
  • identifying all document management systems that may contain relevant documents;
  • identifying and creating briefs of key documents; and
  • preparing a briefing paper for their governing bodies and consider establishing a “board sub-committee” to oversee Commission related issues.

We will be publishing a guide when the Terms of Reference are released that will provide you with further detail on what to expect and what you should do to prepare each stage of the Royal Commission.

With the current Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety underway, many providers are also likely to be affected by this proposed inquiry. Those providers will appreciate the scale of preparation required and the overall impact on their operations.

You may still have your own questions about the Royal Commission and how your organisation and employees may be impacted. Our team is on hand to support you through this. We have a deep understanding of the disability sector together with extensive experience in Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.