The highly anticipated Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission inquiring into the aged care industry have now been released.
In the Media Release, it was announced the Honourable Justice Joseph McGrath, a judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia, has been appointed the chair of the Royal Commission and is joined by Ms Lynelle Briggs AO, a former Australian Public Services Commissioner and former CEO of Medicare Australia.
Who will the Royal Commission impact?
The Terms of Reference make it clear that the scope of the Royal Commission is very broad. The Royal Commission will be looking into all forms of Commonwealth-funded aged care services, whatever the setting or environment in which those services are delivered.
Many aged care providers of both residential and home care, large and small, will be required to produce documents and provide written responses to the Royal Commission.
When will the Royal Commission commence?
Requests for information will commence soon with the interim report due to the Governor-General no later than 31 October 2019 and the final report due no later than 30 April 2020.
Lessons from the Financial Services Royal Commission
When the Financial Services Royal Commission was established in mid-December 2017, many businesses were unprepared for the complex requests for substantial information to be provided in a short timeframe. Organisations were criticised for the approach they took to providing evidence at the hearings and for inadequate, incomplete or late responses to requests for information. The consequences for these organisations have been not only reputational harm but the commencement of enforcement action by regulators and class actions by customers and shareholders.
How we can help
Preparing for the Royal Commission will involve more than just appointing external legal advisers. It will require organisations to be proactive, to put in place internal resources to assist those advisers, and to take steps to prepare to respond to complex issues and produce large amounts of documents on short notice. The impact on business should not be underestimated.
Norton Rose Fulbright Australia has extensive experience assisting clients with Royal Commissions and other large scale and complex inquiries. We also have a dedicated national team who understand the aged care industry, some of whom have worked in the aged care industry for a number of years.
We can assist with your preparation in such areas as:
- Early identification of potential risks
- Development of a framework for effective management of those risks and for reporting of outcomes
- Preparation of witnesses
- Document review for privilege, confidentiality and reputational concerns
- Developing a positive working relationship with the Commissioner and counsel assisting
- Representation at the Royal Commission
- Strategic advice and consultation with senior management and the board
- Co-ordination and management of relationships with stakeholders
- Preparation for potential enforcement action and class actions
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.