BOARDING HOUSE REFORM PROGRAM OFFICERS

Ms Barham to the Minister for Finance and Services, and Minister for the Illawarra representing the Minister for Ageing, and Minister for Disability Services—

  1. Are the Department of Family and Community Services’ Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) Boarding House Reform Program Case Managers and Licensing Officers separated?
  2. Are there clear protocols established for referrals to be made between Boarding House Reform Program Case Managers and Licensing Officers?
    1. Has ADHC implemented all recommendations of the NSW Ombudsman outlined in ‘DADHC Monitoring Standards in Boarding Houses. A special report to Parliament under s31 of the Ombudsman Act’?
    2. If not:
      1. Which recommendations has ADHC not implemented?
      2. What is the reason for ADHC not implementing the NSW Ombudsman’s recommendations?

 

Answer—

  1. AHDC Regions allocate resources according to local priorities and circumstances. Where the roles have been combined and performed by the same officers, this has been to allow for a flexible approach to situations such as boarding house closures. It also takes into account that licensing issues can have an effect on the well-being of the resident, and at times there can be an overlap between the two functions.
  2. Where different officers perform the licensing and casework functions they are still part of the same team and report to the same manager, and frequently work together. Whether the roles are separated or combined, in each region serious issues of non-compliance with the Regulation or Licence Conditions are escalated to management for resolution.
  3.  
    1. The Ombudsman’s Report made a number of findings as opposed to specific recommendations. All of these findings have been addressed, specifically:
      • The 2005 Regulation under the Youth and Community Services Act 1973 (YACS Act) was amended in May 2010, and remade in September as the 2010 Regulation, with new provisions including requirements for one staff member on duty to have a first aid certificate, and for safe medication administration and record keeping. The Regulation has clarified the obligations of proprietors. Further reform of the boarding house sector, including boarding houses not currently licensed under the YACS Act, is currently under consideration.
      • Licensed boarding houses are monitored on a six to eight weekly basis and Full Service Reviews of each premises occur once every three years. Ageing, Disability and Home Care’s (ADHC) Central Office monitors data from regions regarding this.
      • Caseworkers specifically for licensed boarding houses are employed to plan and co-ordinate services for residents.
      • Training for regional staff involved in licensed boarding houses occurred in November 2009 and June 2011. Formal training did not occur in 2010 as the focus was on revising the Regulation as well as updating and revising the relevant policies and procedures to support that. In addition to formal training, quarterly meetings occur between the relevant ADHC Central Office policy team and regional staff involved in licensed boarding houses.
      • The Licensing and Monitoring Policy was revised and updated in April 2011 and is available on the ADHC website with a range of supplementary documentation.
    2. See answer to 3 (a) – all findings have been addressed.