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Codifying a path to reform

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The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (the Council) meeting in February focused on embedding the Aged Care Voluntary Industry Code of Practice (VICOP, the Code) across the sector.

The Code articulates the Industry’s commitment to excellence in aged care workplace practices. It establishes a strong cultural foundation for the sector to provide consumer-centric care.

This is where aged care organisations want to head to in terms of quality service and supports, good governance and workforce reform.

It is a purposeful Code clearly articulating the seven key areas aged care providers will continuously improve upon, year after year.

It codifies for the sector professionalism and integrity of service. Each year aged care providers publish their plans that build upon what they achieved in their plan the year before. In this way, providers devote themselves to a cycle of continuous improvement.

The national Code helps providers understand and implement the ‘do’s’ of quality service and avoid the ‘don’ts’.

The Code gives vision and mission to the sector as it rebuilds its reputation and establishes a high achieving culture.

The Code is not a burden. It is not just another hoop for providers to jump through. It is a foundational guide that enables aged care organisations to keep themselves on track and true to their intent to reform.

It goes to the core of the professionalism of a sector that for too long has relied on the altruism of its workforce.

The Council is heartened by the size and number of providers committing to the Code.

Providers are focused on ensuring their workers understand how and what to do to improve workplace practices that will enhance consumer care.

The Council now calls on consumer and worker organisations to promote the intent of the Code fully with their client base.

Consumers and workers are the key beneficiaries of the Code’s aim. Yes, the Code is voluntary – that is not everyone has to sign-up – but there is momentum to reform here and we call on worker and consumer organisations to play a constructive role in advancing providers’ commitment to improve.

The time has passed for the sector to continue to be divisive. Here is an opportunity for us all to work together to effect sustainable and lasting change. There is no place for organisations who can only identify the problems but not be part of the solution.

The Code goes beyond minimal standards. It recognises that the sector wants to work towards providing older Australians with excellent services and supports. It understands that it needs to support its workforce to make these improvements.

The Council will be working across the sector over the next five months to reach collaborative agreement on how it should monitor and govern the Code – and to clarify key processes the Council and committed aged care organisations will need to follow.

We are committed to helping providers help themselves.

We look forward to consumer and worker organisations working with us to ensure the Code works to the benefit of both groups.

Together we can lift service standards, foster quality workforce practice and embed sustainability in aged care.

The Council is about supporting aged care organisations to go beyond mi nimal standards.

It’s hard to see that there’s a downside here.

Supporting the sector to improve does not always have to mean compliance. It can also be about reaching higher because that’s what the sector wants to do and where it wants to go.

The Code is a solid platform for providers to enhance their workforce’s ability to meet – and then exceed – the needs and expectations of older Australians. The Council is committed to giving providers 100 percent support to do just that.

Sign-up to the Code is via ACWIC’s website: https://acwic.com.au/voluntary-industry-code-of- practice/
The next meeting of the Council will be held on 4 March 2021.

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