What is the Royal Commission into Aged Care?
A royal commission is the highest level of public inquiry in Australia. Its main functions are to investigate an issue, produce a report and make recommendations to government. This work is informed by extensive input from members of the community, who are invited to share their concerns about the matter/s being investigated.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was established by the Federal Government in 2018 in response to growing concerns about the quality of aged care in Australia.
Watch the highlights of our information session about the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hosted last 8th February 2019.
What will the Royal Commission investigate?
The Royal Commission will explore issues relating to care that is provided in residential settings as well as care that is provided in the home. The exact issues to be investigated are set out in the Royal Commission’s terms of reference.
The Royal Commission is only interested in events that have taken place since 1 July, 2013, or issues that are still of relevance now.
The Royal Commission does not have the power to:
- Resolve individual complaints.
- Award compensation.
- Order another party, such as an aged care provider, to take action.
- Make criminal charges against individuals or providers, although criminal proceedings can follow from a royal commission’s findings.
Telling your story to the Royal Commission
If you or someone you know has concerns about the quality of aged care, the Royal Commission needs to hear your story. Stories and personal accounts that are provided to the Royal Commission are called “submissions”.
You will have until at least September 2019 to provide your story to the Royal Commission. There is no right or wrong way to tell your story. You can:
- Use our Submission Template, (COTA Victoria has modified this from the Royal Commission template available on their website.)
- Set out your submission as a Standard Letter.
- Set out your submission as a list of numbered or bulleted points. You can access a sample submission that has been written in this format here.
- Complete your submission using the online form on the Royal Commission website.
- Phone the Royal Commission Information Line on 1800 960 711 and provide your story verbally. The person you speak with can help you put it into writing.
When writing your submission, consider including:
- Information about yourself and the type of age care your submission relates to.
- Information about the circumstances that led you to accessed aged care services in the first place.
- Information about the most critical events, either good or bad, that you would like the Royal Commission to know about. Try to think about the key message you’d like the Royal Commission to take away from your submission.
- Information about how any problems you’ve experienced in aged care could have been avoided or how the aged care system could be improved.
If you provide your contact details when making your submission, the Royal Commission might get in touch with you to gather additional information about your experience. A small number of people who tell their stories to the Royal Commission will be asked to give evidence at a public hearing. This was the experience of COTA Victoria’s staunch aged care advocate, Merle Mitchell, who gave evidence at a public hearing in Sydney in May. The Sydney public hearings aimed to provide insights into whether the residential aged care system is coping with the challenges associated with the increased number of people with dementia accessing care, and Merle had quite a lot to say! To hear the witness statement Merle gave via video link from her nursing home, go to the royal commission audio recording from Monday 6 May.
Contacting the Royal Commission
You can contact the Royal Commission in any of the following ways –
Phone: 1800 960 711
Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety
GPO Box 1151,
Adelaide SA 5001
Upcoming COTA Vic events on the Royal Commission into Aged Care
Over the past few months, COTA Victoria has hosted a number of Royal Commission workshops for older people, their carers and family members, seniors groups and community organisations. Our workshops aim to:
- Provide participants with further information about the Royal Commission and ask any questions they might have
- Demystify the task of providing a personal submission to the Royal Commission and give people greater confidence to have a voice in the Royal Commission process
- Gather feedback on people’s views and experiences of aged care services to inform COTA Victoria’s submission to the Royal Commission
We will be delivering more workshops over the coming months. Dates, times and locations are listed below –
- Ballarat, hosted by COTA and Ballarat Community Health on Thursday, 20 June, from 10am-12:30pm
- Warrnambool: hosted by COTA and South West Carer & Respite Services Network on Thursday, June 27, 10am-noon
- Bellarine Peninsula: hosted by COTA and Bellarine Community Health on Wednesday, 10 July and Wednesday, 17 July, both sessions will run from 10:30am-12:30pm
To register for one of these free events, contact COTA Victoria on 9655-2140or send an email to email@example.com