On 16 September the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a Royal Commission into the aged care sector. Consultation is underway until 25 September to develop the Terms of Reference, which the Government anticipates will include:
- The quality of care provided to older Australians, and the extent of substandard care;
- The challenge of providing care to Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care, particularly younger people with disabilities;
- The challenge of supporting the increasing number of Australians suffering dementia and addressing their care needs as they age;
- The future challenges and opportunities for delivering aged care services in the context of changing demographics, including in remote, rural and regional Australia; and
- Other matters that the Royal Commission considers necessary.
The announcement preceded the release of a two-part investigative piece on aged care by the ABCs Four Corners programme, with the first episode airing on 17 September. This has generated a significant amount of press relating to the aged care sector from all areas of the media.
StewartBrown is referenced in several of these articles, so it is worthwhile confirming the professional services we provide to the aged care sector and how we engage with it.
For the benefit of interested stakeholders in the aged care sector, including the media who are not aware of StewartBrown, a brief profile is below:StewartBrown
StewartBrown provides these professional services nationally to a diverse range of clients, however, we have a speciality expertise in aged care and community services, social services, independent schools, children’s services and disability services.
With respect to aged care and community services, StewartBrown has more than 35 professional staff actively providing significant professional services to the sector nationally including:
- Audit and assurance
- Financial modelling and forecast assignments
- Governance reviews (including Board and Executive)
- Finance systems and process reviews
- Strategic reviews and workshops
- Preparation of general purpose financial statements
- Annual Prudential Compliance audits
- Community Acquittals
- Community Acquittals
- Conference presentations and sector workshops
- Briefings to Department of Health and the Aged Care Financing Authority
- Aged Care Financial Performance Survey (2018: 197 providers comprising 996 residential facilities; 468 community programmes incorporating 24,032 HCP packages)
These services are provided across the spectrum of aged care providers (for-profit, not-for-profit and government) as well as consultations with government departments and industry peak bodies.
StewartBrown undertakes the largest financial performance benchmarking survey covering the aged and community care sector in Australia. This survey includes detailed operational, equity and staffing data on a quarterly basis for residential aged care facilities and home care packages.
The Aged Care Financial Performance Survey (ACFPS) commenced in 1995 and has grown exponentially due to the requirement for Boards and executive management for forecasting, trend analysis, revenue and expense management and capital strategies.
Over the years, the format of the results of our survey has become more granular in content and an integral part of the budgeting, forecasting and review processes within many participant organisations.
With respect to participation in the survey, it is generally representative of the sector as a whole with respect to location and has participants in the survey from across the provider spectrum.
The profile of the participants based on the residential aged care geographic spread is:
Subscribers to our ACFPS include some of the largest providers nationally, including independent stand-alone providers, faith-based and community providers, culturally specific providers, as well as government bodies, including the Department of Health (DOH), Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA), aged services sector peak bodies, consumer bodies and other service providers.
Our ACFPS surveys quarterly financial and non-financial data for residential (by facility) and home care (by program) at a granular level. In addition, the survey obtains specific segment information and key balance sheet information at organisation (approved provider) level every six months.
Our involvement in the aged care sector over many years has provided us with a unique and comprehensive knowledge of the financial performance of providers and of the financial performance and viability of the aged care sector.
In recent times StewartBrown has made public submissions to the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into the “Financial and Tax Practices of For-profit Aged Care Providers” and also appeared before the enquiry. StewartBrown also made a submission to the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce.
StewartBrown welcomes the Royal Commission, and has a hope that at the end of the process the sector, including Government, is provided with a blueprint for a viable and sustainable aged care sector equipped to care for some of the most vulnerable in society.