New Care Relationship Principles for Care and Carer Support Agencies


This article applies to care and carer support agencies.

Carers Recognition Bill 2021 (ACT)

Please be advised that the Carers Recognition Bill 2021 (ACT) (the Bill) passed the ACT Parliament on 2 December 2021.

The Bill will commence on a day fixed by the Minister by written notice or automatically 6 months after its notification day, on 12 June 2022. The Bill also establishes the Carers Recognition Regulation 2021 (ACT) which will commence upon notification.

Overview

The Bill recognises the care relationship that exists when a person provides care for another person outside of doing so in a professional capacity. A care relationship includes caring for someone that has a disability, mental illness, ongoing medical condition, providing care for a child or young person, or someone that is aged and frail. A care relationship does not exist under the Bill if the carer is under a contract of service or is acting as a volunteer or as part of an education or training program.

The Bill establishes a set of principles that recognise the care relationship and imposes specific obligations relating to these principles for care and carer support agencies. Care and carer support agencies must understand and recognise the care relationship principles (principles) and comply with reporting obligations regarding these obligations.

Care and carer support agencies include public sector entities, entities funded by public sector entities and entities contracted or funded by a funded support agency, that are responsible for the assessment, planning, delivery, management and review of support services, programs or policies in relation to people in care relationships.

Care Relationship Principles

The care relationship principles under the Bill recognise, promote and value carers and care relationships and recognise the different needs of people in care relationships.

Under the care relationship principles, a carer should:

  • be respected and recognised as:
    • an individual with their own needs; and
    • a carer; and
    • someone with knowledge of the person receiving care; and
  • be supported as an individual and as a carer, including during changes to the care relationship; and
  • be recognised for their efforts and dedication, and for the social and economic contribution they make to the community, as a carer; and
  • if appropriate, have their views and cultural identity taken into account, together with the views, cultural identity, needs and interests of the person receiving care, in matters relating to the care relationship; and
  • have their social wellbeing and health recognised in matters relating to the care relationship; and have the effect of their role as a carer on their participation in employment and education recognised and considered in decision-making; and
  • be provided with support that is timely, responsive, appropriate, respectful and accessible; and
  • if the carer is receiving support services from a care and carer support agency in relation to the care relationship:
    • be made aware of the care relationship principles by the care and carer support agency; and
    • have their views considered in the assessment, planning, delivery, management and review of support services, programs or policies relating to the carer and the care relationship; and

The care relationship principles also state that the specific needs should be met if the carer is;

  • a child or young person,
  • an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person;
  • an LGBTIQ+ person;
  • culturally and linguistically diverse;
  • a person with disability.

Obligations of care and carer support agencies relating to the care relationship principles

Under the Bill, care and carer support agencies are obligated to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the agency and its employees understand and uphold the principles when planning, delivering, managing or reviewing support services in relation to people in care relationships. As part of this process, care and carer support agencies must also consult with carers receiving support services from the agency.

In addition, when developing the agency’s internal human resources policies, the agency must consider the care relationship principles in relation to employees who are carers.

Reporting obligations of care and carer support agencies

Care and carer support agencies must prepare a report each financial year relating to their compliance to their obligations relating to the care relationship principles. The report should detail the measures taken by the agency to promote the principles to people receiving support services in relation to the care relationship, and to the wider community. The report must also include the measures taken to uphold the principles when planning and administering support services, and details of any consultation with carers during this process.

Finally, the report must also include details of how the agency has incorporated the care relationship principles in its internal human resources policies in relation to employees who are carers.

If the agency is a public sector support agency the report is to be included in the annual report, and if the agency is a funded support agency, the report should be otherwise made publicly available.

Please click here to access the full Bill.


Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au