International Retirement Community Accreditation Scheme chairman Nick Ryan says new scheme will benefit all stakeholders
By Natasha Egan
The new independent and internationally recognized accreditation scheme for retirement villages is good for the industry, operators and clients alike, says its chairman.
The International Retirement Community Accreditation Scheme (IRCAS) is up and running in Queensland and will be rolled out to all Australian states and mainland territories in 2013, with plans to extend to New Zealand.
The scheme was the brainchild of Aged Care Queensland, now Leading Age Service Australia Queensland (LASAQ), and has been under development for three years.
IRCAS chairman and LASAQ CEO Nick Ryan said in professional practice these days, just thinking you do a good job is not enough.
“You need evidence and the standard of evidence needs to be industry wide,” Mr Ryan said.
“We think retirement villages with a minimum set of standards, and those standards applied, is good for the industry, the providers and the residents.
“It shows that the industry is serious about service and transparency for their clients.”
Expressions of interest are already coming in and surveys are likely to commence in January 2013, Mr Ryan said.
However, Mr Ryan said they want the industry more broadly to own the scheme.
There are 317 retirement villages in Queensland, accommodating 30,000 residents amongst over 2000 nationwide, accommodating approximately 160,000 residents, he said.
IRCAS will be delivered by independent accreditation company Quality in Practice (QIP), which is a subsidiary of the Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL), the accreditor scheme for Australian general practices.
QIP is pleased to provide independent assessment against the IRCAS Standards, said Dr Stephen Clark, group CEO of QIP and AGPAL.
“Retirement village accreditation will demonstrate that participating villages are providing safe and quality living environments for residents, whilst working within state, or territory, legislation,” Dr Clark said in a statement.
“QIP’s long standing reputation as an experienced, independent accreditation provider will give residents confidence that their village operates within good governance structures and gives assurance that the village operates effectively.”
The scheme will replace the Australian Retirement Villages Scheme (ARVA), which Mr Ryan said is owned by ACQ but now outdated.
Mr Ryan said they made the decision not to have an internal accreditation scheme to ensure against potential conflicts of interest.
There are two options for providers – standard accreditation which involves eight corporate governance, consumer, and environmental and safety standards; and ‘Accreditation Pro’, which contains a further two best practice standards (see bottom).
“We expect vast number of villages will go for ‘pro’ accreditation because providers who recognise the value of accreditation don’t want to just have it, they want to be immersed in it,” Mr Ryan said.
Facilities can do an initial desktop audit themselves by doing a self-assessment online. A perpetual record of their past, present, ongoing and emerging online activity will be available.
The scheme will benefit operators because it will let them know how they are doing against expectations and also compared to other providers, Mr Ryan said.
For marketing purposes, this is not any provider; it’s the only accreditation scheme. It’s a national standard and it’s administered by accreditation specialists in the allied health profession.”
It shows residents the operator is doing more than the minimum to just get by, he said.
Rather than a race to the bottom, Mr Ryan said the scheme is about setting high standards for operators to achieve.
Retirement villages can contact QIP on 1300 888 329, or by visiting the QIP website to register for IRCAS accreditation.
The IRCAS Standards as outlined on the IRCAS website
Corporate governance standards
- Standard 1: Resident Entry
- Standard 2: Quality Managementacsa
- Standard 3: Human Resource Management
- Standard 4: Information Management
- Standard 5: Services and Facilities
- Standard 6: Communication and Consultation
Environment and safety standards
- Standard 7: Environmental Safety
- Standard 8: Fire Safety, Security and Emergency Management
Best practice standards
- Standard 9: Innovation
- Standard 10: Environmental Sustainability