Key personnel and disqualified individuals

Key personnel and disqualified individuals

The Aged Care Act (1997) places a responsibility on your organisation to ensure that the key personnel on your staff are not disqualified individuals, who are ineligible to work in certain key positions in aged care.

What does ‘key personnel’ mean? Who qualifies as key personnel?

Under the Act, key personnel are:

  • Employees who make executive decisions about your organisation. This will include members and directors of a board.
  • Employees who have authority over, or are responsible for planning, directing or controlling your organisation’s activities.
  • Any person who is responsible for providing nursing services to your organisation. This includes contractors and outside professionals who are not employed by your organisation.
  • Any employee who is, or is likely to be responsible for the day to day operations of your service.

What is a ‘disqualified individual’?

A disqualified individual is defined by the Act to be someone who:

  • Has been convicted of an indictable offence. Indictable offences are serious criminal offences, where a person is entitled to receive a trial by judge and jury. Whether something is an indictable offence will depend on the criminal legislation in your state or territory.
  • Is bankrupt.
  • Is of unsound mind. A person is only seen to be of unsound mind if a registered medical practitioner has seen the person and has certified that they are mentally incapable of performing their duties.

Can a disqualified individual be a member of our key personnel?

No, disqualified individuals may not be employed as key personnel.

What are my obligations to ensure I am not employing disqualified individuals as key personnel?

Your organisation must take all reasonable steps to ensure that you are not employing disqualified individuals as key personnel. You may be sanctioned for failure to do this.

To meet your obligations, before hiring key personnel or promoting an employee to key personnel level you must:

  • Obtain a National Police Check, or a National Police History Check. The person in question must consent in writing to this.
  • Search for bankruptcy records. To do so, you may use the Bankruptcy Register Search.
  • Conduct previous employment and referee checks.

Additionally, it is also your responsibility to ensure that your key personnel understand that as key personnel, they cannot maintain their position if they become disqualified individuals.

What do I do if I discover that one of my key personnel is a disqualified individual?

If you do discover that you have a disqualified individual among your key personnel, the Act obliges you to take action to remove the employee from being one of your key personnel.

What if I suspect that one of my key personnel is incapable of carrying out their duties?

You should arrange to have that person examined by a registered medical practitioner.

Contact us for more information.