Questions raised over aged care workforce programmes

More-than-half of all taxpayer-funded aged care workforce programmes have never had their performance reviewed or evaluated.


The lack of evaluation is leading to questions as to whether they are achieving “significant and lasting impact on aged care workforce activities”.


Minister for Aged Care Sussan Ley and Assistant Minister for Health Ken Wyatt today released the Stocktake and Analysis of Commonwealth-funded Aged Care Workforce Activities report.


“A key objective of the Stocktake was to highlight areas of duplication or gaps in the Government’s approach and identify synergies between the aged care, disability and health workforces,” Ms Ley said.


“This report raises questions about inefficiencies and duplication in the system, particularly in more-costly programmes, as well as a clear lack of checks and balances in place to ensure programmes are actually delivering what they promise.


“It also raises the prospect that the programmes and resources needed to help fill skill gaps and shortages are already available, there just needs to be better communication around how to access them.


“We want to ensure the $220m over the 4 years from 2015/2016 that taxpayers are investing in improving workforce development in the aged care sector is delivering better quality care for older Australians and this stocktake is an important step towards achieving that.”


The Commonwealth provides 65 per cent of all aged care funding in Australia.


Workforce training and education is a shared responsibility between the government and industry, as providers have obligations under the Aged Care Act 1997 to ensure there are adequate numbers of appropriately skilled staff to meet the individual care needs of residents.


The Stocktake acknowledged that the industry is also supported by mainstream cross-sector activities such as through the Vocational Education and Training sector. The Stocktake can be found here.


Key stocktake quotes:

  • “Based on the information gathered or available through the Stocktake and the large number of individual programmes and activities included, it is difficult to definitively determine which of these programmes have achieved significant and lasting impact on aged care workforce activities.”

  • “Programme objectives identified through the Stocktake do appear to have some duplication at a thematic level (i.e. workforce upskilling or recruitment).”

  • “This included burdensome reporting requirements and inflexible timing and eligibility criteria. In addition comment was made on the ineffective collection, management and utilisation of workforce activity, training, education, recruitment and retention data.”

  • “It is considered that there is a plethora of guidelines, best practice resources and other research that can be applied to workforce management at present but which is not effectively disseminated.”

11 December 2015.