When reviewing a Village Comparison Document you might notice that Part 18 deals with retirement village accreditation. Part 18 specifies whether the relevant village is accredited and the details of that accreditation.
So, what does it mean for a village to be accredited and does it matter if a village isn’t accredited?
Retirement Village Accreditation
Australia’s primary accreditation framework for retirement villages is the Australian Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme (ARVAS). This is a joint development between the Retirement Living Council (a division of the Property Council of Australia) and Leading Aged Services Australia. Together, these bodies represent more than 50% of Australia’s approximately 2,200 retirement villages. Accreditation under the ARVAS is intended to demonstrate that the village is meeting national industry standards while providing safe and quality living environments for residents.
The ARVAS was launched in October 2019 and replaces two previous schemes, Lifemark and the International Retirement Community Accreditation Scheme (IRCAS) and consolidates their infrastructure into one scheme. Retirement villages accredited under Lifemark and IRCAS will retain their accreditations until they are reassessed against the ARVAS.
The seven quality areas (Standards) covered by ARVAS. The Standards are built around the resident’s experience throughout their interaction with the village; from their signing of a contract, to moving in, and their eventual departure.
The seven Standards are:
- Standard 1 – Community Management – The Community is managed efficiently and effectively; the manager is a positive and proactive leader of the team with a strong customer service orientation.
- Standard 2 – Human Resource Management – Employment management practices ensure that the quality and quantity of staff are sufficient to meet operational needs.
- Standard 3 – Resident Entry and Exit – Processes for managing resident entry and exit are effective and focus on a positive resident experience.
- Standard 4 – Resident Engagement and Feedback – Engages residents effectively.
- Standard 5 – Environment, Services and Facilities- The environment, service and facilities are managed in accordance with contractual obligations and managed effectively.
- Standard 6 – Safety and Security – Processes for managing safety and security are effective.
- Standard 7 – Resident Care (where applicable) – Residents receive safe, high quality care consistent with their needs and preferences.
The ARVAS Standards are designed to work directly with the Retirement Living Code of Conduct, which comes into full effect from 1 January 2020. Any organisation wishing to apply for accreditation under ARVAS must also be an active subscriber to the Retirement Living Code of Conduct.
An added benefit of the ARVAS is that reviews will be conducted by Quality Innovation Performance, an experienced not-for-profit provider of independent accreditation services.
Retirement Living Code of Conduct
The Code of Conduct is intended to provide the basis for implementing regulation in a way that creates high and consistent standards, that serve to meet the expectations of residents, stakeholders and the broader communities. The Code of Conduct has the following stated objectives:
- Promote and protect the interests of current and future residents.
- Help implement regulation in a way that creates high and consistent standards regarding the marketing, sales and operation of retirement communities that are above and beyond statutory obligations.
- Promote trust and confidence in the retirement sector.
- Provide a framework to assist open, transparent and efficient resolution of complaints by residents against signatories to the Retirement Living Code of Conduct.
- Provide industry leadership to promote effective self-regulation that complements and builds on existing regulatory arrangements.
Accredited or Not Accredited
With the introduction of the ARVAS and the Code of Conduct, the accreditation status of the retirement village will become a material consideration for potential and existing residents. While it is important to note that there is no legal requirement for a retirement village to be accredited, participation in the ARVAS may be viewed as demonstrating a commitment to promoting the interests of the residents.
As there is no legal requirement to be accredited, a lack of accreditation may not mean that a village is poorly run or otherwise deficient. Indeed, there are many well-run villages that are not accredited at all. Nevertheless, we suggest you enquire as to why the village is not accredited.
Conduct A Full Due Diligence
Even if a village is accredited under the ARVAS, at Arenburg we strongly recommend that potential residents conduct a full and thorough due diligence before committing to a residency contract with a retirement village. Our easy to use Retirement Village Checklist provides a good basis for determining whether a village is right for you.