Code of Conduct: Transition Towards Implementation

Rosemary Southgate & Lillian Graystone

With the introduction of the Retirement Living Code of Conduct (the Code), operators have a transitional period of 12 months to ensure they are ready to fully comply with the Code.

Who does the Code apply to?

The Code sets a national standard for retirement village operators regarding the marketing, selling and operation of retirement communities.

The Code is voluntary. It is designed to complement the different legislation and regulations enacted in each state and territory of Australia with respect to retirement living communities.

Signatories to the Code agree that they will comply with the Code’s benchmark for best practice standards.

When does the Code become operational?

A transitional period applies from 1 January 2019 for 12 months. During that period operators can become a signatory to the Code and work towards ensuring that they comply with the Code standards. The Code will become fully operational from 1 January 2020.

Once the Code is operational, sanctions for breaches of the Code can apply. If a finding is made by the Code Administrator that there has been a breach, an appropriate sanction may be imposed. Sanctions range from matters such as an undertaking to rectify the breach and not repeat it, to removal from the Code Register and reporting on the Code website.

What steps can I take to comply with the Code?

  • Undertake an audit of your current documentation, policies, procedures against the requirements set out in the Code and determine those areas where you may need to implement changes;
  • If you need to implement changes to your documentation, policies and procedures, the Retirement Living Council will be publishing guidance on the Code website, and has just released its Complaint Handling Guidelines and Compliance Checklist;
  • Nominate a suitably experienced Code Compliance Officer to oversee the implementation of the Code at your community, communicate information on the Code to staff and residents and monitor compliance with the Code.
  • Once you are satisfied that your documentation and policies comply with the Code, provide training for your employees and contractors engaged at your community (eg. sales representatives) to ensure that they clearly understand your requirements and comply with the processes you have established.

If you have further questions regarding the Code, please contact Rosemary Southgate or Lillian Graystone from Russell Kennedy’s Retirement Living team on (03) 9609 1637.

This article has been published by the Property Council of Australia here.

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