Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is a Royal Commission?

A Royal Commission is a public inquiry. In Australia, Royal Commissions are the highest form of inquiry on matters of public importance.

Why is a Royal Commission different from other inquiries?

A Royal Commission has broad powers to gather information to assist with its inquiry. The Royal Commission has the power to summons witnesses to appear before it and the power to request individuals or organisations produce documents as evidence.

How does the Royal Commission decide what it investigates?

The terms of reference sets out the key areas of investigation for the Royal Commission as well as the timeline by which the inquiry must be completed.

Submissions

What is a submission?

A submission is a statement to the Royal Commission which assists the Commission in its collection of information that is relevant to the inquiry as set out in the terms of reference.

Can I make a submission without using the online submission form?

Yes, if you are not comfortable using the online submission form you can download the printable version, or:

  • Write to the Royal Commission: Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, GPO Box 1151, Adelaide SA 5001
  • Email: ACRCenquiries@royalcommission.gov.au
  • Telephone: 1800 960 711 (8:00am-6:30pm ACDT, Monday-Friday except on public holidays)

What if English isn't my first language?

We can accept submissions in languages other than English. We also have information in other languages available on our website.

The Royal Commission can also provide an interpreter service when you call the inquiry line: 1800 960 711.

Can I make a submission without giving my name?

You can make your submission anonymously and you may choose not to provide contact details. Your submission will still be reviewed by the Royal Commission, however, we will not be able to contact you if we need to check details in your submission.

What about possible consequences for myself or a family member or friend if I say something negative about an aged care service provider?

You can request that your submission not be made public or that it must have content removed so that you or the provider cannot be identified publicly. Submissions that are made public may include redactions (words blacked out) as the Royal Commission considers appropriate. You may request that, if your submission is made public, it is made public anonymously.

When will submissions close?

The Royal Commission will continue to accept submissions until the end of April 2020. However, we encourage you to make your submission as early as possible so it can be considered as part of preparations for hearings. There is more information on how to make a submission on the Royal Commission website.

Can I publish my own submission on my website or elsewhere?

Yes, you are free to publish and share your own submission once you have sent it to the Royal Commission.

Witnesses

What support is available to witnesses?

We have an onsite counsellor who is available at all hearings for witnesses to talk to if required. Information about counselling and support services can be found on our website.

What degree of anonymity do witnesses have?

If necessary, a witness' identity will be protected. They will not be shown on the webcast and their name will be suppressed and redacted from all transcripts. A non-publication direction will also be issued.

What other options are there for people who want to appear as witnesses but can't come to the main court location due to limited mobility or other ability issues?

We will endeavour to provide a video link appearance somewhere close to your home (where possible) for those who cannot make it to a hearing. There is more information for witnesses available on our website.

Hearings

How can I find out when hearings are on?

There are a number of ways to find out when and where hearings are on. You can sign up to our mailing list, or check our Hearings page on the website. Hearing dates and the topics to be examined are usually announced four weeks before the hearing commences.

What happens at a hearing?

If you want to attend a hearing it is very similar to attending court. Please check the website for hearing details including starting times.

If I can't attend, can I get access to the Royal Commission?

Yes, you can watch or listen to hearings through the webcast available on the Royal Commission website. You can also watch previous hearings on replay through the webcast portal. Transcripts of hearings are also available on the website.

Community forums

Why is the Royal Commission holding community forums?

The community forums give members of the public a chance to hear firsthand about the work of the Commission and to offer their ideas on the challenges and strengths of aged care services and the opportunities to improve those services. The forums allow people to engage with the Royal Commission in a less formal way than in public hearings and submissions.

How do I attend a community forum?

Sign up to our mailing list or keep an eye on our community forums page on the website for news of upcoming forums. You can respond to the invitation and register should you wish to make a five-minute statement at a forum.

Where will the community forums be held?

The community forums will be held in all capital cities and selected regional locations which will be progressively announced throughout the year.

Does is cost anything to attend a community forum?

No, attendance at community forums is free. If you want to attend then register through our website or call our phone line.

Accessibility

Have the Royal Commission made provisions for someone who is visually impaired or hearing impaired?

Individuals who are visually impaired can call our inquiry line 1800 960 711 for assistance with a question or in making a submission. We can provide an Auslan interpreter at hearings and community forums on request.

There is more information about accessibility on our website.

Will all venues for public hearings and community forums be wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the Commission intends to ensure all venues are wheelchair accessible.

Complaints

What do I do if I have a complaint about aged care or an issue with a specific provider that needs attention now, can I take this to the Royal Commission?

The Royal Commission cannot resolve individual disputes or complaints. It cannot order a care provider or person to take particular action or pay compensation. However, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission may be able to assist in this situation as it is the complaints agency for aged care services that are subsidised by the Australian Government.

If you want to make a complaint about the quality of aged care services being delivered to a person right now, you can contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission on 1800 951 822 (9:00am-5:00pm AEDT Monday-Friday – interpreter services are available) or visit the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website.

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