We wrote to the Retirement Villages Association and asked them,

  1. Is it a requirement of membership of their Association that staff employed at the retirement village are vetted?
  2. If not, it is nevertheless a recommendation of the RVA to its members?

The reply below:

Good morning Eva,

Thank you for your email, to assist answering your question the following is the minimum standard that the village operator must comply with. This is as covered in the Retirement Villages Code of Practice 2009, variations included April 2017.

Part 3: Minimum requirements to be included in any occupation right agreement

Staffing of retirement village

1               Staffing policies, processes, and procedures

1            If a retirement village has staff, whether paid or unpaid, the operator must have, maintain, and implement written policies, processes, and procedures for staff selection, training, and ongoing supervision.

2            The operator’s staffing policy and procedures must set out the:

a            appropriate qualifications needed for staff employed for specific positions

b            appointment process for staff without appropriate qualifications, if the potential staff member can demonstrate appropriate work experience

c            appointment process for staff without appropriate qualifications and experience, if the potential staff member demonstrates a willingness to undertake the appropriate training and is willing to be supervised as required

d           requirement for a recognised first aid qualification for particular staffing positions.

3            The operator must have an induction process to familiarise staff with this Code of Practice, their own staff codes of conduct, and any management practices and what it covers.  All staff must complete this process.

2               Information about staff

1            All staff will carry identification while on duty so residents can check their identity.  The operator must inform residents and intending residents about staff employed at the retirement village, including:

a            roles

b            relevant qualifications (for example, first aid, nursing) and experience

c            specific qualifications or training relating to residents with particular needs (for example, strokes, dementia-related conditions)

d           skills in communicating with residents with limited ability to communicate (for example, sign language, speech therapy)

e           skills in communicating with residents who speak languages other than English

f            if staff are on site and, if so, when they are at the retirement village.

3               Staff qualifications and experience

1           Staff should be appropriately qualified and experienced for their role and the responsibilities to be carried out.  The operator must:

a           use an appropriate process to select staff

b           take reasonable steps to make sure that a new staff member is suitable for the position at the retirement village

c           check a prospective staff member’s references and past employment.

4               Staff supervision and ongoing training

1           The operator must provide ongoing training and ongoing supervision to make sure staff competence is achieved and maintained.

2           If a staff member does not meet the requirements for the role they are employed in, they may still be employed by the operator.  However, the staff member must:

a           be supervised by a suitably qualified and experienced staff member

b           take part in training to meet the requirements for the role.

Staff employment, without Police checks, has resulted in a number of instances where, if the Police checks had been completed the village may have been alerted to potential risk to residents through the employment of that person. As you can see from the Code of practice, Police checks are not mentioned as a minimum requirement, however, we are aware that the majority of village operators do have Police Checks completed on all prospective staff as part of their selection process.

The RVA does recommend and support this as a requirement of employment.

If I can be of any further assistance please call to discuss further.

Kind regards,

Ed Thomas, Association Manager, Retirement Villages Association

P: +64 4 4990448, M: +64 21 901617

W: www.retirementvillages.org.nz