Government report card on community services, housing and homelessness released

By Melissa Coade

Tuesday January 25, 2022

aged care sign
The ROGS’ first data includes aged care spending. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

The Productivity Commission has published the first set of data for its 2022 Report on Government Services (ROGS), with the goal of sharing data across jurisdictions to improve future service delivery.

A range of indicators were used to assess the performance of governments in delivering the 17 services, including equity, efficiency and effectiveness of services.

On Tuesday data on community services and housing and homelessness were the first to be released, canvassing aged care, disability, child protection and youth justice.

NSW trails behind in aged care spending

Government recurrent expenditure on aged care in 2020-21 was $23.6 billion or $5,385 per older person, with the federal government shouldering most of the costs (98.5%).

A comparison of state and government spending for each older person receiving aged care services ranked the ACT ahead of other jurisdictions, spending $7,376 last financial year. This was followed by South Australia ($5,645), Victoria ($5,540), the Northern Territory ($5,409), Western Australia ($5411), Queensland ($5,236), Tasmania ($5,126) and NSW ($5,080).

According to the ROGS report, residential aged care services totalling $14.3 billion accounted for the largest proportion of expenditure last financial year (60.7%), with $7.8 billion spent on home care and home support services making up the rest.

The report also showed that in 2020 the number of nurses or allied health professionals as a percentage of full time equivalent direct care staff at aged care homes has declined since 2016, when that group comprised 28.5% of the workforce. In 2020, it made up 27.% of the workforce. 

Re-accreditation for residential care providers up

The ROGS data showed that reporting on the renewal of three-year accreditation (the longest re-accreditation that can be granted, and representing high-quality care) was given to 75.5% of the 752 facilities reaccredited in 2020-21. This was an increase on the same reporting period in the previous year (68.4%). 

However, only 20% of the number of reviews scheduled to be done over the 2019 to 2022 period for Australian government subsidised aged care services took place by 30 June 2021. The rate of complete reviews for home care and support was even more disappointing, with only 1.8% of the scheduled reviews complete. 

Client and carer satisfaction for aged care services slumps

Compared to reported rates of satisfaction in previous years, the national score for people who were satisfied with the range of formal services available dropped (71.2% in 2018, a decrease on reported satisfaction in 2015).

There was also a reported drop in the number of those who were satisfied with the quality of the formal services they received in the previous six months (84.4% in 2018 compared with 89.2% in 2015 and 88.6% in 2012).

Primary carers of people aged 65 years and over also reported a decrease in satisfaction for the range of organised services available to help them in their caring role (36.1% in 2018, dropping by 10 percentage points in contrast to data from 2015 and 2012).

About 71.3% of primary carers reported they were satisfied with the quality of services provided to them in their caring role, a decline on 2012 satisfaction levels that were at 84.7%.

Data key to transparency and benchmarking

According to commission chair Michael Brennan, the 27th edition of ROGS continues a tradition of useful self-assessment that will benefit government service providers at all levels.

“ROGS has been in existence now for 27 years, making it a valuable tool for examining trends over time, as well as comparisons between jurisdictions,” Brennan said. 

The services analysed in ROGS 2022 comprise around 72% of total Australian, state and territory governments expenditure — equivalent to approximately $301 billion.

Governments use ROGS information to inform governments’ future planning and evaluation of policies, for budgeting (including to assess the resource needs and performance of government agencies) and to demonstrate government accountability.

Brennan noted that it was encouraging to see governments of all stripes remain committed to transparency and accountability in public reporting on these services.

“The information in this report is important to us all, as we all rely on government services at various stages of our lives,” he said. 

For the first time, data will be available this year across a range of health indicators, including for costs as a barrier to accessing health services for people with a mental health condition, and accreditation of public hospitals.

The Productivity Commission also cautioned that information on actual performance and the collection and processing of data may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A note on the ROGS portal said that the impacts of various restrictions introduced from March 2020 were identified in relevant sections. Some of the relevant policy measures to affect data include rent freezes and decreased exits from social housing (Part G) and a range of impacts on the health sector (Part E), including the temporary suspension of some elective surgeries and the creation of new MBS items.

“The impacts predominately related to changes in service inputs, outputs and outcomes, but did not change the comparability of any indicators in this report,” the commission website noted.

“For some service areas, impacts on the 2021 Report have not recurred in the 2022 Report. For example, NAPLAN testing was not conducted in 2020 (data reported in section 4 — School education) but resumed in 2021.”

The ROGS information has been provided to the steering committee for the review of government service provision, with additional releases to be published by 3 February, 2022.


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