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Sabine Phillips

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Day Presenting:  Monday 29 October
Time: 12:00pm-12:30pm
Session Concurrent A1 – Governance
Presentation Title Fish rots form the head
Position Title Principal
Company Gadens Lawyers

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Gone are the days of the benevolent directors who are providing a service to their community or their church. Directors of aged care companies are accountable for the millions of dollars that pass through their aged care services. Boards are also being made increasingly accountable for the clinical governance of their companies. It’s time Boards reflected the complexity of the organisations they govern.
Gone are the days of rewarding a board member with a pleasant Christmas dinner and a bottle of wine. Boards members are expecting to be remunerated. A board appointment generally occupies at least 8 hours per week of a directors time, time that should be remunerated. It’s time the value of an experienced Board members time was remunerated.
Gone are the days when a like minded group of people went onto a board to assist without being held accountable. All board members should be trained in board governance, a formal qualification should be mandatory.
Smaller aged care providers are not immune to the governance requirements and must ensure that they have the expertise advising them on both their corporate and clinical governance. A board has oversight of not only significant Government subsidies but also millions of resident’s dollars in the form of Accommodation Payments. Strict prudential oversight from a competent, qualified experienced board can minimise the exposure of providers.
Traditionally aged care providers have come from family businesses, through the church or community associations. Whilst the role of director in aged care has evolved with the increasing expectations on organisations to be able to demonstrate their governance systems, a total review of aged care governance should be on the top of every provider’s must do list.
Board members have corporate and personal exposure which cannot be taken lightly. Despite having Directors liability insurance, board members should be aware of their personal exposure when directing the strategic direction of an aged care provider. Failure to meet their obligations can result in significant personal loss, both financial and reputational.
This presentation will look at case studies as they apply to boards both in the Not for Profit and Commercial aged care organisations. From large providers to growing family businesses. No organisation is immune from the requirements to demonstrate effective corporate and clinical governance.


Sabine Phillips is a Partner at Gadens Lawyers, who specialises in health and aged care law. Sabine has a Masters degree in Organisational Behaviour and a Masters of Laws (Legal Practice) Sabine is also a registered nurse (non practising) and has been on numerous boards including a State Health Board for 9 years, the National Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority board, a board member of Alzheimers Australia (Victoria) until the recent changes to Dementia Australia, several aged care boards and is currently a board member of Uniting Agewell Victoria and Tasmania. Sabine’s key areas of expertise are corporate and clinical governance, regulatory compliance, dispute resolution, risk management and organisational reviews. Sabine has also been a provider of residential aged care services and an inaugural assessor with the Agency at its inception and first round of accreditation in 2000. Sabine is also a Fellow of the AICD.