Analysis of performance against purpose 3

Comcare has a range of functions and powers under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) that relate to the management of the Comcare scheme. These functions span the entire scheme including premium paying employers and self-insured licensees. Comcare’s objective in performing these functions is to be seen as a national leader in the design, implementation and management of the scheme and ensure our work improves work health and safety and rehabilitation outcomes.

Comcare’s scheme management performance in 2015–16 has been positive. Our stakeholder engagement with employers and providers covered by the scheme, and other groups, has delivered strong outcomes. We have provided high quality advice and assistance to self-insured licensees and premium paying agencies on a range of topics including the development of capability statements for specific roles in workers’ compensation, and cost recovery arrangements for the 2015–16 and 2016–17 years.

We have achieved very high levels of satisfaction with Comcare’s scheme management efforts from the SRCC, the Seacare Authority and scheme employers.

In particular, Comcare has assisted the SRCC in reviewing its self-insurance regulatory model and developing a new risk-based model that reduces the regulatory burden on business with a focus on driving and achieving strong performance outcomes. In developing the model Comcare undertook research and engaged with the state jurisdictions to understand the complexities of self-insurance across Australia. The new model was endorsed for implementation from 1 July 2016 and Comcare is working closely with licensees to ensure a smooth transition. A key component of the new model was to remove the previously complex three-tiered system. Licensees are now either ‘developing’ (initial two years in the scheme) or ‘established’.

Interest in becoming a self-insurer under the Comcare scheme continues with a number of new scheme participants joining this year. It is expected that this interest will continue throughout the coming year.

Comcare has significantly progressed work on rehabilitation and return to work. This year a cross-agency working group representing all the business functions of Comcare worked collaboratively to:

  • review and define Comcare’s role, objectives and measures for success culminating in a Comcare scheme rehabilitation strategy
  • develop capability statements for key scheme participants
  • research and review barriers to effective rehabilitation practices
  • evaluate employer performance and engage with employers on future ideas.

In 2015–16, the scheme return to work rate improved (from 75 per cent in 2014–15 to 88 per cent in 2015–16) and the ground work has been set to achieve further improvement in 2016–17.

Lastly, Comcare has successfully published information and performance data about the scheme to help scheme employers benchmark their performance and to transparently provide information on scheme performance. This work has included:

  • the Comcare Compendium for WHS and workers compensation statistics 2014–15
  • employer claims incidence rates
  • contribution to Safe Work Australia’s publications comparing jurisdictional performance.

Comcare has also participated in a review of Safe Work Australia’s Comparative Performance Monitoring Report and the Compensation Policy and Return to Work Effectiveness (ComPARE) project—an initiative of the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR), which seeks to identify the aspects of workers’ compensation policy and practice that affect return to work outcomes. All of this work has helped scheme participants increase their knowledge and understanding of the scheme and produced data enabling actions and initiatives to address trends or take up opportunities.