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Rehabilitation Management Systems and Auditing FAQs

What is a rehabilitation management system?

A rehabilitation management system (RMS) is the framework of processes and procedures used to ensure that an organisation can achieve its rehabilitation objectives. One of the objectives of a RMS is to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) and the Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2019 (the Guidelines) issued under section 41 of the SRC Act.

Is a rehabilitation management system mandatory under the Guidelines?

No. The Guidelines do not prescribe that an RMS must be in place.

However, it remains mandatory for employers to comply with the Guidelines. These requirements include: effectively managing rehabilitation, consultation with key stakeholders, ensuring appropriately skilled and capable rehabilitation case managers, monitoring workplace rehabilitation provider services and the monitoring of rehabilitation by the organisation’s Principal Officer.

The implementation and maintenance of an RMS supports an organisation to meet these requirements.

More information on the key elements of an RMS can be found below:

What additional obligations apply to self-insured licensees?

In applying for a self-insurance licence, an applicant must demonstrate that it has an appropriate RMS in place.

Once a licence is granted, self-insured licensees must demonstrate to the Commission that they are maintaining their RMS. The Commission’s Licence Compliance and Performance Model details the requirements. In summary, licensees must report annually on their activities to meet this requirement.

What support is available to assess a rehabilitation management system?

Comcare is reviewing its suite of RMS audit tools to reflect the launch of the Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2019.

Noting that references to the Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2012 no longer apply, the current tools set out the key elements of a RMS and can be used by employers to assess their RMS and areas for improvement.

Who may undertake an audit?

Audits of an employer’s RMS or against the compliance requirements of the SRC Act should be undertaken by competent personnel. Competent personnel are 'people with knowledge of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) and relevant experience. Relevant experience in this case would include audit training and experience'.

Competent personnel should be independent of the rehabilitation area. Audits may be completed by an employer's internal auditor, if they have one, or by an external auditor who has the appropriate audit qualifications and experience.

Guidance on assessing the competence of an auditor can be obtained from the International Standard ISO 19011 – Guidelines for auditing management systems, Chapter 7-Competence and evaluation of auditors.

How often should an audit be completed?

A risk-based approach should be used to determine the frequency of audits. A risk assessment should be undertaken to determine the frequency and scope of audits.

Common considerations for this risk assessment would include:

  • the rehabilitation and return to work outcomes of the organisation
  • the size of the organisation
  • the average number of rehabilitation cases managed
  • the complexity of the rehabilitation cases managed
  • the level of compliance in previous findings
  • the capability and experience of staff managing and delivering rehabilitation and return to work.

Comcare recommends that employers audit at least every three years.

What is the scope of the file audit?

Files selected for audit should have had some rehabilitation activity in the 12 months prior to the commencement of the audit. The sample size is dependent on the number of files with rehabilitation activity.

Page last updated: 15 Aug 2019